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    Thread: 17069 - ECM Power Relay Control Open Circuit Problem - Need Help

    1. Junior Member Kubelwagon's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 26th, 2012
      '03 A4, '00 Passat A, '00 Passat B, '01 Wolfsburg, Aprillia RSV Mille, SV1000, and so on...
      10-26-2012 03:47 PM #1
      I've searched dozens of forums and posts and have yet to find a good diagnostic procedure for isolating the cause of this vehicle's problem.

      Vehicle is a 2001 Jetta Wolfsburg with a DL ECM, 1.8T, 5-spd. Vehicle will turn over but not start. Fuel pump (relay) is non operational. I didn't have VCDS with me when I first encountered the problem so I used a standard OBDII reader and it wouldn't connect to or read the ECM.

      Originally I checked all fuses with a DVM and reseated the fuses associated with the ECM. Checked the output of the power relay (428 - wh/or wire) and there was no voltage. The relay was not activating. During testing, the fuel pump relay started working again, but the ECM power relay did not. I suspected a bad relay and pulled it, but also removed the ECM at that point to check the part number. All connectors, pins and wiring were clean and in good order. The ECM sat in my garage for a day.

      After reinstalling the ECM and power relay, I reattached the positive battery cable. The fuel pump relay worked and the car started and ran fine. Pulling the power relay caused the exact same no-start symptoms as before. A new OEM power relay was installed. The standard OBDII reader would also now read the ECM.

      The car ran fine for two days. After sitting for an hour in a parking lot, it wouldn't start. No fuel pump, standard OBDII wouldn't read again. I checked the output of the ECM Power Relay and this time it had 13VDC. The engine tried to fire initially, indicating the ignition system is indeed receiving voltage from the ECM power relay.

      I connected my laptop with VCDS and auto scanned. The engine address shows a 17069 code - ECM Power Relay Control Circuit (271): Open Circuit. Ross-Tech's wiki provides possible solutions as "Test voltage supply to ECM, Check wiring and fuses, Replace Faulty ECM Relay (J271). All modules show a low voltage code because the battery was disconnected. No other pertinent codes registered.

      The real problem I'm having is the factory manual is less than user friendly in trying to follow electrical paths from component to component. It appears the fuel pump relay activates from pin 65 on the ECM. If this is correct, and the ECM relay is working properly, then could the ECM actually be at fault? Seldom in 30-years of working on cars have I ever found wiring to be the issue unless it's actually damaged by melting, rubbing or rodents. Or extreme age. Occasionally stupidity. The wiring in this vehicle appears to be in very good condition.

      The temperatures have dropped significantly over the past month so one test I'll do is to heat the ECM enclosure with a hair dryer to see if it might have an electrical intermittent. I'm also working to source a good used ECM now.

      If anyone has any specific tests or helpful information, it would be very much appreciated. I'll be sure to post all results of what I find. Thank you.
      Last edited by Kubelwagon; 10-26-2012 at 04:17 PM.

    2. 10-26-2012 07:42 PM #2
      Please post the full auto scan.

    3. Junior Member Kubelwagon's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 26th, 2012
      '03 A4, '00 Passat A, '00 Passat B, '01 Wolfsburg, Aprillia RSV Mille, SV1000, and so on...
      10-27-2012 01:35 AM #3
      The codes were cleared after running the scan so I can scan again later to check for legitimate codes not generated by removing the battery terminal or power relay.

      My son and I towed the car home tonight and I decided to physically check the fuel pump relay. It appeared to be working. Voltage was measured at the fuel pump and it's getting voltage. The fuel pump has definitely failed. It's possible the fuel pump relay has always been working properly.

      I find it odd that the ECM power relay would also be intermittent, but it was definitely inop at one point when the fuel pump was working. I'll replace the fuel pump and we'll see how it goes. I don't believe in coincidence but the change in cold weather may have been a contributing factor to the failure of either or both.

      Once the new fuel pump is installed and the car is running, I'll scan again for possible problems. It still bothers me that VCDS will read the ECM but my standard OBDII reader won't. Not that it matters much if the vehicle is running reliably. But there has to be a reason.

      Actually it does matter because the State DMV uses the OBDII to verify proper emissions parameters and if their equipment can't read the ECM, your vehicle fails inspection.
      Last edited by Kubelwagon; 10-27-2012 at 12:40 PM.

    4. Junior Member Kubelwagon's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 26th, 2012
      '03 A4, '00 Passat A, '00 Passat B, '01 Wolfsburg, Aprillia RSV Mille, SV1000, and so on...
      11-01-2012 02:48 PM #4
      A replacement fuel pump was installed and the vehicle is now running fine. Although the pump is definitely noisier than stock. Hummmmmmm... It's the $60 variety from AM Auto Parts (student car, student budget).

      After the car was run for about a half hour and the ECM returned to "ready" mode, my generic OBDII scan tool would read the ECM. So nothing wrong there other than using a cheap reader.

      So, the moral of this story is it's possible for two completely unrelated parts to fail at the same time making it appear the cause is a controller issue when it could actually just be the individual components themselves.

      Never assume anything.

    5. 11-02-2012 01:53 PM #5
      Another tail of the third grade nothing.

      Ask Judy Blume next time.

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