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How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

 
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Old 18 Mar 2018, 01:52 am
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Default How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

I recently purchased a PT Turbo Lite but it seems as if it may have more power than a turbo lite would have. The person I bought it from was not the original owner. Is there any way to tell if the ECM was changed over to a GT ECM or something other than stock? I am no expert but it seems like it has more than 180 HP. Any ideas?
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Old 18 Mar 2018, 10:01 am
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

A factory GT PCM or Stage 1 PCM for auto tranny will work perfectly in most PT turbo lites. To tell what PCM you have, you need to get the part number off the side sticker. The part number on the front of the PCM is just the hardware number. The part number for the "tune" will be on the side. Once you get that number, you can just Google it to see what you have.




Another way to do this is the use a OBDII scanner that will give you the "program", "calibration" or "flash" number. A Diablosport tuner will do this as well. If you Google the number in the image below you will find it's for a Turbo Lite.




While this may work for a factory PCM or one flashed with a Stage 1 tune, neither of these methods may work if your PCM has a custom tune. In that case, it may have any part number on the sticker and may show any number read by a scanner. The best way to detect one of these is boost level with a boost gauge.

Here's what a 2nd Gen stock Turbo Lite will boost:




A GT and Mopar Stage 1 PCM will boost upwards of 12 psi. And a custom performance PCM, like mine, may boost even more. My PT boosts around 15 psi.




Beyond this, forum member Myckee has extensive lists of PCM part numbers and tunes. He can likely tell you what's what on any PT PCM.
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Old 22 Mar 2018, 01:17 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Thanks for all the detailed info! I like the look of that boost gauge! I may just have to get one! Then I'll know and my car will look even cooler than it allready is How difficult was it to install?
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Old 22 Mar 2018, 04:07 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Handy it has long been said you can't use Turner devices on the light. Has that changed? And also I belive you can programe a turbo lite ser# into a GT pcm. Haven't had questions on the diffrent trans and Speedos between the two answered .
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Old 22 Mar 2018, 06:09 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
Handy it has long been said you can't use Turner devices on the light. Has that changed? And also I belive you can programe a turbo lite ser# into a GT pcm. Haven't had questions on the diffrent trans and Speedos between the two answered .
Folks used to say these things because PCM's were very expensive and tuning devices for the PT were rare. So not even the guys that did this stuff everyday knew the whole story. But today we know much more. And a lot of that is thanks to Myckee.

First, it's true you cannot load a performance tune from a DiabloSport tuner into a turbo light. However, the DS tuner will still work as a scanner on these cars. I'm showing just that in one of my photos above. So you can use a DS tuner to get the PCM calibration number from a turbo light or just about any other PT with an NGC PCM. The reason you cannot load a performance tune is because Diablosport limited their tuners to only load tunes on PCM's that had a select set of calibration numbers to begin with. These were GT and most Mopar Stage 1 PCM's from 2003 to 2006 or so. Also, the PCM for the GT and turbo light are usually the same hardware from 2004 on. So either can usually be flashed to become the other and/or a Stage 1.

Next, some other tuners today can load tunes on turbo lights and NA PT's as well. HP tuners can do this along with some others.

And on the transmissions, most GT and turbo light PT's from 2004 thru 2006 use the same automatic transmission. The Autostick in the GT is just an add-on gizmo that controls shifting through a special program in the PCM only. There's nothing extra needed on the tranny itself. This means that GT and turbo light PCM's are interchangeable once flashed with the right VIN. The only down side would be that the Autostick in a GT would not autoshift if the car has a turbo light PCM in it because it doesn't have that in the programming. But the swapped turbo light PCM would still work fine with the GT transmission otherwise. And it should be noted that Autostick was a factory option on some turbo lights, but I've never seen one.

In summary, you can use many scanners to get the calibration code to determine what PCM you have in a turbo PT. And if you have a DS tuner, this will work for this purpose on a lot of PT's even if you don't have a GT. Additionally, GT, turbo light and Mopar Stage 1 PCM's for automatics, are usually interchangeable for their same year models once flashed with the right VIN.

Beyond this, Myckee can give you more specifics and exceptions to the rules. Folks should remember that nothing in this world is 100% except for death and taxes.
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Old 22 Mar 2018, 07:34 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

What about the Speedo?
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Old 23 Mar 2018, 07:18 am
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
What about the Speedo?
Makes little difference as far as swapping PCM's for GT/Turbo Light/Stage 1 automatics are concerned in like year PT's. However, in the 1st Gen PT, the GT speedometer needs the Autostick gizmo to show correct shifting. ABS can also make a difference. But in the 2nd Gen, none of that seems to matter except for Autostick functionality. At least it didn't for me.

So while upgrading to a automatic GT instrument cluster in a 1st Gen turbo light or NA PT may has some potential issues, upgrading just the PCM's usually does not.
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Old 23 Mar 2018, 04:57 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Handy has it all right!

The speedo will work normally if you do a Lite to GT swap or vice versa. The transmissions, for what we are talking about here, are identical.
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Old 24 Mar 2018, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Handy Cruiser what would you say would be the best tuner hardware for a 2005 lite? I saw you mentioned HP would work. I also Have a 2003 NA.
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Old 25 Mar 2018, 02:11 pm
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Default Re: How can you tell if you have a modified ECM

Quote:
Originally Posted by brian2002utd View Post
Handy Cruiser what would you say would be the best tuner hardware for a 2005 lite? I saw you mentioned HP would work. I also Have a 2003 NA.
If me, I would start with a Stage 1 PCM from FWD Performance. It will leap you over GT performance level to Stage 1 level and it makes it possible to then use a DS tuner if you want to. Plus, if street performance what you are after, a Stage 1 is really all you need. Anything more than that and you will have to deal with torque steer and other potential issues.

If you are going to race, you might want to consider the HP Tuner. This is beyond my personal experience since I don't and would not race a PT Cruiser. In my opinion, the PT is too heavy and too expensive to upgrade to that purpose. Better to get a Mopar Hemi muscle car and start from there if you want to race.

The advantage of the HP is that it has a wide and ever-widening application set. It's also cheaper to use on multiple cars. And there's a pretty big online knowledge base to use. You would need to study this information before you buy and ask the good folks at HP all your questions. There's some folks here that have them. But they don't post much. There's a very HEAVY curve for any of these "real" tuners.

Some folks will likely suggest a DiabloSport tuner. I own two of these and they have their purposes. And those worthwhile purposes are not on PT turbo lights. But in truth, they are mostly good for loading the canned tunes that come with them or for loading custom tunes from professional tuning services that bought DS's high-priced software. And since they will not work on a turbo light until a GT or Stage 1 PCM has already been installed, they are of very little value since the hottest canned tune in them is about the same as the Stage 1 to begin with. They have some other nifty monitoring features and allow some limited adjustments. But basically it's just a tune loading gizmo and not a real tuner in my opinion.

I also need to mention Syked ECU Tuning. Kevin at Syked is very familiar with these PCM's and can basically build you anything you want. The problem is that he's often very busy and it often takes him a long while to get it done. This is what I have. But there are substantially fewer options for a 2007 PT. For a 2005, there are more choices to consider.

In summary, a Stage 1 from FWD Performance is a great first step and will pretty much take you where you want to go if you just want some fun street performance. If you need something beyond that and want to tune yourself, check out the HP Tuner and ask them lots of questions before you buy. A DS tuner will be of little value on a turbo light unless you plan to use it as a tune loading gizmo for tunes from a professional tuning service and if you already have a GT or Stage 1 PCM. And as always, Myckee has much more knowledge than me about this and you should ask his advice. That's what I do.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 25 Mar 2018 at 02:15 pm.
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