How to Recover an ECU


In the unlikely event of programming failure you will need to know the first steps to attempt to recover the ECU.  Some ECU's have built in recovery methods, some ECU's will require remote assistance for recovery and other may need to be recovered using boot pins (EcuTek offers this service for a fee). 

The exception is Subaru 99 cars which, if programming fails the ECU is permanently damaged.

The first thing to do before starting the recovery procedure is to check and ensure the following

  • The vehicles battery is in good condition (it is best to connect a battery charger, voltage should be between 12 and 14 V, if it is above or below this an error may occur) if the ECU is still communicating you can check the logging parameter for battery voltage.
  • All doors are closed and interior lights are off
  • Bonnet (Hood) and boot (Trunk) are both closed
  • Transmission is in Park or neutral
  • No interior lights, fans or A/C on
  • No daytime running lights or driving lights are on
  • There are no speed delimiters or external CAN hardware devices installed in the car
  • The ECU has NOT been programmed by other software
  • There are no speed converters installed for dashboard speed conversion

Failed Flash Recovery (built-in manual recovery mode)

FastFlash and block programming has been tested to ensure that it will not “brick” either the ECM or TCM if there is a programming failure, however the correct sequence must be used to recover from a failed programming attempt.

  • Close the ProECU programming window.
  • Disconnect the negative battery terminal for at least 15 seconds to stop the programming code continuing to run in RAM, reconnect the terminal and tighten correctly.
  • Manually select the correct ECM or TCM programming window for the car.

This is a critical step as ProECU will not be able to auto detect a part programmed ECM/TCM

  • Select the correct ROM (a standard ROM is recommended)
  • Program the ECM / TCM

Further programming attempts should use the normal procedure and identify/detect the ECM appropriately. If this procedure takes a flash fee or flash points contact EcuTek to go through the points recovery procedure.

Remote Recovery (BRZ/GT86 and MX-5 ND)

If the BRZ or MX5-ND will not recover over normal recovery methods there is an alternative procedure that can be attempted with the help of EcuTek support. It is basically same procedure as above, however, using a remote assistance software package and a slightly different programming method. If you have attempted normal recovery and cannot proceed further, contact your tuner or EcuTek to run through the recovery procedure with them. You will need to be.....

  • Sitting in the car with a laptop PC installed with up-to-date ProECU software.
  • The EcuTek cable and USB dongle plugged in to both laptop and cars OBD socket.
  • The laptop connected to the internet/WIFI with a reliable signal.
  • Ready to receive the remote assistance set up links. 

The chat window can be used in the remote assistance software to run through the procedure.

Bench or Boot Recovery

If all other attempts have failed the ECM/TCM may likely be able to be recovered using boot pins on the chip. If you had the hardware and software available it could be done yourself. If not EcuTek can recover an ECU on the bench by using proprietary hardware however this will incur a fee and require shipping costs to be paid. 

ECU Recovery

If the ECU programming sequence is interrupted, ProECU might not be able to recognize automatically the ECU and you'll need to follow a manual recovery procedure.
In general, you'll need to perform the following steps:

  • Manually select the Vehicle
  • Program a standard ROM Please read the following sections for detailed information on specific cars.

Subaru DIT

  1. Click Tools > Manually Select Vehicle

  2. Select the appropriate vehicle from the list.
    WARNING: different vehicles have different ECUs. You must select the correct vehicle otherwise the recovery sequence will fail

  3. Choose Program Engine ECU in the next window

  4. Click Choose ROM File… and select a STOCK rom file
    NOTE: you can't recover the ECU with a tuned rom, you must use a STOCK one. After the recovery has completed you'll be able to program a tuned rom using the normal procedure. 

  5. Click Program ECU

  6. ProECU could display a message saying that the ECU is part-programmed. If so, press OK to continue.

  7. ProECU will then ask you to ensure that you have selected the correct ROM file. Double-check that the selected Vehicle Type and Rom file are correct, then press OK if everything is fine. Otherwise press Cancel and restart the procedure from point 1.

  8. At this point ProECU will program the ECU.

Follow the indications on screen as in the normal programming sequence. When it's done the ECU has been recovered.

Contact Us:

EcuTek Technical Support

(+44) 1895 811200

When dialing from within the UK, the country code is not required so dial 01895 811200

Open Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm BST (UK Time)

(4am-1230pm Eastern Standard TIme US)

Visitors by appointment only

EcuTek Tehnologies Ltd.
8 Union Buildings
Wallingford Road
Uxbridge, UB8 2FR

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