F355 Ongoing saga...CEL and SDL lights... - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-07-2014, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Ongoing saga...CEL and SDL lights...


Ok, So this is an ongoing thread topic....because it is obviously and ongoing problem for 355 owners.
SDL means "SLOW DOWN" light on your dash.
CEL means "CHECK ENGINE" light on your dash.
You knew that already.

Here is my very small contribution, and some follow up questions for where this discussion seems to sometimes leave off. I am simply trying to clarify what I have learned so far.....regurgitating info to keep the knowledge base growing...and maybe get some more clarification to all of our questions. This is a soupy science, this CEL and SDL stuff....ambiguous at best. It baffles some of us. Me for example. A new owner of a 1997 5.2 F355....my dash, well it looks like damn christmas tree. The green light is fine. I like that one. The red and orange ones....my least favorite of the light show.

What I have found through researching this and other forums (4) and the faulty CEL and SDL lights tend to be false, and that the problem is with the sensors/ ECU's usually. As if to say the warning system is failing but there might not really be a problem with the cats or bypass. Sometimes the sensors are all working properly, and there IS a problem with your cat(s) or other systems. Soup.

Other scenarios....they are in the dozens: A virtual rubix cube of conundrum.

1.) There might be an ECU that is cracked (black epoxy ones usually, as opposed to the newer green epoxy ECU's). SOMETIMES you can simply clean the connections to the ECU's and thermocouplers, and the problem will go away. Someone mentioned an "earth strap" they cleaned and it solved the problem when they cleaned this all other connections (what is this part? couldn't find it in the shop manuals. earth strap?)
2.) Sometimes moisture situations (car washed, rain, fog) will make sensors go buggy. (steaming cats?) Sometimes it is just one ECU. Sometimes it is two ECU's and one thermocoupler, or just one thermocoupler. HMMMMM soupy science again. Dealerships suggest replacing all 3 ECU's and all three thermocouplers (USA version = 3 of both. 1 for the muffler, 2 for the cats, if I am not mistaken.)\ Pricey. $1850 with labor. (my quote from Ferrari)
3.) Sometimes your cats ARE actually bad.
4.) Sometimes an ECU or sensor is going bad...on and off, on and off. What does it mean?!?*%$*!!!!

Here are scenarios for CEL and SDL lights:
here we go...
1.) CEL always on, even at cold start up. ON ALWAYS.
2.) CEL on sometimes. comes on, goes away...maybe it flickers.
3.) SDL (Slow donw light) is blinking always, even at cold start-up. Always blinks. Always.
4.) SDL comes on at start up, but goes away after warm up and with spirited driving. (F 355's seem to love being pushed harder. It sometimes clears CEL and SDL dash lights. )
5.) CEL off, but SDL on at start-up.

-Here is a small piece of knowledge I picked up today. IF you have faulty ECU.... with SDL blinking at cold start-up, AND a CEL at cold start up (which stays on always).....AND you have a USA F 355 version with 3 thermocouplers and corresponding ECU's....then you might look at the muffler ECU first, or in other words, the one which is NOT associated with the cats, whatever it may be called. I read that this ECU will, if bad, throw BOTH a CEL and SDL at cold start-up. I have this problem. This is where I am going to start, in an attempt to save a LOT of money.

-Another one: Twice I read that is was simply a bad spark plug. Changed the plug, solved the problem immediately.

-Some people with 2.7 can swap ECU's around and ISOLATE the problem.

-People who disconnect the ECU's (one or both etc) STILL had the SDL light on because disconnecting them will automatically throw the light.

Here is what my dealership showed me; here are my codes: (See picture)

I plan to buy a new ECU and start there. Where it goes, I will share...

Any thoughts? It says RIGHT HAND bank on one code. Hmmm. Maybe that will help isolate the faulty code, if thats what it is. The dealership told me that it is probably a faulty ECU, accounting for BOTH my CEL and SDL at cold start up.

Anyone have these same codes? Did you ever isolate what the problem was?

I am going to see what lights up on my dash after the new exhaust is in. The service manager told me that SOMETIMES a new exhaust can eliminate an SDL, perhaps because the pipes are breathing better...

Thanks guys. Hope I helped someone, and hope someone can help me isolate where to start so I can save a lot of money. I just put a lot into a major engine service and new rear axle boots....and tires...and Nouvalari exhaust since my headers looked fine. $ cha-ching. Ouch.
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Last edited by Ready321now; 02-07-2014 at 03:38 PM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-07-2014, 04:22 PM
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Some more info on the issue and a solution if you don't want to go OEM:

http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/pr...-catalyst.html

Another 355 owner who has installed the Aerospace Logic ECU:

http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/pr...real-work.html

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

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post #3 of 20 Old 02-07-2014, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Very interesting. I am GUESSING my problem is with the 3rd ECU, and not the two CAT ECU's ....but I dont know that. These look like a good option instead of OEM ECU,s and I like the constant readout. Nice. I might get this... Is the install difficult?
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Originally Posted by cribbj View Post
Some more info on the issue and a solution if you don't want to go OEM:

http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/pr...-catalyst.html

Another 355 owner who has installed the Aerospace Logic ECU:

http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/pr...real-work.html
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post #4 of 20 Old 02-07-2014, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Ready321now View Post
Is the install difficult?
For a 550, it's somewhat like a custom stereo installation. It can be "thrown in" without too much trouble, but to do it right can be a real PITA.

For a 355, I suspect it's probably about the same; perhaps even a bit easier.

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

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post #5 of 20 Old 02-08-2014, 09:19 PM
 
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Sounds like fun, SDl came on last week on my 99, flashed intermittently and when connected to an ODB (picked up a bluetooth Alterra) found two pending codes, P1445 & P1451. Although it looks like bank one os the culprit, I ordered three new ECU's since mine are all black and look a little worse for wear. Receive them Tuesday and will put them in hopefully that night and will post results.

Good luck my friend, looks like we are treading the same path.
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post #6 of 20 Old 02-09-2014, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ssnowball View Post
Sounds like fun, SDl came on last week on my 99, flashed intermittently and when connected to an ODB (picked up a bluetooth Alterra) found two pending codes, P1445 & P1451. Although it looks like bank one os the culprit, I ordered three new ECU's since mine are all black and look a little worse for wear. Receive them Tuesday and will put them in hopefully that night and will post results.

Good luck my friend, looks like we are treading the same path.
Thanks for the feedback brother...One of my codes says RH bank, so I am guessing there might be a faulty thremocoupler or ECU for the right cat....It says BELOW minimum threshold...as in its not hot enough? Wouldn't mean that the sensor (thermo) isn't working? Or would that mean the ECU is not working?

Can anyone help me interpret these codes???????????

The bypass valve code....wouldn't that mean that is the 3rd thermocoupler or ECU associated with the exhaust and not the ones associated to the CATS? How would I know if it is the thermocoupler or the ECU BEFORE I buy the parts?

I have to pass NJ OBD II inspection when I get my car back, and I am going to FAIL. Any help guys? This car is brand new to me, and I want to figure out what to do to fix these codes and pass inspection and be able to drive worry-free/////

Thanks in advance for any feedback....I really need some.
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post #7 of 20 Old 02-10-2014, 12:09 PM
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Can anyone help me interpret these codes?
The codes. as displayed are somewhat self-explanatory. Clearly the dealer has the capabilities to see the faults. Perhaps I missed a post somewhere, but why not just let them fix the car instead of guessing by throwing potential expensive parts at the problem. Many, many 355 owners and shops have been down the road with CELs. To guess just wouldn't be the way I would approach this...

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post #8 of 20 Old 02-10-2014, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Good question/ Easy answer. The dealerships' version of "fixing" is not fixing, but simply replacing all 3 thermocouplers and all 3 corresponding ECU's. I don't think I need to spend another 2k to fix this. I want to isolate which one(s) are bad and replace those only. Surely there is a way to do this? Thanks for your feedback.
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Originally Posted by David @ FluentInFerrari View Post
The codes. as displayed are somewhat self-explanatory. Clearly the dealer has the capabilities to see the faults. Perhaps I missed a post somewhere, but why not just let them fix the car instead of guessing by throwing potential expensive parts at the problem. Many, many 355 owners and shops have been down the road with CELs. To guess just wouldn't be the way I would approach this...
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-10-2014, 01:38 PM
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The first two faults are easily verified with an IR gun...That's where I'd start. If the faults are real, then the diagnostics go potentially deeper. As I mentioned in an earlier post, SDECU warning lights are nothing new in the Ferrari community and have a well documented failure rate. The thermocouples are a bit more robust.

Without some diagnostic equipment (SD-2/3, DVM, IR gun, Factory diagnostic sheets specific for the 5.2 Motronic system and perhaps even a breakout box, there's just no easy way. However, as most dealers and certainly this shop have all of that (and then some), there should be little to no guessing. Throwing parts, as suggested/inferred at your car is pure bullshit. I'd find another shop. Josh at ECS is closer than I am. If you can't find someone more local, I'd shipping that car down there. Your car may indeed need just what's been prescribed. However, at least you'd know for sure.

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post #10 of 20 Old 02-10-2014, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by David @ FluentInFerrari View Post
The first two faults are easily verified with an IR gun...That's where I'd start. If the faults are real, then the diagnostics go potentially deeper. As I mentioned in an earlier post, SDECU warning lights are nothing new in the Ferrari community and have a well documented failure rate. The thermocouples are a bit more robust.

Without some diagnostic equipment (SD-2/3, DVM, IR gun, Factory diagnostic sheets specific for the 5.2 Motronic system and perhaps even a breakout box, there's just no easy way. However, as most dealers and certainly this shop have all of that (and then some), there should be little to no guessing. Throwing parts, as suggested/inferred at your car is pure bullshit. I'd find another shop. Josh at ECS is closer than I am. If you can't find someone more local, I'd shipping that car down there. Your car may indeed need just what's been prescribed. However, at least you'd know for sure.
Thanks for the info!
So...what would I do with the IR gun? Point it at the RH cat after a good drive? I know the left one was replaced by the previous owner. As far as BOTH faults, where would I be pointing this gun? One says BELOW threshold, while the other says ABOVE. If I need a new cat, which brand would you suggest? Also, as far as the bypass valve, is that in the muffler? I just ordered a Nouvalari exhaust...would the bypass valve be located in the muffler? Or is it pre?
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post #11 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 06:55 AM
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If you're only getting a fault for the RH catalysts running under temp, you want to fire the car up an monitor the LH & RH catalysts temps as the car comes up to temperature and compare. If measuring the temps physically with an IR gun shows a significant different in physical temp of the two cats, there is a high likelihood of the RH cat being faulty.


The bypass valve is located in the upper "Y" pipe just before it enters the muffler. In that pipe are two small catalysts. If you're receiving an over temperature warning, you want to confirm whether that is the case or not with the IR gun again. If they're running too hot, they need to be replaced. If not, you need to look at the thermocouple and ECU.


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post #12 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 09:35 AM
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You guys are killing me here.


Josh, he might have a bad cat but that will not set a slow down light.






#1 cause by far for having a CEL for both a right bank cat and an exhaust bypass valve warning is the wires at the ECU's are crossed from the last time the engine was out. Really easy to diagnose in seconds with the SD2. That however will not cause a slow down light.
A SDL is either really an overheating cat or an ECU or a thermocouple. Again, very easy to diagnose.


I couldn't get far enough through your rambling first post to understand and know what exactly and specifically the warning light situation is. Joe Friday says "Just the facts". Editorializing, and hypothesizing just makes me sleepy.



And I disagree vehemently about diagnosing a car by throwing parts at it. The sad reality is with todays complex cars, lousy diagnostic equipment and high labor costs ( thank you US and state government interference) and low quality electronic components it is very often the cheapest way to diagnose a problem. Are there other, more accurate ways? You bet, IF and only IF you have a whale on the line and you are justifying running up his bill. The key is to have someone smart enough to pin point parts to throw at it and not just the whole shopping cart full. I would really like to know the name of the dealer who wanted to replace all the ECU's and thermocouples. That just shows to me the confidence the service writer has in the diagnostic abilities of the mechanics he has at his disposal. That is a place we all need to avoid.


As far as suggesting all 3 ECU's. If you still have the old black ones they would not be doing their job if they didn't suggest all 3 as a preventative measure but thermocouples are almost never a problem.

Last edited by Brian; 02-11-2014 at 09:46 AM.
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You guys are killing me here.


Josh, he might have a bad cat but that will not set a slow down light.

#1 cause by far for having a CEL for both a right bank cat and an exhaust bypass valve warning is the wires at the ECU's are crossed from the last time the engine was out. Really easy to diagnose in seconds with the SD2. That however will not cause a slow down light.
A SDL is either really an overheating cat or an ECU or a thermocouple. Again, very easy to diagnose.


I couldn't get far enough through your rambling first post to understand and know what exactly and specifically the warning light situation is. Joe Friday says "Just the facts". Editorializing, and hypothesizing just makes me sleepy.



And I disagree vehemently about diagnosing a car by throwing parts at it. The sad reality is with todays complex cars, lousy diagnostic equipment and high labor costs ( thank you US and state government interference) and low quality electronic components it is very often the cheapest way to diagnose a problem. Are there other, more accurate ways? You bet, IF and only IF you have a whale on the line and you are justifying running up his bill. The key is to have someone smart enough to pin point parts to throw at it and not just the whole shopping cart full. I would really like to know the name of the dealer who wanted to replace all the ECU's and thermocouples. That just shows to me the confidence the service writer has in the diagnostic abilities of the mechanics he has at his disposal. That is a place we all need to avoid.


As far as suggesting all 3 ECU's. If you still have the old black ones they would not be doing their job if they didn't suggest all 3 as a preventative measure but thermocouples are almost never a problem.
Brian, to save you an hour of reading my lengthy post...here is what happens: CEL on ALWAYS. It never goes away. The SDL is on immediately at cold start, but usually goes away after I drive for a bit. It might come back on, then go away, and I am driving rather conservatively. One fault code (see attachment, which is an Acrobat-reader attachment from the dealership in question, safe to open) says ABOVE threshold while the other says BELOW minimum threshold. Does that mean anything to you? THANK YOU for your feedback....I feel like I am starting to get more answers, much needed.

And why oh why did they first list my car as a 360 Modena, while the Bosch Motronic report says the correct car....a 5.2 motronic 355? I switched dealerships because they wanted to throw parts at the car, and had them do my major service at Ferrari of Long-Island instead. The CEL and SDL have yet to be resolved....I am trying to keep my bill down.

Lastly: I noticed my check-engine light was off for the first time when I went to pick up my car from dealership #1. Perhaps they reset the codes ? I started it to get it up on the flatbed, but did not drive it more than 25 feet.
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
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#1 cause by far for having a CEL for both a right bank cat and an exhaust bypass valve warning is the wires at the ECU's are crossed from the last time the engine was out. Really easy to diagnose in seconds with the SD2. That however will not cause a slow down light.
A SDL is either really an overheating cat or an ECU or a thermocouple. Again, very easy to diagnose.
Sometimes the most obvious is the easiest over looked.

If the dealer does their job and makes sure they are connected properly after the major service, you may get your diagnosis and repair in that regard.

Occasionally, the pins in the thermocouple connectors at the ECU's get enough corrosion that the readings are affected and simply cleaning the with pin files and contact cleaner can resolve the issue as well.


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post #15 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Sometimes the most obvious is the easiest over looked.

If the dealer does their job and makes sure they are connected properly after the major service, you may get your diagnosis and repair in that regard.

Occasionally, the pins in the thermocouple connectors at the ECU's get enough corrosion that the readings are affected and simply cleaning the with pin files and contact cleaner can resolve the issue as well.
Thanks...I plan to clean all connections. As of right now, I just got off the phone with Ferrari of Long Island...(Patrick in service is VERY helpful and always ready to spend as much time as needed with my questions....great guy.) He said "let's see what happens when the new exaust goes on.....we will drive the car and see if any codes come back on, if so...we will try to isolate it from there and see if we can get this sorted out for you without sending the bill through the roof."

I think there is a chance it could be a bad contact-connection, given that the SDL was on when i drove the car home 500 miles, BUT it went off after 200 miles. After I got home, it cooled all the way down, then BOOM the SDL was on right at cold-start when it was off for the last 300 miles. Hmmmmm. What does it mean?!
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post #16 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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You know, maybe I will be lucky enough that is is just connection problems...the 2nd Dealership (Ferrari of Long Island) did the major service for me, and hopefully unplugging the connection, plugging them back in etc....maybe that will help. Wishful thinking likely. Who knows, maybe the ECU's is not even unplugged during this engine-out process. I am just getting familiar with the way things are laid out.
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post #17 of 20 Old 02-11-2014, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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If you're only getting a fault for the RH catalysts running under temp, you want to fire the car up an monitor the LH & RH catalysts temps as the car comes up to temperature and compare. If measuring the temps physically with an IR gun shows a significant different in physical temp of the two cats, there is a high likelihood of the RH cat being faulty.


The bypass valve is located in the upper "Y" pipe just before it enters the muffler. In that pipe are two small catalysts. If you're receiving an over temperature warning, you want to confirm whether that is the case or not with the IR gun again. If they're running too hot, they need to be replaced. If not, you need to look at the thermocouple and ECU.
Thank you....this sounds like good info. I will do this! That sounds like a logical way to begin isolating the issue. Good info. I will keep you posted, the car is done, exhaust arrived and is installed. Depending on the snow, I might have her back by tomorrow or friday.
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post #18 of 20 Old 02-12-2014, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSofVirginia View Post
Sometimes the most obvious is the easiest over looked.

If the dealer does their job and makes sure they are connected properly after the major service, you may get your diagnosis and repair in that regard.

Occasionally, the pins in the thermocouple connectors at the ECU's get enough corrosion that the readings are affected and simply cleaning the with pin files and contact cleaner can resolve the issue as well.
Well check this out: this is what Pat the service Manager said today via email:

"Hi Brian , I have good news for you. My tech Mike cleaned all the connections to the thermo coupler ecu's we did a reset. He drove the vehicle 2 times ( it runs and sounds great by the way ) and no lights came back on. we think you're good to go. Im going to work on the paperwork tomorrow and see what I can do for you. "


We will see if the lights come back on after driving it for a while...I think it takes a good amount of driving to see lights again if the codes reappear? In any case, that is good news.
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 09:54 AM
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Depends on the issue. Sometimes it pops up immediately, sometimes after a bit of driving. I do suspect that cleaning the connections and verification that everything is connected properly as Brian pointed out will prove successful though.


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post #20 of 20 Old 03-19-2014, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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UPDATE:

The mechanic at Ferrari of Long Island CLEANED THE CONNECTIONS TO THE ECU's

......And the problem dissapeared.

And I almost dropped a TON of money to have everything replaced, as per suggestion of another dealership.

Go figure.
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