Trifecta tune-now car won't run - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Trifecta tune-now car won't run

I think I effed up big time. I purchased the custom tune from Trifecta ($413) and after about 20 attempts to download it I think my ECM is toast. Car won't even turn over. All I get are error msgs "service traction" and "service esc." I bought a new battery ($120) and still nothing. A guy on the Trifecta customer service msg board said it's impossible to fry your ECM...just unplug the battery, wait 10 mins and re-flash. Obviously, that doesn't work. I had the car towed to my mechanic ($75) and they said today there is nothing they can do but order a rebuilt ECM (~$400+labor). They suggested taking it to a GM dealer who won't touch an aftermarket tune. This is getting expensive. I don't think I want to attempt downloading the tune again. I am running out of cash and patience. Does anybody have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any help.

John
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 07:28 AM
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I see "Service Traction" and "Service ESC" every time I flash my car. If they didn't go away, I'd guess that the tune was not completely written.

Can you try reprogramming it with your stock tune? (I have HP Tuners instead of the Trifecta gadget, so I'm not sure how that works.)

I seriously doubt that the ECM is physically damaged. When you try to reprogram, what happens? Does the software indicate that it successfully connects to the ECM, and then start downloading? Does it report any errors during the process? The stock firmware should have a bootloader for reprogramming that cannot be overwritten.

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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 10:12 AM
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First time I've heard of this in a decade of Trifecta tuning. Suspect that it might be something other than the tune causing an issue. Did you contact them after it failed to load a couple of times? Can't see 20 attempts to load accomplishing anything that didn't happen with the first several attempts, and wonder if it didn't cause the issue you are having.

You can probably pick up a good ECM from a wreck (don't need to pay for a 'rebuilt' one, which probably just means that they plugged it in and it worked). Install and try starting (it should have the stock tune on it).

Good luck - very frustrating - worth it if you get it working, though.

And you might post on www.cobaltss.net - those guys have a lot of experience with Trifecta tunes and can say whether they have ever seen this sort of thing before.

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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 10:13 AM
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If you replace the ECM, you'll need to re-pair the keys (and probably have the VIN corrected).

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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 10:29 AM
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If you replace the ECM, you'll need to re-pair the keys (and probably have the VIN corrected).
I believe that the ECM has to be set to the proper VIN or the car will not run.

When I installed the SC I replaced the ECM with one programmed by DDM. They had their local dealer set it to my VIN before they shipped it to me and I didn't have to do anything.

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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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I see "Service Traction" and "Service ESC" every time I flash my car. If they didn't go away, I'd guess that the tune was not completely written.

Can you try reprogramming it with your stock tune? (I have HP Tuners instead of the Trifecta gadget, so I'm not sure how that works.)

I seriously doubt that the ECM is physically damaged. When you try to reprogram, what happens? Does the software indicate that it successfully connects to the ECM, and then start downloading? Does it report any errors during the process? The stock firmware should have a bootloader for reprogramming that cannot be overwritten.
It just stays on the "program" icon forever...I have let it stay plugged in for over an hour and it never gets above 5% downloaded...meanwhile, the "service" msgs scroll across my info screen. Eventually it times out saying it cannot connect to vehicle. How long should it take to download? Do you have to be near WiFi?

Last edited by jmlass; 05-16-2019 at 01:47 PM.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 01:11 PM
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I would try to locate a different cable, then try the download again.
Sounds like a communication issue to me.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 02:04 PM
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What did Trifecta say when you called them, beyond rebooting the car?

A full program - writing the entire image - takes 10-15 minutes. Just writing calibration takes less than a minute.

It's possible that this is a bad cable, or that they sent you the wrong tune file. Either way, I'd start by trying to get your stock tune back on the car. If it can't write that, Trifecta is going to need to help you out. You gave them a bunch of cash - they should be willing to help troubleshoot this.

If I were in your position, I would stop buying things until you get a better idea of what the problem is.
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Last edited by raygun; 05-16-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:45 PM
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This is an assumption on my part, first you download the software from Trifecta to your computer (laptop) on a good connection at your house.
Once the Trifecta software is downloaded to your computer (laptop) then you connect the Trifecta cable to the car OBDII port then to your computer (laptop) and start the software (Trifecta) that will upload the tune to your ECM.

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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:47 PM
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Just CALL Trifecta or whomever you bought it from. This is their product. They’ll know what to do.


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'07 GXP, RPM Stage 2, Solocatless downpipe, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted/drilled rotors, BC Racing BR coilovers, Performance Autowerks intercooler, DDMWorks CAI, charge pipes and braces
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:45 PM
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You should ALWAYS call Trifecta before having your car towed anywhere. A corner shop is not going to have the tools to fix your car. Only a dealership can help you. But, I'm 99.9% sure Trifecta can also help you. Just call/email them.

You MUST follow what Trifecta is trying to tell you, or else there's no hope to fix the issue. Get on the phone and have them talk you through it. It's not rocket science.
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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This is an assumption on my part, first you download the software from Trifecta to your computer (laptop) on a good connection at your house.
Once the Trifecta software is downloaded to your computer (laptop) then you connect the Trifecta cable to the car OBDII port then to your computer (laptop) and start the software (Trifecta) that will upload the tune to your ECM.
Of course. I'm no Steve Jobs, but I thought this was in the realm of my capabilities. I am leaning towards a bad cable...it's the only thing that makes sense.
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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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You should ALWAYS call Trifecta before having your car towed anywhere. A corner shop is not going to have the tools to fix your car. Only a dealership can help you. But, I'm 99.9% sure Trifecta can also help you. Just call/email them.

You MUST follow what Trifecta is trying to tell you, or else there's no hope to fix the issue. Get on the phone and have them talk you through it. It's not rocket science.
I followed the instructions verbatim. I have BEGGED them to call me as I can't find a number to call them. Crickets...
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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Just CALL Trifecta or whomever you bought it from. This is their product. They’ll know what to do.


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I can't find a customer service number for them. I have BEGGED them to call me. Nothing. Zero, zip, zilch. I am not out to disparage their customer service, but I am stating the honest truth. If they decide to make things right, I will let you know.
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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 08:34 PM
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Try this one during business hours:

(832) 757-1255

(From https://www.bbb.org/us/wa/snohomish/...-1296-22538324).

Although, that's a Houston area code, and Trifecta is in Washington state. :/

Might also try their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TRIFECTAPerformanceInc/). (Yeah, I know.)

I can't say for sure if that's they're real number. But, if they really try this hard to avoid having people call them...

This is their problem to solve. Sucks that it's this difficult to get someone to stand behind their product.

Finally, you might consider calling DDM Works. They have a ton of experience dealing with Trifecta - I believe they're also a reseller - and should be able to point you in the right direction. (I've always found them willing to help, even if it's not something related to their product.) Be nice and buy something while you're there. I recommend the short shifter. Guaranteed not to brick your car.

If you used a credit card for this, you might consider disputing the charge. Tell the card company that they shipped you a non-functioning item (specifically, the cable, as that's a reasonable assumption at this point). At the very least it'll get their attention and your money back. Which you could then take to DDM or PWerks and get a tune with actual support.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, Borla cat-back, DDM braces, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, some gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-Rs, GReddy Profec, Norm's fenders

'07 GXP, RPM Stage 2, Solocatless downpipe, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , Stainless brake lines, slotted/drilled rotors, BC Racing BR coilovers, Performance Autowerks intercooler, DDMWorks CAI, charge pipes and braces

Last edited by raygun; 05-16-2019 at 09:04 PM.
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