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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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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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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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If you replace the ECM, you'll need to re-pair the keys (and probably have the VIN corrected).
 

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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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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
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?
 

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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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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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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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Just CALL Trifecta or whomever you bought it from. This is their product. They’ll know what to do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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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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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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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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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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Try this one during business hours:

(832) 757-1255

(From https://www.bbb.org/us/wa/snohomish/profile/auto-repair/trifecta-performance-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.
 

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Get on the phone and have them talk you through it. It's not rocket science.
I spent the past 20 minutes looking for a phone number or an address. I have three disconnected numbers and one address that is in the middle of a residential neighborhood in WA.

Pretty glad I didn't get my tune from them.
 

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Well I had the base Trifecta Tune and the car ran perfectly, was an absolute amazing improvement over the stock system.

Then I had DDM build me a GT2871 Turbo set up, they required a Trifecta custom tune, which was installed. It nearly exploded my engine, and we, nor DDM could access the tune. Dave at PAW got into it some how and tuned the car to run. I have been battling this nightmare for over a year now. It has finally come down to replacing the ECM, which does require reprogramming to stock with your VIN number entered.

I will never install anything or buy anything from a company that will not communicate directly with me before buying or after purchase. I am well over 10K into this nightmare with no end in sight. I have little to no use for DDM or Trifecta. Neither of which have made any effort to correct or help with the problem.
 

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Wow.

Just... wow.

If you can't get Trifecta to stand up and do the right thing - I've found a disturbing number of similar stories online - I'd suggest:

1. Contact your credit card company and dispute the charge. They sent you a product that does not work and are not responding to your attempts to deal with them directly. I'm not a lawyer but I'm reasonably certain that there's some sort of fraud-ish thing involved here.
2. Call Dave Gilbert and get a new ECM. It'll be less than what the dealer is charging, and he might make a deal on a tune, as well. It might help if you tell him about your debacle. (He also responds to email faster than any other vendor I've ever dealt with.) Sounds like he might be able to work with your existing ECM as well.

Best of luck. Please update the thread with whatever the outcome is.
 

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It seems that there aren’t enough of us to generate much attention from vendors, with notable exceptions being DDM, Werks, RPM and the other RPM. :/

I’d make some noise on their Facebook page if it allowed comments.

Still, it’s surprising that they won’t even offer to swap the cable out. Of course, that might require actually communicating with their customer.


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