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Alarm Control Unit Disaster


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#1 iccubed

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Posted October 26, 2006 - 03:48 PM

Hello – please help! This week I took my 1999 Boxster (2.5 L) to one of the better Porsche mechanics in Portland. My Alarm Control Unit (located under driver’s seat) had gotten wet and no longer worked properly ($315 diagnostic time at the dealer so didn’t want to go back to them). The problem is the doors don’t lock and alarm doesn’t set. Even under Emergency Mode (3 turns to right with key) one door does not lock. Plus interior lights stay on longer than they should (20+ minutes). Anyway, I had the new Alarm Unit (996-618-260-07) and gave to mechanic with Learn Code numbers. They could not get car to accept the unit. They then found that the gas door locking servo had failed as well. They suggested that sometimes this malfunction fries one of the drivers in the Alarm Unit and could have created the problem. So they replaced the gas door locking servo (997-624-113-00) and tried again with no luck. Here is what the report says after they charged me $455 with not even fixing the problem!! They originally said it would be no problem and should cost 140-160. Afterwards they said they have never experienced such trouble with a car. I guess it is haunted. “Check/clean electrical connections at ECU. Locked new control unit with immobilizer number supplied by customer. Coded version 4=USA. Attempted to teach new control unit, transponder key and remote controls. “TIME BLOCK RUNNING’ shows on PST2 and will not respond to teach functions. Replace servo unit for fuel door. Retried to teach new ECU, remotes and transponder keys. Still shows “TIME BLOCK RUNNING” and will not respond. Reinstall old control unit to make vehicle useable.” So, how can I get the car to accept the unit and work properly? I am planning on going back to the mechanic with your suggestion so thank you, thank you, thank you to anyone that can help!


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#2 Popolou

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Posted October 26, 2006 - 04:05 PM

Just throwing a suggestion, but could "TIME BLOCK RUNNING" mean a timeout that needs to clear before the update/flash could occur? Is it battery backed? Regards Popolou


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#3 Chris_in_NH

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Posted October 26, 2006 - 04:40 PM

from what i've read, the Alarm/Control unit can only be coded once. whether this means you can only *attempt* to code it once, i don't know... sorry i can't be more helpful.


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#4 iccubed

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Posted October 27, 2006 - 07:59 AM

Thank you both! Popolou - Mechanic mentioned that it usually needs 15 minutes to run. They left for almost an hour and got nothing. I don't know if going longer would help. Chris - Oh god!! If you can only set once, I'll be furious. Finally, I got another suggestion similar to Popolou saying that if they disconnect the battery, it should stop any "running". If anybody knows that disconnecting the battery will for sure help, I would love to get that confirmation!


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#5 cgporter

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Posted October 28, 2006 - 01:39 PM

I am having the same problem with my 1998 Boxster 2.5. The floor of the car got wet earlier this year and the door locks, alarm, gas door lock, and horn have all stopped working. I was told by the dealer and a local mechanic that I needed a new ECM, however when I took it to a different German car specialist they said the ECM was fine. I spent a bunch with them on MAF, 02 and other sensors so they did not diagnose the alarm/horn problem at the time but told me to bring it back after I drive it a couple of hundred miles (which has not been a problem) and they will re-check the codes. I will be having them check out the problem soon and will report back here if I learn anything helpful. It sounds like the alarm module (or whatever the unit under the seat does) will need to be replaced but I am hopeful it is a connector problem instead. Do all the experts agree that these symptoms are related to the alarm control unit under the seat? Is there any other fix besides replacing (and reprogramming) the unit? About how much is the module if it needs to be replaced? I would appreciate hearing how you resolve the programming problem if you ever get it fixed. If I learn anything new when fixing mine, I will let you know. Good luck.


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#6 Chris_in_NH

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Posted October 28, 2006 - 08:57 PM

About how much is the module if it needs to be replaced? I would appreciate hearing how you resolve the programming problem if you ever get it fixed.


i think i paid about $200 for the alarm unit from Sunset Imports. the dealer will of course charge you more.
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#7 iccubed

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Posted October 30, 2006 - 08:36 AM

The Alarm Control Unit costs $346.10 from Sunset Imports (dealer in Portland, OR). I have not heard anything further about why my car is being so difficult, but will give you the final outcome whenever that occurs.


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#8 Chris_in_NH

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Posted October 30, 2006 - 12:54 PM

The Alarm Control Unit costs $346.10 from Sunset Imports (dealer in Portland, OR).


that can't be right. i'll have to look at my invoice from them, but i'm sure it was right around $200.

did you talk with them, or get a price from their site? the part number i got was 986-618-260-00.

edit: just checked my invoice for that part number - $211.01! ;)

Edited by Chris_in_NH, October 30, 2006 - 01:01 PM.

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#9 iccubed

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Posted October 30, 2006 - 01:36 PM

I talked with them and bought it while I was there. It looks like a big ink cartridge. The 346.10 is the list price for part number 996-618-260-07 and that is what is on my invoice. Your part number ends in 00, I don't know if that is the difference. Different year/model might affect too. Mine is a 1999 non-S Boxster. 986-618-260-00 = 211.01 (NH - no sales tax) 996-618-260-07 = 346.10 (OR - no sales tax)


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#10 Chris_in_NH

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Posted October 30, 2006 - 04:46 PM

I talked with them and bought it while I was there. It looks like a big ink cartridge. The 346.10 is the list price for part number 996-618-260-07 and that is what is on my invoice. Your part number ends in 00, I don't know if that is the difference. Different year/model might affect too. Mine is a 1999 non-S Boxster.

986-618-260-00 = 211.01 (NH - no sales tax)
996-618-260-07 = 346.10 (OR - no sales tax)


well, i have a 1997 non-S. yours also has a 996 prefix. hmm. maybe it's because i ordered over the internet. they sell at cost+15%, but maybe that's internet-only. ?

in the future, i'd place the orders online. ;)

let me know how you make out.
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#11 iccubed

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Posted December 29, 2006 - 09:00 AM

Hello All, Solution to my problem realized. “If it gets wet, you’ll regret!” After hours of diagnostic and repair time, this what we (Porsche mechanics included) think happened. When I bought the car, they shipped from CA to OR. There was a hole in the convertible top window. A lot of water got in during shipping. When the car arrived I did not check the keyless entry and door locking features……always do this!! We think the water ran down the convertible top and entered the cockpit. The alarm control unit sits at the lowest point under the driver’s seat. Once it gets wet it fries things. The door locking actuator for passenger and driver doors as well as fuel door shorted. I guess the trunks can have the same effect, but didn’t for mine. It also fried the keyless entry so need a new key. Always keep the code with the key b/c then you don’t have to buy a new one and they can reprogram. I only got one key with no codes from my purchase. The alarm control unit controls all locking functions. 5 hours at Porsche dealer to make the alarm unit talk to the car. The “TIME BLOCK RUNNING” error is one they had never seen before. They talked with the special Porsche dealer tech line and the response is that it sometimes takes between 1 and 16, yes SIXTEEN hours, to finish “running”. Mine took 3 hours. Further more, when the non-dealer mechanic replaced the fuel door locking mechanism, there is a possibility that they created a vacuum leak from pinching a button snap into or against the plastic hose. So now my Check Engine light is stuck on. It could also be the Air Flow Sensor. So that will be the next problem. Finally, we have to make sure that water still is not getting into the car. I have to check the drain hole right above the air intake vent to see if it’s plugged. Then look at the water catching foam pan and see if there is a hole in that. If so, water will run down behind driver’s seat and eventually to my new alarm control unit. Additionally I have to take out the seat with a torx wrench and lift up the carpet and try to soak up the water that is embedded in the carpet. Apparently there is a sponge like material under that carpet that will hold water for years. During this will be hard b/c there will only be a couple inches of wiggle room under the carpet or else I will have to take out the entire carpet throughout the car. CONCLUSION on what I needed to fix: Alarm Control Unit = $230, I got at dealer cost plus 15% at one of their sales + $275 labor, it was going to be $530, but they took pitty on me. Passenger Door Actuator = $380 + $112 labor Driver Door Actuator = $380 + $112 labor Fuel Door Motor = $49 + $220 labor New Key = $150 Water Drain Pan = $75 + $190 labor TOTAL = $2173 Wow, what a pain. So make sure your cockpit floor stays dry!!


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#12 Chris_in_NH

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Posted December 29, 2006 - 09:19 AM

TOTAL = $2173


GOD, that is ridiculous!

i'm not sure why you needed new door actuators, but this just seems like robbery! diagnosis should have cost nothing - if the alarm/locking didn't work they should know to just replace the frikkin alarm/locking computer. plus all this stuff with YOU having to check the drains, why the heck wouldn't they just blow them out with compressed air? jeez!

as far as your CEL, did they give you any fault codes? sure it could be the MAF or a hundred other things. if you disconnect the negative battery terminal for a few seconds, it will clear the Check Engine Light (make sure you have your radio code). if the fault is still present, the CEL will light again. make sure you get the codes!! (an AutoZone will do this for free.) ;)

i would unscrew that locking computer and put a thick plastic freezer bag around it and zip it shut, just in case.
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#13 Westcoaster

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Posted December 29, 2006 - 11:52 AM

Hey, do you think that it time that they (Porsche) moved the sensitive and expensive electronics packages up out of the bilge! ****, I wonder if they know that these are convertibles? :rolleyes: Definitely need to be aware of water getting into the cabin...


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#14 Jinster

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Posted January 01, 2007 - 03:49 PM

Alarm Control Unit = $230, I got at dealer cost plus 15% at one of their sales + $275 labor, it was going to be $530, but they took pitty on me.
Passenger Door Actuator = $380 + $112 labor
Driver Door Actuator = $380 + $112 labor
Fuel Door Motor = $49 + $220 labor
New Key = $150
Water Drain Pan = $75 + $190 labor


I sympathise with you, Iccubed. If this was a Mazda or Toyota, it wouldn't have cost this much to fix the same problem. It probably wouldn't have happened in the first place. German engineering leaves much to be desired, honestly.

Anyway, I am having issues with doors not locking - they lock but then automatically unlocks straight after. Fingers crossed it's not a fried computer.
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#15 Jinster

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Posted January 01, 2007 - 03:49 PM

Alarm Control Unit = $230, I got at dealer cost plus 15% at one of their sales + $275 labor, it was going to be $530, but they took pitty on me.
Passenger Door Actuator = $380 + $112 labor
Driver Door Actuator = $380 + $112 labor
Fuel Door Motor = $49 + $220 labor
New Key = $150
Water Drain Pan = $75 + $190 labor


I sympathise with you, Iccubed. If this was a Mazda or Toyota, it wouldn't have cost this much to fix the same problem. It probably wouldn't have happened in the first place. German engineering leaves much to be desired, honestly.

Anyway, I am having issues with doors not locking - they lock but then automatically unlocks straight after. Fingers crossed it's not a fried computer.
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#16 iccubed

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Posted January 03, 2007 - 01:31 PM

Thanks for your support Chris.

The biggest hurdle is getting to the technician. At the dealer they have the Service Manager that takes appointments and talks to customers. He then relays this to the mechanics. I am completely reminded of Office Space and the Sales Manager who talks with clients b/c clients can't talk directly to the engineers b/c they don't have people skills. I finally got the other Service Manager who is a god send and he finally got me to the back and I talked to the technician. This is where I got the most information. However, I agree, still a little BS that they couldn't help me with drain right there. It took them longer to explain than just do it. I guess that is what you get with a dealer as suppose to a personal mechanic.

From what I was told, the Alarm Control Unit gets wet and then shorts random things connected to it. Currently I have new alarm unit, new passenger side door and new gas door. With the new key, I can lock and alarm car, but then driver side door unlocks a few seconds after. Result, I have to get the new door locking actuatoer. But you are right on Chris that they should be able to identify everything from a 15 minute discussion and demo time with me....Just let me talk to the mechanic!!

THANK YOU for the suggestion on the Check Engine Light!!

Westcoaster - the Porsche technicians cuss at Stuggart constantly for this poor design. They tried to move on their own, but too many wires lead to the bottom of the seat.

Jinster - Thanks for the sympathy. I know that these problems are b/c it's a Porsche, but then again, I have this car because IT IS a Porsche! Love the engine, just hate the electrical BS. Your locking problem sounds like what I am having with my remaining original door actuator. If you do replace the actuators, do driver first and see if it fixes. I hear the driver side controls passenger side. But actuators are more expensive than the Alarm control unit. However, in my case all were related.


Part of this was my fault. Go to the dealer for electrical issues. My problem is I bounced around b/c other folks said they could help. The dealer has the better network and most recent computers and software. BUT TALK TO THE MECHANIC FIRST!


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#17 Chris_in_NH

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Posted January 03, 2007 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for your support Chris.


no problem...

whatever you do, don't forget to put the freezer bag around the new locking computer. use a rubber washer on the screw INSIDE the bag before you screw it back down. another one on the outside of the bag wouldn't hurt, either. ;)
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#18 djomlas

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Posted January 04, 2007 - 11:11 AM

wow that is a lot of money


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