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Discussion Starter #1
So my 2002 mustang broke down a couple days ago on the side of the freeway, and I took it to the Car Doctors to find out what was wrong and they told me that I needed to replace the Computer for about $1500, I feel like that is way over priced, I was looking around and most people were saying it cost them about $575 and they said even that was over priced... Any ideas on why it would be that much?
 

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Have you checked eBay? There are some companies on there that will repair the ECU/PCM for a couple hundred bucks. Some even offer 24 hour turnaround.

Btw $1500 seems way too high.


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Yeah, I just don't want to end up spending more money to tow it, just to find out another place is going to charge me the same amount. The Car Doctors already replaced my Ignition Coil for 300 hoping that would fix it, no luck.
 

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Good lord you're getting raped. Did you have any check engine light? Is your check engine light working when you turn the ignition on? Do you know anyone with a code scanner?

An new aftermarket ignition coil is $50 and takes 5 minutes to replace. And you should not have to pay for an incompetent shop's misdiagnosis and resulting unnecessary repair ie: "throwing parts at it" (an ignition coil tester is about $10 by the way, real mechanic would have had one)

Computers RARELY ever go bad. They have been obsolete for a long time and all that would be available would be a used one for anywhere from $30-$100 typically. It would take about 20 minutes to install but would need to be reprogrammed since the key and odometer are matched to the computer. Even Ford dealers struggle with the re-programming, I don't see how this incompetent place will do it unless they take it to the Ford dealer and add a huge markup to the price they paid.


My advice: Stay far far away from "Car Gougers" and take it to a reputable Ford dealer, or a self employed mechanic that friends or family may use.
 

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Well it won't even start anymore unless I jump it, but yeah the light does turn on when it is actually on. Great, makes me wonder about my past repairs from them... Thanks for the advice!
 

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I guess you were too busy to call local autoparts store and find out that price of ignition coil is $75. Time to replace it about 10 min.
 

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Well it won't even start anymore unless I jump it, but yeah the light does turn on when it is actually on. Great, makes me wonder about my past repairs from them... Thanks for the advice!
That definitely does not sound like the computer. I guess you never got the codes checked when the light started coming on?


I guess you were too busy to call local autoparts store and find out that price of ignition coil is $75. Time to replace it about 10 min.
Looked on Rockauto and saw as low as $25. Motorcraft prob would be about $75 from the local store. But if the car was already at the shop and they said that's the problem then most people would glady pay the labor to get their car back on the road ASAP.
 

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1500 for a ecu? Thats crazy....I would definitely use a different repair shop....Places like that give us professionals a bad name....Your best bet would be to try to get someone you trust in your area to help you....Maybe a good shop can give you a discount on the towing if it cannot be started....It could be a number of things but I doubt its the computer as Metalman stated they rarely go out....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't think the light even came on until it died. I never noticed it anyways. I emailed the car doctor and they said they could get a used ecu for &$250 with no guarantee it would work.
 

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At this point I would not trust that shop...You can't afford to just throw a ecu at it and hope for the best...If they are not willing to guarantee the part then its just them guessing at it in the first place......You need to get another opinion otherwise I feel you are just wasting money...Buy a scanner and get the codes and atleast you have an idea what the problem could be....You will have a better understanding of whats going on...Good luck!!
 

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Yup, I decided to spend an extra $200 to go to another guy who can guarantee it to work. He is also going to check to make sure thats to problem, if not I could save more. Thanks everyone for the help!
 

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Yup, I decided to spend an extra $200 to go to another guy who can guarantee it to work. He is also going to check to make sure thats to problem, if not I could save more. Thanks everyone for the help!
They should have made sure that was the problem before they asked you for $1500. They should have made sure the ignition coil was the problem before they asked for the $300 for that. I'd probably tell them to take their $300 coil back too. Pay with credit card so you can dispute any charges later.

I'm confused... elaborate on your problem please. You broke down on the freeway... did it just suddenly die while at cruising speed? Or were you stopped? And the car would not restart?

"Well it won't even start anymore unless I jump it" - when was this? After it broke down on the freeway? I thought you had it towed straight to the shop? Or did you go to your house first and then jump start it?

The entire starting system is separate from the PCM. Did it run fine after you jumped it? If yes then it is NOT THE PCM.

Could you have something as simple as a bad battery or corroded connections? Was the radio acting funny and power windows working abnormally slow prior to the issue? Was the alternator light on prior to this? Could the alternator light be bad, and not warning you that the battery was not charging?

EDIT: Misread your last post

Yup, I decided to spend an extra $200 to go to another guy who can guarantee it to work. He is also going to check to make sure thats to problem, if not I could save more. Thanks everyone for the help!
Smart move! Let us know how it works out!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
They should have made sure that was the problem before they asked you for $1500. They should have made sure the ignition coil was the problem before they asked for the $300 for that. I'd probably tell them to take their $300 coil back too. Pay with credit card so you can dispute any charges later.

I'm confused... elaborate on your problem please. You broke down on the freeway... did it just suddenly die while at cruising speed? Or were you stopped? And the car would not restart?

"Well it won't even start anymore unless I jump it" - when was this? After it broke down on the freeway? I thought you had it towed straight to the shop? Or did you go to your house first and then jump start it?

The entire starting system is separate from the PCM. Did it run fine after you jumped it? If yes then it is NOT THE PCM.

Could you have something as simple as a bad battery or corroded connections? Was the radio acting funny and power windows working abnormally slow prior to the issue? Was the alternator light on prior to this? Could the alternator light be bad, and not warning you that the battery was not charging?
Yeah, basically I was speeding up and it just shut off as I was cruising. After jumping it, it didnt seem to run right and as soon as I started to speed past 20ish it would die again. I already tried replacing the battery and that didn't help besides being able to start it once without being jumped.
 

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I paid $110 for a re-manufactured unit for my '96....and replaced it myself. Sounds like a bad, not honest shop you were dealing with there...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah I went to a different guy who started off in his own house and he got me one for $300, so with labor and the diagnostics it came to about $700. Much better than $1500.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
From what i've seen all new ones are around $900, plus it was about $200 for the programming, $70 for diagnostics. The part was actually a decent price for a guarantee'd work.
 
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