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NikonUser Profile
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Date Registered: 10-2017
TOTAL POSTS: 7
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T32 Factory Fitted Towbar - where's the ECU hiding?


Hi all,
   I had an original Nissan towbar fitted to my T32 when it was new, but have only actually used it once in the three years I've had it, and that was to bring home a friends trailer after it had been rear-ended. All the lights were smashed, so it was no great surprise that nothing worked when I tried connecting the plug. However, a few weeks ago, I tried connecting up a brand new trailer, and was a little upset to find that none of its lights worked either. I put the same trailer on another car, and the lights worked fine - so it is obviously a problem with my car. I mentioned it today at the dealership when I had the car serviced, and they say there is no power getting to the wiring harness, and pointed the finger at the ECU.
So - my question to anybody out there that knows is... where on earth is the ECU located!?

I saw a DIY installation post from Kizza1, who installed his ECU behind one of the interior lining panels in the boot. Does anyone know if that is a 'standard' or commonly used location that might be used by Nissan techs as well?

Thanks in advance,
Graham.

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Location: Sydney Australia
My X-Trail: 2014 T32 2WD ST 2.5 Petrol
Me: Graham (NikonUser) X-5255
18/Oct/2017, 10:38 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
jalalski Profile
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Date Registered: 02-2004
Location: SUTHERLAND, SYDNEY
TOTAL POSTS: 28992
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Re:


Hi Graham,

I doubt the ECU got anything to do with a poor wiring connection for the towbar, so the dealership should have addressed this under warranty if it was fitted by them at the time of purchase.

Chances are you have a bad earth/ground connection in the wiring harness of the towbar.

Any auto electrician will be able to trouble-shoot this for you but I would insist the dealer rectify this, as you shouldn't be out of pocket for something they stuffed up.

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19/Oct/2017, 10:47 am Link to this post Send Private Message MSN Blog
 
Wiz Au Profile
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Date Registered: 06-2017
Location: Canberra, ACT
TOTAL POSTS: 185
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Re: T32 Factory Fitted Towbar - where's the ECU hiding?


They may be referring to the "activation switch" Due to modern ECU's dealing with traction control, the ECU needs to know when the extra weight of a trailer is added to the vehicle, and either attempt to adjust the Yaw/Roll, or in the case of the Subaru's I worked on, disabled the Traction Control altogether as they could not come up with a program due to the unknown variable of how much weight is in the trailer attached.

In the lid of the trailer socket is a little magnet, and there is a reed switch in the trailer socket. When you lift the trailer socket cover, the ECU does whatever it is programmed to do, as it thinks there is a trailer connected. It is possible that the trailer lighting is not active because the ECU does not think there is a trailer connected.

Very modern cars with CANBUS and LED lighting actually operate a set of banked relays to operate trailer wiring. I understand the Ford Ranger will not actually operate conventional trailer lighting without a special adapter. Dash lights flash and all sorts of "warnings' are displayed.

Check your manual first, and then consult a knowledgeable auto electrician, or the dealer?

---
2004 T30 series II, Ti (now sold)
JRR50 Pathfinder, QD32ETi Turbo Diesel, with 'lots o fruit'.
2012 Jeep Cherokee KK CRD Limited is current ride.
Will be looking for a white or silver 2011-2013 T31 TL (Diesel) to "pimp out".
19/Oct/2017, 3:51 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 02-2004
Location: SUTHERLAND, SYDNEY
TOTAL POSTS: 28992
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Re:


Surely the dealer that fitted the genuine Nissan towbar would have considered all of this?

Even the aftermarket LED bulbs that are being sold now for newer vehicles come with a guarantee of no error on the CANBUS and I have changed a dozen of them for the interior and exterior lights on my 2011 Mercedes.

It sounds to me that whoever installed this towbar stuffed up something in the factory towbar wiring loom which is located behind the boot trimming (as Graham already seen from the DIY Guide).

2 Choices present themselves here:

1. Get it back to the dealer if the car is still under warranty and the towbar was fitted by them.
2. Auto electrician to trouble-shoot the circuit.

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19/Oct/2017, 5:09 pm Link to this post Send Private Message MSN Blog
 
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Date Registered: 10-2017
TOTAL POSTS: 7
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Thanks both for your ideas. I tend to agree with you Jalal - I feel that the dealership should rectify this, but despite the fact it is the first time I tried to use it, it is 3 years old and I can understand why they don't want to know (at least - not at their expense). I will raise the matter in the 'satisfaction survey' they send me after every service - they are so keen to tell me that any score less than 10 counts as 0, so maybe that will 'encourage' them to think again.

I'm no auto-electrician, but I am pretty adept with electronics and know my way around a multi-meter, so what I can confirm is that there is no voltage coming from the ECU to any of the signal pins, as I have checked these against an independent earth as well as the big fat earth pin in the middle of the socket. One test I haven't done is a continuity test from that middle pin to the independent earth - I would nip out and do that now except that after all these weeks of heat and dryness - it has finally started to rain this morning - yay!!!

Wiz_AU - your comment about the magnetic switch in the connector lid is interesting. I could have sworn there was an audible change in the click of the indicators that I couldn't quite put my finger on when I opened the connector. I just put it down to the lid blocking more of the gap around the towbar and changing the acoustics - but if there is a reed switch as you describe, then perhaps there IS some signal getting back to the ECU which as effecting some change in the electrical path and the changed clicking sound is the ECU repeating the supply from the indicator relay. Maybe I can use this knowledge to help track down which side lining panel the ECU is hidden behind emoticon

If I can't persuade the dealership to look into it for me at their own expense, then I think I'll start digging into it a bit more myself - I hate spending good money for other people to do things that I can do (or learn to do ) myself.
Thanks again both.

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Location: Sydney Australia
My X-Trail: 2014 T32 2WD ST 2.5 Petrol
Me: Graham (NikonUser) X-5255
20/Oct/2017, 8:01 am Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
Revhead Kev Profile
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Date Registered: 10-2006
Location: Mona Vale, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
TOTAL POSTS: 5291
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Re: T32 Factory Fitted Towbar - where's the ECU hiding?


I would like to guess there is a blown fuse somewhere.
As you said, the friend's trailer had its lights smashed when it was rear-ended so there could have been a short somewhere.

Also, from your post ,offset=11]here I think you may have confused a few people by calling the Trailer Control Unit an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) where ECU is usually referred to when asking about the Engine Control Unit and is obviously very different.

Last edited by Revhead Kev, 20/Oct/2017, 11:18 am


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20/Oct/2017, 11:03 am Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 10-2017
TOTAL POSTS: 7
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Re: T32 Factory Fitted Towbar - where's the ECU hiding?


Thanks for pointing that out Kevin - Apologies if I have confused anyone by using the term ECU... In my ignorance of the subject, I was just repeating what the guy at the dealership told me.

It may well end up being something as simple as a fuse, but I haven't found where that fuse might be located, and I would have hoped that was one of the 'quick' diagnostics the dealership would have done when they found there was no power output at the socket, rather than immediately point the finger at the uhm... trailer control unit. Also, as I said previously, I do hear an audible change in the sound of the indicators when I open that little flap, so I think that there must be something happening in there somewhere.

The good news is that after mentioning all this to them when they called me to see if I was happy with the service, and having a minor rant on the phone, they have agreed to resolve the issue for me at their own expense - as a goodwill gesture. Though I'll get back to you on that - they said they would be ordering the part at their own expense - but I need to confirm their goodwill extends to the labour too, otherwise I'm going to end up with a huge bill!

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Location: Sydney Australia
My X-Trail: 2014 T32 2WD ST 2.5 Petrol
Me: Graham (NikonUser) X-5255
20/Oct/2017, 12:36 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 10-2017
TOTAL POSTS: 7
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Update


Great news. Nissan came through and replaced the unit free of charge, and despite their pessimism about how long it may take, they got it done in less than an hour - so I even got to work on time as well.

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Location: Sydney Australia
My X-Trail: 2014 T32 2WD ST 2.5 Petrol
Me: Graham (NikonUser) X-5255
2/Nov/2017, 9:08 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 


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