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Old 07-18-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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Use the "flash counter" to our advantage? (L99)

Here is an 'out of the box' question.

Would be possible to use the "flash counter" to our advantage when removing AFM on an L99?

First, the assumptions:

a) Many L99 owners hate AFM and want to remove it. The easiest way to remove it is via a tune.
b) The Magnusson Act is worth more than the paper it's printed on. (Some would argue this assumption.)
c) GM can detect a tune by a "flash counter". Most sources indicate this is the case.
d) Tuning out AFM is easily done w/o lot of other changes. (If there are a lot of tables involved, then GM might have a leg to stand on that something could be affected by removing it.)

Based on the above premises, what if someone intentionally tuned out the AFM but did not change any other aspects of the tune? (It would be hard to resist tuning out the excessive Torque Management, I know, but it could be done.)

At that point, the flash counter is 1 (assuming the stock tune is 0). If something goes wrong, and the owner does not reflash to stock, this should allow GM to see the only change was to disable AFM.

Doesn't this then 'prove' that the tune is not responsible for the powertrain failure? Supposedly it falls on the shoulders of GM to prove it caused a problem. And by not reflashing to stock, GM cannot say something like, "Well we don't know what they changed before they reflashed."
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:58 PM   #2
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No because GM can't see the tune itself.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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No because GM can't see the tune itself.
+1

All they would know is that the factory calibration had been altered in some way. That gives them some leverage should they wish to pursue it.
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:59 PM   #4
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I don't understand. Can't they pull the Tune w/o modifying it? I'm not saying they won't deny warranty coverage. What I'm thinking though is it would potentially be an easy battle to win that the Tune did no damage.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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+1

All they would know is that the factory calibration had been altered in some way. That gives them some leverage should they wish to pursue it.
Exactly.

It doesn't matter what you change in the tune. All GM cares about is if there are any non-GM authorized flashes to the ECM. If there is even one non-GM flash to the ECM your powertrain warranty is voided. The MM Act won't help you here either.

At the end of the day you changed the engine parameters and made the engine operate differently than GM designed it to. Therefore any engine/powertrain related damage can be blamed on your tune (even if the tune didn't cause it - because the burden goes to you to prove the tune didn't cause the problem).
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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I don't understand. Can't they pull the Tune w/o modifying it? I'm not saying they won't deny warranty coverage. What I'm thinking though is it would potentially be an easy battle to win that the Tune did no damage.
Doesn't matter. It clearly states in the warranty booklet that ANY modifications to the ECM voids your powertrain warranty. So before you even get a chance to argue your case your VIN will be blacklisted from all warranty work and you can't get your VIN off that list. Once you're blacklisted your SOL

There is no way to cheat the system. If there was, someone would have figured it out by now. You have to pay to play people.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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I don't understand. Can't they pull the Tune w/o modifying it? I'm not saying they won't deny warranty coverage. What I'm thinking though is it would potentially be an easy battle to win that the Tune did no damage.
What do you mean by pull the tune? I am not sure how you imagine it works but would the dealer not need to be able to SEE the changes to the tune to verify only one thing was changed? YES.

As I said before, the dealer cannot see the changes. They do not know what the tune says, how it is changed, or otherwise. Therefore, it does not matter what you SAY is changed, you can't prove it. Sure, you can show them your laptop and a tune on it but can you prove that is the tune that is in your ECM? No.

Not to mention the dealer/GM won't be interested in what you have to say. the old, "lemme explain" thing just won't happen in the first place.

Have you ever updated firmware on a device or even done a Windows update? Do you know what the code is or exactly what and how is changed in the programming? No? you just know it was updated. That's how it is for the dealer. Do you want to flash the new program? Yes. Done. they can't see anything, therefore your idea is moot.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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What do you mean by pull the tune? I am not sure how you imagine it works but would the dealer not need to be able to SEE the changes to the tune to verify only one thing was changed? YES.

As I said before, the dealer cannot see the changes. They do not know what the tune says, how it is changed, or otherwise. Therefore, it does not matter what you SAY is changed, you can't prove it. Sure, you can show them your laptop and a tune on it but can you prove that is the tune that is in your ECM? No.

Not to mention the dealer/GM won't be interested in what you have to say. the old, "lemme explain" thing just won't happen in the first place.

Have you ever updated firmware on a device or even done a Windows update? Do you know what the code is or exactly what and how is changed in the programming? No? you just know it was updated. That's how it is for the dealer. Do you want to flash the new program? Yes. Done. they can't see anything, therefore your idea is moot.
GM CHOOSES not to see the changes, it would be a simple matter of pulling them up and seeing what was changed....This is willful ignorance and disregard for customer care.....

and by disregard for customer care, I mean they have no proof that simply tuning the car causes damage, no trustworthy source has documented actual damage to the powertrain with nothing more than a tune properly added, they know it doesnt, they in fact tune engines beyond what "stock" set ups require in some models. But in order to save money, not even that much in the grand scheme of things, they turn a blind eye and wave the disclaimer because its impossible to prove a negative and they know it.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:50 PM   #9
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GM CHOOSES not to see the changes, it would be a simple matter of pulling them up and seeing what was changed....This is willful ignorance and disregard for customer care.....

and by disregard for customer care, I mean they have no proof that simply tuning the car causes damage, no trustworthy source has documented actual damage to the powertrain with nothing more than a tune properly added, they know it doesnt, they in fact tune engines beyond what "stock" set ups require in some models. But in order to save money, not even that much in the grand scheme of things, they turn a blind eye and wave the disclaimer because its impossible to prove a negative and they know it.

Wrong. The dealer can't see it. Sure they can ship the ECU to the engineers in michigan and maybe they can see it, but since it was flashed with a non-gm software, they may not be able to get it decoded anyways. I don't know for sure. I do know that at the dealer level, they can't. I also know that they are not going to send your ecu anywhere when it shows in the counter it was flashed and it says in the manual flash = no help....

Beyond that, the assumption is that when you have performance enhancing modifications you USE them. When you USE them it can be argued that abuse and misuse (also warranty coverage disabling terms) are applicable. Oh, you have wide wheels and sway bars and coilovers. Your diff is burned up? Sorry. yes, not connected except through the driver....and that is the issue. Racing items are not necessary to get to the farmers market when you need eggs and milk, right? Does the manual say something about racing? Heck you don't even need aftermarket parts to race with.....Take your bone stock car to the dealer for warranty and watch it get denied. Why? Because you left the time slip from Saturday night in your center console. Derrrrr.

Subaru gives you an SCCA club membership with STi purchase. Race your STi and void your warranty. lol.

Manufactuers spend BILLIONS of dollars a year on warranty. Even more if you include Goodwill. Don't you think that this only makes the end price of your car MORE??? Same as frivolous lawsuits making everything more expensive. Tort reform, warranty claim reform. If you want to mod your car away from factory specs, don't expect the factory to pay for it when it breaks. Just DON'T.

I modify the crap out of my cars, I have never tried to get GM to fix one of MY brilliant engineering problems. It's not right. If I choose to do donuts and I ruin a hub, I replace it, not the dealership. That's MY fault.

They don't need proof that the tune didn't cause damage. YOU do. GM does not want to pay your warranty claim. Don't make it easy for them.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:09 PM   #10
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be interesting to know if there is a limit to the flash counter and if it would start over when that limit is reached
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:10 PM   #11
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GM CHOOSES not to see the changes, it would be a simple matter of pulling them up and seeing what was changed....This is willful ignorance and disregard for customer care.....

and by disregard for customer care, I mean they have no proof that simply tuning the car causes damage, no trustworthy source has documented actual damage to the powertrain with nothing more than a tune properly added, they know it doesnt, they in fact tune engines beyond what "stock" set ups require in some models. But in order to save money, not even that much in the grand scheme of things, they turn a blind eye and wave the disclaimer because its impossible to prove a negative and they know it.
If this were the case, gm would spend thousands of man hours more just reviewing tunes, and trying to determine if that caused the failure.

I work for a dealer, our software can log a ton of pids, but not tell anything calibration-wise besides that it doesn't have a gm calibration number (cvn) anymore. The minute you flash it, that cvn changes to a non gm number.

The fact of the matter is that gm spend tons and tons of time engineering and determining through numerous tests what this platform can handle and be able to offer a 100,000 mile warranty with.

GM doesnt know the good tuners from joe blow, so they can not be held accountable for repairs when the car is being operated on non-gm calibrations. It would be impossible to make judgment decisions all the time and try to determing what caused the failure, so the easiest and most honest way is the way they do it. If its stock, its covered, if not, tough shit, they didn't make you mod it.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:13 PM   #12
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be interesting to know if there is a limit to the flash counter and if it would start over when that limit is reached
If it did, mine would be rolled over at least two times...lmao
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
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I am pretty sure it's a running list of 8 but the total counter can go way up. This isn't the 60's anymore, things don't "roll over to zero." lol. That's SO analog.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:25 PM   #14
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:26 PM   #15
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For the record, I'm not trying to 'cheat the system'. As I said in the OP, I just thought it might be a way to remove AFM and have a legal leg to stand on.

Stieg, your point about the manual saying ANY modification to the ECM probably makes this idea less appealing. It would definitely be an uphill battle. Thanks for that.

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Have you ever updated firmware on a device or even done a Windows update? Do you know what the code is or exactly what and how is changed in the programming? No? you just know it was updated. That's how it is for the dealer. Do you want to flash the new program? Yes. Done. they can't see anything, therefore your idea is moot.
As I said, I can see it getting rejected initially. This is because the Dealer cannot determine what is different. That being said, if it came down to a legal battle, showing what WAS changed should be easy.

File compares are a very easy thing to do in the computer world. And, to my understanding, a Tune is normally just a bunch of settings changes, not actual logic changes. To use your PC analogy, it would be like checking a .cfg file and seeing that AFMenabled=1 being changed to AFMenabled=0. I think programs like HPTuners even offer this functionality out of the box.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:29 PM   #16
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The cal in an e38 is a binary file and its just a shit ton of hex. So nothing on a dealer level at gm will make it viewable or comparable on a calibration. Now if dealers had HP or efi....lol.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:31 PM   #17
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I was just at the dealer for a check engine light, all the codes went back to a bad O2 sensor, they would not touch it because i have headers, the Cs Manager also kept asking me if i had a tune. ended up paying $230 for new O2 sensor installed at the tuner that installed the headers. Atlantic Chevy in Bashore NY not MOD friendly.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:32 PM   #18
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If this were the case, gm would spend thousands of man hours more just reviewing tunes, and trying to determine if that caused the failure.

.
This would be in fact incorrect.....there are only so many things that could/would be changed, and only so far that they could be tweaked for the car to still be drivable, you set it to lean and your not going anywhere......and of those only a few that might be streached to indicate stress. claiming "thousands" of hours is just ludicrouse. You set up the software to look at certain points in the software as indicators and your done.....

besides the fact that once you identified the particular points, its a done deal for the future, just fold any future concerns in the design of the future engines.

That is why they have a certified mechanic working the repair instead of a computer right? He sees problem, he relizes X could cause problem, he looks at laptop and sees that why yes X was changed in the tune and thats the cause of the failure....I cant believe the rumor that the mechanics at dealerships are just plug and play jockeys, ho hum, the computer says change this part out so I will....hum ho, it says change this one out now...surely they are skilled at diagnosing and repairing my vehicle to some degree, one would hope so...I fail to see where the "thousands" ,or even "100's" for that matter, of man hours you suggest this will take. Thats just crazy talk.

But its a moot point, theres no trustable source of documented proof that simply tuning your car will cause drive train failure. I continue to point out, that outside warranties and most extended warranties, covering your vehicle in its later years, who are in the business of making money, do not void the warranty due to simply a tune, meaning nothing on the engine was changed. If tunes did in fact cause failure beyond normal wear as GM tries to claim, they would not do that, it wouldnt make business sense to, especially in the later miles of the vehicle.

As to the simplest way is to void it, I agree, its simple and cost saving, but honest? no way is that honest, if every other warranty provided out there was on board, or even most, with the you tune it, we void it policy yes, but when its the exact opposite, it is in fact dishonest to make claims that they have no proof of and do not seem to be a concern of the majority of business's out there simply because the customers cant prove a negative, that the tune did not cause an issue.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:47 PM   #19
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I don't understand. Can't they pull the Tune w/o modifying it? I'm not saying they won't deny warranty coverage. What I'm thinking though is it would potentially be an easy battle to win that the Tune did no damage.
Even if the dealers could pull the tune and look at it, you think anyone there would be able to read through the code and have a clue what they are looking at? Even if they could do that, they won't because it is far easier to just deny the claim than put a lot of extra work into it. Dealerships hate doing warranty work anyway, so they certainly won't go out of their way for it.

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be interesting to know if there is a limit to the flash counter and if it would start over when that limit is reached
Nothing computerized "rolls over." Even if there is a maximum number, once it gets there, it just stops. That's the way odometers are now. If anyone gets one to 999,999, it just stops counting.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:14 PM   #20
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If all of you and all these tuners are so confident that they wont cause a failure, why won't they give you a warranty with the tune? I don't see all that many people with stock tunes blowing up so maybe they should accept the risk for the reward. I do see lots of posts of problems that "suddenly appeared" after my tune.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:29 PM   #21
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If all of you and all these tuners are so confident that they wont cause a failure, why won't they give you a warranty with the tune? I don't see all that many people with stock tunes blowing up so maybe they should accept the risk for the reward. I do see lots of posts of problems that "suddenly appeared" after my tune.
There are two reasons why. One, most get a tune to accomodate aftermarket parts installed. If you tune a car with parts installed elsewhere, what is the cause of failure? Bad installation or bad tune? That is a no win situation.

Two, most tuners do not have the budget to finance a warranty program. One engine claim can sink a private practitioner.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:25 PM   #22
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This would be in fact incorrect.....there are only so many things that could/would be changed, and only so far that they could be tweaked for the car to still be drivable, you set it to lean and your not going anywhere......and of those only a few that might be streached to indicate stress. claiming "thousands" of hours is just ludicrouse. You set up the software to look at certain points in the software as indicators and your done.....

besides the fact that once you identified the particular points, its a done deal for the future, just fold any future concerns in the design of the future engines.

That is why they have a certified mechanic working the repair instead of a computer right? He sees problem, he relizes X could cause problem, he looks at laptop and sees that why yes X was changed in the tune and thats the cause of the failure....I cant believe the rumor that the mechanics at dealerships are just plug and play jockeys, ho hum, the computer says change this part out so I will....hum ho, it says change this one out now...surely they are skilled at diagnosing and repairing my vehicle to some degree, one would hope so...I fail to see where the "thousands" ,or even "100's" for that matter, of man hours you suggest this will take. Thats just crazy talk.

But its a moot point, theres no trustable source of documented proof that simply tuning your car will cause drive train failure. I continue to point out, that outside warranties and most extended warranties, covering your vehicle in its later years, who are in the business of making money, do not void the warranty due to simply a tune, meaning nothing on the engine was changed. If tunes did in fact cause failure beyond normal wear as GM tries to claim, they would not do that, it wouldnt make business sense to, especially in the later miles of the vehicle.

As to the simplest way is to void it, I agree, its simple and cost saving, but honest? no way is that honest, if every other warranty provided out there was on board, or even most, with the you tune it, we void it policy yes, but when its the exact opposite, it is in fact dishonest to make claims that they have no proof of and do not seem to be a concern of the majority of business's out there simply because the customers cant prove a negative, that the tune did not cause an issue.
Are you a tuner or a certified tech?

First off, certified techs are trained to work with oem level equipment and means of diagnosis. OE level like the mdi and tech2 in this case, neither of which show any tables, any parameters, nothing like what you think. They just show scans and data, not what was altered. Just with dod disabled, the tech would never know that, other than the scanner was showing it wasn't activating.

GM has a lot of parameters to limit torque and tip in response to help protect the powertrain, operate quieter etc. When you disable all this, or just reduce it even, you are putting more stress on the driveline than gm intended to have, period. Thats why it is not warrantable.

And if you think a tune cant damage a powertrain, start a thread asking how many people have had their 6l80 shit the bed after a shitty tune.
Some tuners de-sensatize the knock sensors, and run crazy timing, it detonation occurred and damaged a piston, should gm warrant that? If the tuner raised your rev limit to 7k and you spun a bearing, should that be covered?

DId you know there is a table to reduce timing on a cold engine to reduce piston noise? Now if a guy 0'd that out, and your engine sounded like a diesel, should gm cover that?

Its not what you people think it is. GM dealer level software isn't tuning capable, its just a scanner. It will program also but not something you can edit with.

GM built it to be reliable and hold up well. Not for max performance.
You wanna play? You gotta pay. Quit being a cheap ass and wanting gm to cover failures that may or may not have been caused by a bad calibration.

So here we are back at the start, whos fault is it? Its not the techs job to decide. So gm decided for you in advance.

BTW I am a certified tech and a tuner, so I know both levels of software, Im not just talking out of my ass.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #23
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Oh I just thought of some more parameters that get altered a lot that could lead to an axle breaking.

Wheel hop torque reduction
Axle protection torque reduction
Clunk reduction

GMs fault if altered? Nope, not even on a bone stock car with just a tune, because if gm saw that it needed reduced power on tip in or when wheel hop was detected, or to prevent driveline clunk, then it needed it for reliablility. Yep it makes it feel less responsive, but it keeps it from breaking in most cases.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:04 PM   #24
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Oh I just thought of some more parameters that get altered a lot that could lead to an axle breaking.

Wheel hop torque reduction
Axle protection torque reduction
Clunk reduction

GMs fault if altered? Nope, not even on a bone stock car with just a tune, because if gm saw that it needed reduced power on tip in or when wheel hop was detected, or to prevent driveline clunk, then it needed it for reliablility. Yep it makes it feel less responsive, but it keeps it from breaking in most cases.
theres documentation of all this? they have shattered axles because of a tune? not with cams or turboes added, just a flat out tuned stock car? this stuff is documentable......your saying this could happen, if it is it would be documented somewhere......you cant just pull out wild possibilities and say that in some space and time crazy realm they could happen.........

show me where its verified in documentation simply tuning a car did that kind of catastrophic damage? There was absolutly no possibility of it being any other thing that caused it? definativly, the tune caused the axle to break or the engine to chunck a piston? Thats whats being stated, not that it could of been the tune, but flat out that it was the tune and nothing else so your voided.

Has nothing to do with someone street racing every saturday night, or a bad oil filter, or they ran it without coolant for 3 days, nope, it had a tune so there is no doubt whatsoever that is the cause so the warranty is voided..............unless you can prove the damage was definatly caused by the tune, you should not be able to arbitrarily void my warranty. That is what it boils down to.

If I have an engine defect from the factory and happen to have a tune on it, but my engine failure is from the factory defect not the tune, to arbitrarily without proof void my warranty because theres a tune on it is negligent customer service at best and criminal intent at worst.

Could of/would of/should of, unless GM or anyone can show definative documented proof that Tune's only cause complete failures on the powertrain, they should not be able to use it as a club on people.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhyder View Post
theres documentation of all this? they have shattered axles because of a tune? not with cams or turboes added, just a flat out tuned stock car? this stuff is documentable......your saying this could happen, if it is it would be documented somewhere......you cant just pull out wild possibilities and say that in some space and time crazy realm they could happen.........

show me where its verified in documentation simply tuning a car did that kind of catastrophic damage? There was absolutly no possibility of it being any other thing that caused it? definativly, the tune caused the axle to break or the engine to chunck a piston? Thats whats being stated, not that it could of been the tune, but flat out that it was the tune and nothing else so your voided.

Has nothing to do with someone street racing every saturday night, or a bad oil filter, or they ran it without coolant for 3 days, nope, it had a tune so there is no doubt whatsoever that is the cause so the warranty is voided..............unless you can prove the damage was definatly caused by the tune, you should not be able to arbitrarily void my warranty. That is what it boils down to.

If I have an engine defect from the factory and happen to have a tune on it, but my engine failure is from the factory defect not the tune, to arbitrarily without proof void my warranty because theres a tune on it is negligent customer service at best and criminal intent at worst.

Could of/would of/should of, unless GM or anyone can show definative documented proof that Tune's only cause complete failures on the powertrain, they should not be able to use it as a club on people.
It doesn't matter. It's a blanket rule that covers a completely stock camaro to a TT camaro. You tune your ECM, you void your powertrain warranty. End of discussion. GM doesn't care if you want proof that the tune caused the failure - they've already blacklisted your VIN and you will NEVER get powertrain warranty work done on that car again.

It's like highways being at 55 MPH, do we have definative proof that doing 75 MPH on that same highway will cause you to crash? No. But you're more likely to crash. Hence the rule that says don't go over 55 MPH. It's the same with tuning your ECM.

Quote:
If I have an engine defect from the factory and happen to have a tune on it, but my engine failure is from the factory defect not the tune, to arbitrarily without proof void my warranty because theres a tune on it is negligent customer service at best and criminal intent at worst.
That's exactly what they will do, and you know what you can do? You can fight it. You can get a lawyer (out of your pocket), file a lawsuit (out of your pocket), and hope that you win. Oh and let's not forget - if you lose you'll be paying GM's legal fees on top of everything else. So you better be damn sure your tune didn't cause the failure before going down that route.
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