ECU Compatibility


I am having trouble with the ECU on my sprinter and have bought a secondhand ECU from a vehicle breaker.

The sprinter is 1997/1998 and does not have an immobiliser, there is just a normal mechanical key without any fancy additions.

The ECU in my vehicle is part number A018 545 77 32 with another number of 0 281 001 303

The one they have sent me is A 027 545 51 32, it has a small black box (I assume the immobiliser transponder) 020 545 56 32 with it.

Is there any way the ECU I have been sent can be made to work in the vehicle I have (can the immobiliser be programmed out for instance)?

Any thoughts welcome?



Well-known member
These are general statements
Yes you can switch ECU's or PCM's (power control modules) between vehicles if you have the equipment to program the donor unit.

There is a caveat ; the donor "module" must be from the same platform family since the vital engine functions may be missing from a donor unit especially where say emissions control layer functions were added during original manufacturing.

To illustrate :-
This past week we had a client trailer in a dead Landrover 2003 Discovery--a non starter and super locked by the security module located part /partial inside the body control module (BeCm) . So first task was to get into it, & get the doors open!:thinking:

Turned out he had been jumpering terminals with a 12v wire probe and alligator clip which fried all the door locks , the security/body control module AND the PCM/ECM, so in short the whole bloody lot was shorted out since most of it runs on 5 volts and digital signals!

Now the body control module was easy to replace and program (plus parts of the wiring harness he had shorted out, so were all the door lock modules, but the donor Bosch ECM/PCM we had in our hands was from a 2002 model whereas the "patient" was a 2004 unit!

The part numbers on the PCM were different--so a question just like yours "Will it work, does the have all the mapping etc to allow exact same basic functions and any additional programming introduced since the two vehicle were produced over the two year spread of production.

To unravel the mystery here in the US I can revert to a program/manuals called Hollander used by breakers yards to check intechangeability, but its sometimes a bit scant on import stuff like Landrovers and Beemers, not to mentions MB stuff!
So I picked up the phone and called my local dealer parts counter and threw him the two Vin #s of both patient and donor PCMs--turned out although the part number is different by one prefix they are essentially the same so we programmed the donor components with a factory style scanner and bingo away she went!
Now it could have gone the other way and that would have me on the phone looking for a compatible donor module

So using that example you first need to know if the junk yard donor part is truly interchangeable, and to do that its means having a chat with a dealer parts counter or Bosch service/parts distributor. You have both ECM numbers so you should be able to "talk "turkey" and see if it will work as a donor.

Your next task is to find someone who can program it unless you have the kit at hand!

Now sometimes this is not always easy!
I suspect you are in the UK, my brother who has a shop in Gloucester was faced with a Nissan which wouldn't shift out of 1st gear properly being a constant drive gearbox. After a lengthy Transatlantic brainstorm chat it was determined that the gearbox ECM was down--but he could find one in a wrecking yard in Barnsley. Having got the thing it would work but it went into limbo at about 40mph!
Turned out the blasted wrecking yard had one from a Japanese domestic spec gearbox so no workee for a Brit spec Nissan! (Wouldn't take it back 350 quid lost!)

Turned out the same Brit spec platform (different named model) can be found here in the good 'ol USA and after some phone leg work I found one in So Cal for 100 bucks . Car worked!

To sum up this can be a tedious task but if you can convince your local Bosch Distibutor shop that you will wheel the van into their premises for a programming job they may be very helpful with interchangeability info.
Hope that helps
Many thanks Dennis. You are right, I am in the UK. I am waiting to hear back from the scrappy,meh thinks he has the right one but never phones back when he says he will.

They are probably of a very similar age, they have the big multi way connector on them rather than the series of connections that some seem to have.

The complication is the immobiliser, I presume the ECU won't let the engine start without the right command from the immobiliser box and mine does not have that (or,mi assume, the wiring for it).

To complicate matters I am unable to get any diagnostics talking to the existing g ECU. I have a Carsoft 7.4 which has the merc multiplexer on it, the trouble is the software I have is in German which I don't speak. It does have the same layout as the DAD software though so I can look at that to find out what I am looking for.

This talked ok to a friends 2002 sprinter but I cannot get it to talk to mine.




Well-known member
Hi again to you in wurzel bush country!:thumbup:

The issue you face as usual is finding some scan equipment that covers what you are trying to achieve. Obviously the Carsoft which found its way into the DAD scanner program doesn't go back far enough.

I am not sure which operating system was used in the years cover your model, but I bet they were fairly widespread on all MB cars including the vans.
The system mostly consists of the ECM and the security module interconnected by a serial link. That is the basic Bosch set up.
I suppose with the right scan kit you could disable the security system to allow a pass through.

At the moment I don't have an answer without some research but I have to call my Bro over the weekend to catch up on UK gossip and the recent NO vote.
If he's willing I might shoot you his phone number and you two blokes being two counties over can have a natter about it . He works on Sprinters, Transits, Fiats plus all the Hoss boxes for the local horsey/Young Conservative Ag crowd.:rolleyes:
Be in touch

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