(mid-90's Buick) Someone I know had an ECM injector drive output go bad. He got a replacement ECM online, but had to take it to a shop (not a dealer) to get it 'initialized' (If that's the right word.)

He says that, to do this, the tech had the ignition switch in the 'run' position, and during the entire 20-minute process, the starter motor ran. I have no reason to doubt his report, but I find it kind of astonishing.

My question is, why would they run the starter like that? All I can think is maybe to 'characterize' the engine. But, it doesn't seem like they'd have to do that for 20 minutes.

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    Running the starter motor for 20 minutes would likely have burnt it out. I think he must have been mistaken.
    – HandyHowie
    Nov 20, 2015 at 15:40
  • @HandyHowie: Yeah. But, he was there, and he says his uncle saw it, too. He certainly would know the diff between cranking and a running engine. The starter would have to be physically jumpered on, for it to crank with the key in 'Run'. Maybe, just confusion by the tech, and the starter is tougher than you might think. – George
    – George
    Nov 20, 2015 at 16:03
  • I am really interested now. In my honest opinion, there is no way a starter could turn an engine over none stop for 20 minutes and survive. But I look forward to being wrong.
    – HandyHowie
    Nov 20, 2015 at 17:09
  • I'll ask if they pulled the plugs.
    – George
    Nov 20, 2015 at 17:26
  • I'm thinking if it was actually the electric fan running and not the starter motor. I've seen fans running during such events, but never a starter motor. Nov 20, 2015 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


Most of the time if you buy a replacement computer, it comes pre-programmed with the latest software. Give them the VIN and milage on your car and they should be good to go. On some computers, notably GM trucks, give them your tire size as well - so the speedometer reads properly.

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