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Engine Computers for Dodge Durango

The premium engineering and design of your Dodge Durango includes advances electrical systems controlled by an engine computer known as an ECU, or engine control unit. The ECU is a vital piece of equipment for the function of your Durango and the electrical systems it operates. Replacing the ECU in your Durango may become necessary during the life of the vehicle; understanding its function, features to consider, and installation will help you make a sound decision.

What are the different functions of an engine computer?

Engine computers, also known as ECUs (engine control units), function by using input from different sensors within your Durango's systems to gather information that is then processed through the hardware and software of the ECU; the information gathered then impacts the different systems controlled by the ECU that can calibrate and adjust as needed for maximum performance, like with fuel injection, or safety, like with braking.

Most ECUs that are factory original to your Dodge Durango are preprogrammed to the required settings and ranges of your control systems. Accessing the information stored in the hardware or software is done by porting through a USB port to a computer loaded with the required software to interpret the data. If there are errors or bugs in the system and the ECU can be reprogrammed, the issue may be resolved by reprogramming the ECU. If it is not reprogrammable, a new ECU unit may be necessary to restore proper settings.

What are the key systems controlled by the Durango's computer?

Several critical systems within your Durango's engine are controlled by the engine computer. Failure or decreased performance within any of these systems may point to a root cause of failure at the engine computer level and should be addressed immediately. Systems include:

  • Valve control
  • Valve timing
  • Fuel injection
  • Idling speed
How do you replace the engine computer in a Durango?

Replacing the computer or ECU in any vehicle is a task that should not be undertaken lightly as the computer is a critical part that serves in many ways as the brain of your automobile.

Autos from before 2001 offer fewer programmable controls, and these computers may be easily replaced; those dating past 2001 and onward feature increasingly sophisticated electronic and computer systems and controls.

When changing a computer, follow these steps:

  • Disconnect the battery and allow to sit for a minimum of 15 minutes to give the chips and sensors time to reset their memory.
  • Remove the existing computer or ECU. This will require a schematic of your car to locate the ECU and may also require some removal of interior panels to access the ECU. Once located, unscrew the bracket holding the ECU and carefully unplug the wiring harness.
  • Install the new ECU, attaching the wiring and securing it to its bracket.
  • Reattach the battery connections.
  • Turn the key to the accessory or auxiliary settings and allow the car to stay at that setting for a minimum of five minutes to give the ECU time to calibrate the systems of your vehicle.