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Q: Am I being scammed?

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I have a 2000 Audi A6 2.7L that I have been trying to SMOG. Has OBDII codes: 1411 and 1423, which translate to bank 1 and 2 secondary air injection system output is weak. I brought it to my mechanic to have repairs done to pass smog, but he said there was no problem with the secondary air system, vacuum hoses, or air pump, instead he said the problem was the ECU itself. I’m wondering if this could be an actual problem or not. I want to make sure before I invest money into this. He’s sending me to the dealer to have them install a used ECU and reprogram, rather than him do it. So if he’s trying to scam me, he would only get a diagnostic fee out of it. Help…

My car has 165000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there, thanks for writing in. It’s not ...

Hi there, thanks for writing in.

It’s not likely that he’s scamming you, more that he is unable to diagnose the actual cause of the problem. Those particular engines have a common problem where the secondary air injection pump starts to fail internally and does not produce enough air flow to meet the demands of the engine control module. Aside from the common pump failures, it could also have a damaged vacuum line that opens the air injection valves (kombi valves as Audi calls them). There are several other possible causes of these faults, and while it’s not impossible for the ECM to be the cause, it is very unlikely. I would suggest having the problem diagnosed by a qualified technician with Audi experience, such as the ones available from YourMechanic.

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