Shortly after the last issue of Resurgence went to press, a recall effort was initiated by the members of the IsuzuWeb to force Isuzu and GM to address and repair an all too common faulty ECU/computer problem with the 1989-93 1.6 liter and 1.8 liter computer control systems in the Isuzu I-Mark RS, Isuzu Impulse XS and RS, Isuzu Stylus S, XS, and RS, Geo Storm 12 Valve and GSi, and Asuna Sunfire vehicles. These models all use the AC Delco ignition and fuel system and utilize AC Delco ECUs/computers (ECU means Electronic Control Unit, also smetimes referred to as a ECM or Electronic Control Module). The problem is that between 1985 and 1995, AC Delco used a insulative spray on the circuit boards in these ECUs/computers which shrinks over time when exposed to warm and cool temperature conditions, such as the normal conditions that an automobile is subjected to. The shrinking insulative spray contracts and pulls the electronic components from the circuit board, breaking solder connections and causing shorts.
The symptoms of this fault are most notably erratic idle, idle revving and dropping, idle dipping often with engine dying, idle hanging high above 2,000 RPM, and engine dying or stalling for no reason with no trouble codes. These symptoms will often only occur in warmer weather as the metal circuits of the circuit board seem most vulnerable to short circuits at solder cracks when the temperature within the car is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In temperate climates, the symptoms may first show themselves as soon as the weather warms and plague the owner all summer long, only to subside in the Fall with the cooler weather and then reappear the next Spring.
Owners of vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions have noted that when the idle hanging or hovering symptom occurs in their vehicle, they must keep their foot on the brake pedal and the pedal on the floor when they stop the vehicle as the torque converter tries to engage due to unintended engine speed above 1,000 RPM and the vehicle tries to accelerate forward unintentionally.
Other owners have complained about their car stalling or failing to restart after the engine has warmed up, leaving them stranded.
GM knows about this fault in their AC Delco ECUs/computers and has even gone so far as to include supplemental instructions on how to test for shorts and broken circuits in the ECU/computer to their technical literature, though they refuse to repair or replace the problem at their own expense. GM went further and began using a different insulative spray on all of their ECUs/computers in 1996, though they do not use this new spray on their factory reconditioned ECUs/computers for the Geo Storm models.
Isuzu has flatly refused to recognize any problem at all, stating that these problems are "normal". They have clearly shown they have no interest in properly servicing the cars which their current advertising claims that Isuzu did not build ("We don't make cars").
The members of the IsuzuWeb are seeking to force a formal recall of all of the 1989-93 Isuzu, Geo, and Asuna models with the 1.6 liter and 1.8 liter engines for replacement of the ECUs/computers with new, properly manufactured ECUs/computers by bringing these problems to the attention of the US National Highway Safety Administration, the government office that oversees vehicle safety and calls for recalls to repair unsafe vehicles. The NHTSA has already initiated a recall on the 1989-93 Lotus Elan models, forcing Lotus to replace the fuel tanks of these vehicles after several Elan owners complained of "the odor of gasoline in the passenger compartment". Certainly the faulty ECU/computer symptoms of unintended vehicle acceleration and vehicles leaving drivers stranded, sometimes in traffic, pose an equally serious hazard to the health and well being of the driver of the vehicle with the AC Delco ECU/computer and those around that vehicle.
We ask that all Isuzu car and Storm owners, in the US, contact the NHTSA through the internet or by mail and file a complaint about the ECU in your Isuzu, Geo Storm, or Asuna Sunfire. You can contact the NHTSA on the internet at:
We ask all Canadian Isuzu car and Storm owners to contact the Recall Complaint Department at Transport Canada throught the internet or by mail to file a complaint about the ECU in your Isuzu, Geo Storm, or Asuna Sunfire. You can contact the Recall Complaint Department at Transport Canada on the internet at:
We need all of our members and all Isuzu car and Storm owners to pitch in and help with this effort. The response of the NHTSA is totally dependent on the number of complaints filed and unless every IsuzuWeb member files a complaint, GM and Isuzu will continue to ignore the problem until all of the Isuzu, Geo Storm, and Asuna Sunfire cars are off of the road and no longer a hazard to their drivers or the people around them.