Last post on Aug 02, 2010 at 7:07 PM
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Lexus LS 430, Sedan
Aug 02, 2010 (7:07 pm)
I order ECU's and other electronic bits for a specialist every day of every week and I use car-part.com 80-90% of the time. I've been doing this since January and he pays me about $10 per order. Takes me 20-30 minutes to find it, call the place, give them his billing/shipping info, and get a tracking number. Piece of cake. Now for some computers there is an eBay seller I am friends with in California, he always seems to have the ones I CAN'T find on c-p. And then there's another guy I use exclusively for the Porsche stuff because he has it all. And when all else fails I can search eBay itself, or for VW stuff I'll hit thesamba.com, or start checking classifieds on the make's various internet forums. Bimmerfest and TDIClub have been helpful at times among others.
An ECU that might cost $600-$1000 at the dealer can generally be found for $50-$100 on c-p. I'm not talking about domestic stuff, either. Most of the computers I search for on behalf of this specialist are for Audi, BMW, VW, and Volvo. And I find them for $50-$75 in many cases. I think the most expensive computer I've ordered for him that wasn't a Porsche unit was $150 and it was for a BMW M5.
Owners of Euro cars should probably carry a spare ECU and a couple ignition coils at all times, similar to how in the 60's, you'd carry around spare radiator hoses and fan belts. They do go bad. And it's much easier to plug in a new computer on the side of the road than to wait for a wrecker, have it towed, have the dealer play with it for a week, then tell you it'll be $1300 for an ECU you could have bought for $75 plus $15 ground shipping on c-p. OUCH. Don't let it happen to you.
Barring that, someday I want to make a business out of pulling electronic bits out of cars in junkyards. I walked around my local PnP yard down in Waco yesterday in 105 degree heat. They had a few E34 BMW's, some Volvo 850-S70's, a couple of W126 Benzes, a Porsche 944 Turbo, several FC RX-7's, a '94 Prelude Si, etc. I can pull those ECU's for $32 each plus a 10% core and sales tax. Those ones I specified can sell for $75 to $100 or more on eBay. I could make a dandy little profit doing that and it would be fun for me to go play in the junkyard, come home, take a cold shower, then whip out the digital camera and list them for auction.
I just need to schlep a few hundred bucks from my wife to get started and then have enough time to wait for them to all sell before I pay back my wife for the first round and then use the profits to go out again to buy more. I earn those $10 payments on the ECU's as it is now, I need to keep better track of them so I can say, "hey honey, about that money I made from that guy with the ECU's, can I have that so I can make more on my own time?"