- Ask the question. This may seem obvious, but many posts fail to identify what is the issue/question the poster seeks responses to. A good guideline is to phrase the question succinctly as the title of the post. eg 'Engine stalls immediately after starting' or 'Short term trim goes negative when shifting'. If you can't do this then likely other people will not be able to identify what you are asking, and you will not get any replies.
- Identify the root problem. If you have a check engine light which indicates a TPS problem, there's no point trying to solve an overrun fuel cut problem when the ECU doesn't know what the throttle angle is. For each symptom keep asking 'why' until you can not backtrack any further, and you will be closed to the cause.
- Make your post readable to others. People typically will initially scan a post in less than 5 seconds and decide if they can help. If your posts is an unpunctuated stream of consciousness, then many potential readers will move on to the next post.
- Filter out the stuff which is not important. This will help the previous point too.
- Provide supporting information. In almost all cases this will be the vehicle type & ECU in use. Normally the calibration and/or datalog will help too.
- Don't fall into the 'me too' trap. If one symptom is the same as a previous post it does not mean that the root cause is the same. Unless all the details are exactly the same as the prior problem, chances are the cause is different.
- Don't expect the ECU to solve a non-ECU problem. If your valve train is noisy and the ECU cannot pick up knock, it is not appropriate to try and change ECU settings to fix a mechanical problem.
- Accept that the answer may not be a silver bullet. Sometimes you need to get out the manual and follow the wiring diagram.
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