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Lay on your seat and put your head down where your feet go, ITS A BITA. Pull off the covers and get a 10 mm socket wrench in there to remove the two bolts and the bolt holding the wire harness. Then use a flat head or needle noses and push the wire clips through the holes or cut them. wiggle it out through the passenger side. Its takes patients.
Unplug the harness from the passenger side of the car. Then I had to buy an offset phillips screwdriver to remove the four screws holding the ECU in. Two face the front and two face the back of the car. You'll see what I am talking about when you flash a light down there. It did require alot of patience and a few mini-breaks so that I didn't go crazy. After the four phillips screws are removed, the ECU will slide out of the bracket. It took me a couple hours to remove it but only 15 minutes to re-install the upgraded ECU.
You can either remove the whole harness with the ECU attached or remove just the ECU. It's easier to remove the harness and ECU together, but harder to put it back. It's harder to remove just the ECU, but easier to put back. Either way it was one of the most PITA things I have done. I removed the harness and ECU together, which only took a few minutes. I could never get it back perfectly. Although it really does not have to be put back in exactly like it was before. I just wedged the ECU and harness back in w/o bolting it down and was able to put the plastic covers back on each side.
with my first attempt to get the ECU, i tried taking out all four of the little brass screws that hold the ECU to the bracket. even using a flat ratcheting style screwdriver there wasnt enough room to work with and ended up stripping the two rear screws (closest to firewall).
i found taking the bracket loose with the (2) 10mm bolts and removing the wire harness from the bracket much easier. however is it virutally impossible to get the 10mm bolts to line back up and tighten. i am a stickler for interior noises, but with the ecu and bracket just 'laying' back in its place it yields no rattles or noises.
enjoy, it is one of the most frustrating procedures to do on the maxima, and i have done almost all of them.
-2002 Sterling Mist -1996 Deep Evergreen SE 5-Speed: 12.9 @ 111 - Street Tires
ECU removal on my max was horriable. I had offset screw driver/offset phllips and everything.. I hated it. I found out the hardway the harness is the best way to remove it. Getting it back in might be tough but hell gotta be easier than taking it out.
This was one of the more impossible tasks that i thought would be easy to do. ALLOW AT LEAST A GOOD HOUR to do this if it is your first time.
Remove the plastic sides to get access to the ecu. Unscrew the screws with a 10mm (be patient). Once the removed screws, i had to cut some of the zip ties that were on the ecu to make it easier to manuever it. Then just kinda move the ecu out of the passenger side of the console. It should not take too long but you just want to be caution of what you are doing. O and don't cut yourself too much.
wow this is interesting i guess im going to try a few different ways, taking my radio out is first, then i'll leave it out and go at the brackets and see what i can get to from there, thanks to everyone who replied.