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Chrysler Repair/2001 PT Cruiser: TCM replacement?

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QUESTION: I have a 2001 PT Cruiser that the transmission control module needs to be replaced in. My mechanic tells me that they used to swap them out all the time and as long as it was the same model and within a year or so it won't matter the manufacturing date. Other people are telling me that it has to be a certain one as long as the car it's from was manufactured after 2/01(mine was in 5/01). I trust my mechanic but I came across this site and I am just looking for a third party's knowledge that has no interest in whether or not I buy a product or service. Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.

ANSWER: Hi Justin,
Thanks for the rating and nomination.
May I ask what fault code number(s) your mechanic obtained using a fault code reader, and what actions he took in response to those? I would want to be sure that all the possible causes for those codes were considered before replacing the TCM. Let me know and I can verify.
I would suggest that you check with the parts counter of a Chrysler dealer and have them check out the part numbers for '01, '02, '03 PT model years. I believe that it may be the case that before '02 that the transmission was a three speed non-electronic model but in '02 the trans was changed to the electronic type (that is what occurred for the Neon). The latter has a trans control module, but the former does not. There could be module changes during the following months but only the parts counter catalogs would show whether that occurred so you can see at what point that happened and thus know the part number and the time of build points to be aware of.
Roland

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QUESTION: I'm not sure what the code was but he had the computer hooked up to it and as he went through park, reverse, etc. it was saying that in neutral the car was in reverse and in drive it said neutral and so on. Other than it not shifting through gears because of that the transmission works just fine. Thank you for following up again. I really appreciate the help

ANSWER: What you describe would not by itself dictate a new TCM is the solution. The disparity between the position of the gear shifter and the actual position of the internal shift switch is likely a simple issue of the mechanical connection between the two parts which is a cable and which is adjustable. I would go to another shop and get a transmission fault code readout, a four digit number preceded by a P, and then respond specifically to that. Let me know what find that way, what you are told, and what they say they would do first.

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QUESTION: My mechanic did tell me he could do that but on those it'd be a pain. The car is being sold to a friend and I told them I'd take car of the transmission issue but he thought putting a new module in was a good idea.

Answer
Sorry to say, I don't believe changing a part as expensive as a transmission control module without a basis for doing so is a 'good idea'. You would do well to go to another shop and simply ask for a fault code readout of the transmission control module, get the fault code numbers, ask what they recommend, and then write back to me with the results. The misalignment of the shifter with the transmission can be done as part of a repair that seem appropriate based upon the results of the fault code readout. A fault code readout shouldn't cost more than $40 and it is not a "pain". If your friend buys the car, then finding out what is wrong and fixing it is the best way to spend money.
You may be able to a free code readout at a nationwide auto parts store such as Autozone.

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Roland Finston

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Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question, briefly unavailable, or asleep overnight, so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2012 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.

Experience

Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Organizations
Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Education/Credentials
Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

Awards and Honors
"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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