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Chrysler bcm

I recently brought my 2000 chrysler sebring in because the alarm was going off at random times (3:00am). Also when I was driving the interior lights would turn on and off and the dash readout would say “DOOR” as if I had opened the door, there was a relay clicking sound under the dash and the car would also try to relock the doors. This was an intermittent problem, occasionally the car would be fine for a while then the show would begin. I took it to a local Chrysler dealer and they diagnosed the problem to be the BCM or Body Control Module. The service writer told me that the only way to know if Chrysler had the part in stock was to actually place the order for the part and pay up front. He told me that the unit would have to be programmed at the FACTORY for my specific car. He also told me that if the part was not in stock they would have to remove my BCM and send it to Chrysler for repair and that the car would be down for at least a week. He gave me the impression that this part was hard to come by, so I ordered the part. They charged me $895.93+tax for the part, $105.00 for the labor to diag the problem and estimated $210.00 to replace the unit. When I returned home I did some researching on the internet and found several BCM’s on ebay for under $100.00. I also found them readily available at Chrysler and other parts shops online for around $530.00. First thing the next morning I called the dealer and told the service writer to cancel the order. He told me that the part had already been programmed for my car, it was ready to be shipped and I could not cancel the order. I did more research online and with other service shops locally and found out that the BCM is programmed AFTER it is installed in the car. Unfortunately there are no other service shops that could program the BCM (they did not have the programming tool) so I felt like I was stuck with the dealership. I called them back and negotiated a discount on the part and the service writer told me he would not charge me any more money and they would install the BCM for free. Feeling like I had at saved myself a little money I decided to have them install the unit. I asked if I could have the old part and he said it was on an exchange program and that they would have to send the part back. I was never told this initially and there was no mention of this on any paperwork. After the alleged “repair” was done the service writer told me that they discovered a faulty DOOR switch on the driver door side. He said it was “shorting out” and as a “courtesy” to me he had the mechanic exchange the faulty switch with the passenger door so that at least the driver door had a working switch. I immediately asked if he thought this could have been the cause of the problem all along but he denied it and told me that they think the faulty switch could have fried the BCM! I asked why did you put the bad switch back in the car!!! He sort of fumbled said that now the switch is totally shorted out and disabled.

My conclusion is that this whole problem was caused by a shorting door switch ($40.00) and that either they misdiagnosed the problem and when the new BCM did not fix the problem they found the real problem in the door switch or they just scammed me from the start. I think the “part exchange program” is a scam. Why don’t I get the part back or why don’t I get two prices, one if I exchange the part and one if I don’t.

I’d like to know other peoples opinion on this. Has anyone else had this problem? Could a faulty driver door switch damage a BCM? Has anyone ever had to order a part before knowing if it is in stock or not? (I never heard of this before. In fact another dealer told me all he needed was the VIN to see if the part was in stock). Have you ever been told you could not have your parts back? They do belong to the car owner, you paid for them when you bought the car!! (unless it is clearly stated that you get a discount on the parts price if you are willing to exchange).

I am preparing to file claims with the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Better Business Bureau.

Thanks for reading.

Sounds fishy to me. I would have replaced the door switch before the BCM.
I also would not even bother contacting the BBB. They are useless.

I would recommend you tell your story to Chrysler Customer Assistance.

A faulty (shorted, open, or otherwise malfunctioning) door switch could in no way cause any kind of damage to the body controller on your car unless there are a host of other electrical problems or damage present.

A faulty door switch could cause the exact symptoms you described.

The BCM for your car can (I believe, don’t hold me to this part) be programmed at the factory OR at the repair shop if the shop has a factory-level scan tool. For example my shop has the ability to program Chrysler engine control modules but not body control modules.

All the dealer needs to know if he can get a part is the part number. VIN, mileage, etc. would be needed at time of placing the order to properly program the replacement unit. But a few keystrokes to enter a part number is all he needs.

Once the replacement BCM is installed in the car, the original one no longer belongs to you. It is returned to the factory to be repaired and programmed and sold to the next customer. Almost all rebuilt parts are souced this way and this is standard procedure. Otherwise, there would be no rebuilt parts available.

Thanks to all for reading my long post and for your comments.

friedo82, yes if I had know the door switch was bad I would have had them replace that first. However, it was the service tech at the dealer that diagnosed the problem and either he misdiagnosed it or misled me into purchasing a much more expensive part. I know what you mean about the BBB but I’ll post a complaint just to have it there anyway.

mtraveler, thanks for the link, I will follow up on that.

asemaster, thank you for your thoughts. Just want you to know that I’m all for recycling old parts at a fair price and with the option to essentially sell back the old part to the dealer or other service station. What if the vehicle was in an accident and the BCM was smashed beyond repair or became missing after the accident? I would have to purchase a rebuilt unit without having one to exchange. Without exchange I would expect to pay a higher price. In my case I purchased the car and part of the purchase price includes the cost of a BCM (or any other part) now the dealer sells me a rebuilt part, takes my old part (that I paid for), does a quick fix and or test (I’m sure my part was absolutely fine, no repair needed), and sells it again. So the dealer has made two profits on the same original part. Doesn’t seem fair to me. If the dealer wants to fix my old parts and make a profit on them they should have to either discount the new part or buy back the original.

Almost all rebuilt car parts, not just electronics, are sold on an exchange basis–that is, the price quoted for the part includes you turning in your old part for repair/rebuild and then resale. Starters, brake calipers, transmissions, etc.

Now you are able to keep your original part, but you’ll have to pay the “core charge” (Cash On Return), the cost the supplier charges for not being able to replenish inventory and thus lost profit. For example, for your car the engine control computer has a list price of $507.56 with a core charge of $80. So you can buy the part and turn in your old one or keep it and pay another $80.

I’ve seen electronic items where the core charge was almost double the sales price of the part.

The questions have been pretty well covered but this does sound like a badly botched diagnosis to me with the entire problem being due to a faulty or out of adjustment door switch.