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Computer replacement on 1998 Dodge Caravan

I have a neighbor with a 1998 Dodge Caravan.

He said the dealer told him it needs a new engine computer at a cost of $700.

A remanufactured unit is around $250.

My question is anyone had experience replacing a computer that requires VIN and Mileage programming.

No, and I don’t really believe that there are any that require it. If there are such things, the new or remanufactured one should come with the instructions. I, with all my experience of one GM computer, recommend Sorenson (possibly spelled Sorensen). Why? Because it worked. The VIN should be needed to select the right computer.

As always, get a second opinion. It may have some other problem.

Did your Gm vehicle have an electronic odometer which I assume is controlled through
the computer, or the mechanical type like on older cars.

For GM we did it off a PC with GM supplied software (for both PCM and BCM) BCM required you download old info into a Tech2,then connect Tech2 to PC,download PC to Tech2, Tech2 to new BCM. I did many more BCM’s as I was not driveability.
For BCM there was a field to enter VIN and mileage.
But now your question is about Chrysler…hmm

Yes, it was mechanical. So, by reading the other posts, the job may be beyond your capability. In the days of mechanical odometers, you only had to note the mileage at the time of the odometer change to really comply with the law. We didn’t need VIN programming on my model either (back then).

I just replaced the computer in my 92 Dodge Dakota, with the exception of the programming it’s the same computer as your caravan.

Very easy to change if it is the problem. I bought a remanufactured one from Advanced Auto Parts for $260 + core. No way I would let the dealer charge you for a new one on a 98 van.

Here is how I knew mine was bad:

  • No check engine light and diagnostics codes were garbage
  • Engine would shut down when under hood temp got high enough
  • Idle air control would randomly cycle in and out (idle would change as a result)
  • At the bitter end the fuel pump was also randomly cycling on and off and the injectors would fire with engine off and key in the “run” position.

Your post is a little confusing to me. You say you need a new engine computer, which is the PCM, but then you mention the VIN and mileage which I think is in the BCM. There may be options in your vehicle you need to program into the replacement BCM using the Chrysler DRB box.

How about calling around to junkyards, finding one from the same year and engine? Sounds like a done deal.