Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Replace PCM/ECU with used part?

I need to replace my Town and Country Power Control Module, but the factory unit costs $700 or more… Since this is a high-mileage vehicle, I’d like to use a remanufactured part, but all the websites are tagged with “scam” or other “thumbs-down” reviews. Does anyone know of a car computer remanufacturer that is trustworthy? Is the whole industry a Gypsy scam?

No. For example, we’ve installed several rebuilt abs control modules in our fleet vehicles, and there’s not been a problem. The rebuilt modules hold up just fine, and some of those modules have been in service several years with no problems

I’ve seen the name “Module Master” several times on the internet. But I don’t know if they’re trustworthy

BTW . . . why are you so certain your pcm needs to be replaced/rebuilt . . . ?

All the PCM’s/ECU’s I get are used ones from a local auto recycler.

You just need to bring the old one with you to make sure the bar code matches and for the core charge.


I had the old one checked for voltages, etc. after showing a P0601 code, and it was confirmed as bad. It is difficult to replace with a salvaged part because it is an AWD and California smog car, with not many out there, apparently. The only alternitives I’ve found are reman parts with new programming or a new factory unit.

I check Module Master, and they look good- great reviews… but they unfortunately don’t work with what I need…

Mod Master seems to focus more on ABS modules I think. But those folks work in the module-repair arena every day, so maybe they don’t do what you need done, but they’ll be able to advise you where you might find what you need, so good idea to phone them up anyway and ask for some advice.

If I had this problem and I couldn’t quickly & easily source a used PCM that is compatible, and a $700 unit which is available now, and would definitely work, I’d just fix it that way. $700 seems a lot for an electronic module, but they have it and you don’t so you don’t have much bargaining power. Contrast the one-time $700 expense with all the expenses you’d be looking at if you have to buy another car.

Make sure whate3ver course you choose, the part comes with a guarantee that it actually fixes the problem. It isn’t so easy to know that a PCM is actually the problem or not.

One alternative, if you feel really lucky, you might can fix your own PCM. Put it on the work bench with really good lighting and a magnifying glass and take a very close look at each component and each solder connection and all the traces. This may take several hours. You may see some pcb traces that are cracked. Or solder holes that have come unsoldered. Or resistors or other components that are clearly discolored compared to their neighbors. Cracks in the traces are a pretty common thing with printed circuit boards in automobiles, b/c it is such a hot/cold environment. The pcb itself is sort of an epoxy material, plastic like, and it doesn’t have exactly the same thermal rate of expansion and contraction as the copper traces. And that difference can cause a crack in a trace which will make the PCM appear to have failed.

Thanks for your insight! At this point, I just want something that works. And I do like the vehicle. It would be difficult to replace.

Auto parts stores sell reconditioned PCMs and I had no trouble with Sorensen brand. One. 1985 Cadillac.

P0601 is a processor error, I don’t believe you will be able to see this with a magnifying glass.

The AWD Town & Country was first offered in 1992, to find one of these in a salvage yard today would be unusual.

The 2003 to 2005 model years were known for this problem, P0601 fault. Because this is a low production AWD model, finding a remanufactured or used module will be difficult. If you find a used unit you may not be able to re-write the VIN in the PCM, this can create a conflict depending on the model year.


Just curious, what’s the reason for that? Is it to prevent theft of the module? Like is done w/stereos? Or what? Stereo theft seems a real problem, but PCM theft, I’ve never even heard of that happening. It seems like you should be able to swap a pcm out just like you’s swap out a headlight. With the pcm it might take some reprogramming so it knows the exact configuration of the car is all, and maybe a re-learning period to adjust to the sensors and actuators.