2006 Chevy Cobalt Cobalt needs a new TCM

Tiny
NICKOCOSMIC
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 CHEVROLET COBALT
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 71,000 MILES
The dealership wants to charge over $250 to install a new Transmission Control Module, which is complete rubbish. I can find one myself online for like 50 bucks or pull one from a salvage yard. My question is would the dealership have to reprogram the module? Or is it just plug-and-play?
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Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 AT 11:16 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
FACTORYJACK
  • EXPERT
It is specifying programming is required after replacement of the TCM. I would try plugging it in to see how it operates. If the tcm comes from a vehicle with the same options, it may be o.K.
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Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 AT 1:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Rubbish! How did you manage to find a GM dealer that will do anything for under $800.00? GM is the number one manufacturer at separating money from their owners. You can also buy food at a grocery store for a lot less than you'd pay in a restaurant so the restaurant must be ripping you off.

Hi Nickocosmic. Welcome to the forum.

Ok, sarcasm aside, there is something wrong with this estimate. Replacement computer modules are going to run a lot more than $250.00, plus it will have to have the proper software version installed over the internet from a web site that only the dealer can access. The vin must also be programmed in to match the vin in the Body Computer which is built into the radio. The Body Computer is built into the radio so you have to get it fixed through their authorized repair centers, ($$$) rather than replacing it with an aftermarket unit. Not all computers can have a new vin programmed in but if your Transmission Computer can, that will be something only the dealer can do. That's like saving money on food at the grocery store, then paying the chef to cook it.

Be aware too that if you buy a used computer from anywhere, it is possible to get one that can't be reprogrammed by anyone and the seller won't even know it. At last count, you can have up to 47 computers on your car. Every one of them talks back and forth with the Body Computer. When you turn the ignition switch on, they all check to see if the vin programmed in matches the vin in the Body Computer. If it doesn't, it won't turn on. When the mechanic uses his scanner to access data, stored fault codes, or to perform actuator tests, he has the option to press "lock". Doing so will lock every computer to the Body Computer and they will not be able to have a new vin installed to match your car. Pressing "lock" does not give you the option to change your mind like the "are you sure" screens on a personal computer. One click and it's done. What's even better is if the Body Computer, (radio) fails and has to be replaced, EVERY other computer on the car will also need to be replaced and reprogrammed. Got'cha. Imagine a perfectly fine car in the junkyard due to the tens of thousands of dollars to replace and reprogram all of the computers.

To add to the programming misery, all manufacturers have gone to this costly insanity, but Chrysler and Toyota allow any independent shop with internet access to do this to all of their computers except the Security system. Of course you have to pay a yearly subscription and $40.00 per download per computer. Some manufacturers sell a daily subscription but the cost still gets passed onto the owner. If the download is interrupted for any reason, you pay again and start over. Only Hyundai allows full access to their software updates for free to anyone, and guess whose sales are going up and whose are going down? Only GM denies access to the independent shops except for three computers as mandated by the federal government because they affect tail pipe emissions.

I would strongly suggest you take the dealer up on their estimate if they are sure it is going to solve your problem. I suspect they aren't going to replace the computer. $250.00 is about right to update the software which seems to be needed every once on a while. On some cars this can involve temporarily installing a special programming wiring harness or installing a jumper wire. All cars will require a laptop computer connected between the car and the internet connection, and if your dealer has access to the Ford web site, he will have to have two different computers. Computers won't work if they have Ford's software and other manufacturers software installed on the same computer.

Sorry to sound so negative, but this is the reason I drive old stuff and will never again buy a new car. Let us know how you make out so we can add another chapter to out memory banks.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 AT 1:23 PM
Tiny
NICKOCOSMIC
  • MEMBER
My thanks to the both of you for quick replies. As far as the dealership wanting to charge me $250, it's true. I even asked them how much it would cost if I just installed the module myself and had them reprogram it, and they told me one hour's labor ($97). Anyway, I'm actually trading my car in for a new (used) one, and I informed the salesman of the issue I'm having with the car. He wanted me to clarify as he isn't mechanically savvy, so I told him exactly what the part is and what it does. He looked up how much the part is and more or less said "No biggie!", And is going to give me about $1500 more than what the car is worth in it's current condition. I just need to inform him that he'll need to bring it to the dealership and have them reprogram the module. Again, thanks for the quick replies!
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Sunday, July 4th, 2010 AT 12:01 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You're welcome. Sorry for the crummy news, but that's life with new cars.

Didn't mean to butt into your conversation with gstacey. We must have posted at the same time.

Good luck with your new veeehickel.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, July 4th, 2010 AT 1:08 AM

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