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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My '97 Dakota 3.9 is in full blown crank-no-start mode and I suspect that the PCM is at fault. As such, I'll be needing to order a replacement. I've seen both good and bad reviews for Cardone (AutoZone, etc.) as well as places like carcomputerexchange.com - so I was wondering if you folks had any recommendations.
 

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I guess it didn't turn out to be the wire for C1, pin 20?
I was looking into a replacement PCM a few years ago & I remember hearing some negative feedback on YouTube related to remanufactured. The individual who had made the video said he would just as soon take his chances with one out of a salvage yard (assuming one could find a yard that had one). That made me leery enough of remans that I elected to send mine out for bench check & repair.

However, with that typed, here's one for a '97 with 3.9 from Rock for $453 + $125 core with a 24 month warranty.


My understanding is that when you change out a PCM they are plug & play & that you don't have to do anything else to them.
 

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My understanding is that when you change out a PCM they are plug & play & that you don't have to do anything else to them.
I would check the FSM for a 1997 and verify; somewhere along there they started requiring VIN matching.

I'm lucky; for a 1988, the PCM can barely chew gum and walk, much less both at the same time o_O o_O

By 1997, it was doing a decent song and dance routine including full control of the automatic transmission, and it had spare processing time left over.

RwP
 

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Thanks, Ralph, I stand corrected on that & I'll keep that in mind if I ever have to replace one of mine.
Now that you mention it, when I was talking to the lady on the phone about checking & repairing mine, she told me to enclose the VIN & mileage with the unit when I sent that to them.
I think where I got the notion that they were basically a swap out item was a discussion I read on a forum (not sure which one) when mine was breaking down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess it didn't turn out to be the wire for C1, pin 20?
I was looking into a replacement PCM a few years ago & I remember hearing some negative feedback on YouTube related to remanufactured. The individual who had made the video said he would just as soon take his chances with one out of a salvage yard (assuming one could find a yard that had one). That made me leery enough of remans that I elected to send mine out for bench check & repair.

However, with that typed, here's one for a '97 with 3.9 from Rock for $453 + $125 core with a 24 month warranty.


My understanding is that when you change out a PCM they are plug & play & that you don't have to do anything else to them.
I thought it was pin 20, but I checked the wire and it was definitely making a connection. Mechanic at JustAnswer suggested that there could be a break in a solder connection and that moving the wire (which included pushing inward toward the PCM) could have been temporarily closing the circuit and allowing the engine to start. If this doesn't get things going, I may get a replacement plug and switch out all the wires - although I'm really thinking it's probably the PCM itself.
 

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[. . .]
Mechanic at JustAnswer suggested that there could be a break in a solder connection and that moving the wire (which included pushing inward toward the PCM) could have been temporarily closing the circuit and allowing the engine to start. If this doesn't get things going, I may get a replacement plug and switch out all the wires - although I'm really thinking it's probably the PCM itself.
That sounds plausible. As I typed before, one of the things that they said was wrong with mine was a loose pin that they resoldered.

Here's another place that claims to sell PCMs that they will program for your VIN


& therefore they say it will be plug & play.
However, if it was me, I'd try to find some place where they could run checks on your PCM & verify the issue before I bought another one. On a local level, maybe a dealership could test it for you.
 

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I was going to add that I have had to have a couple of parts I bought from Rock warrantied & it was absolutely hassle free, which, for me, would be a selling point for paying a bit extra for a PCM from Rock; BUT, I didn't bother to notice that the PCM you need is currently out of stock at Rock.

Here is the place that did the work on my PCM a few years ago (& it is still working well)


and they claim a lifetime warranty, but I assume that is only on the specific work that they performed.

Keep us posted & let us know what you wind up doing to resolve this issue.
 

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My '97 Dakota 3.9 is in full blown crank-no-start mode and I suspect that the PCM is at fault. As such, I'll be needing to order a replacement. I've seen both good and bad reviews for Cardone (AutoZone, etc.) as well as places like carcomputerexchange.com - so I was wondering if you folks had any recommendations.
I just bout a cadone PCM from autozone. You need to find a mechanic tht can flash the vin #. I got lucky caue its had to find a mechanic that specializes in electronics. Look for an auto electrical shop.
 

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I just bout a cadone PCM from autozone. You need to find a mechanic tht can flash the vin #. I got lucky caue its had to find a mechanic that specializes in electronics. Look for an auto electrical shop.
I gont my PCM from NAPA and the are the best for matching the exact fit PCM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So, I ended up going with carcomputerexchange.com and provided them with my part number and VIN. Followed their instructions putting it in, connected the battery, and it fired right up. Color me relieved!

Now I'm going to fashion a clamp to hold the C2 plug in place (the clip broke) - as opposed to the web of electrical tape that some previous owner used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It ain't pretty, but I figured out a way to hold the plugs in place. (The center plug has broken clips and could potentially fall out.) It's nowhere near as professional looking as the spiderweb of electrical tape that was previously there 😉. Basically it's a 12" flat bar, bent into shape, fitted over a couple of 3" screws, and secured with wing nuts and thread lock. I added sponge weather stripping to help distribute the pressure without putting too much stress on the plugs.

3328
 
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