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How to Replace the TCM on a 2001 Chrysler

by Curtis Von Fange

An assortment of computers are required on modern cars to make the different automotive systems work together. On occasion a computer may have to be replaced. The TCM, which controls transmission functions in relation to throttle demand and engine load, is one of those computers. The TCM on a 2001 Chrysler is pretty simple to replace and can restore normal operation to the vehicle.

Put your car's emergency brake on. Raise the front of the car with the hydraulic floor jack. Place jack stands under the chassis on each side of the car. Slowly lower the car onto the jack stands and make sure they are secure. Open the hood. Remove the negative battery terminal with a wrench and lay it aside. Wait for at least five minutes to let the airbag circuit de-energize before proceeding.

Remove the left front hubcap with a prybar. Unscrew the lug nuts holding the tire to the hub with a tire iron. Pull the wheel off and lay aside. Unscrew the machine screws holding the black plastic splash guard to the inner fender with a screwdriver. Some plastic push retainers may be present. Remove these by gently prying them out with a flatblade screwdriver. Pull the black plastic splash guard back to gain access to the TCM. It is the small rectangular box with a 60-way connector plug attached to the frame rail.

Examine the 60-way connector that links the computer with the rest of the car. A colored connector retainer that looks like a plastic pin keeps the plug release from accidentally coming off. Remove it with the screwdriver. This gives access to the plug release mechanism for removing the plug. Press and hold the release and gently wiggle the plug side to side to remove.

Unscrew the three mounting screws holding the TCM to the frame rail, using a wrench, and remove it from the vehicle.

Install the new TCM by screwing it back into place on the frame rail. Make sure the plug ends of the 60-way connector are clean. Reinsert the 60-way connector making sure that it is started squarely in the socket. Reinstall the plug retainer.

Lay the splash guard in place and secure it with the plastic retainers and screws. Install the wheel, lug nuts and hubcap. Raise the vehicle, remove the jack stands, and lower the car to the ground.

Tip

  • Use a small flat blade screwdriver to assist in pulling the plastic retainers from the splash guard.

Warning

  • Disconnecting the battery is essential when working on automotive electronics. Accidental grounding of wires can set off airbags or ruin computers in an instant and without warning. Residual charges are present in some circuits even after you disconnect the battery. Allow a minimum of five minutes for these circuits to disarm before proceeding to work on the vehicle.

Items you will need

About the Author

Curt Von Fange, an ASE Master Automotive Technician, began writing in 1998. His first article related a memorable experience about panning for gold with his father. It was published by "Gold Prospector Magazine" the following year. An associate degree in heavy equipment repair from Ferris State College helps him write numerous technical articles for trade magazines and webzines like YTtractors.com and Desertusa.com.

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Photo Credits

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