Question: My 2001 5.9-liter RWD Durango
is having transmission shifting problems. We think it may be caused by a bad PCM. I got a good PCM out of another 2001 Durango with the 5.9-liter. We replaced it, but the engine ran for only a couple seconds and then died. Is there a way to make it work without programming?
Answer: You're dealing with the Sentry Key Immobilizer. This antitheft system disables fuel delivery when the coded ignition key does not match the code programmed into the PCM. With the wrong key, the engine will shut down in two seconds. It's the same thing with the wrong PCM. Actually, the PCM is almost fully functional while the immobilizer system is in no-run mode. Hard failures of sensors, solenoids, and motors can still be diagnosed with a swapped PCM, as long as diagnosis doesn't require running the engine. The only way to run the engine is by bringing the SUV to an authorized Dodge service department, where they can perform the key programming procedure. And if the PCM is not the problem, they’ll have to reprogram the original PCM following reinstallation. The programming will probably equal the diagnostic fee on the transmission problem. So it really doesn’t make sense. Keep in mind, there may be diagnostic trouble codes stored in the PCM to help diagnose your shift problem. And if the transmission is slipping, there are exceptions, but most of the time it's an internal mechanical failure causing the condition.
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