Thursday, February 14, 2013

Powertrain Control Module & Oil Change

My Van. 

Not my RV. 

Much to everyone's relief ;-) 

Last Thursday, I took my van in for repairs. Well, a tow truck took her in for repairs & I rode along. 
Inside of the tow truck, not inside of the van. 

They have to flatbed my van to get it towed, which is fine with me. Less chance of anything getting broken!
The last time it was towed not by a flatbed tow truck, they broke one of my running boards. And of course, the tow truck driver blamed the mechanics shop & the shop blamed the tow truck driver. 

But all that is moot now. This time they did it right. 

So, it was overcast, gray  & chilly (cold to me).

We took it to my mechanic, Tony, at TexSalv in Rosenberg, TX. (saying my mechanic makes me feel like I own him or something).

We thought my fuel filter needed changed, so the fuel tank had to be taken off & unfortunately, the way mine is built, the fuel filter is inside of the fuel pump, so the entire thing has to be replaced. So off comes the gas tank. They test the fuel pump & check the filter. Uh oh, all is fine there. 
So they put it all back together again, but the van won't start. It just will not crank over, but not like a dead battery kind of thing. Plus it got a new battery last August. 
So they go on to check the electrical system.

 I am there soooo long, that the vultures start to circle. 

     Crappy Cell Phone Shot

I was at this shop almost all day long. 
I took my chair along & sat there while they worked. I watched the trains & read a book. Read email. Etc. 

Another crappy cell phone shot - this train went on forever!  

Then they hooked up the computer reader thingy & discovered it was the van's PCM. Powertrain Control Module. Which is a giant P.I.A.! You can't just pop over to your local auto parts store & get one. 
You have to order one, after you find a place that sells them! You have to give them your mileage, the numbers off your old PCM, your vin number & they can reprogram another used one for you. If they can find one for your model of vehicle. 

The shop owner, Tony brings me back home as my ride back went to work. I thought I'd be driving my van back home anyhow. This is last Thursday. 

Friday, we call around to find the very valued PCM.  There was a lot of research done to seek out this product. I did find some online, BUT if you buy one online, BE SURE to google troubleshooting for the company! I found a few that were less than honorable. Way less. So I was grateful that I didn't go that route. Yea, their prices online looked too good to be true...Check BBB ratings against companies too. You might be surprised. 

First place I checked wanted too much. 
After several calls around between myself & a friend, we finally found a place in Houston that sells them! 

                                  See that fancy gold box? It's my PCM. The brains to my engine. Your engine will   NOT run without it's brains!
The old box was silver, this place paints them gold. I guess that way, it's easy for them to identify as theirs. Although all the tags & numbers are on it anyhow.

So info was given to the place on Monday. It was too late in the day to drive to Houston & pick it up though, so we drive over on Tuesday morning instead.   We then ran few errands while in Houston, then got it to the mechanic. But he was too busy & could not get to it till Wednesday. 
No problem. I picked the van up on Wednesday, it started right up! Yipeeee!! 


My brakes weren't working right & both brake lights were on! Parking brake light & ABS brake light. ARGH!!! I immeditely turn around & go back to the shop.    We pop the hood.    Oh, no wonder. The brake fluid resivour is empty! Totally empty! Lesson learned, check that when I check other fluids. No excuses, it's actually one of the easiest IF NOT the easiest fluid tank to check! So he fills it up, I pump the brakes. Then he tells me it should go off as I drive & use the brakes.      Well, it didn't!     So this morning, I got the dogs done. Took a shower & headed to Brake Check. Brakes were squealing. DANG! I pulled over in a parking lot & gave them about 8 hard pumps on the pedal. YAY! Brake lights go off! I've gotten the proper fluids back to the brakes! 


So then I took it to Kwik Kar for an oil change. Which was in town. So I decided to go down one route, then cut over. 


I got lucky  because as soon as I turned the corner on the route, there was a Kwik Kar that was much closer!

So Yay! 

                        Yet, another cell phone image.

Downside though, Kwik Kar told me that I have an oil leak, which yes, I already knew. It's a slow leak.  But they also suspect that I have a transmission leak. Which really, I'm not sure about as it's never lost transmission fluid. He said there's a pan under the van, which he can't really see very well under.
So I guess I'll eventually have to get those checked out too. Although someday, I might just sell this van & get something that I can tow if I choose to go that route.

She's driveable now & that's what counts! 

Other good news is, Kwik Kar told me they can change the oil in the motorhome too! I'm thrilled over that as it's hard to find places here that can do MH's & I am not about to pay the high prices that RV places charge just for an oil change!

~As always, be kind to your pets, clean up after your travels & respect your neighbor~


  1. Did you have any doubt why that brain box was gold...think price. I have had good luck taking Mel to Wal-mart for oil changes. Fair price and quick service. Just keep an eye on them.

  2. OH! Of course, that's why it's gold! Did not think of that ;-). WM turned my van away because of the oil leak. The WM here isn't tall enough for my RV or I'd use them.

  3. Glad you van is running again. And oil changed too. I hate waiting around for work to be done but sometimes it just works out that way.

  4. What a roller coaster! I'm glad it's taken care of, finding leaks isn't hard, finding a place that will fix them without screwing you over is the hard part. Good luck!



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