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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2000 ETC with 85K miles. I was out of town on vacation this weekend and while on the road, my alternator light came on, then the message control center said "service charging system" or something similar, then all my dashboard indicators came on (air bag, traction control, ...) then my transmission started going bananas within about 15 miles before I could get to another town and call AAA. I had her towed to the closest (as I always do for any service, whether scheduled or emergency) Caddy dealer and said fix my car. On Monday they performed diagnostics ($60 charge) and said I needed an alternator (duh!!)at $600. Tuesday they replaced the alternator and I drove it the 250 miles back home. Yesterday morning (Wednesday) the battery was down (click-click-click, grind-grind-grind-start) so I headed to the closest Caddy dealer. On the way, the SES light came on and the trans started shifting really hard. When I got to the service dept I said find out what is wrong with my car. They called back and reported I had a dead cell in my battery, badly corroded battery cables, and the SES light code indicated a defective PCM. $200 for the battery and cables and $1100 for the PCM. My question - how likely is it that the cable/battery situation (which should have been found & reported during the previous "diagnostics") caused or hastened the PCM failure? Could this have been avoided if the battery and cables were replaced along with the alternator? Not trying to get something for nothing, but I have been buying Caddys for the past 15 years, and one of the main reasons is because I expect Cadillac service when I take my baby into a Caddy dealership, even for an oil change, and I feel somewhat mistreated. $1100 is a rather large amount for me to shell out for a Caddy dealer service department error/shortcoming/oversight/failure. Am I right?
 

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As a rule you should replace your battery when you change your alternator. Especially at $600.
I have seen DMEs go bad due to the car sitting for long periods of time and then the owner fires it up and the alternator full fields trying to get the battery V up. I have also seem them short out with battery chargers/boosters. (meaning not the 10amp charge). The have a low battery and crank their charger.
They definitely should have checked your battery at the very least before installing a new alternator. Putting back in a bad battery will eventually cause the alternator to go out again.
So, yes I do think a new alternator full fielding to get a bad battery up to spec could have caused your PCM to fail.
I think they need to make a compromise with you. You pay for the battery and the cables and they should replace your PCM. That is fair in my book.
I hope that this helps. Let us know how it turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks so much for your fast response. I will definitely be able to use this information. I am waiting at this moment for the dealer's callback with his compromise offer. I WILL set your suggestion as my baseline compromise - I would have replaced the battery and cables in the first place along with the alternator had it been recommended or even mentioned, so I have no problem with doing it now - and I will be certain to let you guys know how it turns out.
Thanks again!!
 

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Kind of hard to believe that all that failed at once.......

Possibly it was the battery/cables all along...???

The PCM should not be damaged or compromised in any way due to low voltages , jump starts, etc.... The PCM is electrically protected for all those things as they are certainly part of the "normal" use scheduled the design accounts for... Even a reverse polarity jump start should not hurt the PCM.

Wonder what PCM "code" indicated a "defective PCM".... No such code to my knowlege. If the engine ran fine at certain points then the PCM is probably fine. If the voltage started to drop then the engine will run poorly and the trans will act funny due to dropping voltages to the various solenoids, actuators, fuel pump, etc.... Personally, I would be hard pressed to replace a PCM from what you have said. The battery/cables is not too hard to understand although I suspect just the battery is the problem what with the battery under the seat and the cables being protected from major corrosion, etc. I think I would try the battery first and see what happens. Not replacing the PCM is a low risk item as it is not going to cause the battery to fail or anything....
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I just called again and asked and the trouble code they gave me was 601 - Powertrain Control Module. Now I am confused - is there a both power control module AND a powertrain control module? Anyway, I am not sure what you mean by the battery and cables being under the seat - they are both under the hood, and I can see where corroded terminals could cause poor charging and starting (although I had no starting problems at all before my trip) which could possibly lead to premature alternator/battery failure - particularly since the battery is the original one that came with the car in 2000. Also, when I called my regular Caddy service center back east, he advised me not to drive the car with a bad PCM, as it could cause the tranny to shift hard enough to break something. So I am kinda stuck until I can iron this responsibility thing out.

AMW

BTW - I double-checked the trouble code with the service mgr here because my regular dealer told me that trouble codes are 4 digits and that he might mean P601, and the mgr here confirmed just 601. :hmm:
 

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Yea, sorry for the confusion. I was thinking Seville...not an Eldo. The battery is under the rear seat of the Seville but is definitely under the hood of the Eldo. Teach me to read the post carefully....LOL.


P0601 does tend to indicate a PCM problem. It indicates the checksum for the data in the engine and trans halves of the PCM do not add up to the correct value. Either the data was corrupted due to the voltage problems, there is a problem with the PCM or the situation is intermittant due to the low voltage and will correct itself with the correct voltage. If the voltage problems are corrected then the code should clear itself and not return. If it continues to return then the PCM could be questionable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
:banghead: AAAARRRGH ! ! I wish I had read your last post before I had the work done. I left out a few details for simplicity's sake. To be complete, the dealer here told me he found: 1) bad battery cell 2) corroded battery cables 3) bad PCM 4) leaking water pump and 5) dirty fuel filter. The bill to fix everything came to $1920, so I told him to go ahead and fix it all. Had I read your post first, I would have waited on the PCM replacement ($1180) until I saw what the results of the battery replacement were. It never occured to me that fixing the voltage problem may have cleared up the codes, and that the PCM may not have been bad at all. :crying2: Oh well, that is what I get for taking of running before I have the ball firmly in my hands. I thank you all very much for your informative replies.
 

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Kind of hard to believe that all that failed at once.......

Possibly it was the battery/cables all along...???

The PCM should not be damaged or compromised in any way due to low voltages , jump starts, etc.... The PCM is electrically protected for all those things as they are certainly part of the "normal" use scheduled the design accounts for... Even a reverse polarity jump start should not hurt the PCM.

Wonder what PCM "code" indicated a "defective PCM".... No such code to my knowlege. If the engine ran fine at certain points then the PCM is probably fine. If the voltage started to drop then the engine will run poorly and the trans will act funny due to dropping voltages to the various solenoids, actuators, fuel pump, etc.... Personally, I would be hard pressed to replace a PCM from what you have said. The battery/cables is not too hard to understand although I suspect just the battery is the problem what with the battery under the seat and the cables being protected from major corrosion, etc. I think I would try the battery first and see what happens. Not replacing the PCM is a low risk item as it is not going to cause the battery to fail
im having this very same problem on a 2007 chrysler sebring . car was running fine before the alternator gave out . driver pulled it over and had it towed home where I replaced the alternator and had the battery replaced there after . (battery was replaced cleared light) tunrned it on check engine light was present took it to autozone for a free code read . and it read reprogram computer and miscellaneous other codes took it to the dealer to get pcm reprogram and chrysler tech is talking about a bad tranmission and a bunch of other stuff that i know is not wrong with it . im 20 year experienced mechanic ive worked at shops before but i left the business . and dont have the capabilities to do the pcm reprogram . i suspect the computer also .
 
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