GM Lumina/Grand Prix/Cutlass Supreme/Regal 1988-1996

Electronic Control Module (ECM)

Print

OPERATION



When the term Electronic Control Module (ECM) is used in this manual it will refer to the engine control computer regardless that it may be a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or Electronic Control Module (ECM).

The heart of the electronic control system, which is found on the vehicles covered by this manual, is a computer control module. The module gathers information from various sensors, then controls fuel supply and engine emission systems. Most early model vehicles are equipped with an Engine Control Module (ECM) which, as its name implies, controls the engine and related emissions systems. Some ECMs may also control the Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) on automatic transaxle vehicles or the manual upshift light on manual transmission vehicles. Later model vehicles may be equipped with a Powertrain Control Module (PCM). This is similar to the original ECMs, but is designed to control additional systems as well. The PCM may control the manual transmission shift lamp or the shift functions of the electronically controlled automatic transmission.

Regardless of the name, all computer control modules are serviced in a similar manner. Care must be taken when handling these expensive components in order to protect them from damage. Carefully follow all instructions included with the replacement part. Avoid touching pins or connectors to prevent damage from static electricity.

All of these computer control modules contain a Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) chip, MEM-CAL or EEPROM that contains calibration information which is particular to the vehicle application. For all applications except those equipped with an EEPROM, this chip is not supplied with a replacement module, and must be transferred to the new module before installation. If equipped with an Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM), it must be reprogrammed after installation. Some later model vehicles have a Knock Sensor (KS) module, mounted in the PCM. The KS module contains the circuitry that allows the PCM to utilize the Knock Sensor signal to diagnose the circuitry.


WARNING
To prevent the possibility of permanent control module damage, the ignition switch MUST always be OFF when disconnecting power from or reconnecting power to the module. This includes unplugging the module connector, disconnecting the negative battery cable, removing the module fuse or even attempting to jump your dead battery using jumper cables.

In the event of an ECM failure, the system will default to a pre-programmed set of values. These are compromise values which allow the engine to operate, although at a reduced efficiency. This is variously known as the default, limp-in or back-up mode. Driveability is almost always affected when the ECM enters this mode.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: ECM mounting of early model vehicles, in the engine compartment



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: View of late model PCM mounting-1995 3.1L engine shown



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: PCM location-1995 3.4L engine shown



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: On 1996 vehicles, the PCM is mounted in the engine compartment



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: On some vehicles, such as this 1995 3.8L, the PCM is mounted inside the passenger compartment under the instrument panel

For most applications, the computer control module is located in the engine compartment, in front of the right side shock tower. Some applications have the module mounted inside the passenger compartment under the instrument panel.

  1. Make sure the ignition switch is turned OFF , then disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  


CAUTION
To prevent the possibility of permanent control module damage, the ignition switch MUST always be OFF when disconnecting power from or reconnecting power to the module. This includes unplugging the module connector, disconnecting the negative battery cable, removing the module fuse or even attempting to jump your dead battery using jumper cables.

  1. Locate the computer control module. If not readily visible on the right side of the engine compartment, it is probably mounted inside the passenger compartment, under the dash.
  2.  
  3. If equipped with a passenger compartment mounted module, remove the interior access panel/right side hush panel.
  4.  
  5. If equipped with an engine compartment mounted module, one or all of the following steps may be necessary:
    1. Remove the coolant tank reservoir.
    2.  
    3. Remove the air cleaner intake duct.
    4.  
    5. Remove the right side splash shield.
    6.  
    7. Remove the plastic ECM cover.
    8.  

  6.  
  7. Carefully detach the harness connectors from the ECM.
  8.  
  9. Remove the ECM-to-bracket retaining screws and remove the ECM, then remove the ECM from the engine compartment.
  10.  

To install:
  1. If the module is being replaced, CAREFULLY replace the PROM chip, MEM-CAL or Knock Sensor (KS) module, as outlined later in this section.
  2.  
  3. Position the ECM in the vehicle and install the ECM-to-bracket retaining screws.
  4.  
  5. Attach the ECM harness connectors.
  6.  
  7. If equipped with an engine compartment mounted module, install the following components, as applicable.
    1. Plastic ECM cover.
    2.  
    3. Right side splash shield.
    4.  
    5. Air cleaner intake duct.
    6.  
    7. Coolant tank reservoir.
    8.  

  8.  
  9. If equipped with a passenger compartment mounted module, install the hush panel/interior access panel.
  10.  
  11. Check that the ignition switch is OFF , then connect the negative battery cable.
  12.  
  13. If equipped with a computer control module that contains an EEPROM, it must be reprogrammed using a Tech 1®or equivalent scan tool and the latest available software. In all likelihood, the vehicle must be towed to a dealer or repair shop containing the suitable equipment for this service.
  14.  
  15. Perform the functional check, as outlined later in this section.
  16.  

 
label.common.footer.alt.autozoneLogo