Transmission Control Module (TCM) Replacement
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  1. #1
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    Transmission Control Module (TCM) Replacement

    I've been finding great information on this forum for a few years, but now I need some help. I know many of you are very knowledgeable and I'm sure can provide me with the the info I need.

    Recently, my wife's car (2002 1.8T) suffered a water intrusion from clogged sunroof drains (not uncommon from what I've read). Of course this has led to various malfunctions, warning lights, and transmission locking into emergency mode while driving down the road. We took the car to VW and they have traced the problem to the TCM. I was informed this will be a $1550 repair. Although I think this is a horrible design flaw with the car not to mention there's nothing written in the manual about routine maintenance of these drains, I don't want to try to fight this with VW. We need her car operational asap and don't want to go through another battle (In 2006, we had to have the engine replaced due to a sludge build up) with them.

    I've decided to take it upon myself to try to repair this on my own. I'm not the most savy mechanical person but I have common sense and can follow directions. I located and purchased a used TCM for $300. I know where the TCM is located in the car and more or less how it's installed. What I need to know is if the module is "plug and play". In other words, can I unhook the water logged one and plug this one right in and be ready to drive? Or does it need electronic adjustments and settings? I've read many of you talk about using the vag-com which I don't have nor be able to purchase. Is there anything important or special I need to know about replacing this module.

    I would truly appreciate help, advise, or knowledge about this that any of you could share with me. Thank you!

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  3. #2
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    All I know is the dealer had to replace my 2002 TCM last year when they botched a updated reflash of the unit. They said the TCM has to be coded to the car although I don't know if this would still be true with a used TCM. I'm almost sure some type of coding is involved.

  4. #3
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    ************** UPDATE ***************

    Installed used TCM today and car is running fine. No coding needed and so far, and it does not appear that and adaptation for shift quality will be needed either. Check engine light is still on and I assume it will clear itself out, eventually.

    For reference if this has happened to you: my car is 02 1.8T. Used TCM came out of an 03 1.8T. Part number was exactly the same. I was told by a master tech that when replacing this part, it must be identical, no and's, if's, or but's about it. TCM is located in the passenger side floor board inside a black plastic housing (supposed to be water proof but far from it). Little bit of a pain in the @ss to get to. Kick panel and carpet retainers removed easily. But the trim piece that runs along the bottom edge of car at the door and over the seat belt mechanism is difficult. I was never able to remove it and I broke a clip in trying to get it off. If you've had a water intrusion, make sure you fully dry out the carpet and padding underneath completely before replacing. My water intrusion happened a month ago and until yesterday, was still soaked. Padding is as absorbent as a freaking Sham-Wow! I rigged up a high powered carpet fan and ran it for about 6 hours to dry it out. Good idea to take photos while you do this project so you can reference them if needed.

  5. #4
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    Glad to hear it worked out. I never saw in the original post if you ever had the recalls performed for the cowl and sunroof drains. All it amounts to is snipping off the hose ends where it drains at the door jams, at least for the sunroof that is.

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    Did you bag it??

    I was able to find a used TCM for my '00 Passat V6 Tip after a minor flood. You are right, the part numbers have to be exact expecially since my car comes also in a 4 wheel drive. The old TCM was slipping into SAFE mode and gave an airbag fault light.

    If you find a TCM with default settings, then you dont need to reprogram with VAGCOM. I changed my defaut to sports mode. So in theory, if I sell my TCM to another owner, when will need to change settings back.

    I also replace my CCM which is located under the driver's footwell.

    I've double plastic bagged both units incase I get a flood again. Its in a poor spot and bad design. I need to protect my computer. My TCM was completely submerged in water. While finding a used TCM wasnt too hard, finding one 100% error free was tough. It may look nice and brand new, but there still could be water damage at one point and the junk yards cannot check for error codes. Its nothing more then a computer card inside a rust-proof box. I'm guess that 1/2 of all the TCM at junkyards had some form of water exposure. The TCM does get warm, but I dont think it gets hot.

  7. #6
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    Did you bag it??

    I was able to find a used TCM for my '00 Passat V6 Tip after a minor flood. You are right, the part numbers have to be exact expecially since my car comes also in a 4 wheel drive. The old TCM was slipping into SAFE mode and gave an airbag fault light.

    If you find a TCM with default settings, then you dont need to reprogram with VAGCOM. I changed my defaut to sports mode. So in theory, if I sell my TCM to another owner, when will need to change settings back.

    I also replace my CCM which is located under the driver's footwell.

    I've double plastic bagged both units incase I get a flood again. Its in a poor spot and bad design. I need to protect my computer. My TCM was completely submerged in water. While finding a used TCM wasnt too hard, finding one 100% error free was tough. It may look nice and brand new, but there still could be water damage at one point and the junk yards cannot check for error codes. Its nothing more then a computer card inside a rust-proof box. I'm guess that 1/2 of all the TCM at junkyards had some form of water exposure. The TCM does get warm, but I dont think it gets hot.

  8. #7
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    Afterburner: Once I figured out where the water came from, I cut the hose ends in the door jamb immediately and blew the drains out with a co2 cartridge. It would have been nice if VW had recognized this was a recall before now. They scratched their heads when I asked them about it and why it wasn't done. They're telling me that the cowl was done though. I don't know how to verify it on my own. Not sure what to look for.

    Mikel212: You know, I've been trying to figure out what I could do to prevent water from getting in there again. I didn't think about wrapping it in some kind of bag. I figured with so many smaller wires in the cable running to the TCM box, water is going to find a way in there. I've thought about siliconing the hell out of everything, wires, box, all of it. Not sure how well that would work.

    But I agree, this is a horrible design. I'm surprised VW would put such a critical component into a floor board. I mean really, the number one damage that happens to cars (all cars) is water intrusion. And the fact that these parts are over $1000 makes it even more ridiculous.

    Seems like my problems are never ending. Yesterday, the CEL came. PO411 Secondary Air Injection System. What the hell is this? I need to enroll in mechanics school. At least I could start getting paid for all the work I'm doing.

    I must say that I miss the days of my air-cooled bug. No matter what happened to that thing, I could fix it, and cheaply too. Now, the average Joe has to grab his ankles and pray he doesn't get raped by the dealer.

  9. #8
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    I double bagged it

    I first put the computer unit in a a long narrow bag (like a wonder bread bag) and wrap it including the harnest and wires all the way to the mounting clips on the side of the passenger footwell(way above the computer compartment). I then put the CPU unit in the plastic hard case, and the bag made the seal even tighter. I then put the entire hard case in a zip lock bag and electrical tapped any gaps in the opening.

    I knew that it had to survive a full water submergence. My first TCM was fully submerged in water to the point it was sloching in it. I've been lucky and kept the battery compartment clean and all drain tubes clear. I also did the same with the CCM unit located below the driver side footwell.

    I wonder if a good mod is to drill a hole at the lowest level of the computer compartment and attach a plug where it cant hold water, while preventing any water from getting in.

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    Tcm

    Hi all, trying to locate the exact position of my TCM. I have a 98 Passat and just found out it needs to be change, after reading these post sounds easy enough to do it myself and save quit a bit.

  11. #10
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    It's under the passenger side front carpet.

  12. #11
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    there is a class action lawsuit going on that involves stuff caused due to the drain problem

  13. #12
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    Related Damage:

    When you get enough water intrusion to soak the CCM or TCM, the harness going to the module will also get wet. Factory splices in the harness can corrode and fail. To inspect the harness you'll need to unwrap it and closely inspect each wire and splice. Sometimes the module itself will survive the water, but a splice in the harness will fail and cause all sorts of problems.

  14. #13
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    Are there splices in the TCM harness? I've heard plenty about the CCM harness, but not the TCM.

  15. #14
    Moderate Moderator Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PZ View Post
    Are there splices in the TCM harness? I've heard plenty about the CCM harness, but not the TCM.
    That's a good question. I don't know for sure and just assumed there were. The point of my post was to let people know to inspect the harness's before buying replacement modules they may not need.

  16. #15
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    98 Passat 1.8T auto with audi A4 engine 1.8T Trans not shifting into 5th

    I have a 98 Passat with 145,xxxx and the Audi A4 engine i placed was to replace my original with blown valves and pistons.

    When I had the original engine the issue with the LCD display not showing me the gears and not shifting into 5th and clacking happened to me for 4 months and then out of nowhere the lcd display showed the gears and the 5th gear was working but then it happened again a month before the engine went out.

    I placed a 99 Audi A4 1.8T engine with 65k my mechanic replaced the engines computer and the transmission computer,i hope.... the first week the car was running fine and the 5th gear was engaging, but then the LCD went out and the 5th is not going no more.

    Now my questions are:

    Can i disconnect the module and reconnect to see if it helps?

    Is there a way i can reprogram myself?

    can i take it to a mechanic that knows what he is doing besides VW dealer?

    Do i need a Audi A4 module?

    Just to not deal with all this crap can i replace the trans with a 6 or 5 MANUAL ?

    PLEASE HELP GUYS IM ABOUT TO BLOW THE CAR UP!

  17. #16
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    Sounds like the trans is in limp mode. You can have it scanned to see what is wrong. No need for an Audi module, it's the same as long as the part numbers match.

    As for a trans swap, it has been done by several owners on here.

  18. #17
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    Is there a certain year range I should stick with so I can replace the module???

    also i don't know how to reprogram the module, or what i have to do. I have heard something about VAGCOM, but i dont know what that is either. If it's a tool, can i buy it and do the programing myself fairly easy???


    I started my car and drove to get some food, on the way there the LCD display for the gears didnt show up and the car was doing the usual. once I came out of the food joint and started the car I noticed the LCD display came on and what's funny the car now is shifting properly and now i have my 5th gear.....what's going on? Please help because i want it fixed.
    Last edited by famous1681; 10-29-2010 at 08:09 PM. Reason: I drove my car after this post

  19. #18
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    Thank you, waborat, for your detailed description for replacing the TCM. I went through the same exact problem that you experienced, ended up installing a used TCM with the exact part number, and the car works fine now. You saved me $1300, and I greatly appreciate it.

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    Where is the TCM on a Beetle

    Does anyone know where I can locate the TCM on a Beetle. Our mechanic said that it needs a new one we have to have the product number.

  21. #20
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    Tcm discussion

    This thread is a great find. I too am stuck with a flooded tcm. Have a 2002 Passat wagon 4Motion. Currently still running with the TCM which means our gears shift with a thud. Need to find and replace with a new TCM myself, any suggestions WHERE to find one?
    And what the part number options are?
    I've heard mixed opinions as to whether I need the exact part number or not, and I don't trust the car dealership to give me any answer that doesn't help them get me into there shop to drop the $1300.

    Thanks

  22. #21
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    When this happened to me, I spoke with a VW Master Mechanic. His exact words to me were "Part numbers MUST match" no exceptions. Take it for what it's worth but why risk it?

    I was lucky enough to find my replacement TCM on E-bay. I've also found used part stores (some online) that were selling them. Junk yards have had them too. It may take some time, digging, and a lot of phone calls till you get your hands on one. But trust me, it's much easier than forking over the $1300 to VW. Good luck!

  23. #22
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    It’s too bad that we can no longer get the reimbursement from VWGoA for new TCM replacement after July 26, 2010 due to the settlement on class action lawsuit for water damage on Passat. Heck we can’t even sue the VWGoA on this issue unless you excluded yourself from the settlement before June 15, 2010. But it may still worth the try to call Customer Care of VWGoA concerning the TCM issue even though the chances of getting any help from VWoA are almost zero.

    Details on Class Action Lawsuit for Water Damage

  24. #23
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    Just replaced my TCM yesterday

    I had some bad water issues and ended up in limp mode for a month or so. It was an easy fix. Here are a few resource web pages that may help: First fix the water problems by downloading Passat P9 Recall.pdf. It looks like a sketchy download but it's not. Then to TMC Removal. I took it out, dried it up, dried the area, took a picture of the TMC so I had all the numbers and stuck it back in (still didn't work), found 5 compatible TCMs on ebay, ordered one for $195.00 with a good return policy, got it in 4 days, stuck it in and now I'm back to normal. I didn't even have to take the seat all the way out. Thank you all for posting here, you guys gave me the confidence to do it. Saved me time, money, and headaches. ~Cheers

  25. #24
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    I purchased mine off of eBay for my 2003 Passat 4Motion including a good harness Go to eBay :
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2000-...Q5fAccessories
    Don will need exact numbers off of your TCM to match it to yours...Search Passat TCM on eBay... Now finishing drying out car so I can bag it or remount below glove box instead of in Passat fish tank...Also will check all the drains and Plenum seal and drain

  26. #25
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    I replaced corroded connectors , and installed used TCM car now runs great with no codes and all gears and tiptronic works as well... Waiting for carpets to dry 100% as I now have charcoal briquets to soak up residual moisture as well as smells as I washed under carpet pads with lysol and water to prevent mold as well as sprinkled under carpets with arm and hammer and carpet cleaner powder to absorb all smells...Now have completed P9 drain tube recall and will reseal plenum and pollen filter areas to complete recall.. Printed out and submitted receipts to Class Action Law Suit Group for reimbursement of all costs to date as there is 8 Million Dollars being held in escrow for all people that were affected by this poor design from VW... Now deciding on where to remount replacement TCM as I have double bagged it to prevent moisture from ever getting into it with a few desicant packs just in case as I don't think I will reinstall under passenger side carpet... Next step is to move CCM as well from drivers side as well as double bagging and water proofing it again due to VW Poor Engineering design.......

    SITE FOR PASSAT P9 RECALL INFORMATION AND DIRECTIONS :
    http://www.mediafire.com/?ozd5fewumjm

    SITE FOR CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT MONEY RECOVERY :
    https://wateringresssettlement.com/

  27. #26
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    Just a thought as I am about to undergo the same project in a99 passat. There is no law that says because VW puit it in a stupid place, I have to put it back there. I am going to look into mounting it up under the seat. not sure I have enough slack and havent looked at it yet but I am going to drill drains or whatever it takes to keep this thing dry I have read over 200 stories of exact same problem.

  28. #27
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    pulled tcm looks dry and appears fine but if anyone has a reliable one available let me know. If you post it under the thread "dropping the pan still need help" I will immediately get an e mail notification. Part No. is 8D0 927 156 BM. I am going to pursue the solenoid for now but I would be interested in one if the price is right. I found one online for 150$ but the one I have may be better for all I know about it. ALL of the numbers on this part are exactly alike except for the very bottom # under the bottom bar code. I assume that is because each unit has to be identified individually but I am still a little nervous because everyone says it has to be identical?? The large top number is 8D0 927 156 BM
    Match: then ZF 6058 006 047. Match: next is 0 260 002 444 GS8.33.2 MATCH AGAIN: and 006 776G8508 MATCH as well!
    The bottom # on mine is Gccc29980574 then made in Germany 867 the used one is
    Gccc40981614 made in Germany869.
    ANYONE Know if this is ok?

  29. #28
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    When I pulled my pollen filter out and holder I found that when dealer did recall that they did not put an even coat of sealant around unit as well as folded sponge rubber seal over itself which allowed the water ingress....At least they pulled the drain out from under the battery... I found the replacement stick on foam as needed at my local Lowe's Home Center and they always keep it in stock : Frost King 10'L x 1/2"W Black Rubber Foam Tape Weather Strip Item #: 31951 | Model #: R930H and only paid $3.82... I double sealed both the body and pollen filter housing with hd silicone bathroom sealant as it has an anti fungal/mildew agent in it ....

    I'm now on my third refill of DampRid as you can buy refills for the tubs at Lowes ...First 2 tubs are $5.75 for the pair and really pull out all the remaining moisture that was left in the car...The refill is easy to use as you throw out the damp solid block and dump out water and refill as they sell it in a bag to refill...I also purchased some desicant packs off of eBay and placed them into first bag with TCM I then pulled rubber boot up the harness and taped the bags shut with electrical tape going all the way up the harness then slid boot back into position I am now trying to decide where to relocate the TCM and case to as I don't want to deal with this lousey design fault ever happening again...

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_2538-994-FG6...t%3Ddamp%2Brid
    Last edited by DCARNEY; 04-04-2011 at 08:40 PM. Reason: correction

  30. #29
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    A quick techie tip. If tranny problems are an overnight issue, check the TCM for water intrusion. Remove the module from the plastic case and unplug the harness. Spray electrical cleaner or brake cleaner on the contacts and blow dry. Shake any excess water out of the modume and put in an oven set at 125 deg on a tray lined with parchment. Leave it there for at least 2 hours. Reinstall and road test. This has worked for me on 2 different passat's now. I have relocated the module.

  31. #30
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    @oldmedic you give me hope. Two questions. Do you have pics of where and how you relocated tcm? And I see in your tip you set the oven to 125 degrees. You are in Canada; does that mean you are referring to Celcius? That would make the oven setting at 250 degrees Fahrenheit? My TCM might already be toast, but I don't want to fry it.

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