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Old 05-01-2021, 09:43 PM   #1
stlmusic
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

I'll try to make this brief.... I have a 2003 VUE 3.0L with 325,xxx miles (original owner) Last week while driving my security light started randomly flashing. I noticed my interior and dash light, if manual turned on, also turn on and off with the flashing security light. Sometimes the gauges will also drop down for a few seconds. The "check engine" and "service" light will also turn on and off. There are no stored codes. All exterior lights are unaffected and the car runs fine. When the car is cold it is fine. Then after a bit of running the BCM starts freaking out with those lights. If I turn the car off, the interior lights continue to flash. Once the car sits for a while it goes back to normal. If I attempt to set the alarm too soon after turning the car off, the alarm will get triggered. If I wait long enough, I can set the alarm and it can sit for days and never go off.

I opened the BCM looking for something obvious or hope to maybe spot a cold solder joint. Some of the chips had a wavy appearance on the top like a coating started to melt. Otherwise everything looked fine. Couldn't cause or stop the problem with wire movement tests. Never felt any warmth from the BCM.

I checked the powers and ground at the BCM hoping to see it losing power but it was steady at around 14.1. I checked it with a meter and not a source that would draw some amps so there is always a possibility there is a power issue but it's looks unlikely. All wiring and pins look new.

One more thing has happened and this one has me puzzled. Two different times when this was happening, I turned off the car for a few minutes. When I restarted, I didn't have power steering for a few seconds before it started working. As far as I can tell from looking at electrical schematics, the steering is in no way part of the BCM. They don't share power, grounds, or circuits. Could be just a coincidence but if there is a connection, I don't have the knowledge to determine if it's related.

A local shop says they can program a new BCM for $150. The new BCM from rockauto is $230 for GM part. Should I shoot the parts cannon at this or is there something I'm missing or could test?
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:14 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

Search past threads about bcm issues, buying used ones from donor Vues, performing the 30 minute relearn procedure to 'marry' the bcm to ecm, and losing remotes. Remotes must be programmed to bcm by dealer, locksmith, repair shop or diyer with an aftermarket scan tool. Mileage is retained in bcm memory and cannot be altered despite members claiming so. None have reported successfully altering used bcm mileage.

Used BCMs are cheaper than new with programming costs. Your choice.


Your descriptions does seem to point to bcm issues. To eliminate other possibilities, power is crucial to electronics so it might be wise to address main power and distribution; battery, battery cables, their connections, alternator output and drive belt. Examine everything related to main power. Standby battery voltage should be 12.5 volts. Engine idling voltage should be between 14-15 volts. If in doubt about your battery, have it tested by any auto parts store selling car batteries as they should have free battery testing whether in car or on bench. Engine idling voltage below 12.5 volts points to drive belt, belt tensioner, alternator or wiring. Battery cables should be clean, free of corrosion or powdery residue from venting battery acid drying out. Two main grounds, battery to chassis and chassis to engine block.

Some threads cover repeated issues of water intrusion into wiring, creating corrosion in connections by the door sills or foot well areas.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:04 PM   #3
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

03 vue..had the key in ignition beeper wouldn't stop...had to disconnect the battery or it
would run down overnight. Place I bought the car said a new bcm was around 250$ and a few bucks to install.
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Old 05-24-2021, 09:56 PM   #4
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

Can anyone recommend a good inexpensive scope to monitor CAN lines? My light and gages are now bad all the time. I've tested all powers and grounds but don't have the tools to check the network which I know is dropping but I'm not sure if it's the BCM or a bad connection on the network. The power steering went out completely tonight. I've had this happen for a few seconds on startup but it always started working. It could be a completely separate issue but it's interesting that these issue almost started at the same time. The only thing steering and the BCM have in common is they are modules that communicate. The BCM has no control over the electric power steering. A bad BCM could be knocking the network down but a bad CAN line could possibly cause these issues. Other functions of the BCM seem to be fine. Car starts and runs. No security lockout even though the security light flashes.

I have a new BCM but I want to do more checking before taking the car to a shop to have the new BCM programed. I'll feel really bad if a new BCM doesn't fix the problem and I overlooked something obvious.
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Old 06-04-2021, 12:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

I have successfully replaced instrument cluster in '03 Vue 6 cyl, 3.0 L (I think) and while I have the dash opened up, I want to pull the BCM to visually inspect the circuit board for problems before I put it back together. Used instrument cluster from e-bay fixed my odometer problem - but still no fuel gauge and battery light comes on almost all the time now. (Alternator has a clutch controlled by BCM? Or alternator is gone? I have to charge battery every night to get to town and back.)

Anyway, I can get one side of BCM to pop out at a time, by pressing down on the module and pulling toward me, but can't get whole module to slide out. It seems that when I get one side out, it puts the module on an angle and a bind, and other catch won't release.

Clues? Pointers?
Thanks for your time and consideration
Jim
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Old 06-04-2021, 12:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

Kind of hijacking my thread. but oh well.....

The alternator is not controlled by a clutch. You might be confusing the AC compressor with the alternator.

The BCM can be tricky to remove. Once one side is free, you have to try and keep the BCM as straight as possible. This means getting the one free side to almost lock back in place. You have to use a good bit of force to free the locked side. You might find you are going back and forth. Freeing one side while the other side locks back in place. Patience and persistence will get it. Don't force or you can break the tabs. Sounds like you shouldn't be messing with the BCM at the moment. You have a bigger issue.

If you have a battery light you have an electrical charging issue. You need to see if you are getting a charging voltage at the battery. There are a ton of other checks to do that can narrow down the issue. Testing for A/C on charging circuit (under 50 mv), voltage drop, grounds, etc. You need to getting the charging/electrical system working before dealing with any other issues.

Don't be surprised if your alternator needs to be replaced and also don't be surprised if the replacement alternator is also bad. I had three bad alternators in a row from Advance Auto. Went to NAPA and the first one they gave my was frozen. Fortunately I noticed this before I went to install it. The next one they gave me was fine and has been working for the last few years. If you're planning on keeping the car for a while, might be worth it to spend the money for an new OEM if you can find one. I don't think this alternator was used on many models which makes them hard to find.
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Old 06-04-2021, 12:39 PM   #7
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

On a note about my issue, I discovered the CAN lines are not accessible through the diagnostic port. There is a data line but not the high and low CAN's. I was able to see the network at the BCM. The power out to the lights is dropping to 0 volts and flashes back and forth between full voltage and no voltage. That explains the lights but there are other issues that can be attributed to a bad BCM. Powers and grounds to the BCM and solid.

I noted that this all started as soon as we had a warm day and on mornings when it was cold, the issue took a while to show itself. Since it's been warm all day and night, the problem is even worse. I tested this by turning on the car where the lights and alarms were going nuts from the moment the key was turned. I removed the BCM for a about 30 minutes and reinstalled. Same issues. I removed the BCM again but this time placed it in my freezer for 10 minutes and the refrigerator for the next 20. Then I reinstalled and the BCM and the car was perfect for 5 or more minutes before it started acting up. Probably a cold solder joint on the board or within a chip. I can't find it and already have a new BCM ready to go. Just need to get it programmed. Just thought this was an interesting test to confirm it's a problem with the BCM and not some shorting wire bringing down the network.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:52 AM   #8
burnt orange
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

The ignition key beeper went south on mine. Wouldn't stop...would run the

battery down if left alone..Had the bcm replcd by a real small town ripoff

artist. I won't say the final bill, too embarrassed. However just make sure

where ever you take it they have an onsite computer guy..and don't have to

bring one in to install new software in the bcm.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:56 PM   #9
stlmusic
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

The shop where I'm going to take mine has their own programming machine. It's $150 to program a new BCM. I'm trying to save myself some labor by having everything removed so the BCM can be accessed immediately.
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Should my next step be replacing the BCM?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlmusic View Post
Kind of hijacking my thread. but oh well.....

The alternator is not controlled by a clutch. You might be confusing the AC compressor with the alternator.

The BCM can be tricky to remove. Once one side is free, you have to try and keep the BCM as straight as possible. This means getting the one free side to almost lock back in place. You have to use a good bit of force to free the locked side. You might find you are going back and forth. Freeing one side while the other side locks back in place. Patience and persistence will get it. Don't force or you can break the tabs. Sounds like you shouldn't be messing with the BCM at the moment. You have a bigger issue.

If you have a battery light you have an electrical charging issue. You need to see if you are getting a charging voltage at the battery. There are a ton of other checks to do that can narrow down the issue. Testing for A/C on charging circuit (under 50 mv), voltage drop, grounds, etc. You need to getting the charging/electrical system working before dealing with any other issues.

Don't be surprised if your alternator needs to be replaced and also don't be surprised if the replacement alternator is also bad. I had three bad alternators in a row from Advance Auto. Went to NAPA and the first one they gave my was frozen. Fortunately I noticed this before I went to install it. The next one they gave me was fine and has been working for the last few years. If you're planning on keeping the car for a while, might be worth it to spend the money for an new OEM if you can find one. I don't think this alternator was used on many models which makes them hard to find.
Thanks so much, STLMUSIC! Apologies for hijacking your thread. The reason(s) I want to look at the circuit board in the BCM is I have watched a couple of Youtube videos where it was causing a lot of downstream problems. In one, the Vue intermittently wouldn't start and the precursor to that was the fuel gauge would drop to zero. My fuel gauge hasn't worked since I bought the Vue a few years ago. Was just going on MPG estimates - why I had to replace the Instrument Cluster when my odometer crapped out. Youtuber found damage on the circuit board - heat warping and other problems. Replaced the BCM and all better.

The other main reason is seen in the attached schematic. It looks like the PCM (I have the 6 banger 3.5L) is "managing" the field coils in the alternator - turning them on and off - maybe to save load on the engine/increase mileage??? Prevent overcharging? Dunno. The PCM passes some connections to the BCM which then turns on the not charging indicator LED.

I have a cheap Chinese Hall Effect current sensor on the negative lead from the battery, and indeed it and voltmeter confirm no charging of the battery. The light went off and current and voltage showed charging ONCE during testing but only for a few seconds.

My concern is that the alternator is OK and the PCM or BCM is turning off the field coils and shutting it down. So I want to take a look at that circuit board before I spring for new alternator. Going to see if I can bribe junk yard mechanic/tech with a case of beer to come and show me how to get the GD BCM out. Your approach is correct I think, but as soon as I start working on the locked side, the unlocked side pops back in. Frustration City.

Thanks again. I'll read the rest of your thread now to see what you decided to do.
Cheers!
Jim
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File Type: jpg Battery Switch & Current Sensor.jpg (99.7 KB, 9 views)
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