FLASH Archives - Transmission Digest
Fix in a Flash

Occasionally, we find the problem to lie outside the transmission/transaxle, in such parts as the MLPS (manual-lever position sensor), TPS (throttle-position sensor) or MAP (manifold-air-pressure) sensor, to name a few. Though it’s rare, even the computers/modules (such as the vehicle control module (VCM), transmission control module (TCM), powertrain control module (PCM) or engine control module (ECM)) fail from time to time. We have become accustomed to troubleshooting these systems, and although they are becoming somewhat routine, we all know that we run into some problems that “push” you. They either push you into being a better technician or push you closer to finding a different occupation.

To Flash or Not to Flash

At this point, everyone is familiar with the fact that most 1996 and later GM vehicles are equipped with computers that must be programmed (flashed) in order for the vehicle to operate properly.

What some technicians may not be familiar with is the fact that earlier GM vehicles were equipped with PCMs that are also flashable. As a matter of fact, you could have a GM vehicle as early as the 1993 model year that is equipped with a flashable PCM. This is mostly because GM was the pioneer in developing the EEPROM and the programmable process.