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Old 24 Jan 2011, 11:36 am
rose's Avatar
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Default Front Control Module?

I have a 2006 Signature Series. I truly love my car.

I went through the car wash and the tail lights blew out. Actually, one was burned out, the other shattered. My brother cleaned the connectors and put in new bulbs. I now have tail lights, but no brake lights (third one works). He checked fuses and swapped out the brake light switch. No dice. So I took it the dealer.

The dealer ran some diagnostics and says that it's the "front control module." The part alone is $800. I'm thinking he probably really means it's the TIPM. He is telling me that the brake lights are now working, but there is something faulty in the "front control module" so he can't guarantee how long they will work.

Is it possible for them to run diagnostics and have the brake lights working again? This sounds highly suspicious to me but I don't know that much about cars.

I'm guesstimating, with labor, that it will be in the $1000 range for this repair, so I am wondering if my suspicions are founded and if that's what the going price is for this fix.

Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by rose; 24 Jan 2011 at 11:37 am. Reason: I hate misspellings. :)
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

As far as I know, the bake lights are purely mechanical - not computer-controlled in any way. You don't even need the key in - just push pedal and lights come on - at least on my '05. If I were you, I'd say no thank you, and if problem comes up again, go to another place for a second opinion.
What about the third bake light? Did that come on? I've read of moisture getting in the 2 side brake lights and causing bulbs to pop and causing corrosion. That can't happen to the 3rd light, as it's inside under glass. New complete brake/turn signal housings are about $50 each. The lights are easy to remove - a single Torqx screw (a phillips can work) at the base, pull up on bottom, and there are clips on the sides. Unplug and examine the seams in the plastic for splits/leaks and coat with silicone caulking as needed (clear). Look at the bulb sockets for corrosion - if corroded, new housings may be the way to go.
I'm thinking the "module" may be the fuse block under the hood - suspect dealer replaced a fuse, because I believe the tail and brake lights are fused separate.

Just re-read and see the third light worked, so switch had to be good, and fuse had to be good. HAve your brother take the bulbs out again and look at the sockets - if they're corroded, water is getting in. How are the gaskets (rubber rings) around sockets? A car wash has high-pressure spray that can come from underneath, too. No offense intended, but sure brother put in right bulbs? There are 2 that fit - one has only one filament, you need bulbs with 2 filaments.
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Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles

Last edited by quicksilverdon; 24 Jan 2011 at 12:59 pm. Reason: reading comprehension lapse
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

If the guy doesn't know the difference between FCM and TIPM, then I'd not listen to what he has to say. Have you tested the brake light position at the plug to see if you are getting voltage on it when the brakes are pressed? I have a cheapo $6 voltmeter I got from ebay that has a peak hold function, I connect up and go inside, hit the brake, go back and look at the peak reading to see what the voltage is. Had similar problems but with LED tail lights. Ended up being the actual light itself, sounds like your's is something else.

Did the TIPM get wet while in the car wash? I would be surprised if the entire thing went out. Now there's another member here who was just mention he found a junked '06, might be cheaper to see if he can pull the TIPM from that '06 and get it to you. His thread is here.

Now I'm assuming since the name is Rose that this is a lady we're talking with, and you may not be really mechanically inclined. I'd have your bro look at your TIPM in case the guy at the stealership left anything behind to help it out on it's journey to notworkingville. I mean I never put anything past those guys. And Don obviously types faster than me and his suggestion works well too.

Now when I pulled my tail lights, they had condensation in them somehow, and one of the reasons may have been the openings below the tail light housing. I used some silver tape and closed those off, leaving weep holes in case fluid does get in there, but have not had any problems since. If you are interested, I did take pictures and can post them here if that will help.

Last edited by Chromenut; 24 Jan 2011 at 12:52 pm.
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

By the way, that's a nice, sexy PT!!!
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 02:18 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

Thanks so much for your responses.

quicksilverdon: Yes, the third brake light works.

Chromenut: I'll show your post to my brother and see if he can do it. I would like to get some chromed-up tail lights for my car and I would love to see pics of your fix for the opening beneath the tail light housing. And yes, I'm a lady -- thanks for the compliment on my car. I see you have a convertible. I may have to buy another Cruiser...

Interestingly enough, I just got the car back with the estimate sheet. It says the mechanic reset the front control module and it's now working but should be replaced at a cost of $530 (plus $75 labor). When he called me, he said it would be $800 and labor. That's quite a price drop! I called another dealer and he said $315 for the same part (if that's what's actually wrong with it). Sheesh!
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 05:34 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

The rear tail lights come out almost too easily. One screw holds them in, plus some cheapo metal tabs. When you pull one, you immediately see the big gaping hole. Bigger on the passenger side than on the driver's side. So I bought some foil tape from Lowe's hardware and taped most of it up, leaving a few openings around the edge for air to move around and any moisture to dry.



A friend of mine has a vanilla PT 2005 convertible, and she's got these tail lights on it, they look so nice on her car:



The photo was with them on my car, I traded those out to go darker, went with these instead:

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Old 24 Jan 2011, 06:07 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

Thank you so much for the pics. It looks like an easy fix. My brother showed me how to take the tail lights off (very easy). I live near a Lowe's so I'm going to pick up some of that tape and do what you've done.

I think those dark lights truly compliment your car -- they accent the rag top! Nice wheels, too. Are the flames around the wheel wells custom paint?

I have to decide which tail lights to get. Decisions, decisions.
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 06:54 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rose View Post
Thank you so much for the pics. It looks like an easy fix. My brother showed me how to take the tail lights off (very easy). I live near a Lowe's so I'm going to pick up some of that tape and do what you've done.

I think those dark lights truly compliment your car -- they accent the rag top! Nice wheels, too. Are the flames around the wheel wells custom paint?

I have to decide which tail lights to get. Decisions, decisions.
but believe it or not, he still has the black wipers, i don't get it. lol im just messing with you Chrome, you know i lah you man.
rose, your baby is a beauty. i would say welcome to the site, but your profile says you've been a member since march 2010.
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 07:02 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

Thanks, Gkid. I joined not long after I got my car. I lurk and dream about all of the cool mods I might make to it. It's inspiring around here.
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Old 24 Jan 2011, 07:02 pm
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Default Re: Front Control Module?

By the way, East of Eden is my favorite movie. James Dean was awesome!
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