Trying to understand 5 speed PCM swap options
It's been about a year since I put it together, and now I'm finally getting around to cleaning up the install, part of which is deciding what to do about the PCM.
I've read countless threads on here and other forums, and am still slightly unsure of what I need to get/do. I understand that I should be able to plug in a PCM from a similar year Ram or Dakota with the 318 and manual trans, but then I also see the scores of "for some unknown reason, Chrysler PCMs seem to go bad from just sitting on the shelf", which as an electronics tech makes absolutely no sense to me. Then I read that some PCMs are married to the SKIM module, which will cause a no start condition if swapped into another vehicle, which I suspect is the reason some of these PCMs seem to go bad.
But then it also appears that '97 is the year that these SKIM computers started appearing. I'm also making the assumption that same year PCMs should be able to communicate with my existing gauges OK. So if I get a '96 PCM to match my '96 Jeep, the SKIM and gauges shouldn't be a concern to me.
But that still leaves the issue of potential cruise control problems, and factory immobilizer/alarm problems. If I lose the factory immobolizer/alarm, that's really not an issue to me. I already have other passive and active kill switches in the Jeep, and since the factory keyfobs died a long time ago, it's really more of an annoyance now. Losing cruise would kind of suck though.
Is there a way to tell which PCM I would need based on part number? Or another way to tell?
There's also another kicker for me - I would need to get whatever I get flashed with my current VIN for emissions (yep, already called the emissions dept, was told a VIN mismatch would be an instant fail). Which makes me wonder if my better option would be to send my current PCM off to some place like B&G, though I don't need any of the performance tuning done.