1998 Dodge Neon Electrical (start)

Tiny
MATTV28
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE NEON
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 160,000 MILES
I just changed my head gasket I have put everything back together and tried to start the car, the car tried to crank for only a second then nothing. Not even clicking my battery is fine. I wondered if the engine was locked up but I was able to turn the harmonic balancer and see the timing sprocket rotate as well through the grommet in the timing belt cover. Next theory was the starter. I checked it with the volt meter to see if it was getting power, and with the car turned off I picked up some voltage. So nothing else is the problem I began to look around the engine compartment and found a broken female electrical connector (ohh crap) just the plactic of the connector no wires in it. I found the male end that it connects to and its in the wiring harness near where the wires for the fuel injectors split from the harness. I couldn't find any loose wires. Cam shaft sensor wires are good all others are as well. My new theory is that that connector goes to a switch and the connector broke when I tried to start the car so the switch is stuck open whitch would explain the starter getting a charge when the key isnt in the ignition. Is there any way you can help?

if you guys are able to help me quickly I will deffinetly donate in a few weeks when I get paid but I cant right now because of having to buy parts.
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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 AT 4:35 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
TY ANDERSON
  • EXPERT
Make sure the battery terminal clamp are free of corrosion and are tight, you should not be able to move them by hand. Make sure the start electrical connections are tight also. There needs to be enough surface area on the electrical connections from the battery to the starter and the wires connected to these electrical connections.
You were able to spin the engine crankshaft over 360 degrees?
Have you tried tapping on the starter when someone else is cranking the engine?
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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 AT 4:51 PM
Tiny
MATTV28
  • MEMBER
The clamps on the battery are as tight as can be, apparently I was using the volt meter on the starter solenoid which is why I was picking up voltage. I did try having my brother start the car while I tapped on the starter. I also found where the electrical connector goes which I believe may be the crank shaft sensor the male end broke off of the sensor and bent one of the three pens(the ground) I don't have a way to go get a new sensor at the moment and the pins weren't badly damaged so I figured I would just push the female connector onto the pins just to see if it would start and still nothing.
From what I read on a bad crankshaft sensor the car wont start but will crank.(So the sensor isnt my main priority) when I try to start my car I don't get anything not crank no clicking no sound at all. Tomorrow I will take the starter off and have auto-zone test it. Ive never had a problem with my starter before but I do know the can go out without any warning at all. Is there also a chance that it could be the starter relay?
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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 AT 6:28 PM
Tiny
TY ANDERSON
  • EXPERT
Your right a defective or disconnected crankshaft sensor will allow the engine to crank over but not start.
A bad starter relay could cause a no crank condition. Turn the key on and jump the specific relay terminals or swap will another relay to see if the engine cranks over.

Do you have an aftermarket alarm system?

Check the ground wire connected from the body to the engine. I think there is one on the passenger side by the strut tower.

You should be getting battery voltage on the Red wire at the starter all the time and on the brown wire at the starter with the key turned to the start position.
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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 AT 7:08 PM
Tiny
MATTV28
  • MEMBER
Well I checked the ground you mentioned as well as others around the engineccompartment and they all look ok.
I dont have an alarm system.
I took my starter out which is easier to do by removing the intake manifold and battery tray than by removing the front motor mount(if anyone ask you in the future) plus it made it easier to inspect things. I had autozone test my starter and in comparison to a new one the sounded identical. So. I bought a new start relay I will be home in an hour or two to put the car back together and switch relays out. And I will let you know what happens. And also I really appreciate all of your help. Its really hard to troubleshoot when you dont have any outside opinions to consider so thank you very much!
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Thursday, March 27th, 2014 AT 9:39 AM
Tiny
MATTV28
  • MEMBER
Also as to the sensor I did find out that its my coolant temperature sensor I know it can effect the richness of the fuel. But to my knowledge the sensor wouldn't cause the car to not start. It would more or less cause it to run crappy and drop my mpg's so tomorrow ill be getting a new sensor but for nowi can slide the connector onto the sensor as its only the plastic on the sensor thats broke not the sensor its self.
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Thursday, March 27th, 2014 AT 10:42 AM
Tiny
TY ANDERSON
  • EXPERT
Ok, that sounds good.
There is an electrical issue within the starting system causing the engine not to crank.
Let me know about the relay.
If your experienced with a volt meter we can do some basic tests.
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Thursday, March 27th, 2014 AT 7:58 PM
Tiny
MATTV28
  • MEMBER
Sorry its taken me so long to reply some storms are causeing internet connection issues.

And the whole issue was only the relay. I put the new one in and the car fired right up.
I have a tick in the engine now. Most likely the rockers/lifters since I pulled them out when I changed the head gasket and as far as I know they dont auto adjust. But my main concern was getting the car to start witch now it does.

I broke a bolt in my valve cover when I was reinstalling it so theres an oil leak now (yay) tomorrow im goin to get a bolt from the junk yard and have a friend tap and remove the piece still in the head so I can settle the leak.

Is there anyway I would be able to adjust my rockers/lifters to fix the ticking by hand and common tools and nothing "special"?
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Thursday, March 27th, 2014 AT 8:21 PM
Tiny
TY ANDERSON
  • EXPERT
The valve lash adjusters are hydraulic and run off of engine oil. If too much oil drains out of the hydraulic lash adjuster you will need to be bleed them by hand. You'll need to remove the lash adjuster and submerge it in clean oil while pumping(squeeze the adjuster by hand until all air is removed) the adjuster. Doing this will pump out the air and suck in oil. You should not feel much travel to no travel in adjuster. If it stills feels squishy after pumping then the adjuster has failed and you will need to replace them all as a set.
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Monday, March 31st, 2014 AT 9:13 PM

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