1996 Chrysler Cirrus We need help!

Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 CHRYSLER CIRRUS
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 118,000 MILES
We just bought this car cheap hoping that it would get my wife to and from college as she is at the end of he program. Right now I am out of work and we really don't have any extra money, it was all that we could do just to buy this car.
It is a 1996 Chrysler Cirrus LX 2.5L 6cyl. With 118000 miles. When we test drove it it seemed to run fine. The only thing that we noticed was a whining noise from the engine which got louder as you accelerated. However the previous owner pointed out that one of the air inputs was missing a gasket and two bolts. He even moved it around and showed us that it made it sound better when it was in place. We figured this an easy fix and other than that it seemed fine. My father who knows a little about cars said that this wouldn't be much of an issue. Myself I am clueless for the most part.
After three days of driving the car under the same conditions as we had trouble finding the bolts we needed, the cars troubles began. The real issue is that when you first press the gas to accelerate it is sluggish and acts as if it is about to stall but doesn't. After around 30 seconds of this suddenly it would go fine like it was prior to the problem. It would accelerate up to 55 with no problem. However as soon as you stopped again the same problem happened again.
We talked to my neighbor who knows a lot about cars and he felt confident that he could correct the problem. He hooked a pocket scanner to the car and only came up with one code(air mass flow sensor). He felt strongly that we needed to replace the crank shaft position sensor after doing some research online. We did this and noticed a very small change. At that point his scanner no longer pulled that code, it now pulled three codes having to do with the throttle. This led him to believe it to be the throttle position sensor.
After the first part not affecting much I was determined to get a better idea from researching online as well. After several hours of doing so I found several different possibilities including the throttle position sensor. Also I came across information about getting codes from the check engine light which showed up 33(A/C clutch relay)(in which the air does not work and from what I found was a common error in that case) and code 24(throttle position sensor not getting correct voltage). This sold me that it must be the throttle position sensor, so we replaced it s soon as we could get the part. We noticed a big change, however the problem still remains, just not quite as bad.
Another thing I have noticed is that when I accelerate I really didn't notice it shifting gears. My neighbor said that he thought it was shifting fine. The dashboard gauges don't always work and when I drove it they were, while when he did they weren't. When I drove the RPM gauge showed a steady increase up to just about the red line driving at about 55 MPH. I am not positive if it was reading correctly, or if it was or was not shifting. It didn't really seem to shift like the other cars that I have driven.
There are a few other things that we have noticed in trying to figure out this problem. The car seems to be leaking some kind of fluid to the muffler causing smoking from it burning off, when we checked the spark plugs they were getting a spark however, we could only get to three of them, and two of them were covered with oil. Our neighbor said this meant that it needed new valve cover seals. Supposedly the person we got the car from just did this so I thought maybe he just was not able to get the oil out of the chamber and thought that it would burn off over time. Also the battery terminal only has a few threads and has to be tightened just so to stay tight, it is also a bit rusty. We planned on replacing the bolt and cleaning up the terminal today but when we went to start the car it didn't start, it just clicked. Assume the battery is low, and just needs to be jumped.
Anyway that is where we stand now, frustrated and back without a ride. Our neighbor has helped so much I hate to ask him for more help, though I am very grateful as I am sure if I had those parts put in at a shop it would have cost quite a bit. Still unless I just go with the 10-15 other things I have read it may be I am at a loss.
Hopefully someone can pinpoint the problem from what I have said. If I could give a donation I would, but we really need every penny for whatever else we need to do to get the car running. As soon as we have money to donate we will, this site is definitely deserving as it really seems to be the most helpful one out there. If anymore information is needed I will do my best to get it to you.
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Monday, May 31st, 2010 AT 1:53 PM

36 Replies

Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
Hello and thanks for donating!

So the main issue you are having seems to be with it acting sluggish, no power and intermittent stalling, correct? The first thing I see is that you never mentioned that the air intake was fixed. If there is a leak in the air intake system then it can cause a lot of issues, including the symptoms you describe. The engine needs a certain combination of fuel and air to run properly. With this leak, it is not getting the air it needs and will run poorly. I would also assume that is the reason the mass airflow (MAF) sensor code came up on the scanner. Anytime there is a leak in the intake system the MAF sensor code usually appears as a result.
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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 AT 11:47 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
We just took care of the leak Monday. We also put in a new speed output sensor and added a new ground to the computer though it is only attached with one bolt, so as soon as we can come up with another we will be putting another on.

We also put some fuel additive in, along with some additive for the transmission fluid and oil. This is where we stand now. It seeems to have helped, but still is doing the same thing. It just doesn't go if you press the pedal very much, and still seems to be staying in first gear.

When you have it in park it barely does this. It idles fine. My neighbor and I are at a loss. He is sure it has to be some sensor because when it does go it seems to run well, other than not seeming to shift.

Also now the code scanner is pulling up code 1768(transmission control module). I am hoping if this is the problem it is something as cheap and easy to replace as the other parts.

We really appreciate all the help you can give.
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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 AT 1:51 PM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
I just drove it again to see if there was any change and it seemed to be a bit worse again. Also it is shaking a little around 25. When I drove it yesterday and it seemed better it was in the morning and not too hot as it is now in FL, not sure if that means anything.

Also now the check engine light is back on flashing code 43 which I haven't looked up yet.

A friend suggested Sea Foam in the vacuum but Iam not sure how to do this? Or if it would help?
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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 AT 3:50 PM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
Code 43(misfire), came up 2 times. Guessing it has to do with the 2 spark plugs having oil on them? Planning to replace the valve cover seals and gasket, along with the intake gasket, and plug wires in the morning. Will be taking a look at the distributor too. Hopefully we are getting somewhere. When the guy sold the car to us he said he just replaced the seals, in my language that must have meant the seals need to be replaced.

The price of this car just keeps rising.
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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 AT 11:09 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi JDeese

Code 43 is a misfire code and is not conclusinve as it can be any of the 6 cylinders or combinations. An OBD-II reading would show a more accurate diagnosis of which cylinder is misfiring.

You are correct about the possibility of the cylinders having oil at the spark plugs causing the misfiring and since you have aproblem, it is best to get it resolved first to test.

As to the transmission not upshifting intermittently, when engine performance is poor, ie you have a bad misfiring, the trans would tend to not upshift or upshift very late.

Get the misfiring problem resolved and retest to see if the problem goes away.

Autozone provides free scanning services. Get them to check for you and if there are any other trouble codes, let us know the exact trouble code so we can understand the problem better.
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Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 AT 10:46 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
OK, so now we have changed the valve cover seals and gaskets, spark plug wires, and intake gasket. We went ahead and replaced the distributor and rotor as when we checked it is was obvious that it needed to be replaced. The good news is no more hesitation, and the check engine light is not on.

Unfortunately it still is not be shifting out of first gear. My neighbors OBD2 scanner is still pulling code 1768(I believe the transmission control module). It also seems to be running hot though the gauges don't show this, but the coolant is gurgling in the overflow after a short ride to be sure it was running better.

Prior to all of this it did seem that the car was shifting gears oddly. Not that it was making noise or any shaking just that it seemed to be shifting a bit much. It is kind of hard to explain as I didn't really drive it too much to see exactly what was going on, and my wife can't really explain it.

There are some quirky things going on with the lights, and the A/C switch relay. Can't imagine that they are related to the shifting though, but knowing how many sensors this thing has I don't know if there is a link somehow.

In the past I have gone through transmissions going before and they have always been very noticeable that it was a transmission problem. This really seems to be something electrical that just is not working properly. Hopefully someone has some idea as we have pretty much run out, unless we can find some other sensor that controls the transmission.

Like I said though it is accelerating good, and sounds much better now.
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Friday, June 4th, 2010 AT 1:12 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
For the coolant to be bubbling out to the recovery tank without signs of overheating, the likely cause would be a bad radiator cap.

DTC P1768 = Code 15 for 2 digit codes. Here are the diagnostic procedures.

TEST 15: RELAY OUTPUT ALWAYS OFF

1. Turn ignition on. Disconnect transmission control relay. Measure voltage between ground and fused B+ (battery positive) circuit in relay connector. If voltage is greater than 10 volts, go to next step. If voltage is not as specified, repair open in fused B+ (battery positive) circuit.

2. Turn ignition off. Measure resistance between chassis ground and ground circuit in relay connector. If resistance is less than 5 ohms, go to next step. If resistance is not as specified, repair open in transmission control relay ground circuit.

3. Turn ignition on. Connect a fused jumper wire between fused B+ (battery positive) circuit and transmission control relay output circuit in relay connector. Using scan tool, observe switched battery voltage. If voltage is greater than 10 volts, go to next step. If voltage is not as specified, go to step (7).

4. Remove jumper wire. Turn ignition off. Disconnect TCM harness connector. Measure resistance between ground and transmission control relay control circuit at TCM harness connector. If resistance is less than 5 ohms, repair transmission control relay control circuit for a short to ground. If resistance is not as specified, go to next step.

5. Measure resistance of transmission control relay control circuit between TCM harness connector and relay connector. If resistance is less than 5 ohms, go to next step. If resistance is not as specified, repair open in transmission control relay control circuit.

6. Reconnect transmission control relay. Connect a fused jumper wire between battery voltage and transmission control relay control circuit at TCM harness connector. Measure voltage between ground and transmission control relay output circuit at TCM harness connector. If voltage is greater than 3 volts, replace TCM. If voltage is not as specified, replace transmission control relay.

7. Turn ignition off. Disconnect TCM harness connector. Ensure fused jumper wire is still connected between fused B+ (battery positive) circuit and transmission control relay output circuit in relay connector. Turn ignition on. Measure voltage between ground and both transmission control relay output circuits. If voltage is greater than 10 volts at one or both terminals, replace TCM. If voltage is not as specified, repair open in appropriate transmission control relay output circuit.
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Friday, June 4th, 2010 AT 9:10 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
Okay, my neighbor says that none of this should be a problem to check. Only we don't exactly know where or what exactly we are looking for. We tried to look the TCM up on a parts site but could not find it.

Also, we are aware that there are two speed sensors and are wondering if it is possible that maybe it could have something to do with the speed input sensor; since we have already replaced the output sensor. We found that part so we know what it looks like, just don't know where to find it in the car.

So if you could let us know where the TCM is, and whether or not we should bother with the other speed sensor. If we should replace the other speed sensor we would need to know where that is as well. Thank you very much for your time.
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Friday, June 4th, 2010 AT 3:31 PM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
I found a picture of the TCM and I am pretty sure it is the computer under the hood. The ABS controller is clearly marked so I am pretty sure it is the one that I added a ground to.

We are going to go ahead and go through the steps, hoping that we don't have to replace the TCM. From what I can see it would run from $100-$300, which is getting pretty pricey after all of the rest we have done. Hopefully it is just the ground or relay.

Also after driving it a bit the check engine light still is not on. Just to check I went through the on-off-on-off-on process again, and it isn't showing any codes there. After we check it out I will let you know how it came out.
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Friday, June 4th, 2010 AT 11:30 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Here is a diagram of the TCM location.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/192750_EngineComp97CirrusFig01_1.jpg



Good luck.
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Saturday, June 5th, 2010 AT 2:15 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
It was the relay. Wow, thank goodness. That was one of the first places we looked and it was fine. I don't know but I really appreciate the help. It is running great now, like new. Hoping to sell it and make some money out of it from all that we have done.

From here we have a slight A/C issue, might be a relay too? I think we have that one covered. If not I will definitely look to 2 Car Pros, and my neighbor for help.

Thank you all greatly!
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Sunday, June 6th, 2010 AT 4:15 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
You're welcome and glad to know you have fixed the problem.

Regarding the A/C problem, if you need any help, just drop us a line and we would get back to you.

Have a nice day.
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Monday, June 7th, 2010 AT 9:31 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
Everything has been going well. Tonight the check engine light came on though, code 72(catalytic converter circuit). I am hoping this isn't something that is going to cause major problems. They don't do emission tests in my area, so that is not an issue. Could this cause any other problems with how it is running?
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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 AT 9:54 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
When the CEL turns on, the concerned sensor would be deactivated and the backup system for it is used.

For the catalytic converter it is not going to cause much problem but it might be clogged too badly to reduce the exhaust flow and this would affect the performance and fuel consumption.

Apart from that it is notn going to cause much problem.
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Thursday, June 17th, 2010 AT 10:06 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
Well it had been going good all this time until today. My wife made it almost home everything seemed fine, when the car just suddenly decellerated to a stop. It made no strange noises, when she pressed the gas nothing. Seemed as if it ran out of gas. The oil light came on despite the oil being fine. When she went to start it again it would turn over but died out after 5 seconds.

It was a very hot day today, however there was no sign of overheating. After it cooled down it started up and again seems to run fine. I drove it a bit and the only thing I noticed was when I pressed the gas really hard it hesitated a bit the first time. It was shifting fine otherwise.

After driving it a bit I let it idle in the driveway. There I noticed it sputtering occasionally very slighly. The odometer was off but came back on, the RPM gauge hasn't been working since we have had it running. The check engine light continues to show code 72, but now is also showing 31. We have already discussed 72, but I am trying to find what code 31 is. One thing I came across mentioned limp mode, but I don't know if that was a reliable source.

From what I have learned of limp mode it would not shift. We have discussed that earlier in this forum. Anyhow my wife is now pregnant and in school. Needless to say we need the car to run good for us now. Hopefully it is something simple and cheap. Maybe taking off the catalytic converter and cleaning it out? Please let us know what you think, if you can help maybe we will let you name the baby. Wish we could offer another donation.
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Thursday, July 8th, 2010 AT 6:50 PM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
My neighbor put his pocket OBD2 tester on it and it pulled two more codes. 0420 and 1768 (catalyst system efficiancy below threshold bank 1 and manufactuers transmission control). Also found on your site that check engine code 31 is (purge solenoid circuit open/or short). Looking into the purge solenoid it looks to be another sensor. If this is causing the problem I would think it would be an easy fix.

These things and the fact that it ran after cooling off have me thinking this all must have to do with the temperature. Hope all of this will give you a good idea of what the problem is.
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Thursday, July 8th, 2010 AT 8:12 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Our database site is under maintenance so I am not able to get the required information. Will get back to you once the site is ready.
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Friday, July 9th, 2010 AT 11:04 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Code 31 can mean a few different OBD II codes namely,

P0455 = Evap Leak Monitor large leak detected.
P1486 = Evap Leak Monitor pinched hose found.
P0442 = Evap Leak Monitor small leak detected.
P0441 = Evap Purge Flow Monitor failure.
P0443 = Evap Purge Solenoid Circuit.

The Obd II scanner did not show any of the codes mentioned above so it is not going to be easy.

P1768 is not found in our database. Reconfirm the code.

Ersase the codes and get a free scan done at any of your local parts stores and let me know the exact trouble codes.
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Saturday, July 10th, 2010 AT 9:07 AM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
Well unfortunately we could not get the car down to the auto parts place to have them run diagnostics. However my neighbor said the diagnostics tool he has pulls the same codes, that theirs just includes a detailed explanation of each.

My wife had tried to make her drive to and from school again. It made it there in the morning. However it stalled the same way again on the way home. I told her to find a halfway point between school and home to stop on her way home as I knew it would be hot. She didn't do this and we had to tow it home.

When she got home we left it until it cooled down around 6 or 7. Then we tried to take it to the auto parts store, but it broke down after about 2 to 5 minutes of driving. This time it stalled out differently than the other two times. It seemed to go back to hesitating to go again prior to stalling out. Then when trying to start it again it would go back to turning over and shutting right down. She let it cool down thinking we could get it home but it wouldn't make it more than a couple blocks at a time.

So today we decided we were going to get under the car and have a look at the catalytic converter. I had read about hitting it with a rubber mallet, so I tried this. I also checked under the hood and found that one of the hoses connected to what I had found to be the purge canister solenoid was cracked and disconnected from the valve in the line to check the pressure. I reconnected it assuming this had to be why the check engine light came up with the purge canister solenoid code.

I also noticed the check engine light was back on, since my neighbor wiped the last codes and figured it would just be the same codes again. However the other codes didn't even come up. This time code 51 came up (oxygen sensor running lean). My neighbor also ran a diagnostic check and his code reader pulled up 0171, which I haven't checked yet.

Anyhow that is where we stand, not sure what to do next. Someone told me to drill holes in the catalytic converter and back further in the exhaust to check the pressure. Not sure if it is something I can do or not. Anyway any further information would be appreciated as I am continuing to learn more about the car and find the solution.

By the way for anyone wondering where the purge canister solenoid is it is right next to the distributor cap, below the steering fluid reservoir. It has to hoses and a plug going into it.
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Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 6:00 PM
Tiny
JDEESE
  • MEMBER
Well unfortunately we could not get the car down to the auto parts place to have them run diagnostics. However my neighbor said the diagnostics tool he has pulls the same codes, that theirs just includes a detailed explanation of each.

My wife had tried to make her drive to and from school again. It made it there in the morning. However it stalled the same way again on the way home. I told her to find a halfway point between school and home to stop on her way home as I knew it would be hot. She didn't do this and we had to tow it home.

When she got home we left it until it cooled down around 6 or 7. Then we tried to take it to the auto parts store, but it broke down after about 2 to 5 minutes of driving. This time it stalled out differently than the other two times. It seemed to go back to hesitating to go again prior to stalling out. Then when trying to start it again it would go back to turning over and shutting right down. She let it cool down thinking we could get it home but it wouldn't make it more than a couple blocks at a time.

So today we decided we were going to get under the car and have a look at the catalytic converter. I had read about hitting it with a rubber mallet, so I tried this. I also checked under the hood and found that one of the hoses connected to what I had found to be the purge canister solenoid was cracked and disconnected from the valve in the line to check the pressure. I reconnected it assuming this had to be why the check engine light came up with the purge canister solenoid code.

I also noticed the check engine light was back on, since my neighbor wiped the last codes and figured it would just be the same codes again. However the other codes didn't even come up. This time code 51 came up (oxygen sensor running lean). My neighbor also ran a diagnostic check and his code reader pulled up 0171(system running to lean).

Anyhow that is where we stand, not sure what to do next. Someone told me to drill holes in the catalytic converter and back further in the exhaust to check the pressure. Not sure if it is something I can do or not. Anyway any further information would be appreciated as I am continuing to learn more about the car and find the solution.

By the way for anyone wondering where the purge canister solenoid is it is right next to the distributor cap, below the steering fluid reservoir. It has to hoses and a plug going into it.
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Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 6:02 PM

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