Charging problem

Tiny
PMK222
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE NEON
We recently had a friend repair this vehicle. He replaced all the gaskets, because they were leaking, replaced the thermostat, water pump, oil sending unit, the computer and new battery connectors and a new alternator. The problem that the car now has is it will drive down the street, then just shut off. Sometimes it will be okay for a week and sometimes a few minutes. We have changed all these things and do not know what else to do. We took it to a battery shop also, and they said it was the corrosion on the terminals and cleaned them up, which worked for a week, then we replaced the alternator, since it was reading a very very low charge. Any suggestions? The car has 53,000 miles it is my daughters car and she has owned it since new. It has a DOHC engine.
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Thursday, April 12th, 2007 AT 11:03 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
STRATUS98
  • MEMBER
Corrosion on the battery cables, loose/corroded grounds.
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Saturday, April 14th, 2007 AT 3:06 PM
Tiny
JAMIECONWAY88
  • MEMBER
Check all the connectors. The battery cables and all the other wiring connections should all be clean and tight. With pin and sleeve type connections, where a blade inserts into socket, like in the multi pin connectors, the pin, or blade, needs to fit into the socket very snugly to make a good connection.
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Monday, December 25th, 2017 AT 1:29 AM
Tiny
PATENTED_REPAIR_PRO
  • EXPERT
I see the alternator charging cable actually goes to the starter and then from there it continues up to the battery positive post. There is also a fusible link on that cable from the alternator to the starter.
Now, if the battery terminals were corroded, chances are that that corrosion has spread, that is what it does and it will spread where you cannot see it, inside the insulation of wires/cables. Take a razor or sharp knife and at each end of the battery positive and negative battery cables, plus the cable in between the alternator and starter, cut a slit lengthwise at the end of the insulation about two inches long, then peel it open and look to see if it is corroded. Corrosion will turn copper wire and greenish color, so if you find any greenish color at all on any wire/cable, replace that entire wire/cable cause most likely that corrosion has made its way along the inside of that insulation and could possibly ruin that entire wire/cable.
Then after you find any corrosion and replace any wire/cable, have the charging system tested again and at 2,000 rpm in park it should put out at least fourteen volts or so.
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Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 AT 3:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hold on a minute. Nothing you have said so far indicates there is a charging system problem. There is no way you would drive for a week if the charging system was gone. At most, you would get an hour if the heater fan and head lights were never used.

You can have an intermittently-bad charging system when the alternator's brushes are worn and making intermittent contact, but that does not last long before the failure becomes permanent. The brush assemblies on Chrysler alternators are pretty easy to replace, but you already took care of that possibility with a replacement alternator.

The first thing you need to do is verify the charging system is working properly. With the engine running, use an inexpensive digital voltmeter to measure the battery's voltage. You must find between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. If the charging system is not charging, you will find 12.6 volts or less.

The next step is to read and record any diagnostic fault codes, but in this case, they were all erased when the battery was disconnected, so all that valuable information was lost. To add to the misery, fault codes for the two best suspects often do not set just from cranking the engine. They set while a stalled engine is coasting to a stop. That means do not assume anything about these two sensors just because there is no fault code related to them.

Those sensors are the crankshaft position sensor and the camshaft position sensor. Either one can fail intermittently, and that will cause engine stalling. In this application, the camshaft position sensor is the most common suspect.

You also did not say what it takes to get the engine restarted, and how long that takes. Cam and crank sensors often fail by becoming heat-sensitive, then they work again after cooling down for about an hour. The most common scenario is the engine runs fine, but then will not restart right after a short stop, as in when stopping for gas. While driving, natural air flow keeps the sensors cool. When a hot engine is stopped, "hot soak" allows engine heat to migrate up to the sensors, causing them to fail. An hour to cool down and start working gain is usually enough time.
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Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 AT 3:32 PM
Tiny
PATENTED_REPAIR_PRO
  • EXPERT
Caradiodoc, he said "we replaced the alternator, since it was reading a very very low charge".
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Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 AT 3:48 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That is like saying "I am in pain". That does not say anything useful. If the charging system really is not charging, there would be a whole pile of different symptoms and observations beyond just sudden stalling.
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Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 AT 6:03 PM

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