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'04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help


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Feb 14, 2011, 9:20 PM

Post #1 of 8 (1121 views)
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While driving my '04 Neon SXT yesterday doing about 60mph, my car suddenly (with no check lights, strange sounds, or overheating) lost all power, RPMs went flat, and my tranny (auto) seemed to downshift on it's own. The car lurched forward and the tranny wound up and came down with the speed, like if you were in a 5-speed in 5th gear and shifted down to second going too fast. So I got it over on the side of the road, and although all the accessories work fine, nothing happens under the hood when you turn the key. No starter, no fuel pump engaging, nothing. The battery is fine, the fuses are fine, the fusible links between the batt, starter, and alt had perfect continuity, unplugging the MAP sensor did nothing, and the relays in the fuse box looked fine. Borrowed an OBD II, but apparently the OBD port in my car doesn't work because the OBD doesn't register a connection. Tried it on my cousin's car and it linked right up. By the way my neon is a front end salvage, which is why I wasn't surprised that the OBD port doesn't work. Anyone have any idea what could be going on? I've explained this to every auto-guy I know and everyone's stumped.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 15, 2011, 1:46 AM

Post #2 of 8 (1105 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

Battery cable connections must be known good at both ends. Does the trigger wire for starter have power when asked to start/crank (caution as with a standard especially if not known in neutral it could start just playing to test for that) - if no power to trigger wire it could be the clutch safety switch disallowing power to starter but that doesn't explain it dying out on you once running.

A salvage vehicle if that's what you meant you can expect some strange problems. To me that means the vehicle was damaged beyond it's worth but was fixed up anyway and probably has a host of wiring problems still to fix as you said OBD connector doesn't even work,

T
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Long retired now


icon_xof
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Feb 15, 2011, 4:05 PM

Post #3 of 8 (1093 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

Got it! When I checked the fuses last night, I used a bulb tester, and only paid special attention to the fuses dealing with the ignition system. On a hunch, I decided to double check the ASR and fuse again. ASR had continuity where it should and didn't where it wasn't supposed to. Checked the fuse with my multimeter this time and got mixed voltages from the top posts. Pulled it and low-and-behold, when it blew, the molten filament fell towards the opposite post and made a short. There was just enough current to light up the test bulb, but not enough to work. Switched it out and it started right up! Only thing is, now my power steering pump is squawking. I went to pull it up from the yard to my parking spot by the garage, and there was no power steering. Checked the fluid and it was low, so I topped it off and now I have PS, but with a lot of noise. But I can deal with having the PS pump changed. Now I just gotta figure out what caused the fuse to blow. I found a post from a guy who was having the same problem, but his must have had a different cause because he fixed it by grounding the 87 post of his ASR. I mention that because he said once he could start it, the OBD II would link with his car. So I guess I'm off to AutoZone to get it again and see if it'll tell me whats going on.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 15, 2011, 5:28 PM

Post #4 of 8 (1089 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

Power steering: If found low which could be the cause of it to fail you need to know where it's leaking and it may not be leaking at the pump which if noisy now full most likely does have to go,

T
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Long retired now


icon_xof
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Feb 15, 2011, 8:08 PM

Post #5 of 8 (1084 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

Topped off the power steering fluid and it works fine again. Must be a slow leak somewhere, but I'll figure that out when I do my tune up. Scanned my car with an OBD II to see if I could figure out why the ASR fuse went, but it came back with no codes. I guess for now I'll count it as moisture or some other random fluke. Thanks for the replies. If something else related to this goes wrong, I'll post it here in case some other unlucky person has to go through this.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 15, 2011, 8:57 PM

Post #6 of 8 (1080 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

Do look for that leak as you may be ok while it's full but if it keeps dropping and needs more that isn't right. Could be either pressure or return hose to rack or the rack itself with boots hold a small amount now so unseen.

Keep PS fluid with you for now. Most cars ATF is fine for PS fluid. If everything is now fine with it full and leak is slow enough there's only one trick if it the rack seals that might work and that's "Trans-X" but you only put an ounce in and it can take time. I'm not a believer in magic in bottle fixes but that product clearly works some of the time. 99% of the snake oils are junk or make things worse so don't go for them.

Good luck finding the leak. Sooner or later if it's using fluid it will show itself,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


icon_xof
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Feb 16, 2011, 11:17 PM

Post #7 of 8 (1072 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

Thanks for the info. I got a new thing of PS fluid today when I did my tune up and stuck it in the trunk just in case. I'll check it again in a few days, if it's lower than where I filled it, I'll put in an ounce of the stuff you mentioned. If it keeps up I'll hunt down the leak. Thanks again for the replies. Have a good one!


icon_xof
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Mar 12, 2011, 11:25 PM

Post #8 of 8 (1035 views)
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Re: '04 Neon died and won't start, everyone stumped, please help [In reply to] Sign In

I found it. According to the diagrams in my Haynes manual, the only things directly wired to the ASD besides the fuse are the PCM and the Alternator. The ASD interacts with everything else via the PCM. So I started at the Alternator and traced the wires up to the PCM and I found where the short was. The loom with the alternator wire in it had been pinched against the front of the tranny when the previous owner wrecked it. The shop that fixed it must have missed it. So I opened the loom, then spliced, soldered, and taped the damaged wires, and now it's all good =] Thanks anyway.




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