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96 Neon lurching while driving

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New User

Aug 6, 2015, 8:32 PM

Post #1 of 4 (1119 views)
96 Neon lurching while driving Sign In

Hey everyone. I've got a problem with a 96 Plymouth Neon (base, 2.0). We replaced the radiator and the spark plugs/wires a few months ago, and a couple of weeks later, she started lurching and jerking forward when we drive between 55-60 mph. She doesn't do it all the time, seems to do it randomly. Sometimes she only jerks once, others a few times in a row. We had the transmission checked and were told there was no issue. We had codes checked, and were told O2 updraft sensor and EGR valve. Last week, she lurched once and shut off after driving her 5 miles. We let her sit for a few minutes and she cranked and drove perfectly. The next day we put in a new O2 sensor. We thought all was good, then yesterday she lurched and cut off again, after 5 miles, in the exact same place. (Both times happened after very heavy rain the previous day, but probably a coincidence.) Again, she cranked and drove fine. We had the battery and alternator checked. The alternator is fine, and the battery was at 78%. The guy said there might be a short in a wire drawing on the battery, but that it wouldn't cause this problem. Today, she jerked again a few times after driving her for a few hours, so I guess the O2 sensor didn't fix the problem. We have no idea what is causing this, and could really use you guy's help! We can't afford a visit to the shop, and this is our only car. We've bought parts and fixed everything ourselves, but we definitely are not mechanics. Thanks for any help you can give!

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Aug 7, 2015, 4:33 AM

Post #2 of 4 (1106 views)
Re: 96 Neon lurching while driving Sign In

You got yourself one of the hardest problems to troubleshoot. Something is causing the engine to shut off, but it goes away just as quickly as it appeared. The only way I know of successfully diagnosing this without guessing is to monitor each system and duplicate the concern. You need some high tech tools to monitor these systems, such as a multi channel labscope, scan tool, and service information. The first step is to do a visual inspection and scan for codes. You stated you had codes, but what are the code numbers? Sometimes the codes may be related to the stall, and other times it's more than one issue. Most DIY don't have the expirience, tooling, and knowledge to troubleshoot intermittent driveability issues, so you may have no choice but to take it to a professional. That is unless you don't mind spending money and time playing the guessing game of swaptronics.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Aug 7, 2015, 4:36 AM)

New User

Aug 7, 2015, 9:27 AM

Post #3 of 4 (1098 views)
Re: 96 Neon lurching while driving Sign In

Thanks for your reply. I do not know what the actual code numbers are. We took it to the auto parts store to have it looked at, so they just told us what the codes meant to us. We have successfully done it ourselves so far, but I feared we weren't going to be able to with this one. We are taking it to have the battery charged and the codes wiped out and read again today (since we changed the O2) so I will post this evening and let you know what the exact codes are. I know what you mean about a guessing game, we are constantly coming up empty-handed. But at least we know the things that DO work! I will post back tonight with the current codes. Thanks!

New User

Aug 9, 2015, 12:41 PM

Post #4 of 4 (1057 views)
Re: 96 Neon lurching while driving Sign In

I am so sorry for not getting back the other night. We have had a very hectic few days. However, we did get the codes read Friday. The O2 sensor code is no longer coming up, so it seems we have really fixed the O2 sensor. The code coming up now is P0401, which we were told has to do with the EGR valve. We were told by the man at Advance that it could be bad gas clogging the valve. He said to put premium gas in and put in a fuel cleaner to see if that helps. He wants us to bring her back in a week to see if the jerking has stopped, and if it has, to see if the code is gone. He says it could possibly be a dirty EGR valve. We put premium gas and a fuel cleaner in, and that same night she was jerking, but we still had half of a tank of regular gas. Yesterday, she jerked a couple of times first thing in the morning, but we drove her over 150 miles yesterday, and the only time she jerked was that morning. However, as I said, it seems very random. I am certainly not ready to say the gas helped or fixed it after just one day of driving. Hope you can take some more info from the code. Thanks so much for your reply, and I'm sorry it took so long to get back to you. Thanks.

(This post was edited by hugaporcupine on Aug 9, 2015, 12:48 PM)

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