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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So - I have a 2008 R/T AWD, with 210K miles. Never had a starting problem. Last week, my wife did some errands, and parked out front. I went to move the car later, and it would not crank - no click, nothing. Dash indicators came on as normal, but one thing was odd - all the transmission position indicators were lit up, and this is not normally seen. I had no idea what the problem was, and let the car sit for a bit. Later, just for fun, I tried the remote start, and it fired right up, so I moved the car. The next morning, wife went out to go to the gym. Car wouldn't start. I got in and when I went to try starting, I got the rapid click/buzz of a low battery! I had measured the battery the day before and it was good, so what the?? I also got a low battery warning light. Checking the battery showed about 9.5 volts with car off. OK, bad battery (I thought) so I got a new one. I also put new batteries in both key fobs. Car fired right up! One thing I noticed right away - the driver side window was not working correctly. If I used the 'AUTO' function, it would go all the way up, then immediately reverse to half open. Looking online, I found a suggested "pinch reset" process - no good. I found that if I carefully lifted the window switch to the first notch, it would go up and stay up. I drove to an appointment, and when leaving that appointment about 1/2 hour later, I started the car, but I noticed a hesitation when I turned to the cranking position - about 1/2 second or so. Hmmmm.... I put the car into reverse, and it went in with a very noticeable "bang". I backed out, put into 'D' - same loud engagement sound. I gingerly drove out of the parking lot, and as I went down the street, I realized that the trans wasn't shifting. Moving the shift lever into manual had no effect. I finally pulled off into a parking lot, and plugged in my code reader. It indicated NO codes - but I pressed the "clear codes" anyway. After that I re-started the car, and it ran and shifted normally.
Today, we drove home from church, and I wanted to show my wife the odd behavior of the driver side window, and in the process, as I turned the key on, I saw that the shift indicators were all lit up! Sure enough, the car would not start. So, I opened the hood, pulled off the battery negative cable, let it sit for about 30 seconds, then re-connected. The car started up, ran fine for our little errand, and re-started when we drove back home.
At this point, I'm stumped. I don't know if the transmission and no-start are related, or just coincidental. Some have suggested the WCM, but apparently, that also removes remote entry when bad, and the key fobs have had no problems ;locking/unlocking the car.
I am open to ideas...
 

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From your posting of the gear position lights all lit up.
This is a symptom of low battery charge and the computer does weird things on a low charge battery. Sounds to me like you need to recheck Battery connections and check/clean cable grounds(all of them). Then with your new battery needs to be charged back up and have the Alternator tested for voltage output. IF that is good(13.5volts eng. running), then you have some kind of major electrical draw happening that needs to be found and fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
From your posting of the gear position lights all lit up.
This is a symptom of low battery charge and the computer does weird things on a low charge battery. Sounds to me like you need to recheck Battery connections and check/clean cable grounds(all of them). Then with your new battery needs to be charged back up and have the Alternator tested for voltage output. IF that is good(13.5volts eng. running), then you have some kind of major electrical draw happening that needs to be found and fixed.
Well, the battery voltage was good when this happened (12.9V, as I recall), and the alternator seems to charge just fine. Since removing and re-applying the main battery negative cable seems to restore operation, I have to think that the problem may be in the a computing system somewhere. This morning, the car started normally. I have a clamp-on ammeter that shows a very small (about 30 mA) drain after 10 minutes or so. I'm not sure what the car is doing immediately after the key is turned off, but it will show around 8A until the headlights turn off, then about 2.5 A, then after a bit drops to about 1.5A, then after a bit drops lower, until after 5 minutes or so, it's down to 30 mA. It's very weird!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update - we were getting ready for an out of town trip. Had the car loaded up, went to Costco for gas. Got the tank filled, went to start - no start! Same odd shift indicator display. I pulled battery negative terminal to force reset - after 6 times, had to push the car out of the gas station, and into a parking space. I randomly pulled two fuses (F7 and F8) and pushed them back in. Also, just on a whim, I wiggled the connectors on the ECM, and when I wiggled the connector on the left (toward the the center of the car) I heard a noise that sounded like an electric motor for a second. I got back in, and the the car fired right up as normal. Hmmmm... not confident of the reliability at this point, we drove home, unloaded the car, put everything into our 97 GMC Safari, and drove away. BTW, we had really annoying transmission issues with the Safari, but managed to get back home 5 days later. Back from our trip, I checked the battery voltage in the Avenger, it was 11.7 volts! I put a charger on it, and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then I thought that I'd "start from scratch" and see what circuit was drawing current. With my ammeter in the battery negative lead, I pulled all the fuses, then started replacing them one by one. Most had no effect on current, but a few would show an initial current draw (sometimes a couple of amps) but then would settle down to low value. After all the fuses were in, the current draw was about 30 mA. I don't know if that it good, bad, or what, but the next day, I checked the battery voltage, and it was 12.7 volts. Cool! The car started right up several times, so we went for a ride that lasted about 2 hours. The alternator was charging nicely (14.2v) and we got back home with no incident. Note that we never shut the car off during this ride. Later, my wife wanted to vacuum the car, so the doors were all open as she did that. I washed the exterior. and we then put the car in the garage. This morning (Sunday), the battery read 12.2 volts (maybe because the interior lights were on for quite a while?) and the car started right up. However - trying to start later that day, it did the same no-start deal. This time, I tried the fuse trick again, no joy. Then, I recalled what happened when I wiggled the ECM connectors. Same thing - I wiggled the left most one, I heard a sound like a motor running briefly, and the car fired right up. Later, I pulled the connector and sprayed contact cleaner inside both connector ends, but they looked good (gold-plated pins!) but this did not fix the problem. I found that if I just wiggled the wires coming to the connector, the issue would not resolve, but if I twisted the connector on the ECM side, I could hear the motor sound and the car would start. So, it looks as if it is a connector problem - I have seen solder joints on PCB's crack over time, and wonder if that could be the issue with the ECM. Has anyone ever disassembled one of these?
 
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