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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Question Car won't start

Hey guys I'm new around here and my girlfriend is having issues with her 2002 Chrysler Intrepid (so by association I'm having problems with it).

Anyways I've done a search on the forums and I'll admit I can't find what I'm looking for. So if this has already been addressed feel free to point me in that direction.

The problem is the car sporadically won't start and it won't turn over. The battery is brand new (and fully charged via a trickle charger) and the starter was replaced (thinking that was the reason it did it in the first place). I'm thinking it's a factory installed immobilizer that's getting tripped somehow and locking down the starter but I don't know enough about these cars to know for sure. From what little reading I've done on the forum I'm reading the Grey Keys are some kind of skim keys and we have those. Could the key be faulty and setting off some built in security system? I haven't tried the spare yet (I actually had to leave the car where it "died" last night) but I'm heading back out there after work to see if it'll start (maybe it just needed some time to reset itself?).

Anyways...I'm pretty sure the car has the 3.5L engine in it and as far as I can see nothing fancy. Any thoughts are appreciated because this is the 5th or 6th time it's done with to us and left us stranded in a parking lot.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 03:28 PM
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so it is a random no start?
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Ya it works fine for a while and then out of no where it just won't start/turn over. For example I drove it to and from work yesterday without any issues, drove it to the dog park after work without incident, and then I went to leave the dog park and it just wouldn't turn over. I tried boosting it (just in case) but the starter simply won't engage.

When I try to start the car the headlights turn off, the "security light" (similar to the one pictured in this post: which I can't link because I need to have a 10 post count to post a URL...fabulous maybe if I break it up: Do I have security alarm system equipped on my car??) lights up solid and...nothing. Not even a single crank of the starter. It's like the starter isn't engaging which makes me think factory immobilizer...but as I said I'm not overly familular with these cars so I figure I would come to where the experienced people are...an intrepid forum!
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 04:58 PM
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do you have an aftermarket alarm? the factory security system doesn't cause it to not crank - it causes it to crank and not start (or start for a short period then shut down).

Sounds like you may have a bad ignition switch (the part the key cylinder turns), or you've got a loose connection between the battery and the starter.

When it fails, does it even CLICK?
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Nope there isn't an aftermarket alarm. That's discouraging though that it's not the factory. I was hoping a the very least being able to diagnose it.

No when I try to start it I don't even get a click. It's just...nothing.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdmccul View Post
Sounds like you may have a bad ignition switch (the part the key cylinder turns), or you've got a loose connection between the battery and the starter.?
I found this on the net:

Quote:
Originally Posted by autorepair.about.com
When you try to start the car, the lights should either dim (a lot) or turn off completely. If they do, your ignition switch should be ok. If not, the switch will need replacement.
I don't know if this is any indication that the ignition switch is fine but when I do try to start the car the lights do turn off.

Also even though a it could still be a bad starter connection the starter was recently replaced (trying to fix this very problem) so I would hope it was reconnected properly...unless it's something between the battery and the starter (broken wire?).
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noexistence View Post
I don't know if this is any indication that the ignition switch is fine but when I do try to start the car the lights do turn off.
Bing!

I'd bet on a weak electrical connection somewhere. Look at the the jump post (easy) and then the battery terminals (more likely, but harder to get to). It could be a bad starter also.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 07:04 PM
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could be a bad starter relay also, but,, when it comes to starter issues,, best to start at the battery, check connections,, and work your way up
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys thanks for all the replies.

I went to the car after work with a friend and the car started without hesitation. It's very frustrating (as you can imagine).

Anyways the starter is brand new so it's unlikely that (though the mechanic said it was a PITA to get installed). The battery was also just replaced so it's probably fine as well.

So with the jump posts do I just take a wrench to them and tighten them up? Any other places I can check/tighten?
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 02:17 AM
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Just because the lights turn off (to reserve as much juice for cranking the motor over as possible), doesn't mean that it will crank to start. A starter switch is a series of contacts on one wiper arm/disc... If you have one back contact (the starter contact, for example), and the rest of the contacts are good, then you'll have a situation where the radio will work, the dash work, and the headlights shut off, but the starter NOT work.

Don't trust that just because your mechanic did the work, that it is right. Check the battery terminals, starter connections, and jump post.

I had a problem on a 3.8 in a 1994 Ford Taurus once... the small wire leading down to the solenoid had a crimped connector on the end of it, that plugged into the starter. The crimp had failed - meaning that if the wire vibrated JUST WRONG when you shut the car off, it wouldn't re-start till you bumped it JUST RIGHT or the wind blew just right, etc... so, even if the mechanic installed the starter right, there could be a loose spot in a connection.
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys. Now the car clicks when we try to start it and the dash lights turn on and off (in time with the clicking) but the car won't start. Also the car isn't turning over...bad starter connection?

Thoughts? I'm not well versed in the ignition system so if someone can explain what it's doing now I'd appreciate it (to help me better understand).

Thanks guys!

Also is there an online copy of the service manuals anyways? Thanks.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:24 AM
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put a multimeter on the battery and see what your reading is.....i noticed that everyone above has mentioned to inspect your connection to the battery unless i've missed something you have made no mention of instpecting the battery other then it's new. Can a new battery be bad......answer YES!
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to multimeter it tonight (had to get to work so we took my car) but...and you guys are going to kick my a$$...but I'm noticed there is a drain on the battery and if it sits for a few days unused then the battery is dead as a doornail. Now I never put the two together because the last time it wouldn't start the battery was full (had it on a charger for 2 days and it read FULL, drove it to the dog park (about 20km), the car sat for 45 minutes and...wouldn't engage the starter). In this case the car has only sat for one day (which usually doesn't cause it to drain enough to be a problem) and now it's clicking but still not turning over. Like I said I'll check with the multimeter tonight but I turned on the lights and they seem strong, the radio and heater motor work fine so I assume the battery was strong enough to get it going.

But no I haven't had a chance to check the connections because of work, school, and the weather has been absolutely miserable (-25C or worse with no heated garage). But if I could find an online service manual that would make it easy to check all the connections.

I talked to the girlfriend today and told her we need to take the bloody thing in though and get it fixed even if it means skipping our Vegas trip. I told her one of these days I'm going to be at work and she's going to have to go to work and she's not going to be able to start the thing.
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:10 AM
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Yes - definitely check the jump posts - positive one visible when you open the hood - next to the air filter box. Negative one on passenger side strut tower. Power to the starter goes thru the positive jump post as well as *all* electrical power to everything else (except for the connection to the alternator which is a separate dedicated cable). The pos. jump posts have been known to get loose and develop high resistance and act just like that. Also - check the hot cable connection at the starter - maybe it wasn't tightened well when replaced.

We'll assume for now that the new starter is good.

Also check connections at the battery posts - they tend to get *really* corroded on our cars (because they are out of sight and therefore get neglected) - maybe they weren't cleaned well when the battery was replaced.


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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 04:26 PM
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Hey guys i need some help also

Dont mean to thread jack

Was driving ealier today car ran fine, 1998 ES with the 3.2

As im pulling in to my apt. parking lot i go over a speed bump and wham car cuts off and wont restart.

Let the car sit awhile after pushing it into parking space, just tried to start it. All it does sound like it wants to turn over, then i hear clicking like power is bout to die, then i get a P0340 code along with P0125, what happened?

Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks.
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