ASD clicking -- Dealership diagnose PCM -- I have doubts/questions
I own a 2002 Chrysler T&C 3.8L V6 w/ around 90K miles. Two weeks ago I pulled it into the garage and turned it off. I heard a noise coming from my dash, sounded as if my CD player were trying to eject a cd. Powered back up and pressed eject, nothing to eject. When I turned it off and opened the door, not only did I hear a “whirling” sound coming from the dash, but there was also a rapid clicking coming from the fuse box by the battery. I pulled the cover off the box and determined the clicking sound was coming from an ASD relay. Went and purchased a new one. After a simple replace, I again got the clicking ASD relay as soon as I turned the ignition switch. Removed the ASD relay and began my internet search. Two days later I try to start it and it was completely dead. Couldn’t even jump it, just clicked. Took the battery to an auto store who tested it; tested fine but low charge - charged it. Rule out battery. It appears I am not the only sad sack who has experienced this problem.
A few days ago I called my local Dodge/Chrysler dealer and told them of my problem and was told I had a bad battery, that there wasn‘t enough amps. Fist of all, the ASD is clicking without a key even in the ignition, let alone turned to be powered up. I tell him the battery tests fine and share with him that I have seen a lot of on-line posts where people are suggesting to replace the PCM but they continue to have the same problems after replacment. The mechanic at the dealership told me it was likely not the PCM since the ASD relay is actually getting powered (or something along those lines).
So today I go out with a freshly charged battery and try to get it started so I can take it to the dealership. Dead! But it did click a lot louder. Towed to dealership. The dealership calls and tells me it needs a new PCM ($730 + $285 labor + taxes = well over $1000.00). I ask if he is sure that is the problem. He proceeds to tell me that they will not know if there are other problems until they fix the PCM and run the codes to see what else pops up bad. Is this unacceptable to anyone else but me? But I am at a severe disadvantage. Replacing a fuse is about as much as I can do in the automotive field and I am completely out of my league. I don’t even know the terminology (as evident, I’m sure) where I can speak with any sort of authority. But I also don’t feel like the dealership is even trying. It just seems sloppy and lazy to me. I tried to have a conversation with this young kid this morning and I may as well have been speaking Swahili. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe the PCM is the problem? But a majority of the posts I read are where people replace their PCMs and they continue to have the problem. But they really have you, don’t they? After all, what am I going to do, fix it myself? Eat the $80 tow and the $95 inspection and have it towed back in my driveway to rot? I sure wish I were more educated/empowered to combat this awful feeling. This is not just a cathartic release… do any of you have advice as to what YOU would do (minus me going to automotive school) if you were me?
You need to find a technician you trust, so that when they tell you that you need to spend $1000, you know that you've actually got a $1000 repair that needs to be done. I can tell you that there is a somewhat common problem with wires breaking due to acid from the battery...both the pcm and fuse panel wiring are basically under the battery. Potentially an ASD ground control wire breaking between the pcm and the fuse panel, pcm pin 67 (connector 2) brown/white wire. I can also tell you that PCM's are VERY common for causing a huge list of problems. I've noticed that a lot of people seem to think that the dealer is the best place to bring their vehicle for all things, they do see only vehicles from one or two manufacturers so it's relatively easy to pick up on common problems, and they do have all the specialized equipment for module flashing and reprogramming, etc...but the reality is, most of the "real" problems with a vehicle occur well out of the warranty period and they are over 5 years old and most owners aren't willing to pay $110+/hr for labor and higher costs for dealer parts. So the tough problems end up at an aftermarket shop...I'd ask everyone you know where they bring their car, if they've had diagnostic type problems, who was able to fix it, etc. And keep in mind, we don't just hook the car up to a computer and it tells us whats wrong with it, and its not "this is the symptom, this the part it needs", and all people do make mistakes, even technicians, and some problems take a long time to diagnose and repair...there are several miles of wire, and hundreds of moving parts in a car, and most technicians have at least $20,000 invested in tools and $20/hr is just about the top of the pay scale.
I had the exact same syntoms in my 2000 Chrysler Town & Country and when ahead and replaced the battery and when I got back home and put it in I try to start the van again and nothing, it wouldn't even make a noise. I was all worried cause I thought I would have to spend a lot of money trying to fix it. So my dad comes and noticed that the small wire that is attached to the the negative pole of the battery was really dirty with the white stuff that builds in the battery poles. So he went ahead, took it off and cleaned it all up, put it back together and went to start the van and it started perfectly fine. I haven't had any problems since. I know the original question was made 4 years ago but in the future if you have this syntoms in your van, it wouldn't hurt to try this first and hopefully this will solve your problem.
I took my 2009 T&C to Midas. The mechanic knew exactly what was wrong when I started to describe the problem. He replaced the AC Actuator - $104 for the part, Total bill a little over $300. Have had no more problems with it.
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