neon charging issues HELP!

10

Asked by Mar 19, 2014 at 08:43 PM about the 2003 Dodge Neon 4 Dr SXT Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Car: 2003 Dodge Neon SXT, automatic transmission.

As of today, I have been without my car for about three weeks. I hired someone to
install a timing belt and water pump I had bought at a lesser charge than most garages
would charge me--someone who was confident he could do the job--and when he took a
look at my car, there were two large chipped places/gaps in the side of my power
steering pulley. He also said I had a bad idler (this, I admit I haven't the slightest clue
about) that needed replaced. Before he worked on the car, I drove it three hours to his
house, parked, and had left my lights on, so I killed my battery for the moment. No
matter, though; he boosted it off, pulled it into his garage, and began work the next day.
I was going to be charged ten dollars an hour, which I thought was absolutely fabulous,
but this has turned into a nightmare now.

The timing belt, water pump, power steering pulley, and idler were replaced. Once he
reconnected my battery, it wasn't charging--the battery light stayed on. He checked the
voltage and it was too low, and he also determined that I needed a new alternator.
Whether it matters or not, the temperature sensor was not placed back inside the
battery blanket to sit continuously against the battery, especially once a larger battery
was placed in the car to see if that corrected the problem, thinking my battery was
completely dead and in need of replacement. This didn't fix the issue, and neither did a
new alternator. Both the alternator that was in my car and the one bought as a
replacement, I was told, tested to be bad at Advance Auto, and a replacement
alternator was given. So, third alternator in my car. This one tests to be good. He
boosted it off, battery light stayed on, and within about thirty minutes, the car was dead
again. This is running into more money than I had to spend, and now, for the moment, I
am broke. I should also mention that, judging by what was said, he wasn't quite clear
how to remove the power steering pulley until he called a friend/mechanic and was told
how to do so in about ten minutes. I don't know if that even matters, but I'm mentioning
everything I know!

He called a Dodge dealership and a tech support line, explained the issue, and was
told it was probably the voltage regulator within the PCM. I had just previously had a re-
manufactured PCM installed in the car about four months prior to this after the neon
went into limp mode and was stuck in first or second gear, and that seemed to remedy
things besides what I felt to be some weird shifting. I'm used to driving manual shift
cars, but I'm sure it didn't shift quite right, and when the accelerator is punched too
quickly, the kickdown (?) can be hard. Even so, I've driven it hard and many miles since
the replacement PCM was installed, and she just kept on going and going, thank
goodness. Furthermore, he said my old battery had two bad seals. The suspicion is
that, when I ran the battery dead, somehow (because I don't understand these things),
it shorted out the regulator in my PCM and killed it. Maybe this is what happened to it
the first time around? I understand that voltage problems can also cause weird shifting,
too.

Some facts about the car prior to the installation of the timing belt, water pump, power
steering pulley, idler, and alternator:

*My airbag light had come on about a week prior to the work, would sometimes go off
for a while, then come back on. He said all fuses were good. He also checked the fuse
link (?) after work, and it is fine.

*During cold weather--because that's all we've had here in KY for many months--
sometimes the car would hesitate to start as though it wasn't getting enough power,
like the battery was dying. I was told this was due to the ridiculously frigid
temperatures, probably, and no matter how many times it done it (not a lot), it always
started right up.

*When I roll my windows down, the interior lights always dimmed.

*Not knowing the lot or whomever owned the car before me put water in the radiator
instead of antifreeze (I know, I'm an idiot), the radiator froze up on the first cold night we
had. After the thaw, engine sounded fine, no overheating whatsoever, though my heater
would barely get warm after that on cold days...just warm enough. The guy who worked
on the car said there was a very slight bit of oil in my water on the cap/lid, but assured
me that it is nothing at all for me to worry about for a very, very long time--he said it
would be perfectly fine. I know this likely has nothing to do with my current issues, but I
felt I should mention it, just in case. Lights dimmed with windows rolled down and
things before that happened.

I shipped my PCM out for replacement, having a lifetime warranty. I have no idea if it will
even correct the current problem, but at this point, I am out of funds to do anything
more to the car for a couple of weeks or so, and I really hope that fixes it. I'm not that
hopeful, however. If it isn't the PCM, I feel it could be something so simple, like bad
battery cables which I didn't even think to ask him to check for me. I do know that my
sister recently told me that her Dodge Ram, shortly after buying it, hesitated to start up
in the same way, started having random lights come on, the computer in the dash
black out, etc..and after a year, it stopped starting altogether. The problem was nothing
more than bad battery cables, turned out, and it took a dealership that long to figure it
out. I'm kind of leaning toward that, but I don't know a great deal about these things,
obviously, or I'd be working on it myself!

*After the freeze, I occasionally noticed a loud screeching noise which I assumed was
the serpentine belt. It happened upon startup, lasted a minute or less, and sometimes
stopped immediately if I would turn off the heater. I also noticed it happening once when
I ran through a large puddle of water. The guy who is working on the car said my
serpentine belt is in good condition, however.

*When out driving and I come to a stop at a red light, there is a vibration in the front of
the car. Putting the car into neutral and back into drive stops that, immediately. Every.
Single. Time. What? Why? Blah.

*Motor mount, one of them, was broken and replaced when I bought the car. Another
one is weak, but not yet broken.

So, help!?? Any advice whatsoever would be GREATLY appreciated! Also, do you think
it's possible my battery is actually fine and that my alternator was, too? I'm so
disgusted at this point, I really dread if I have to also purchase a new battery now, on
top of God only knows what else.

9 Answers

210,685

Since your "mechanic" had to jump the battery a few times and your are having power issues, seems apparent to me that the battery is weak. How old is it, what is the voltage? Did you have auto zone test it? Also it isn't uncommon to purchased a rebuilt alternator and have to take it back for another. I'm not sure of the PCM issue. But since the battery light is still on, I'd inspect the new alternator or the wiring. Hope you get things sorted out.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
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Thanks. What I'm being told is that the bad battery somehow fried my alternator and PCM. So, I sent off for the replacement and will pick up a new battery, and also, some new battery cables just as a precautionary measure.

20

Also, you need to check the ground wires, should be a main ground that might have some corrosion or some other sort of bad connection. A bad ground can cause a lot of what you are describing, at least with the electrical issues.

10

Guys, I noticed something because on my way home yesterday, my battery light came on; I was stranded for over nine hours, knowing I wouldn't make it very far. I looked under the hood--my pulley which contains the serpentine belt is in a different place now, after he worked on it. Before, it was in plain view and I know this to be a fact; I checked it more than once and even after he told me it was badly chipped, which I suspect he done trying to remove it. When I looked yesterday, I had to look very hard to find the thing--it's far lower down and hidden underneath things. Could this be why my alternator isn't charging my battery, and why the first alternator was supposedly bad...even though it had never been before!???

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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I mean, I put a brand new battery in the car, and alternator...among other things. Voltage showed to be 14 something, and it's a high amperage battery. It was driven roughly about an hour's worth of time all together before the battery light came back on. It cannot be good that he replaced that pulley and put it in a different place under the hood, right? Doesn't the serpentine belt power the alternator in the car? Please give me your opinion, I think I am onto something finally! I unloaded the car at MY mechanic's garage late last night after having my dad pull it home. I honestly believe this is human error, and I hope to god I find out if it is. This has cost me a lot of money by now, not to mention a lot of stress and possibly failing a college course.

30

I have a 2003 Dodge Neon SXT my power steering went out the belt came off what could cause this

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

My neon is doing the same thing, i have a buddy who says it could b a ground wire but hes not sure. did you ever find out what was the problem.??

voltage regulator that is the problem I'm going through it right now with a friends car new alt and still car will not charge.when this happens your voltage reg is the culprit .replace and no more trouble.

I know this is a older post. I have a 05 Dodge Neon Sxt 2.0 I used to have odd shifting like it was slipping and i was popping fuses at the time and having rough idle problems as of somewhat of low voltage problems as well as my NVLD problems bad where my car would act like its getting no fuel, my lights would also dim bad for no reason at times. Later on i went to do the "Big 3 Wire Upgrade" to my car, google it, I done it cause i had a system and wanted to make sure i had enough power to power it But after i had done it i noticed my transmission is shifting great , no slipping anymore, I have better spark and seems my timing is better. My car runs decent all the way around. Here is all i have replaced since the last 8 years i have owned it, Camshaft and Crankshaft position sensors, Replace both of them which cause my car to get to much fuel and would not allow me to go over 2 to 3k. rpm, Be sure to tap the camshaft back over before you put the new sensor on. I also replaced serpentine belt due to slipping, Go With gates belts they are better and on my alternator belt it has a adjustment to tighten it since it has its own belt right off of the lower part of the motor. I cleaned out the Idle Air Control Motor on the intake which was causing my low rough idles at times with carb cleaner and worked the piece back and forth in it as well. I replaced my alternator with a 150 amp alternator Had to tilt my engine forward to get it to fit.. One of my biggest problems was my car would shut off while i was going up a steep hill and had to coast backwards because did not have enough power to make it up giving error code Po56 or57 which was my NVLD=natural vapor leak detection, This is a bad defect "I Think' when they made the car where the NVLD charcoal canister is next to the passenger rear tire is and u will see a black NVLD air filter which i replaced and rerouted to the front of my using the same kind of hose that was on it, following my fuel lines and zip tiyng it to them and mounted the NVLD filter to the lower back of the firewall to my car. I replaced the NVLD filter due to full of dirt because of every little puddle was splashing dirt right into it. Now the NVLD Valve Motor that the air filter is connected to i rebuilt and cleaned out around the seal on the inside and lubed lightly with petroleum jelly and it fixed that perfectly. I also replaced gas cap with a none locking one that way it would tighten better and wouldn't let dirt seep into my gas tank. I hope this post helps any who sees it my car runs great and have not had a engine light on since other then having a faulty oil sensor when it gets cold outside. As well i do have a voltage regulator problem seems like when i let my car reset it keeps voltage up to 14v but after a shut off and restart it gs to 13 and lower. don.t know how to fix that yet

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