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Archive-name: autos/chrysler-faq/general/part6
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Last-modified: 2004/4/13
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PART VI - Other Troubleshooting / Quick Fixes

There is a specific Neon FAQ.
This section of the FAQ may be eliminated soon.

Other parts of this FAQ:
Part 3 - Classic cars
Part 4 - Driveability and transmission
Part 5 - Funny noises and oil leaks and temperature stuff

* Many problems are caused by poor battery connections to the cables,
  which can cause signals to the computer to be incorrect without
  (or with) fault codes being registered. Check and clean the
  battery terminals and cables first!

* Additional information on troubleshooting and repairs is on
  the web site at

* Some of these issues are discussed in detail at
  (a site dedicated to A-bodies like the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant
  and Plymouth Duster.)

Note: there are *several* entries for some problems.

1.   Fuel leak - ALL 2.2 engines
2.   Rampage (maybe other models) - water leaks
3.   Loose steering
5.   Doors freezing shut
8.   Air conditioner (a/c) smell
9.   Caravan/Voyager door won't open/close
11.  Check Engine light went on
13.  DING sound when hard cornering
20.  Speedometer doesn't work
21.  ABS jerky
24.  Brake rotor warping
29.  Smoky exhaust
32.  Water leak in Shadow/Sundance hatch
36.  Control/status panel/console acting funny
52.  ABS note - Chrysler and GM minivans (see also #64)
55.  Service engine light goes on.
56.  Cruise control problems
57.  Battery charging problems
58.  Sundance/Shadow (possibly others) hatchback leak
59.  Car/minivan will not start; makes CLICK noise instead
60.  Spongy / mushy brakes
61.  Squeal when a/c is/goes on; adjusting belt tension
63.  Weatherstrip repairs
64.  Preventing ABS problems
66.  Jeep 4.0 noise
67.  LH clunk on acceleration
68.  Stratus/Cirrus/Breeze wipers acting funny
69.  4-speed auto trans problems - misc
70.  Shimmy under acceleration - 35-45 mph
72.  Gas gauge acting funny
74.  Backfiring
75.  PREVENTION - 3.0 liter engine
78.  CV boot replacement
81. Rear defrost activated by brake lights
84. Odd behavior when starting (e.g. wiper activation)
86. Fluid leaks (inside the car)


There was a recall for fuel line replacements on some vehicles in 1988. A
rigid line was replaced with a flexible one between the metal line and fuel
pressure regulator. (Sherrie Settle).

All 2.2 turbo owners should check their fuel clamps for leaks on a
regular basis. This is VERY important. Tighten them if needed.
2. Water leaks (Rampage, possibly other L bodies)

Gary Howell <(e-mail address removed).net> says: Under the windsheild at
each lower corner, holes rust through.  The best fix is to remove the
windsheild and have the body work done properly.  The cheap fix is to
remove the windsheild trim and fill the holes with RTV.  The holes are not
always visable to the eye, sometimes the holes are under the glass or like
a micro screen.

If a speaker wire has been run through the door seal, water will
sometimes follow the wire past the seal.

3.   Loose steering

Check the ball joints and tie rods. For M-bodies and A-bodies, try
replacing the current steering box with a new police-type steering chuck
from Mopar Performance (or used from a police car or taxi).
5. Doors freezing shut

Jim Van Damme suggestd:
1. Open the door panel and undo the nuts that hold the door latch onto the
door. Slide the whole latch down (or was it up?) to allow the handle to
engage sooner.
2. Lubricate it well (de-ice with WD-40) when you've got the panel off.
8. A/C smell

David Ta believes the a/c smell comes from condensation collecting on the
horizontal fins of compressors used on some models. One way to prevent this
is to blow hot air for a couple of minutes before turning off the ignition.

There is a Chrysler extra warranty of 7/70 on LH evaporators).

This is a problem on many different makes and models, and normally the
dealer will try to solve it using fungicide. David Ta also said a GM friend
of his  mixed water and baking soda, and poured it into the drain area next
to the firewall, later rinsing with a water hose. He did this once a year
when he winterized.

A new solution (sent by David Ta) was described by Popular Mechanics, in
November 1996: AC Delco's kit No. 15-8632 and relay (if necessary) 15-8264,
to run the blower for 5 minutes, an hour after the ignition is turned off
if the a/c has been turned on for at least 4 minutes. The article also
gives a short-term fix with GM spray can and verifying the evap drain hole
at the firewall is not blocked.
9. Caravan/Voyager stuck doors:

Mike Stallcup couldn't get his minivan door to close, so he turned the
power locks on and off a few times. Fixed it.

Someone else found the problem to be a loose trim panel held to the back of
the door.  The roller on the track at the top/inside of the door was also
out of alignment; the bolts had loosened and the door was not closing
tight. Check the tightness of the bolts.
11. Check Engine light goes on:

1. This may be due to the need for a periodic service.
2. It may be the oxygen sensor (Steve Sheldon)
3. Check computer codes (see part 3)
13. DING sound when hard cornering

Paul Schikora suggested this might be the low gas alert being sounded due
to the gas sloshing around in the tank.

Pete Morrissette said he also had a dinging sound, but not the same kind:
his Voyager's sliding door pinged/dinged on bumps and turns. Paul Schikora
said the bolt connecting the door to the arm (which slides in the track at
the front top of the door) sometimes loosened. To check, grab the door
there and try to push/pull it; if it moves in and out, the bolt must be

20. Speedometer doesn't work

There is a TSB out on this problem with the Shadow/Sundance. Take it to
your dealer, they should fix it for free. The TSB was issued in 1994. The
problem is the speed sensor connector; a new one must be spliced in.

Details from Neil Emiro on replacing the speed sensor yourself follow. They
probably apply to all K-based (and extended K-based) cars:

To get  it out, you will need a 10mm wrench, a flat blade screwdriver, and
if your car has cruise, a 19mm wrench.  Jack the car up.  If you look
underneath at the oil pan plug, and look back on the car, to  where the
axle goes into the tranny, you will see it.  It's mounted in the top of
that extension housing.  If your unit is round, just unplug it and remove
the cable if there is one, and pry it up, putting the screwdriver between
the black body of the sensor, and the natural color base.  If your unit is
kind of short and diamond shaped, disconnect the wiring and cable, and
there's a 10mm bolt on the far side that you'll probably be able to feel
better than see.
21. ABS jerky

Dealer reprogramming the PCM fixes the brakes. (Steve Chu)
24.   Brake rotor warping

The dealers have received a bulletin saying that if cars come in with less
than 30,000 miles with worn out brake pads and rotors in need of turning
they are to do it under warranty.  (Mary Bucy)

If lug nuts are over-tightened, it places too much stress on the rotors
resulting in warpage soon thereafter. I always go over each lug with a
torque wrench set at 90 ft lbs. (Ted Ruscha)

Jeff Brinkerhoff <(e-mail address removed)> wrote that rotors are a
frequent problem, but that replacing them with aftermarket rotors usually
works well.

29. Smoky exhaust

From: (e-mail address removed) (Mo Brooks)
Smoke Color /  Reason
Black  = Too much fuel (probably bad sensor or dirty air cleaner)
Blue   = Oil
White  = Water

Black smoke on acceleration in early 2.2l engines may come from the fuel
pressure regulator vacuum hose at the elbow; may be a bad injector; or may
be duel to high fuel pressure.  You may want to check for restrictions in
the fuel return line.
32.   Water leak in Shadow/Sundance hatch

Tim Drake fixed his 1987 Sundance trunk leak by taking the light cover off
and treated the gaskets and drilled small holes in the bottom of the light
covers, so the water could leak out the bottom.

From: (e-mail address removed) (Wade M. Goldman) fixed the water in his
trunk and right tail light assembly (which caused on tail light to be
dimmer than the other). After replacing the light socket he corrected a gap
between the light assembly moulding and the car with RTV silicone.
36. Control/status panel acting funny

  Test the Control Panel by holding down the trip and reset buttons,
turning ignition on, releasing the buttons, then pressing the US/Met
button. Read the speedo. Press the US/Met button and you should   see a
six.  Also check the codes in the engine computer --   (Matt Rowe)
52. ABS note

55. Service engine light goes on.

Service the engine. The light can be shut off with a special tool. Or
remove the bulb.
56. Cruise control problems

Many older cars used both a speed sensor and a speedo cable, so the speed
sensor could go with affecting the speedometer. Fault codes might not
appear if the speed sensor is giving an incorrect signal.
57. Battery charging problems

Check the battery cables, then check the alternator with a test light
and/or a voltmeter or an alternator/charging system analyzer.  There are
usually four connections on a Chrysler alternator, one large terminal
(power out), one ground, and two field control wires.  To check the field
control wires, test both for voltage with the engine running.  One should
show battery voltage, the other a reduced voltage.  If both show battery
voltage, the problem could be in the computer (not providing a ground for
the second field circuit).  If one has battery voltage and the other shows
a much reduced voltage, the computer probably is trying to "full field" the
alternator and therefore the alternator is probably the problem.  Check
output voltage.  If output voltage is extremely high (20 volts or more)
check the circuit from the output terminal to the battery for an open.  If
the voltage is battery volts but not a charging voltage and the fields seem
correct, suspect the alternator.
58. Hatchback water leaks

From: (e-mail address removed).com (25312-lazaro)

Water enters the trunk by running down the side of the hatch opening and
when it reaches the tail lights, it flows into them.  From there, it pours
into the trunk through the holes that the tail light bulbs fit through.

From inside the trunk, remove the tail light bulb cover panel.  Now
unfasten a few of the tail light bulbs and let them hang into the trunk.
With a long 1/4 inch drill bit (or similar size), drill a few holes in the
bottom of the tail light lens by sticking the bit through the holes the the
bulbs occupied. This allows the water that enters the tail lights to drain
out these holes and onto the ground instead of accumulating in the tail
lights and pouring into the trunk through the bulb holes.  I drilled about
3 or four 1/4 inch holes per each bulb location.  Did the trick.  The trunk
has been bone dry ever since.I replaced the water-damaged carpet backing
with 1/2 inch household carpet backing that I got at a home improvement
store and cut to size.  It improves the sound deadening, too.  The
cardboard floor (spare tire cover) was water damaged too, so I got a new
one for ~$25 at the dealer. Make sure you air dry the trunk real well.  I
had so much water that I had to pull the drain plug at the bottom of the
spare tire well to let it out.

I know of Ford Probes suffering this same problem (with similar
solution) due to the same hatchback & tail light configuration.
59. Car / minivan will not start, CLICK!s instead

David J. Allen quoted (e-mail address removed).mil as saying that, when his
89 Caravan sometimes made a loud CLICK instead of starting, he saw that the
starter solenoid contacts were eroded down the thickness of a penny.
Vandamme soldered a real copper penny, filed to the shape of the missing
electrode, into the space.

David J. Allen wrote: [On my 88 Caravan,] I tore the starter down and found
that the contacts had worn down to the point of only providing intermittant
contact when engaged.  A friend of mine brought me a couple of strips of
1/8" copper from work which I cut and formed into new contacts.  They fit
right in and I haven't had a problem yet (1 1/2 years).
60. Spongy / mushy brakes

Mushy / spongy brakes, especially after brake servicing: Have the brake
fluid bled *properly* (most mechanics will not do it the correct way). Jim
Murphy says that Chrysler has a new procedure involving pumping the brakes
to pressurize the system, then opening the bleed screw to allow the fluid
and air to rush out. The details:

1: Pump pedal three or four times and hold it down before bleeder
screw is opened
2: Push pedal toward floor and hold it while bleeder screw is opened
3: Release the pedal after the bleeder screw is closed
4: Repeat steps 1 through 3, four or five times, at each bleeder screw to
pass a sufficient amount of fluid to expel all the trapped air from
anywhere in the system. CAUTION: Just cracking the bleeder screw often
restricts fluid flow, and a slow weak fluid discharge will NOT get all the
air out.  Open the screw at least one full turn.

61. Squeal when a/c is on; adjusting belts

You can replace the idler pulley and belt to stop the squeal on the
minivans and some other vehicles. It may go away given a month. On some
vehicles you may need to adjust belt tension, but do not overtighten, or
you will need many expensive new parts!

NOTE Adjusting Caravan belts: A tensioner is below the alternator. Put a
15mm wrench on it and pull down (like you were tightening that bolt) and
the tensioner will rotate and take the tension off of the belt.  Much
easier from underneath by removing the splash sheild.  That is held by 4
10mm screws. BUT BE CAREFUL!!! I own 2 CC products; an '88 Caravan 2.5L and
an '89 Sundance 2.5L.  AC clutch went on both at about 80,000 mi, again on
both about 30,000 mi later, again, etc., etc.  Found out that if the belts
are not tightened within specs., it wipes out the bearings SOON!!! Only use
a Burroughs belt tension gauge - about $50.00.  NO MORE PROBLEMS!! Hope
this helps.  By the way, the Sundance has over 200,000 mi, and the Caravan
has 135,000 - no other serious problems, other than CV boot replacements.
63. Weatherstrip repair

Marvin Stockman <(e-mail address removed)> reports: I usually
purchase a caulking gun sized tube of black GE Silicon II sealant.  Clean
off the damaged weatherstripping with alcohol or other suitable cleaner.
Apply an appropriate amount of sealer to damaged area. Cover area with
plastic kitchen wrap and with sealer covered form to an appropriate shape.
Close door. Car can be used and door can be opened and closed, but don't
remove plastic for 3 or 4 days. Don't use Saran wrap as most silicone
sealers need moisture to set and Saran is too good a vapor barrior. I
have done this for many years on many cars.
64.  Preventing ABS problems

Marv Miller cautions:  Due to the fact that the ABS-10 uses an accumulator,
which acts as a  "pressure reservoir", the fluid level in the master
cylinder varies.  When the pump pressurizes the accumulator, the fluid
level in the  master cylinder drops by about 1/2 inch - the fluid went into
the accumulator. This is why you are supposed to completely depressurize
the system by  fifty or more depressions of the pedal before checking the
fluid.  The  accumulator will empty back into the master cylinder
reservoir.  If you  don't depressurize the system to check the level, when
the accumulator pressure drops  (in deteriorating systems this sometimes
happens overnight), brake  fluid will overflow out of the master cylinder
66. Jeep 4.0 noise

>We recently bought a 95 Cherokee with the 4.0l 6cyl engine.  After a
>couple thousand miles, it started making a knocking sound at idle.  It
>sounds to me like one valve is out of adjustment.

Don Ferrario responded: This is typical of the 4.0L engine.  Other than the
sound, which is admittedly alarming, it should not cause any other problem.
(note: In 1996, the 4.0 was redesigned to lower noise.)
67. LH clunk

Michael Kell and others wrote about a clunking noise in LH models when
people coast and then accelerate again. Retorquing the front axle nuts to
120 lb ft may fix it - but it may not (see below).  David Ta's dealer
pointed him to TSB 02-04-95, which says to replace the outer C/V joints.
Mr. Ta was kind enough to inform the FAQ maintainer in e-mail.
68. Stratus/Cirrus/Breeze wipers acting funny

This may simply be the speed-sensitive wiper speed feature at work.

However, some, including Pierce Leonberger, found that the problem was
only solved when the dealer recalibrated the wiper module, which
controls the wiper timing. There may be a TSB out on this problem.

69.  Misc 4-speed automatic transmission problems

See for a full and up to date list.


70. Shimmy under acceleration - 35-45 mph

(e-mail address removed).net responds to a complaint of shimmy in a 96,000
mile 1986 Dodge Aries from 35-45 mph under accleration. He said that the
inner CV joint housing on the passenger side axle is worn. Probably easiest
repair is to replace passenger side axle with rebuilt unit. There is a
possiblity of it being in the drivers axle. But it is more common in the
passenger axle based on your complaint.

72.  Gas gauge acting funny

(e-mail address removed): on a 1987 Caravan, the gas gauge kept creeping up
to full. The problem was a small circuit board, part 4375318. Dean Seaman
added the board is no longer used, but did dampen pointer movement. Some
gauges used a thick liquid instead.
74.  Backfiring

Ty Young reports that his 143,000 mile 1985 Caravan's backfiring (on sudden
decelaration) was cured by using 89 octane gas instead of 87. (But was the
timing OK?)
75. 3.0 liter PREVENTION

Drop the oil pan after 100,000 miles and clean the screen on the oil
pick-up.  Mine was choked down to an opening about the size of a dime. The
oil seems to get charred in the head closest to the firewall and works its
way down.
78. CV boot replacement

From: (e-mail address removed) (Old Mcgroin) replaced the CV boots on his
88 Daytona: "There is one bolt on each wheel you have to take off first.
Remove each hub then the axles will just slide out of the tranny (along
with the fliud so  catch it in a pail) On each CV joint there is one snap
ring holding everything  together.  Once inside the CV there are a few ball
bearings and a cage, it all  fits together very straightforward.  This was
my first time with no problems."
81. Rear defroster activated by brake lights

Rivas Patrick writes that his 88 Shadow's rear defroster went on when he
hit the brakes. The problem was that the wires
going to the hatch from the roof had broken their insulation
and were touching each other when the hatch was closed.
84. Odd behavior when starting (e.g. wiper runs)

With regard to funny electrical things (in this case, the rear window
washer or rear wiper coming on) when starting a vehicle, or the vehicle
acting like it has a low battery, Ken Bessler <(e-mail address removed)>

The problem is one of two things: your ignition timing (no - really!)  is
just a hair too far advanced or you battery is getting old. When ignition
timing is too far advanced, the engine tries to fire before the piston gets
all the way up. The piston tries to go the wrong way, fighting the starter
and causing a big voltage drop across the whole van. This messes up the
logic circuits. Listen to the way your engine cranks over before it fires.
This sound should be fairly even and smooth. If not, back your timing up a
bit. If your engine turns over smoothly, then your battery is suspect.
86. Fluid leaks (inside the car)

Bob Meyer <robert_(e-mail address removed)> writes: If the fluid is
antifreeze (green, sweet smell, hot), you may have a heater core leak (or
loose hose connections). If the fluid is water, most likely the AC
condensation tube is blocked (note: this refers to a
Sundance/Shadow/Duster). When the AC runs on a humid day, a puddle of water
should form underneath this drain if it is working correctly. Look on the
firewall behind and below the power steering pump -  you should find a
rubber tube. Make sure that nothing is blocking the tip. If this doesn't
help, you may have a bunch of leaves and junk inside blocking it. Some
times you can back flush it with a garden hose or fish out the leaves with
a wire.  If the condensation drain is open and working, and you still have
water  on the floor, make sure the cowl drains are clear. The last thing
would  be to check the gasket that seals the blower fan (under and behind
the  glove box). If this is leaking, loosen the accessable lower screws,
force  a bit of strip caulk into the seal gap, and retighten.

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