failure to start

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american guy
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failure to start

Post by american guy » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:50 pm

Hello men:



I had a problem with my 2000 neon today. It never did this before.

I drove to the grocer. When I came out I went to start the car and there was no power. I turned the key in the ignition and the dash didn't light up. Then I turned to the start position and the engine did nothing. No crank, no sound, no lights on the dash. It was completely dead.

I got out and lifted the front passenger side with the car jack. I looked under the car and under the hood for the starter. After 10 to 15 minutes I found it. I then tapped on the solenoid about a dozen times to free the starter in case it was binding in the housing. (The wrench I used for tapping wasn't long enough to reach the starter body so the solenoid had to do.)

I then turned the key in the ignition switch and it started right up.

How do I locate the problem? I own a digital multimeter and have experience using it.

Also, I bought a new starter/solenoid at AutoZone in case mine is faulty. It was $174- including a $40- core charge. With taxes it was about $188-.

Once I got home I turned the engine off. I then moved the key forward and back in the ignition switch several times. Each time it behaved correctly. Each time I had power and the dash lit up.

Thank you so much men. God bless y'all.



Rafael

american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:59 am

Hello men:



The battery in my car is 7 months old. The manager at AutoZone tested it last night and it passed. I believe the display on the meter showed 14.8 volts.

Both battery cable clamps are clean and I believe they are tight. I will check them soon.

Both battery cables looked good. The negative cable splits into two lines. One connects to the chassis. The other connects to the transmission housing I believe. Both connection points look good. The positive cable connects to the solenoid and it also looks good.



Rafael

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alpinegreenneon
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Re: failure to start

Post by alpinegreenneon » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:12 am

You either have a dead spot in the starter or the ignition actuator in the steering column is failing. You have way too much trust in Autozone. It's the last place I would use for anything.
Case

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98 Sport Coupe DOHC Alpine Green ATX stock
98 Sport Coupe DOHC Amethyst ATX to MTX swap
95 NYG ACR Coupe (restored)
03 Dakota QC 4.7 4x4 ATX Patriot Blue stock (Sold)
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american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:23 am

Hello Case:



Can you tell me about this ignition actuator? I've never heard of it before. Thanks,




Rafael

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alpinegreenneon
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Re: failure to start

Post by alpinegreenneon » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:28 am

It's the device that connects the ignition cylinder to the ignition switch. When you turn the key, you should feel the detents from off, run, and start. If you never see the dash lights go on in the run (or on) position, that could mean you are not moving the ignition switch in the steering column.
See this about the ignition actuator pin:
http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinf ... cc=1432877
The next time it happens, have a spare relay that you have removed the cover and place it in the starter relay position in the pdc. Turn the key to run and squeeze the contacts. Let us know what happens.
Case

Image

98 Sport Coupe DOHC Alpine Green ATX stock
98 Sport Coupe DOHC Amethyst ATX to MTX swap
95 NYG ACR Coupe (restored)
03 Dakota QC 4.7 4x4 ATX Patriot Blue stock (Sold)
16 Dart SE 2.0L Laser Blue Pearl stock
16 Dart SXT 2.0L TorRed stock
18 Ram 1500 standard cab 3.6L Delmonico Red stock

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NickKo
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Re: failure to start

Post by NickKo » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:29 am

Another possibility may be that the relay for the ignition circuit (located in the fuse box / Power Distribution Center), may be starting to fail.
(As Case indirectly pointed out)


At one time, I had some ongoing, 'random', No-Start issues on my 2000.
I would wait a couple of minutes, after the random 'no-start' issue - And then the car would fire up normally, like nothing was wrong. :scratch:

I then got 'lucky', and the car failed to start, in front of the house of another Neonite. :smile:
So we got to poking around under the hood, and when trying to start the car - For some reason, he noticed that one of the relays in the PDC 'sounded' different. Aha !!
So, I swapped out the suspect ignition relay, with the horn relay (since they are all the same) and then the engine fired right up.
Needless to say, I replaced the 'suspect' relay, as soon as I got home. I have not had any issues since.

As far as the ignition actuator that Case mentioned - Lots more information can be found in this thread:
viewtopic.php?t=412025


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 52mm TB; Maddog STS
-1999 4-dr DOHC ATX= went to car heaven (junkyard)
-2000 Ply.LX with MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; R/T muffler + Header
-2001 Ddg.ES ATX = UDP, Magnum Header; + Syked PCM 'pending'

-1971 Ply.Scamp SL6cyl. ('Horse Traded' away)
-1968 Chry.300 w/440 V8 (sold)
"MoPar or No Car"

american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:32 am

Hello Case and Nick:



Thanks for your comments. My head is spinning but, you've given me new ideas to consider.

Your reply made me laugh Nick. Thanks :)



Rafael

american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:43 pm

Hello men:



I failed to replicate the problem today. I turned the key to the RUN position 75 times. Each time the dash lit up correctly. I put the key in the ON position a couple dozen times. Each time the engine started.

I found a relay and a fuse under the hood labeled STARTER. I pulled and inspected them. Each one looked fine.

I took the car to O'REILLY Auto Parts. The manager connected his tester to the battery. The starter, alternator and battery all tested fine.

I don't know what caused the problem yesterday.



Rafael

american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:14 pm

Hello men:



Some new thoughts on my car problem:

Yesterday I noticed something odd. I shut off the engine and placed the key in the OFF position. I then opened the door and I didn't hear the normal chime alerting me to the key still being in the cylinder. The chime normally goes off when I do that.

Yesterday I discovered that the OBD II trouble codes had cleared out. It must have happened when I lost power in the grocer parking lot Friday afternoon. Power from the battery to the entire car was interrupted. Thus the black dash when I tried to start the car in the grocer's lot. What would cause this to happen? Perhaps I need to inspect every fuse and circuit breaker under the hood and in the passenger compartment.

I haven't researched the Ignition Actuator yet. I plan to do that soon. Thanks men,



Rafael

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alpinegreenneon
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Re: failure to start

Post by alpinegreenneon » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:08 pm

If there is any corrosion on the battery terminals, that could cause the power loss. Also check the battery cable to the PDC.
Case

Image

98 Sport Coupe DOHC Alpine Green ATX stock
98 Sport Coupe DOHC Amethyst ATX to MTX swap
95 NYG ACR Coupe (restored)
03 Dakota QC 4.7 4x4 ATX Patriot Blue stock (Sold)
16 Dart SE 2.0L Laser Blue Pearl stock
16 Dart SXT 2.0L TorRed stock
18 Ram 1500 standard cab 3.6L Delmonico Red stock

american guy
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Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:46 pm

Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:32 pm

Hello Case:



The battery terminals on my car are pristine. I just replaced the battery this past August.

I will check the cable running from the positive battery post to the Power Distribution Center/Fuse and Relay Box tomorrow.

Thanks for your help.



Rafael

american guy
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Posts: 97
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:15 pm

hello men:



yesterday i checked the cable running from the positive battery post to the Power Distribution Center. it was fine.

then i took apart the steering column. the key cylinder, the multi-function switch and the ignition switch all looked fine. so did the ignition actuator. the aluminum shell and the center pin showed no damage at all.

i did find some damage to the 20 pin electrical connector at the rear of the multi-function switch. (the 6 pin connector looked fine.) there is a little melting of the plastic housing, some cracking and some browning of the connector body. (can i upload photos here? i took a few of the damaged connector.) do i need to worry about this? is the multi-function switch overheating? do i need to replace it? is this why my car didn't wanna start Friday afternoon?

i also noticed this: occasionally i have difficulty turning the key cylinder. sometimes i have to turn the steering wheel a quarter turn in order for the key cylinder to break free. do i need to be concerned with this?

that's all for now men. thanks so much for your help.



Rafael

p.s. the car continues to start well for me. it hasn't failed to start since that initial incident Friday afternoon. I don't believe my starter is the problem. I believe my car didn't start last Friday because no power reached the starter. Do you agree with me men?

american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:40 pm

hi men:



is there any way to test my ignition switch? the body of the switch looked fine the other day but, i could not look inside of it at the contacts.

have any of you opened one up? were you able to put it back together again and it worked properly?

i believe my ignition switch is original. that would make it nineteen years old and put 165K miles of service on it. perhaps it is what caused my problem last week.

thanks men,



Rafael

occasional demons
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Re: failure to start

Post by occasional demons » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:48 am

american guy wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:15 pm

i did find some damage to the 20 pin electrical connector at the rear of the multi-function switch. (the 6 pin connector looked fine.) there is a little melting of the plastic housing, some cracking and some browning of the connector body. (can i upload photos here? i took a few of the damaged connector.) do i need to worry about this? is the multi-function switch overheating? do i need to replace it? is this why my car didn't wanna start Friday afternoon?

The connector issue is relatively common. Use of higher wattage headlights, or holding the high beams on with the low beams can cause it, or just normal use. Some connectors last forever, others, not so much. You can use a door connector at the A pillar from a Junk Yard car as a substitute, but the wire colors will be different. You will need to pay attention to the location more than the wire color when splicing one of those in.

american guy wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:15 pm
i also noticed this: occasionally i have difficulty turning the key cylinder. sometimes i have to turn the steering wheel a quarter turn in order for the key cylinder to break free. do i need to be concerned with this?
That is normal.
- Bill

desmodromic wrote:You have to remember what's important here, while they make New humans everyday, they'll never make another Neon.
Skellibert wrote: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:42 amThis is a daily by the way, not a track car or fun buggy.

american guy
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Posts: 97
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:25 pm

hello Bill:



thanks for your comments. they provide me with peace of mind. now, if i could just figure out why my car failed to start last Friday.

thanks Bill,



Rafael

p.s. i sent you a private message through this website some days ago, perhaps it was a week ago. did you ever get it?

occasional demons
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Posts: 11367
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Location: Ashland, Ohio

Re: failure to start

Post by occasional demons » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:54 pm

american guy wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:25 pm

p.s. i sent you a private message through this website some days ago, perhaps it was a week ago. did you ever get it?
Interesting, there is nothing there, and I have a Messages still there from Sat Jan 20, 2018. :dunno: I think that's after they had a PM purge, otherwise there would be many more. :blush:

Maybe check your sent messages to be sure it was sent to me, and not someone by accident. I have almost PM'ed the wrong person by not watching close enough to the tabs on posts.
- Bill

desmodromic wrote:You have to remember what's important here, while they make New humans everyday, they'll never make another Neon.
Skellibert wrote: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:42 amThis is a daily by the way, not a track car or fun buggy.

american guy
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Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:46 pm

Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:34 pm

Hi Bill:



Thanks. I have to be more careful next time I send a private message. Have a good weekend. Goodnight,



Rafael

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NickKo
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Re: failure to start

Post by NickKo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:53 pm

I agree with Bill on the MFS plug issue. This is very common on 2nd Gen Neons.
Some discoloration / distortion is 'acceptable', even if it is not desirable. If it is melted / distorted to the point where it is affecting the headlamps and other bulbs from functioning properly, I would replace it.

As for the starting issue ?? :dunno:
I am still leaning toward a relay (which may be starting to fail) as the most probable cause.
If this happens again - Try swapping out the starter relay with the horn relay (since it won't affect any other functions).
Since I have not heard anyone mention the neutral safety switch yet - You could also try starting the car in neutral (instead of park). If it starts in neutral (but not in park), that would point to the neutral safety switch or circuit.
Disclaimer: I don't recall ever reading / hearing about the last time anyone had a neutral safety switch fail on a Neon, but you never know.... 'Never say never'.


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 52mm TB; Maddog STS
-1999 4-dr DOHC ATX= went to car heaven (junkyard)
-2000 Ply.LX with MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; R/T muffler + Header
-2001 Ddg.ES ATX = UDP, Magnum Header; + Syked PCM 'pending'

-1971 Ply.Scamp SL6cyl. ('Horse Traded' away)
-1968 Chry.300 w/440 V8 (sold)
"MoPar or No Car"

occasional demons
Master Neon Mechanic
Posts: 11367
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:34 am
Location: Ashland, Ohio

Re: failure to start

Post by occasional demons » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:04 pm

american guy wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:50 pm I drove to the grocer. When I came out I went to start the car and there was no power. I turned the key in the ignition and the dash didn't light up. Then I turned to the start position and the engine did nothing. No crank, no sound, no lights on the dash. It was completely dead.
The cluster should do it's thing when the key is turned to run.

This wouldn't be related to a starter relay, or anything under the hood, other than a battery, battery terminal, or possibly a connection at the PDC input. There are two 6mm studs and nuts holding the power cable to the PDC so it's not likely it would come completely loose, if it hasn't been disturbed. But everything except the starter gets power from the PDC, even the cabin fuse box.

I would go through the PDC, and pull and reinsert all the fuses and relays, just to get a clean contact in case there is some light corrosion causing a contact issue. Maybe coat the slides with an oxidation preventing grease. I know 1gn turn/high beam switches use a grease in them, so it isn't going to hurt conductivity. Corrosion in the PDC is not a common thing, but given it's not something you can buy off the shelf as an assembly, any sort of preventive maintenance is not a bad idea.
- Bill

desmodromic wrote:You have to remember what's important here, while they make New humans everyday, they'll never make another Neon.
Skellibert wrote: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:42 amThis is a daily by the way, not a track car or fun buggy.

american guy
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Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:46 pm

Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:19 pm

Hello Bill:



Thanks for your reply. I will pull and put back everything I find in the PDC. Goodnight,



Rafael

american guy
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Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:24 pm

Hello Bill:



I opened up the Power Distribution Center this morning. I pulled every relay and fuse then visually inspected them. They were all fine.

I found no corrosion in the PDC. The studs and nuts you mentioned were clean and they looked tight. I didn't put a wrench on them.

I guess I'll have to wait for the no-start problem to return before I can diagnose it.

Thank you Bill and others for your help. God bless y'all.



Rafael

american guy
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Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:46 pm

Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Wed May 01, 2019 6:07 pm

hello men:



i believe i know the cause of my failure to start problem.

i ran an errand this afternoon and the car did what it did months ago: i turned the key forward in the cylinder and the dash didn't illuminate. it was completely dark like before. i turned the key to start and it was completely dead.

i popped the hood and began searching for the problem. minutes later a man walked up and introduced himself. he said he was a mechanic. i explained the problem to him then he walked over to his car. he went in the trunk and came back with what looked like a test probe. he verified the battery voltage. then he put the leads on the starter electrical connections. then he looked at the battery posts and he found the problem: the wire leading into the clamp on the positive battery post was frayed. he held the frayed wire together and had me crank the engine and it started right up. he told me i have to repair that frayed wire.

i drove the car home and worked on the frayed wire. it's better now but, soon i want to replace the frayed wire and the clamp it leads into.

i am so grateful for this man's help and for the help i receive here at this website. thanks everyone. bye,



Rafael

occasional demons
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Location: Ashland, Ohio

Re: failure to start

Post by occasional demons » Wed May 01, 2019 8:12 pm

american guy wrote: Wed May 01, 2019 6:07 pm hello men:

then he looked at the battery posts and he found the problem: the wire leading into the clamp on the positive battery post was frayed. he held the frayed wire together and had me crank the engine and it started right up. he told me i have to repair that frayed wire.

i drove the car home and worked on the frayed wire. it's better now but, soon i want to replace the frayed wire and the clamp it leads into.

i am so grateful for this man's help and for the help i receive here at this website. thanks everyone. bye,



Rafael
occasional demons wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:04 pm
american guy wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:50 pm I drove to the grocer. When I came out I went to start the car and there was no power. I turned the key in the ignition and the dash didn't light up. Then I turned to the start position and the engine did nothing. No crank, no sound, no lights on the dash. It was completely dead.
This wouldn't be related to a starter relay, or anything under the hood, other than a battery, battery terminal, or possibly a connection at the PDC input. There are two 6mm studs and nuts holding the power cable to the PDC so it's not likely it would come completely loose, if it hasn't been disturbed. But everything except the starter gets power from the PDC, even the cabin fuse box.
:smile:

Glad it got found, regardless of who actually found the issue. At least you can have some peace of mind until the next thing happens. :grin:
- Bill

desmodromic wrote:You have to remember what's important here, while they make New humans everyday, they'll never make another Neon.
Skellibert wrote: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:42 amThis is a daily by the way, not a track car or fun buggy.

american guy
Neon Enthusiast
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:46 pm

Re: failure to start

Post by american guy » Thu May 02, 2019 4:41 am

Hello Bill:



Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

As they say, live and learn. In my forty years of driving and working on cars I never saw a problem like this one. That frayed cable was intermittently stopping power from reaching the Power Distribution Center. This was the problem.



Rafael

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