PT Cruiser Electrical Problem


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Old 12-05-22, 08:52 PM
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PT Cruiser Electrical Problem

I have a 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Over the last six months, a progressive electrical problem has gotten worse (now to where it's undrivable). Taking it to the mechanic this week, and I'd like to get a general idea of the problem and not go in blind.

In the past, I've had quirky little electrical glitches pop up, like lights on the dashboard (with no corresponding code), windshield wipers triggering for no reason, etc.

Over the last six months, the car has started dying, to where I needed to give it a jump with my portable car-starter. Usually, it would fire right back up. Now, we've been having issues with the headlights and the radio flickering while driving it (like someone is flipping a light switch off and on). A few times, it has died on the highway while driving, then kicked right back on and kept going.

Now I have to jump it with my other car, just to get it started. It's definitely not the battery, I've been through two of those, and they tested all and said they were fine.

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 12-06-22, 01:56 AM
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You have a 12 year old Chrysler product that is getting a bad case of electrical gremlins. Many causes, water wicking into the wiring and causing corrosion, terminals loosing contact, bad solder joints, worn wires/insulation causing shorts.

It's not a fun process to fix, for all the work I have done on my older cars I hate, absolutely hate, chasing down an electrical issue. Harnesses are one of the first things to get installed, they are not easy to access which makes repairs expensive if your having a shop do the work.
 
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Old 12-06-22, 03:01 AM
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they will likely start out by checking battery and alternator, main battery connections have seen bad alternators cause wipers to come on and cause weird electrical issues.
 
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Old 12-06-22, 04:18 AM
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This is a guessing game. Marq made some good points. When I first started reading, my mind went to the ECM, then other issues. Marq's point about water getting into a system or component makes sense.
This could be a 1000 things. Electrical issues are troublesome to find & run down, then sometimes fix.

Problem that concerns me is that the starting issues with jumping the car off has become more & more of a problem. This made me think that the longer this goes, the more things its affecting. wipers, starting issue getting worse, light problems etc. Most of this stuff probably isn't on the same wiring harness so, multiple systems are being affected. That leads me back to the ECM. Then as Marq noted, possibly water getting into the ECM shorting stuff. Or, there could be a short in there from a main power source that is shorting out the ECM through heat, melting and may be trying to catch fire. I've seen this happen. So, everything leads me back to the ECM.
Depending on the extent of the damage, like having melting multiple wiring harness's.... and which wiring harness, the cost to repair, could very well total a 2000 year car. If the find is a fire, or excessive heat like its on the verge of a fire contact your insurance company & see if they will cover the costs. Its going to be expensive.. expensive enough to possibly total the car... if my diagnosis is correct.

Again, it could be many things. Wiring issues are a bugger to find & fix sometimes.

Good luck.
 

Last edited by Dixie2012; 12-06-22 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 12-06-22, 06:59 AM
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they will likely start out by checking battery and alternator, main battery connections have seen bad alternators cause wipers to come on and cause weird electrical issues.
Definitely start with the easy one's, battery cables, battery grounds, chassis grounds.
 
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Old 12-06-22, 10:48 AM
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I apologize for all the mis-spelled words & rambling this morning. I had just woke up & I was in a rush to get started this morning. Had to head to work a little earlier.
Anyway, my thoughts were going faster than my typing & having just woke up, it was a mess.

Part of what I was trying to get across in addition to the ECM was the fuse panel. I have seen the fuse panel short out, causing the fuse panel to get hot & melt contacts, connection, other connections & melt some wiring harness's. I have seen this much damage cost as much as the vehicle in value. The fuse panel & a couple of wiring harness's can run into an expensive fix very quickly.

I'm still going with the ECM or fuse panel shorted causing multiple electrical issues. Hopefully, it can be salvaged.

Again, sorry for the crazy post this morning. Hopefully, it makes some better sense now.
 
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Old 12-06-22, 12:11 PM
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Intermittent electrical problems can only be diagnosed while the problem exists so a quick solution isnít likely whether you do it or pay someone to do it. If you do it, good electrical documentation is a must. You will need schematics, wiring diagrams, connector pin assignments, fuse loadings, etc., to compose the circuit being diagnosed. You also will need at least a multimeter. You also need to recognize when signals are computer controlled. I doubt a code reader would be very helpful as most look at results and not causes. One thing I would check into is the degradation of the starting circuit since it only involves fused 12 vdc, ignition switch, starter solenoid, starter and battery common. Good luck.
 
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Old 12-16-22, 03:17 PM
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Impossible to diagnose this from behind a keyboard but if I had to hazard a guess I would bet there is a problem with the "TIPM" (totally integrated power module). It's been a known problem with a lot of Chrysler/Dodge products for quite awhile. I would suggest that you make sure that who ever is going to diagnose this for you has a good understanding and track record with electrical repair. Firing the parts cannon is something anyone can do but a good diagnostics person will figure out the problem before changing out parts. Good luck!, would love to hear back what the problem was.
 
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Old 12-16-22, 03:27 PM
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With all my Mopars developing electrical problems, the first move is to remove the power block at the firewall....usually some corrosion in there. Put in dielectric grease after cleaning.
 
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Old 12-16-22, 08:08 PM
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An extremely common problem is grounds.
Follow the ground wire from the battery to the chassis and examine it.
It may look good but the connection to the chassis can be compromised.
There will be a ground jumper (possible braid) also to the engine.
There will be other grounds bolted to the chassis/body.
Typically on the firewall near the cable pass thru area.
 
 

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