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Chrysler Repair/1996 Chrysler cirrus won't start


QUESTION: My 1996 Chrysler cirrus xli v6 2.5 ltr won't start. Prior to this the problem would be as I was driving the speedodometer would quit working and the car would kind of hiccup or sputter then resume normal speed. The led portion with the odometer reading would fade in and out or illuminate either end numbers or the middle portion of the readings. The p-r-n-d-1-2 portion would highlite only one or two of the symbols. At times when stopping at a store and then leaving it would not start up until after a few minutes. A couple of times I would have to let it sit for 6-7 hours then It would start. When it would not start during these times it would not turn over or make any clickin noises. The interior lites would work but the LED portion would not lite up. Finally after getting home I was able to drive for a couple of times but the symptoms continued until it would not start at all but just turned over. During this time when these issues came up the check engine lite would come on also and at time would stay on for awhile before going away. I have put in new plugs, new spark plug wires, new fuel pump, distrbutor, rotor, crank shaft sensor. The car will turn over not getting any spark from the plugs. There is fuel pressure. Turns over but no spark. Have been told that the computer may be bad (not by mechanics but other people). I can't get it out of the garage to take to a mechanic without towing it. During this time of replacing these parts and trying to get the car going the check engine lite still stays on and now the LED portion of the odometer and p-r-n-d-1-2 barely are visible or fading out  to where I can't even see the current mileage. I have also put in a new battery. Would like to know how to tell if the computer is bad or what other issues could there be causing the car not to start. At my wits end, not sure what to do next. What other options can I try or do I replace the computer as the last resort? thanks for any feed back or any help at all will be greatful.

ANSWER: Hi Frank,
I just found your question in the 'pool' to which Kevin had referred it.
You didn't mention having ever tried for a readout of fault code numbers from the engine controller. The '96 model was the transition year from OBD-I to OBD-II system of numbers so it still is possible for us to get a readout by counting the flashes of the check engine light. To do that turn the ignition key: "on-off-on-off-on and leave on" doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time. The watch the check engine light (which remain "on") to see it begin to flash off and on and have pauses that are a bit longer then the off time. So count the number of flashes before each pause. Then repeat the process to be sure of an accurate set of flash counts. The code numbers are two digit, so the last two sets of flashes will be 5 in each which is code 55 which means 'end of readout'. The flash counts before those 5 and 5 are the numbers I need to know to see what might be seen to be wrong by the pcm (powertrain control module), what you called the computer.

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QUESTION: The check engine lite stays on for about 3 seconds during this step and then goes off and stays off until I repeat the steps. The oil lite comes on & stays on during this entire process.(the oil is at the full mark) the odometer LED and/or the gear position LED do not even show or illuminate at this time. Any other thoughts on this would greatly be appreciated? Hopefully I found someone who may have a scan tool to do a check for what may be wrong.

Hi Frank,
The dim/no lighting of the cluster makes me wonder if the new battery has been discharged too far so if you can put it on a charger overnight or at least measure the voltage that would be the first step. Once you know that the battery is charged up, then I would suggest that you check a grounding point at the left front door opening where on the kick panel (just at the lower corner of the door opening likely hidden behind an upholstered panel) you will find a bolt which is securing several black wires which include the ground wire from the instrument cluster. Be sure that all the eyelets at the ends of those wires are shiny and that the bolt is firmly retaining them in place. Then check that the contacts of the following fuses are shiny as well: in the box in the engine compartment #2,7,8,9,10,14 and in the cabin fuse b
ox #7 and 11. Only with a working cluster can we make any progress on getting a fault code readout.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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