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Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3407
Experience:  30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
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I have a 2000 neon and it quit running while driving. I checked

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I have a 2000 neon and it quit running while driving. I checked for fuel ok ,but no spark. checked codes and a code for crank sensor came up p0302. checked power at sensor no power at orange wire while key is on. 5v at sensor input and under 0.0 on the ground. visual inspection of wiring revealed nothing. Swapped ASD relays. Still no power. Replaced the crank shaft, cam shaft and coil pack. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Mike of the 70s... welcome to Just Answer!.

Oooo... go back to the 8v feed. With no power here, you're either lacking output from the PCM or you have a short-to-ground of the circuit... which will KO the controller.

Disconnect your PCM and check for continuity to ground on the orange (8v) circuit. It should be an open at that point.

I'm not sure about your reference to "5v at sensor input".

Let's start by disconnecting the cam sensor and PCM, then checking for continuity to ground on the 8v circuit (which should be an open).

Talk shortly,
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
"5v at sensor input" is the grey/black signal circuit. I disconnected the PCM and cam sensor and checked for continuity to ground on the 8v circuit. It was open.

With a good 5v reference on the signal (grey/ black) wire, it appears all you're missing is the 8v feed to the cam/ crank sensors.

An open circuit is pretty uncommon on this model unless there has been an impact in the left front of the vehicle.. a parking block type of insult will do the job.

Your PCM lies in the left front of the vehicle, just to the rear of the radiator support and open to the transmission area. The radiator support isn't terribly strong and a significant shot such as what I described will push the entire area back toward the transmission..

Automatics have MUCH less area than the manual shift units, which means contact between the PCM or engine harness is more likely. The open circuit you're seeing on the 8v circuit is quite possibly part of something like this, but I'm probably getting ahead of myself.

Here's the connector view for your 8v circuit, from engine to PCM...


The two connectors appear similar, but have terminal numbering cast into the open (terminal side) of the connector. Check between a convenient 8v source such as the cam sensor to the #44 pin of the C2 connector for continuity. If none exists, you'll need to do some harness damage checking to find the source. It seldom happens on the 2000 (and up) Neon without physical trauma of some sort. Concentrate on the front radiator support area.

Talk in a bit!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
checked 8v source at cam sensor and #44 pin of c2 and have continuity. vehicle has no front end damage.
Check again for short to ground of the 8v circuit (should show open with C2 disconnected).

I wouldn't expect to see 5v at the signal wire with this circuit shorted, but we've gotta check the basics.

Speaking of which, there are powers and grounds to check. This is the other connector, the C1...


This is where I like to emply the "load device", typically a high-draw bulb such as a headlamp or fog lamp. Either one will suck about 4 amps, more than enough to tell if the power or ground circuit is up to snuff.

Note that Pins 10, 47 and 50 are grounds. Connect your load device to B+ and feed it to those terminals to see if it holds well. The beauty of bulbs are that they display their flow rates in lumens... so if you're blinded by the output... checks OK.

Pin 20 is the ignition switch output, primarily used for a wakeup call to the controller but may also be used for other feeds... not known. See that it holds up as well.

#46 is the B+ feed to the controller... same applies.

While I don't expect the 5v feed to be a problem, you might check Pin 51 just in case. Grounding of this circuit will normally KO the controller, which means you don't get the 5v pullup voltage at the cam or crank sensors. No communication with the controller is possible during those times, either.


Ooops. My Bad.

Terminal 61 is the 5v feed. So much for memory...

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Double checked short to ground at 8v circuit - it's open. Checked grounds 10, 47, and 50 - check ok. Checked 46 to controler - ok. With battery voltage to the light and then going to pin #20 ignition, ok. #61 5v feed would not light the bulb. But did not have the cam or crank sensor hooked up if that matters.
That's all good... the 5v doesn't have the power to light the bulb and I should have mentioned that.
I'm guessing what you sent was a typo, but did you have your light connected to battery positive when checking Pin 20? If it lit like that, there would be no voltage on the circuit, only grounding. #20 is your switched feed to the PCM and probably passes through a fuse before reaching this point. I don't have the diagram in front of me, but this feed typically supplies power to the control circuits of ASD and fuel pump relays. If you find this circuit to be dead, let me know and I'll dig up some info on the subject.

But if you do have switched power, there isn't much left at this point but to condemn the PCM. It's not a common problem to lose the 8v, yet everything else still works, but can happen. I'd be extra careful with the replacement unit when it comes to monitoring its 8v functions, as you may have a cam or crank sensor that shorts the circuit to ground, something that might not be appaent until power is applied. If the engine has running problems with the new controller, check your 8v with both sensors disconnected, then momentarily connect each one individually.

The PCM has a self-preservation mode for (hopefully) preventing damage to the 8v generator, where it sharply cuts back on output when a short is sensed. It typically outputs something like 2v for a minute or better even after the short is lifted, sometimes requiring a short period of key-off to let it reset.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
yes it was a typo on #20 battery ground. so your saying the pcm is at fault.
That's what I make of it, Mike. Diagnosing a PCM means basically testing and removing every known reason for your failure until nothing remains BUT the controller.

Your powers and grounds are OK, you actually HAVE a 5v signal, continuity of the 8v circuit from PCM to sensor is OK and there's no short to ground of the 8v circuit. With zero output from the 8v, I'd have little reservation with replacing the controller (PCM) at this point.

If you happen to have the Sentry Key system (grey key with transponder chip), the new PCM has to be properly introduced to the SKIM module before you can go for a ride. This is something that requires the use of the factory scan tool (DRB3) and a secret 4-digit number is XXXXX required, something that your local dealer can get for you once proper ID and proof of ownership of the vehicle is given. They won't do this over the phone... you gotta walk in the door.

WITHOUT Sentry key (SKIM)... just turn the key and go. You're supposed to install the VIN and vehicle miles any time a controller is replaced, but I don't believe there will be any outward symptoms if it's not done on your 2000 Neon.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I replaced the PCM. I have a friend that owns a Chrysler dealership and he's letting me borrow the DRBIII. He is also getting me the 4 digit number. What is the easiest way to plug in the VIN, mileage, and 4 digit number for the Sentry key to work properly?
You go in through ENGINE, which you get to by just pushing ENTER until you reach the end of the line. Have the key on for this.

Once the PCM introduces itself and you push ENTER to get to the Main Menu, push the RIGHT ARROW, which takes you to MISC.

In MISC, you'll find something like CHECK VIN and CHECK MILES. Click on each and just follow the prompts. The VIN write procedure will pretty much do it all by itself, taking the information it needs from the SKIM module, requiring only the secret code.

You'll be OK!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Inserted special # XXXXX replacement of PCM in the scan tool. It went through its proceedure, said SKIM ok for this computer. Then it updated the VIN and mileage. Said to cycle key before starting or could get a stall problem. Cylcled key and tried to start it. Still no start. Code P0320, P1684 and 1685 came up.
So far, so good.

P1684 means there's been a recent loss of PCM memory... which you can understand.
P1685 is a "WRONG OR INVALID KEY MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM SKIM", another possibility with the recent repairs.
P0320 is a crank sensor code, possibly that it remains disconnected from all the work and testing you've been doing.

You may have to reprogram the key you have if the P1685 keeps popping up, but you can do that with the same durb and secret number. Just back out of ENGINE by pressing PAGE BACK until you see the list with VEHICLE SECURITY (or something like that, option 7) shown on the screen. This screen also shows engine, trans, body... etc.

Click on VEHICLE SECURITY and then SKIM. It'll show a menu with MISC at the bottom. Click MISC.

You'll find a number of options including PROGRAM NEW KEY (or something like that).

Click on it and then follow the prompts just like before.

If you still have problems getting it started and the crank sensor is connected, go back to ENGINE and click on Option 6 (monitors) and then the NO START link. Watch to see if you get a crank signal, which may be displayed as a "count", rather than good or no good. Cam signal will count as you crank the engine and the crank should as well, but at a greater rate. No signal means we need to look at the crank sensor, which MIGHT be the guy that killed the last PCM. Be careful!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I could not find how to program skim in th engine section I found it in the security area. Then misc. then replaced computer area went through those steps with secret #   The sensor is pluged in
Good. I thought it was possible to do it through SKIM, but I usually just go to ENGINE for that function.

You might check your 8v at this time to see if there's something pulling the circuit down. Disconnect the crank sensor first and check it at the connector. If OK, reconnect and then pull the cam sensor or vehicle speed sensor (if manual) to check the 8v. If it changes... the crank sensor is bad and might be what whacked the last controller.

Dodgerench and 5 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
checked 8v at crank and cam sensors, nothing- 0.06v
Ohhhhhhhh.... no.
Leave the key off for a while and leave the cam and crank sensors disconnected. Try again and see what happens.

You can check for short to ground (yet again) with the key off. I'm very short on direction at this point if the 8v circuit isn't shorted anywhere.

If it happens to be a manual trans car, check to see if there's a vehicle speed sensor at the left-rear of the engine/ trans area, where the engine meets the trans. It will be mounted in an extension housing you can access from the left side of the underhood. Disconnect that sucker as well.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
disconnected both sensors and key is off,will recheck everyting later      its an automatic
Good... one less thing.

You might try probing the 8v as it leaves the controller, even though continuity was OK previously. The terminal in the 40-way might be spread or just plain lacking in contact, something not the least bit common, but won't show up on a continuity check. We may have to extract that sucker and tighten it up a bit if things don't show improvement!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
checked 8v from controller seems ok    rechecked voltage still nothing     rechecked short to ground - open
You see 8v at the controller? Sorry, I might be missing something.... let me know if you see 8v anywhere.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I just looked at pins to see if one was spread open   not sure the 8v pin #
That's PIn 44 (orange).
Poke that sucker as it leaves the PCM to see if you've got 8v there. We can fix the damage later.

That's PIn 44 (orange).
Poke that sucker as it leaves the PCM to see if you've got 8v there. We can fix the damage later.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
probed pin #44 orange wire as it leaves pcm, key on nothing 0.06v
We're back to square one with the 8v if there is not external short to ground!

The only things I wonder about at this time are whether the terminal at the 40-way
has good squeeze and whether the freakin controller is good.

With all powers and grounds OK, the PCM should wake up and pump 8.8v out on the Pin 44 circuit. If the terminal is loose, it might be missing this connection, but it's just not something that happens in real life. If you've got a pin gauge selection (numbered drill bits work), see if you can find something that fits the terminals of this connector and compare the #44 to the rest. If it compares favorably, it's not likely to be a problem.

Bad reman controllers have been a major pain to me since they rolled out. The worst infractions are when you get exactly (EXACTLY) the same failure on the replacement unit as the original. And it sure happens.

Re-think eveyrthing as I am.

Powers and grounds. They pass load tests.

5v has no continuity to ground outside of the sensor ground circuit of the PCM.

8v has no continuity to ground in the same manner.

Powered up, the 8v circuit STILL shows no significant continuity to ground. This may change as engine position does, but with cam and crank sensors disconnected, should be an open circuit.

That your PCM communicates and sends codes is a major plus. It pretty much means that the 5v isn't shorted (at least) but the 8v still remains the stumbling block.

At this point, verify good squeeze on #44 and then warranty the controller. I'm wracking my brain for something that could cause your loss of 8v and can't find it. With the above stuff checked and verified... you've stumbled into a bad reman unit.

PLEASE don't think I take this lightly! This is serious stuff with lots and lots of dough connected and I realize that. But at this point I'm of the opinion that you got a bum unit. And it's really hard to say that, given the circumstances.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I will check the pin     could the old crank sensor have shorted the new controller
It's possible that the crank sensor burned your 8v out, but it's unlikely that it croaked the new unit so fast. These units have that capacity to protect themselves, so it doesn't seem likely that a bad (shorted) sensor could take the thing out in that short time.

Check the pin and give the system time to recover. Retest.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
checked the pin with all others, used a small drill bit - ok       rechecked powers and grounds - ok     going to recheck continuity at 8v wire     Iam just so stumped and frustrated
You and me both!
If you haven't met me before... allow me to introduce myself. I've been doing Chrysler/ Dodge driveability work for half my life and always get too involved with the outcome. A missed step means somebody has problems or additional costs added on and it's always a bad situation. I do everything I can to prevent this from happening but sometimes schtuff happens.

From what I can see, the schtuff involves a missed step with the PCM reman people at this point, Mike. It's a tough call, but there isn't anything else I can see at this point that would cause this situation.

But for diagnostic purposes, disconnect the cam and crank sensors, then warranty the reman unit. Check to see if you get 8v and then reconnect the two sensors individually. If you see something dangerous, disconnect immediately.

I can't tell you how many times I've been down this road personally! It's one thing to have a controller import a new problem (easy) but when you get the same result with the new unit, it makes you rethink over and over what could have been missed. I replace three SBEC3 units (like yours) on a 95 Stratus once with exactly the same results. It was later shown that the reman units were all crap, but it completely kicked my butt at the time. Stuff like this happens!

You've got great documentation so far on the problem and since replacing the PCM. Use that if the reman suppliers give you grief... see if THEY have an answer! I don't thin they will.

So very sorry for the additional problems, but I still hold the possibility of a bad PCM to be your current problem. As hard as it is to say, there's no other solution.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
rechecked continuity all ok     I will take your advice and warranty the controller    
Go for it. Leave your cam and crank disconnected at key-on next time just in case. But I really can't see anything whacking the 8v that fast!

Hang in there, bud! It's gonna get done.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Computer #2 is installed. Is there any way of checking the 8v supply without hooking up the DRBIII to install VIN, special #, etc? Because I won't have access to that until Monday.
Sure. The 8v comes up as soon as you roll the key on whether there's a VIN installed or not.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
computer #2 still has no 8v power at orange #44 directly from controller            both sensors are disconnected        is there something that powers or wakes the computer up to give power to the 8v        is there something iam missing
The only wakeup call is the switched feed from Pin 20. I don't think the PCI bus has any effect on these controllers just to get 'em working, but it's a new thought. Since you were able to program that first unit to SKIM, it HAS to be operational, tho.

Check 20 again... just because you enjoy it so much!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
with ignition on i grounded the light to the battery and probed pin 20 it lights up perfectly
Can you find a numbered drill bit... paper clip or something that fits the PCM terminals? Use it as a gauge to see if the 8v terminal is spread out or something. I'm at a complete loss to explain why you wouldn't have 8v at this point. 5v is OK... right?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
5v is ok     I checked the terminal with a drill bit ,it checked ok but will check again
Thanks. XXXXX taking so long to get back to you... gotta work today. I'll keep a closer eye out for you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Rechecked the pin with a paperclip this time. It feels exactly like all the others: no difference in tightness or loosness. I may attempt to extract the pin to tighten it just in case. I have no other options.

I appreciate all the help you've been giving me. This car has been setting and I have another vehicle so you don't have to complicate your work day just to answer my questions.
No problem, Mike. I sure understand how you've gotta be feeling right about now. I'm off in another 1.5 hours, so maybe we can sit down and work this thing out. Thanks for your patience!

Still studying... any new developments?
Still stumped, I'm afraid.

Here's the 8v circuit as it leaves the PCM, but it matters little if you find no 8v right at the PCM connector. It feeds a maximum of three circuits (cam, crank and vehicle speed sensor), but VSS isn't used with an automatic.

With no continuty to ground, it really doesn't matter. If the 8v circuit is an open circuit... hold the phone.

Check your 8v for continuity to ANY of the other 80 pins in the PCM. Do it with the key on, or key off. Shoot, do it both ways. Break out the meter and just check 44 to each and every other pin, just to see if one happens to be connected in some way.

We're not seeing the 8v shorted to external ground, but maybe there's a short within the harness that takes 8v down once you reconnect the PCM. It's a grasp at straws, but it's all I've got at this point! A short like this would escape normal diganosis (my bad), but would show up with a check of this sort.

Hang in there!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Alright, off to check the continuity between the pin #44 and all other pins in the harness.
Cool. It's a longshot, but your problem defies normal logic. Make all your checks with both connectors off at the PCM.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
With both PCM connectors disconnected, I checked continuity between #44 and all other pins. With ignition key on or off all readings were the same. All were open except pins #26, 36, 43, 61, and 66.
OK, that's not expected!

What were the resistance values? Do you recall?
Anything close to 100 ohms or less?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
With my ohms meter set at 200k the readings were as follows # XXXXX #36-31.9 #43-00.0 #61-00.9 #66-61.2 key on or off fmsde no difference
Great numbers!

Did you check this with cam and crank disconnected at the sensors?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I think the values you found are very significant, Mike. I can't see any reason whatsoever why the 8v would be connected to the sensor ground (Pin 43) or 5v supply (Pin 61) with everything disconnected. The 5v should NEVER see this type of connection, but the sensor ground is a normal return path for the 8v WHEN IT'S CONNECTED TO CAM OR CRANK.

The only other connection for the 8v is for the vehicle speed sensor if you happened to have a manual shift car... which you don't. Even though the trans is automatic, there might be vestigial wiring that goes unused in the area, but may still be a factor.

Connect your meter to Pin 44 and 43, then start doing some wiggle testing of the harness while watching the values. Drop the ohmmeter scale to the lowest you can to still have a display for better sensitivity and watch as you wiggle. There are so few real wiring problems on the 00 Neon that I can't really describe where to look exactly... just follow the looms and wiggle while watching until something changes, even a little bit. NO WAY the 8v should have connection to the sensor ground circuit with the PCM connectors off!

The vehicle speed sensor area would be just above and behind the trans and to the engine side of the transmission extension housing for the half-shaft. It's hard to describe, but look to the rear of the engine in an area that's hard to get to. I really don't know for sure if this wiring is included on the automatic vehicles, but it's worth a look. Otherwise, the cam and crank sensors are your best bet for harness lead-ins.

It may become necessary to cut a wire if things don't show up without a fight. Let me know.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well this is what I came up with. I hooked my ohms meter to pin # XXXXX and #44 on the lowest setting and started wiggling wires. The first place I started out was at the cam sensor and low and behold the readings started changing. I peeled open the harness and found the coolant sensor(I believe ,sensor below cam sensor)wires bare and touching. The coolant sensor and the cam sensor both go into what looks like a fusable link.
That makes sense, Mike. I couldn't imagine where the ECT continuity came from at Pin 26! It's looking like you've got wiring shorts within the harness, something I'd have never imagined before today.

Keep at it and let me know what happens!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well we got it. I had to completly remove the rear portion of the harness to access all the shorts. I honestly don't know how it was running so well up to this point. This car is in great shape I dont know how it all happened. Many of the wires were bare or melted together yet the harness and looms were in good shape. Damn the mystery is solved finally. I could not have done this with out you and I thank you so very much.
That's great news, Mike! Man, that was a real bear to find. While wires do short together within harnesses on occasion... they simply do NOT in the 2000 and up Neon. And for the 8v circuit to find the only path to ground within the harness.. not exactly priceless, either. Thanks for all the hard work!

I had you pegged as a tech with the way you handled the multimeter, Mike! If not for your aptitude with electrical wiring, we'd probably never have found it. I'll sure put this one in the Neon Files so it might reduce pain and suffering in the future.

Enjoy your Sunday! Woo hoooo!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well after working off and on most of the day repairing wiring and the harness its done. I started it and it ran for a few seconds before shuting down due to the new computer not being programed. So I think we got it. Thanks again    Micheal
Yep, that's actually a good sign. You'll be all good once you get the secret stuff put in tomorrow.

Michael... I have to aplogize for not recognizing the problem earlier and saving you the expense of a new PCM. The extra time and effort you had to put in also bums me more than a little... please don't feel obligated to click the accept button, as it's the only contribution I can make at this point. I'm thrilled we got it sorted out and will just chalk this up to experience.

Thanks for all the hard work and patience.
Many thanks,
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reprogrammed the pcm and it runs perfectly. Took it on a 30 mile test drive all checked ok.

Don't worry about costing me any "extra expense", you saved me far more than the extra computer. Which I purchased from a salvage yard anyway. Thanks for all YOUR hard work and patience. I know who to go to next time I have any problems!

You're the best! :o)
Happy trails,