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Doug in North Carolina
Doug in North Carolina, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 302
Experience:  ASE Master Mechanic, 12 Years Experience Specializing in HVAC, Electrical and Driveability Problems.
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98 dodge neon, car died as if fuel pump went out.checked pump

Resolved Question:

98 dodge neon, car died as if fuel pump went out.checked pump fuse and put back in,swapped relay with horn relay.drove car for two weeks,till happened again.tried swapping relays,could put same relay back in and start car,worked only a few minutes,did this several times to get home,still ended up towing.Replaced fuel pump $233.00 seemed to fix problem.One week later happened again.this time simply pulled out fuse and put back in,drove car a couple more days,till problem happened.This time pulling fuse would start car but would only make a few miles.did this several times to get home.Car is now parked.If relays were bad wouldn't they not start the car?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Doug in North Carolina replied 7 years ago.
The relay could fail either by sticking (causing the end component to constantly run) or by no longer working which of course means the end component quits working too. So it's a coin toss as to whether it's related to the fuel pump relay.

There is an Auto Shut Down relay that could be related to your problem. You should try switching it around with another relay. Perhaps you moving relays jarred the ASD relay enough to get it to work and that led you to believe the relay you actually moved was the culprit.

Also, the computers on these things go bad from time to time. When you have it not starting again try and get a helper to try and crank it. While it's spinning over failing to crank, lightly hit the computer, it's located on the driver's side fender.

Also, I see that most of your though process has been in THINKING it was fuel related. Have you got a fuel pressure gauge where you can tap in to the fuel rail and actually verify that you have no fuel pressure when your no start occurs?

There's a number of other things that can cause the engine to spin over but never crank and run. I want to make sure you're chasing the right thing as you've already sunk good money in to a fuel pump and a tow bill.

Do you do the work yourself or have someone else do it? Do you have access to a multimeter and test light and are you willing to troubleshoot things yourself or just want some ideas as to what your problem might be?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I do the work myself.I also towed the car home with my truck,it was only a few miles up the road anyway.The frustrating thing was that we had just filled the gas tank up,but draining the tank and getting the pump out proved to be fairly simple.I have a two post lift so it made dropping the tank easy.My earlier frustration was nothing was nothing compared to finding out that i change the pump for nothing.So far I'm only out the $230.00 so I now it could be worse. But I hope it dosen't cost much more.I have a Hanes book and it shows steps to test the relays with a multimeter.I plan on trying this when I get a chance.Oreilly parts have relays for $10.00 each.I may just get two for to save time.But if thats not it, then is it the PCM or computer.That sounds expensive.If its not fuel what then ,Thanks
Expert:  Doug in North Carolina replied 7 years ago.
I wouldn't buy a relay at this point, you've swapped them around and still have the problem so it doesn't sound like it's a relay.

When you have the no start condition you'll need to verify that you have fuel pressure using a gauge at the shrader valve on the fuel rail. Pressure should be over 40psi.

Next you'll need to verify that your coil is providing spark. Pull one spark plug up a little and listen for the ticking produced when the spark is jumping from end of the wire to the spark plug tube. Pull it all the way out and stick a screw driver in there and test it in that manor if your prefer.

If you have spark, verify that the injectors are spraying. One wire has battery voltage on it and the other leads back to the computer. The wire that has the battery voltage is shared with the other injectors. I beleive it's green with an orange tracer but I don't have my manuals with me nor do I have my neon with me at the moment. The computer provides the ground for each injector seperately so the ground wires will all be different colors. If you have a "noid light" then you can just plug it in and look for the light to flash as you're attempting to crank the engine.

At the coil there's three wires. One is battery voltage while cranking and running. The other two are "Coil Drivers" which are grounds that the computer applies and takes away. Once you have verified that you have battery voltage then you can plug in your noid light to one driver wire and the battery voltage wire. It should blink while you're trying to crank it to show that the computer is applying and removing ground in a pattern. Move the noid light to the other ground wire and reuse the power wire to make sure both circuits are working.

If you have power on the injector wire that's common to all and power on the wire at the coil but the noid light does not illuminate then your computer is not providing the necessary grounds for each component to do it's job.

You can usually find PCMs (Powertrain Control Module, Chrysler's version of an engine computer) at a junk yard and they're easy to swap out. If you diagnosis leads you to the computer, consider upgrading to a Mopar Performance Computer or another performance one. All will require premium fuel but you'll get a little more umph out of it and I always prefer to upgrade a part once I've found it to have failed.

Hopefully that will be enough information to get you working on it today. I will not be able to respond back until late tonight but I will be back in touch soon.
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