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Erratic starting and power locks chatter

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jan 2008, 03:15 pm
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Default Erratic starting and power locks chatter

I have a 2003 GT model. Starting two years ago it began erratically not turning over when I turned the key. All the dash lights go on, everything appears normal, but it does not turn over until I turn the key off and on a random number of times, sometimes twice, sometimes 4-5 or more times. But not all the time, it would work fine for a couple of weeks, then begin again, sometimes it would be OK for a week, then do it for a week. After it starts, it runs fine. Took it to the dealer twice, left it for a few days each time and, of course, the problem didn't happen so the dealer could not replicate it.

Now, I also began having problems with the rear door locks chattering at random times, beginning when I hit the brake for any reason. They chatter for 10-15 seconds then stop, but it doesn't happen every time. I read somewhere here that fuse #3 works those, so I removed the fuse just to stop the chattering.

I'm wondering if the two problems may be related, or if anyone can suggest the next thing to try.

Thanks in advance.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jan 2008, 04:38 pm
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

Just a guess, but you might be having trouble with the RKEM (Remote keyless Entry Module). So far it's only people having trouble with locks and the remote, but you never know what some modules are connected to that may cause problems elsewhere.

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Old 07 Jan 2008, 08:58 pm
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

here is a blurb from alldata on the RKE module.
Notes

REMOTE KEYLESS ENTRY MODULE
The Remote Keyless Entry module controls the Power Door Locks and the Vehicle Theft Security System (VTSS). It also wakes up the Instrument Cluster to turn on the illuminated entry when it senses a signal from the RKE transmitter. The module communicates with other modules via the PCI bus circuit.

The RKE module monitors the Occupant Restraint Controller messages for the purpose of monitoring the deployment of the airbag. Upon receiving that message along with the verification that the ignition is on and the vehicle speed is zero, it will provide the "enhanced accident response feature". This feature will cause the module to unlock-all doors immediately and the instrument cluster to turn the courtesy lamps on when the vehicle reaches 0 MPH .



as you see, the module is connected to both the Vehicle Theft Security System and the door locks. sounds like it may be the root of the problem.
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Old 08 Jan 2008, 03:39 pm
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

Thanks for the responses, I agree that the RKE might be the problem. I removed fuse #3 to get around the problem of the door lock chatter. The locks are now manual, but the remote still appears to work for the security system and maybe other things. I wonder, is there a fuse that can disable the RKE without messing up other critical systems? If so maybe I could just disable it and see if that fixes the problem(s).
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Old 08 Jan 2008, 04:47 pm
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

The inside fuse panel. The number #3 20A fuse says RKE DR LKS (Remote Keyless Entry Door Locks)
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Old 10 Jan 2008, 06:54 pm
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

This is getting downright bizarre. My car is possessed.

First, I removed fuse #3, which killed the auto door locks, thus no lock chatter. The erratic starting problem continued, though, it took as much as 20 times for it to start yesterday. Today it either started fine, or it took 4 key turns to start. Once it starts, it runs beautifully.

I then replaced the #3 fuse, and the auto door locks began working fine, I mean, no more chatter. The chatter problem seems to have gone away by itself. But the erratic starting continues and, just to needle me some more, now the rear hatch will not open. This appears to be a mechanical problem in which the lock that is held by two screws came lose, so when you pull the swivel lock to pull the hatch open it won't raise enough to clear the little bar that holds it in place. I thought it was a trivial problem at first but after an hour of trying to jimmy things up in between the hatch and the body I gave up. The ^$&A% thing will not open. To make it worse, unless the sensor is close enough to appear closed, the interior lights will stay on and drain the battery. Yikes!

I would love to have the dealer fix this, I will pay good US greenbacks to fix it. But every time I take it in the car works fine, the mechanic says there's nothing to fix. Well, maybe the rear hatch mechanical problem this time. I guess I will try the dealer once more. But to be honest, I began looking for trade ins for a different make. Oh did I tell you this is a 2003 with only 10,000 miles? I hardly use it, maybe that's the problem.
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Old 10 Jan 2008, 08:55 pm
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

Did you buy it new or used. Maybe (if used) had some water or other damage that you didn't know about.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 07:51 am
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

No, I bought it new and am the only user. Now, this morning, I want to report a bit of success! And even though I'm a new member, I've gotten a lot of tips from this board, so want to give something back.

The success is, I figured out how to open the rear hatch from the inside, tightened the two screws, and now the hatch is once again working. Here is how you do it, along with a couple of photos.

First, you remove the two light colored panels that run along the sides of the rear hatch window, one on each side. Actually, you don't even have to remove them, but it helps a bit. To remove them, you just tug on them carefully but firmly and they pop out from some small holes that grip metallic holders.

Then you similarly pop out the large dark colored (in my PT) panel that is below the window, beginning with the large bulb covering the wiper motor and then going around the sides, pull firmly and the whole thing pops out. You then get to see the innards behind the panel. You pull the hatch lever on the outside to make sure it's not locked down, then from inside you pull the rod that holds the latch down. This should pop open the hatch. You can see it on the photo. Here is what it looks like open without the cover:



Now, my problem were these two screws that had come lose and made the hatch impossible to open from outside. Make sure these two screws are tightened down firmly! I put a bit of epoxy on mine.



You pop the covers back on the same way you took them off, they go on very easily.

So there it is, one problem solved. As of yesterday, the power locks began magically working again, so now I'm just down to the original problem, the erratic starting. This morning it started 2 out of 2 times so I will keep my fingers crossed. Hope it works, wife loves the car, I have a love-hate relationship with it, but would like to get it fixed since, as I say, it's practically new.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 09:09 am
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

my wifes car had troble with the RKEM but no trouble starting thanks god !!
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 11 Jan 2008, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Erratic starting and power locks chatter

To add a bit about you popping off the panels...the whole inside of the PT is made like that. I had my AMP and subwoofer installed by a professional and watched as he took half the inside of the car apart by just popping off panels around the doors, rear inside quarter panels and around the hatch so he could run the wires from back to front. It sure makes it easy to do inside work.

Good job on the explanation and photo's of your fix. Sure hope my rear hatch screws don't come loose as I've covered them with a flammed plate. Also took off the rear wiper with the easy access of the panels that popped off and replaced it with a handle.

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Last edited by CREWZIN; 11 Jan 2008 at 11:08 am.
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