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"Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10 Sep 2009, 08:57 am
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Smile "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

Hi all-

I've never posted to the forum, but due to my recent unfortunate luck, I've been reading through them quite a bit.

I am happily owned by a 2008 PT Cruiser. I purchased it new, and have never had a single problem. On 5/1/09 I was involved in a vehicle accident (it was not my fault though) with a mini-van. The damage was to the front end, with the point of impact just to the inside edge of the passenger headlight--I hit the rear driver's side column of the mini-van, so it did leave a pretty good notch in my front end. The initial estimate from my insurance adjuster was just for body panels, radiator, etc--typical "fender-bender" kind of stuff. No frame damage or anything serious.

I have been having problems with my car after the accident repairs, and during these issues have found that something went awry while my car was being repaired, which led to the PCM reading an internal fault and being replaced.

I am meeting tomorrow with the dealership that handled the mechanical repairs to my car to go over what's been going on, but I have a few opinions I wanted to get based on what I have pieced together. I really think that someone isn't telling me something... and I suspect my PT may be more severely damaged than anyone is willing to admit. I've already lost confidence in its reliability. I have broken down on the side of the road twice, both times requiring a tow.

Is this an appropriate place to ask questions? I appreciate your time!
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Old 10 Sep 2009, 09:23 am
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Default Re: "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

I think you are wise having a dealer doing the work.

What's the question?

Damage related issues will be covered by insurance.

Warranty related issues will be cover by D/C.

Simply make them fix it either way.

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Old 10 Sep 2009, 09:44 am
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Default Re: "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

Thanks for the response.

My problem is that my warranty is up in 400 miles. What the dealership did seems to have had such a snowball effect that I am really skeptical that it will be cleared up before the warranty runs out.

I drive my car for work a good bit (phat mileage reimbursement) and the one of the times it broke down was 150 miles into a 700 mile round trip. I had to have it towed to a local dealership, and quickly rent a car because the dealership couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was still late for an appointment, and the dealership/insurance company/etc weren't willing to pay for my rental car because their service warranty doesn't cover any rentals. The dealership has had my car 5 times, and each time they do something different and the problem is never resolved. I am not happy with them letting me be their guinea pig while they play around with my car.

Anyway, off my rant. The supposed story was that while at the body shop, my car wouldn't start when they were ready to move it off to be painted. The body shop sent it to the dealership, who decided that the problem was the fuel pump in my gas tank. When they replaced the fuel pump, some wire wasn't hooked up right and it caused a short which blew the PCM. They replaced the PCM, and sent it back to the body shop for the rest of the body work.

I had my car back for 3 hours and the check engine light came on, took it to the dealership, they "recalibrated" the PCM, said everyting was fine. 1000 miles later, check engine light while driving down the interstate, no acceleration, engine was sputtering. Had to pull off the road and get towed. Took it to the dealership, they "recalibrated" the computer again. 500 miles later, check engine light, same symptoms as before, but i'm 150 miles from home and had to take it to a different dealership. They replace the O2 sensor (under warraty).

This whole time my PT Cruiser has driven like it's got less power. I also get crappy fuel economy--15 in town, 17 on highway. It had 33K miles when the accident happened, all driven by me, so I know this car. This is all new post-accident. I took it again to the dealership a couple weeks (no check engine light, but still driving crappy) and they drive it for a few days, do some checks, determine that the MAP sensor was bad, and that was the cause of everything, even the bad O2 sensor. They replace it, and car was better for a couple days, now it's back to feeling sluggish when you accelerate.

My question is what kind of effect could shorting out the PCM have on other sensors of the car? Does the chain of events they're telling me make sense? I find it hard to believe that all these sensors going bad are just a coincedence, which is what the dealership is trying to tell me. They were just bad parts. Not at all related to what they did to the computer.

Immediately after the impact of the accident, my car was still running. I had to turn it off, then about 10 minutes later drove it off the road to a nearby parking lot. I didn't have power steering, but it started a ran (mostly) fine. If the fuel pump had been damaged, wouldn't it was killed the engine? The air bags didn't even deploy in either vehicle so I find it hard to believe that the pump inside the tank was damaged and bent over at an angle.
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Old 10 Sep 2009, 10:46 am
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Default Re: "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

Chasing down electrical problems can be a challenge. Hopefully any accident damaged wiring harnesses were replaced, not just repaired.

Could just be coincidence different things failing, but as long as they are repairing it each time you have no further recourse. It has to be the same warranty issue 3 times and still a problem before the lemon law kicks in. I would find a dealer that offers free loaners for sure. Just keep after it until it's fixed. Trying to place blame may not be possible.

Regardless of make, they all can have problems, although Chrysler/Dodge vehicles are NOT known for reliability. New vehicles are so complicated with so many computers on board, it is scary once they are out of warranty. But they might cover something that re-occurs - Keep good records.

It does make you wonder if they test drive your car before delivery, when you get it new or fixed with problems. My wife bought her 2004 PT Cruiser GT after her 2004 Camry was in the shop 3 times for tranny problems. 1st time just fixed driving it home from the dealer it bucked liked a bronco, yea they test drove that alrighty. 2nd time not much better. 3rd time they replaced the whole transmission which finally fixed it, but by then she was soured on the car and traded the basically new Camry off on the PT. The Camry also had bad rear speakers from the factory they replaced after she insisted. Camry's are like the #1 selling car next to Coralla's. It was so quiet compared to the PT for road noise, the Camry's have a double insulated floor. But the PT is fun!

As they pulled my 2008 Duramax GMC around to deliver it at Dave Smith Motors, Kellogg Idaho, the 4x4 PC threw a code. Brand new rig and they ended up replacing the module (common to fail at sometime on GM trucks). These trucks have 22 computers on board! We ended up staying the night on their room & board dime, but 300 miles from home, only to find out they needed more time. They gave me a loaner the next day to take home and offered free delivery once it was fixed. We didn’t want anyone driving our new rig that many miles so went back to get her. So 600 extra miles and the time. I requested step bars at their cost for the inconvienence - they said no problemo - then when we went to get the rig - they said the $400 bars were FREE. Can't beat that. 30K on the rig now trouble free.

Problems she has had with her PT: A/C goes out at 25K and 4 years (out of warranty) - leaking worn thru hose rubbing on worn out upper motor mount - $1,000+ repair bill. Motor mounts common to fail on PT's. Then the cam sensor went out at 28K, a common problem also. I went to the local parts store, diagnosed the check engine light with their code reader, bought the $50 part and installed it with help from this site. Then I read on this site wheel bearings are an issue with PT's and mentioned it to the wife. Hex! Right after that one of the front wheel bearing starts making noise. Needed bearing, shaft and alignment. Great designs there Chrysler……… What's next?


Last edited by lmmegt; 10 Sep 2009 at 10:52 am.
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Old 10 Sep 2009, 11:04 am
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Default Re: "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

Quote:
Originally Posted by lmmegt View Post
It does make you wonder if they test drive your car before delivery, when you get it new or fixed with problems.
Amen to that! When I had to take my PT to a different dealership, they reset the computer because they said it just had a stored code that at one point it had run too lean, and they set me on my merry way. I got in the car and on the road, and not 1 block away it was doing the same thing, and the engine light popped on.

I drove back to the dealership and dragged the service guy out by his ear (not really, but it makes for a better story ) and made him drive it with me. I was amazed that the invoice he handed me just minutes before said "test drove 10 miles, operated as designed"... my FOOT!
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Old 10 Sep 2009, 11:27 am
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Default Re: "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldiesGirl View Post
Amen to that! When I had to take my PT to a different dealership, they reset the computer because they said it just had a stored code that at one point it had run too lean, and they set me on my merry way. I got in the car and on the road, and not 1 block away it was doing the same thing, and the engine light popped on.

I drove back to the dealership and dragged the service guy out by his ear (not really, but it makes for a better story ) and made him drive it with me. I was amazed that the invoice he handed me just minutes before said "test drove 10 miles, operated as designed"... my FOOT!

Guess they don't get paid for test drives!

Your MPG is an issue for sure. Heck I get 19 MPG hwy in my 7,000 pound diesel truck........

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Old 10 Sep 2009, 01:14 pm
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Default Re: "Fried" PCM which lead to other issues - some help with approaching dealership

Goldiesgirl, it sounds as if you have all of the record of repairs. I suggest you go to the dealer with all of them. Talk to the Service Manager, if you don't get anywhere, request that you talk to the owner. Next ask that the Service Corporate Rep gets involved until the problem is resolved. Be cordial to all, and remember that you possibly have a car that is covered under the Lemon law. Then of course there always contacting a TV station with your problem, here in Florida we have a FOX affiliate that hands out a "Dog House" award to problem builders, doctors etc. they do get a lot of exposure.

Do all of these step by step also get your insurance company involved, send them a letter with copies (never give out your "originals" to anyone.

There should be some kind of warranty on all of the things that have been replaced, I do not believe that the sensors all are going bad at one time.
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