Re: Starting problem; dealer stumped.



I turned onto the on-ramp to get on the highway and the engine died instantly. There was no coughing or hesitation, it just stopped. I tried to restart it repeatedly, but didn't even get a click. It was like trying to start with it in gear. There were some other symptoms. ALL of the panel lights normally come on when you first turn on the ignition, but most of them go off after 1-2 second. In this case they all stayed on and the odometer changed to "- - - - - " and nothing else seemed to work. I pushed the car well off the road and started fiddling to try to start it. It started immediately. Since that was a dangerous situation, I took it in to the dealer. It (of course ;>) didn't act up while in the shop, but they did the fuel pump recall at no charge. In the week since, it has stalled twice. I was inching forward to back into a parking stall when it died last night. I tried several times to start it. By the time I pushed it into the stall, it was back to normal again and started repeatedly. I was a bit dubious about the "fuel pump module" recall because of the anomalies in the instrument panel displays. I had an ignition switch problem about six months ago and ended up having to replace the steering column. Since that time (whether or not these are connected) I have had several other "instrument cluster incidents" which did not result in stalling. The glitches were associated with the radio suddenly going dead. That hardly qualifies as "life threatening", but again the problem soon "fixed itself". There was also an issue with the transponder keys not working intermittently. Any ideas as to what the common factor is in all of these symptoms?
PS If you have other RFID or transponder chips on your key ring, they will BOTH be talking back at the time and can interfere with each other. It seems that this would affect starting, but not stalling. I wrapped my key in aluminum foil to disable it to see if that duplicated the symptoms. It refused to start of course, but the display remained normal. I should try wraping the key AFTER starting just to see if they periodically interrogate it.
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The group seems to have solved my 2002's starting problem: When I took all the trinkets (some metal) off the keychain, the problem never recurred. I presume they were interfering with the microchip in the key. (It is disappointing that the big dealership never thought of this, despite several visits)
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