All The Dashboard Lights Flash Whenever I Drive My Dodge Charger In The Rain

Whenever Brian drives his Dodge Charger in the rain, all of the dash lights flash and has trouble restarting his car. He’s taken the car to the dealership multiple times, but they say they’re never able to recreate the problem. Above are two screencaps of the video he took last time this occurred. He’s now taken to writing a letter to Chrysler CEO Big Bob Nardelli, which is most likely a futile effort. You might instead email Cerberus, the company that now owns Chrysler’s ass. Maybe the dealership will find it’s able to recreate the flashing signals if Brian rides along the next time they test the car. Maybe call the Car Talk radio show. Inside, a video of this bizzare phenom in action, and his letter to the CEO.


March 13, 2008
Robert Nardelli
Chrysler LLC
1000 Chrysler Drive
Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766
Dear Mr. Nardelli:

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I am writing about a serious and very dangerous condition that exists with my 2006 Dodge Charger. My name is Brian. I own a 2006 Dodge Charger that I purchased new at Danbury Dodge in Danbury CT on February 18, 2006. The current mileage of the car is 37200 miles. I am writing to bring a serious trouble with my Charger to your attention. While driving the Charger, usually during a rain or inclement weather, a tone will sound and the brake assist and stability control lights on the dash cluster will come on.

Soon after, all of the lights on the dash cluster will begin to flash randomly. This includes the oil light, the check engine light, and even the speedometer and rpm meter. The engine and transmission will experience trouble shifting gears or accelerating or climbing hills. Sometimes the car will engine will shutter and not move. Once the vehicle is stopped and the engine shut off, the engine will not turn over for 5 to 10 minutes. Eventually the engine will turn over and the car will continue as normal or under partial power. This trouble has occurred four times.

I have taken the Charger to Danbury Dodge for repair three times and Meadowlands Dodge in Carmel, NY once. Neither dealership has replicated or repaired the trouble. The dealers will not do any further work on my vehicle until they replicate the problem. Unfortunately the trouble happens intermittently and without warning. So now I am left with little option but to contact Chrysler to resolve this problem. The first serious trouble occurred at approximately 7PM on or around August 18, 2007. The Charger was parked outside in the rain all day at my place of employment. The rain stopped shortly before 7PM that evening when I started the car. When I started the car the BAS and ESP lights came on instantly. The engine was making pinging noises and not driving under full power. I took the car to Danbury Dodge for repair. I dealt with Derek Thomas, the service advisor at Danbury Dodge. The technicians repaired the rocker arms. Derek mentioned codes for loss of communication and claimed the trouble was fixed.

The same trouble occurred a second time at approximately 6:30AM on September 9, 2007. I was driving on the highway in a light rain. The ESP and BAS lights came on followed by the other lights on the dash. I stopped the car, turned off the engine and had trouble starting the car. My mother was in the Charger at the time and witnessed the trouble. I took the car to Danbury Dodge, and they repaired a tube gasket and were unable to replicate the trouble.

The third instance occurred on October 10, 2007 at 7:21AM. The dash lights came on, reacted randomly, and the car was not able to climb any hills without stopping. I stopped the car, turned off the engine, and experienced trouble turning the engine on again. After about 10 minutes I was able to start the car and drive to work. I took the car to Danbury Dodge and they were unable to replicate the problem and did no repairs. I then took the Charger to Meadowlands Dodge in Carmel, NY. I dealt with Billy O’Brien. They were also unable to replicate the trouble despite driving the Charger down an interstate highway in the rain.

The most recent instance occurred on March 7, 2008 at 7:30PM. I was driving the car in heavy rain and, like clockwork, I heard the tell tale tone and all of the dash lights began to flash. I stopped the car, turned the key and was unable to start the car for 5 minutes. I was able to start the car and make it home. I took pictures of the dash lights using my cell phone. The problem occurred during the evening so I was unable to take my car to a dealer right then and there. I could not leave the car running until the dealership opened at 8AM on Saturday. I have not had the opportunity to take my vehicle to the dealer since. I know what to expect at this point.

I also took a video of the third instance, and it on youtube.com for the world to see. I believe that by showing as many people as possible proof that the problem with my Charger exists, maybe that will motivate your company to do something about it. The url is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDjwvHVMD6s. Please be sure to read the comments left by other visitors as well. I am also sending a copy of this letter to the consumer website The Consumerist at http://www.consumerist.com. The website is very insightful and I look forward to sharing my story with people across the world.

My Charger has undergone 4 repair attempts with no resolution. The dealers are unable to replicate the trouble and are therefore unwilling to do any necessary repairs. My vehicle has been out of service for around 15 days thanks to Danbury and Meadowlands Dodge. I am constantly afraid that my car will malfunction during a rainstorm, or at any time, and put my life and the life of my passengers in danger. In my experience Dodge and Chrysler dealers are not obligated to honor the warranty or fix obvious troubles. You and your fellow corporate leaders at Chrysler have the power to produce and maintain safe and reliable vehicles. That is the way to solid profits and loyal customers.

Sincerely,

Brian

Comments

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  1. I smell a Christine sequel.

  2. Yeah, I think he’s worried about how the hell to stop going bankrupt today Brian. Your weird car problem is super interesting, but right now banks want to seize all of his assets and sell his company like scrap metal at a junkyard. While it’s nice to think that a CEO can wave his magic CEO wand over your car and make everything better, you should probably just make the dealership inspect your wiring.

  3. punkrawka says:

    Ed. note: You missed the opening bracket on your blockquote tag.

  4. catchthefever says:

    Write a letter to your state’s Attorney General’s Office. Chrysler bought back my Dodge Avenger via this method, well, and a device called a co-pilot proving that I wasn’t an idiot.

    The morons at your Chrysler/Dodge dealer can install a device called a co-pilot. You press a button when the problem occurs, and the co-pilot reads all the engine codes. The dealer or engineers in Detroit can interpret and decide what is going on.

    My Dodge had a current spike, but they couldn’t figure out what was causing it. They bought back the vehicle and I was free to pick out another Chrysler product, which I then dumped shortly thereafter.

  5. PolishDon says:

    My Opinion ???

    It’s an electrical short, since it happens in wet/damp/etc conditions. My suggestion? Take it to the dealer with the video, take the car to the dealership car wash onsite and have it just sit in the running car wash till it shorts.

  6. bsalamon says:

    sounds like a wiring issue…there is probably a short circuit that the rain takes advantage of

  7. Spasticteapot says:

    Apparently, Chrysler is buying parts from Lucas now?

    You’d have thought they’d have learned from British Leyland not to do that…

  8. CTXSi says:

    You might be subject to the “lemon law” in Connecticut. The sign that is supposed to be posted in dealerships is below…

    IF THE SAME SUBSTANTIAL DEFECT PERSISTS WITH YOUR NEW MOTOR VEHICLE AFTER
    4 ATTEMPTS TO RESOLVE IT, OR IF YOU ARE WITHOUT THE USE OF YOUR MOTOR
    VEHICLE FOR A TOTAL OF 30 DAYS OR MORE BY REASON OF REPAIR, DURING THE
    FIRST 2 YEARS OR 24,000 MILES, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR RECOURSE UNDER
    CONNECTICUT LAW.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

    DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
    MOTOR VEHICLE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROGRAM
    165 CAPITOL AVENUE
    HARTFORD, CT 06106
    PHONE: 1-800-538-CARS

    Excert taken from [www.ct.gov]

  9. Ray Wert says:

    Chrysler’s had a number of recalls pertaining to electrical system issues over the past two years. The four-door Jeep Wrangler being one of them I’m very well aware of.

  10. Had a similar problem with my Subie, but it was from condensation inside the car. The useless TPMS harness sits in a little dimple in the floorpan where condensation tends to collect and short it out after a while. Battery drain, spontaneous speedo failure, turn signals that stay on after the car is shut off, &c. No fun.

  11. andrewe says:

    Ahh.

    Lucas. The prince of darkness.

    /Former multiple MG owner

  12. andrewe says:

    Ahh.

    Lucas. The prince or darkness.

    /Former MG owner.

  13. VladyLama says:

    My intrepid had the same problem after going through the carwash. It would be fine when it dried:(

    Japanese Cars Forever!

  14. trillium says:

    @Ray Wert:
    Interesting Ray… any details on the recall. I own an ’08 model of the four door so you’ve piqued my curiosity!

  15. nickelrinny says:

    This is not an uncommon problem with Dodge vehicles. All I have to say is good luck, after three service calls on my ’05 Magnum for the same problem I gave up. The dealership could only find a loss of communication on the computer codes, and had no idea why it kept happening. I did finally figure out the problem is in the ignition switch, I separated the car key from the rest of my keys and it doesn’t happen any more.

  16. EDogII says:

    Lesson as always: never under any circumstances buy American.

  17. DoctorNine says:

    Probably an intermittent short between the ECU and instrument cluster/steering wheel harness. This may just be a loose connector which shorts at high humidity, but more likely there is a water leak somewhere in the dash or around the bottom of the windshield. Diagnosing it will probably require removal of the dash, and inspection of all wiring harness and ECU connections. If the electronic diagnostic machine at the dealer didn’t catch it by code, old fashioned visual inspection usually does the trick in short order.

  18. This used to happen to my 1988 Volkswagen Jetta. Aaah, remember the days?

  19. enine says:

    Chryselr has had electrical problems since the 80′s when they oursourced a lot of the electrical through their Mitsubishi partnership. We paid a dealer a lot of money to not fix out van stalling problem when wet and I finally tracked it down to a badly designed crank sensor connection which would get water inside it and cause a poor connection.

  20. Mr_D says:

    I can kind of corroborate this issue. Occasionally, the dashboard indicator lights will flicker. This happens when just driving around, though- not in the rain. And I don’t have any of the starting problems.

  21. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    Does the Charger also like piña coladas?

  22. B says:

    Take it to the dealership on a rainy day, then take one of the mechanics for a drive and show them the problem.

  23. rbb says:

    @andrewe:

    Lucas – the reason why Brits drink warm beer…

  24. yesteryear says:

    this sounds like a problem for click & clack.

  25. Underpants Gnome says:

    @EDogII: Which country do you suggest? My ’07 honda’s radio goes out whenever it gets too humid out.

  26. skyln95 says:

    it is more than likely(i don’t know chrysler wiring too well)a short in the main wiring harness, or at some connecter in that area. if anybody owns an early 90′s nissan, they can probably tell you the same things. if all the lights start going nuts, and you get the gremlin then chunk the scan tool because it won’t give you a code or you’ll get too many codes. nope. good ole fashioned trouble shooting wires is what the dealership will have to do, but that’s too many hours for no $$$$. even then, they probably would just replace the full engine wiring harness. still, too many hours for no $$$$. lazy service dept. they get paid just the same, just their bosses don’t. i’m hoping thats the dealerships problem. i sure hope they’re not complete idiots and can’t figure out this obvious problem off the tops of their heads.

  27. abgwin says:

    nonsense. this is a safety feature, warning the driver that it is raining and he/she should not be driving in such conditions.

  28. BlkCav says:

    its a bad ground….

  29. APFPilot says:

    I didn’t realize that anyone actually bought Chargers, I thought it was rental companies only.

  30. BlueModred says:

    That looks to be a Siemen’s (SP) dashboard. Maybe contact them if it’s not an issue with the car itself?

  31. bob9 says:

    Here is Consumerist showing their domestic bias again.

    Some of us forwarded a story that even the media got involved in regarding the Honda Civic Si and its problems with the transmission.

    Good Job Consumerist.

  32. Said Not says:

    Poor guy. But that’s what happens when you buy a Dodge.

    Audi all the way!!!

  33. BuddyHinton says:

    What did you expect from an american car with 37000+ miles? That thing is on its last legs…..

  34. @ash78: LOL, nice.

    Every time I change any of the environmental controls in my car, the A/C turns on. Just sharin’, no point. It doesn’t really bother me, I’m used to turning it off, but it drives my husband CRAZY and after 20 explanations, he still thinks I do it on purpose. “Why do you have the A/C on when it’s 5* out?” “I don’t, YOU just turned the heat control hotter, that triggers the A/C.” “I don’t understand why you always turn the A/C on when it’s cold out.” “How about we take your car next time?”

  35. BugMeNot2 says:

    @VladyLama:

    Yeah, Japanese cars forever! Especially since Honda is not having a similar incident with their Element line, and possibly other models. I mean, they have not had several owners complain of symptoms such as the blower turning on full whenever they are in the rain or go through a carwash.

  36. JohnMc says:

    My guess. Somehow the ECM that drives most all the electronics in the car is getting wet, shorting out its functions. Sadly most mechanics today, if they can’t get the diagnosis off a scope or diagnostic tester are lost. If you do go back to the dealer, ask for the oldest mech on the lot. He might be the only one with the shade tree ingenuity to figure it out.

  37. crazygutgut says:

    MMMmm… smells like lemons…

  38. badgeman46 says:

    Possible solution: Are you using the rear defroster when driving in the rain? If I drove in my old Geo Prizm in the rain and used the rear defroster for multiple cycles, almost the same thing would happen. The battery would drain from the load, and the computer would get confused, first it would shut off the ABS system, and later flash random lights on the instrument cluster, just as on here. If it’s not that, its probably an alternator related issue, as heavy rain=wiper use= battery load.

  39. mytdawg says:

    Let’s take the anti-domestic sentiment all the way, shall we? Why bother with domestic companies at all? At this point you should be able to have all your health care, banking, shopping, voting, and housing needs in general met at one of many other fine foreign locations. I highly suggest it.

  40. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    My ’98 Passat has intermittent interior dash lights. The nutty engineers put the brains of all the chassis electronics under the driver floor padding, right against the door jamb. Over time, water from your feet or floor mats slowly corrodes either the brain (CCM) or the wiring nearby and suddenly you can’t rely on door locks and lighting any more. Nothing a swift stomp can’t fix, but man that is ghetto when your passengers see it.

  41. silentluciditi says:

    My guess would be a wiring system/electrical problem, probably brought on or exacerbated by extended exposure to moisture. My ’90 Shadow had a similar issue where it wouldn’t start after heavy rainstorms, and had an unrelated electrical glitch which would cause the speedometer to suddenly drop to zero without warning- usually doing the speed limit on the interstate.

    Check for Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) and/or recalls and maybe it will turn up something. Recently we replaced the blower motor in my ’02 Taurus- there was a TSB for it, so Ford knew there was an issue, and there was a recall for the original cause- the windshield has a leak because they were improperly mounted. Fun.

    Recalls & TSB info- [www.safercar.gov]

  42. pferde_schwanz says:

    @andrewe: why is beer served warm in britain? haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. um.

  43. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    It’s possessed?

  44. danio3834 says:

    The best bet with the dealer is to recreate the conditions as best as possible. Dealer service departments can be fickle as they dont like to leave their comfort zone and actually search for an issue.

    To me, it sounds like a weak battery connection, or a bad ground in the system. Those issues can often be augmented by the presence of moisture. I dont know how mechanically inclined you are, but you might want to check it out yourself.

    Those problems arent hard to fix, although mechanics at dealers typically wont try random fixes as theyre often paid flat rate.

  45. Optimistic Prime says:

    @BlkCav: Exactly what I was thinking. There’s probably a ground at or near the engine cradle that’s getting wet.

  46. bohemian says:

    We own a Dodge, never again. I wish wonky electrical would have been our only problem. Just about every aspect of the vehicle has some known flaw in the design. Had I known all this beforehand we wouldn’t have bought it.

  47. EDogII says:

    @Underpants Gnome: I’ll stick to Japan…both my subarus run just fine. I mean, who would buy a dodge anyway? I can’t seriously consider a company who brought us the Aries K.

  48. danio3834 says:

    @EDogII: Ive owned quite a few Dodges, among many other makes.

    They are pretty good cars, once you take the Chrysler service department out of the equation.

  49. andrewe says:

    A long read but a very good insight into Chrysler’s customer service. Also, what can happen when you get real stubborn.

    http://www.donotbuyadodge.ca

  50. mytdawg says:

    I’ve had a similar experience with Honda. Neither the dealer or the company would honor the (extended) warranty or stand behind their extremely poor work. But I don’t blame Japan and I don’t blame the car. It was trash at 70K and I started arguing with them at 30K. Anybody can make a bad car.

  51. Meg Marco says:

    @bob9: Pro-domestic as in like, brands of, like, cars and stuff? What?

  52. HDC says:

    Jeep Grand Cherokees also suffer from this Chrysler cheapskate accounting problem. Bad dash clusters, ignition issues, PCM insanities, and the like have been common on the newer Grands. Chrysler needs to seriously fire some accountants and find new ways to save half a penny per model as these on the cheap components are obviously becoming a big safety hazard.

  53. HDC says:

    Oh and another thought. Does this Charger have a sunroof? The Grands have had a problem with leaks that have let water down the front pillars which have led to shorts and wiring problems. Might be a culprit here.

  54. carterbeauford says:

    thanks so much to the OP for posting the CEO’s address, I am going to write a similar letter detailing my experience with an ’07 Ram 2500.

  55. BlkCav says:

    its not the culprit, water’s causing problems with a ground, the guages and lights popping on/off are exactly that. i’ve had the same thing happen to me.

    this guy i bet also didnt mention that he was probably in an accident, and caused damage to one of the grounds, then it wouldnt be the car/dealership’s fault, but his own and his insurance company.

  56. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @Meg Marco

    I think what bob9 meant was Consumerist bashing American companies and not giving fair ‘bad publicity’ to a well known Honda issue (Japanese company)…there by perpuating the (entirely true) view that American products cost more and are lower in quality. Disregard my comment if your comment to bob9 was sarcastic in any way.

  57. Tomsk sez so long Ash78, and thanks for all the fish! says:

    @danio3834: Chrysler: The American Volkswagen?

    Seriously, though, that’s what they get for slapping the Charger name on a four-door. What would have been wrong with Polara?!

  58. UDMan says:

    Danbury Dodge…. One of the worst dealerships in the country, and I should know. I live in CT, and their reputation has been an abomination. They are one of these “Mega” dealerships that has Chevrolet, Honda, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Cadillac, Saab, Suzuki, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Nissan, and on and on and on….
    When they went into business, they successfully sued the state of CT to turn over the “blue” laws specifically aimed at dealerships that kept them closed on Sunday.

    My advise? Take it to a smaller Chrysler/Dodge dealership within the state…. a couple come to mind.
    Pamby in Ridgefield, Bradshaw in Oakville, or Brewster Jeep, in Brewster, NY. They are all small enough to get you the service you need, while being a bit more personable.

  59. OsiUmenyiora says:

    That’s nothing. My girlfriend used to have a Dodge Shadow that would just flatout stop running whenever it rained even a little bit. Two different dealers couldn’t figure it out. That car got us stuck all over the place. She finally traded it in after spending two years trying to figure out what was wrong.

  60. MattS says:

    Here’s how you test for a leak around the windshield, which very well may be the problem (water running down into a wiring harness, causing a short)…

    Spray shaving cream around the windshield seal on the outside of the car. Run a hair dryer along the seal on the inside of the car. When you see shaving cream flying off, you’ve pinpointed your leak.

  61. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Maybe the flashing lights is a feature? It’s a rain warning indicator!

  62. ranwhenparked says:

    I think I may have solved the problem.

    See, what Brian has probably done is gone and bought himself a Leyland P76 and confused it for a new Dodge Charger, honest mistake as P76s are rare and the cars do look very similar, but it would go a long way toward explaining the shitty electrics. The real proof will be if it starts rusting before 30k miles.

  63. Orv says:

    @loquaciousmusic: VW’s wiring has been crap for pretty much their entire existence. The bean counters get to it and you end up with wiring one size too small for the load, flimsy switches with undersized contacts, and plugs and sockets with no gaskets.

    GM is another car company that’s still trying to figure out the whole “electricity” thing. Don’t have much experience with Chrysler, personally, though.

    Brian needs to find out what the lemon laws are like in his state. In many states the dealer has to take the car back if they try and fail to fix a problem too many times. He needs to document his problems and his attempts to get them fixed, in writing, with that in mind.

  64. elislider says:

    Car Talk for the win. i love those guys

  65. Pixel says:

    CT lemon law:

    [www.autopedia.com]

    (1) the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents or authorized dealers during the period of two years following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer or during the period of the first twenty-four thousand miles of operation, whichever period ends first, but such nonconformity continues to exist

    He *may* have a lemon law case, depends on what the mileage was at the fourth incident. Even if that isn’t the case, he does have a compelling case as repairs have been attempted four times in less than two years and the problem persists.

    Where to report a Lemon Law case:

    [www.carlemon.com]

  66. sp00nix says:

    People wonder why American car companies are struggling. The cars they produce are normally crap, like a Chinese iPhone knock off. Just sitting in one you feel cheep and plasticky. At least the foring cars know how to build a dependable car, that is also nice inside and out. Look at most Ford cars that are pushing 5 years old, sputting and rusty like it wasn’t meant to last. My cars all run well, ’75 Benz, 78 Volvo and a 91 Nissan all run like new, may not look new but they are still solid. My Nissan handles and runs smoother then most new cars i have driven.

  67. danio3834 says:

    @elislider: Excuse us, we popped over from Jalopnik.

  68. SierraSurfer says:

    Contacting Nardelli is like calling George Bush for a sewer problem. He does have a few other things on his plate.
    Brian should ask to see the dealerships service manager first AND ask to meet with the district service rep. Work UP the chain bypassing the service advisors. They like everyone on the first level of a service business are paid only on what they can get duplicated and fixed. The service manager is paid on how many consumers he can keep happy and coming in the door. The district rep will decide if the car qualifies for additional repairs and/or lemon law replacement, and New York DOES have a lemon law on the books. It will be a rough call to get it covered since the dealer cannot dupe the occurance. The district rep CAN authorize a rental car so the dealer can live with the car for a while. It may mean a tech will have to drive the car for a while in bad weateher, but chasing electrical problems is one of the hardest problems to rundown, especially if there is a ground short, because they do not set a trouble code like a bad component. Co-pilot monitors will not diagnose a wiring/module ground short.
    After 25 years managing parts and service in new car dealerships under 15 different car lines (domestic and import) I still cringe at the mention of an “electrical problem”. ELECTRICAL is NOT limited to the domestic brands, they all share the burden, so get off the Domestic bashing. If you really think the imports are all that great, let me sell you a 2009 Chinese made CHERY when they hit our shores, or maybe you’d like a nice Daewoo, or Yugo or British Leyland product.

  69. Orv says:

    @SierraSurfer: If you really think the imports are all that great, let me sell you a 2009 Chinese made CHERY when they hit our shores, or maybe you’d like a nice Daewoo, or Yugo or British Leyland product.

    Uhm, you do know that some Daewoo models are sold in the U.S. as Chevrolets, right? The concept of what is and isn’t an “import” is pretty hazy nowadays.

    Chery and the other Chinese makes are jokes now, but watch out. Japanese cars were a joke at first, too. China is gearing up to do to the Koreans what the Koreans have done to the Japanese, and what the Japanese did to the U.S. carmakers.

  70. danio3834 says:

    @SierraSurfer: All the letters end up in Consumer Affairs, but the ones addressed to the President by name are usually given a priority over others that are not.

  71. skyln95 says:

    the people that mentioned the grand cherokee, jeep used to be(not sure now) chrysler’s electrical test bed. my instructor in automotive technology was a jeep technician. he said jeeps were electrical nightmares. any new modules or pcms that would come across chrysler would first go into jeeps. my instructor told me at one time the grand cherokee contained 18 different modules. he said he became very good at electronics because modern jeeps are electrical POS’s. y’all consider this when looking for a jeep.

  72. coaster.n3rd says:

    @bob9:

    Agreed. They posted an article about GM not long ago and their 39 billion dollar write off that has no affect on a consumer. Yet it was about a nasty American Automobile manufacturer so they had to post that.

    I’ve heard about the Honda Civic Si and it not being able to stay in 3rd gear. I heard honda won’t agknowledge the issue. Consumerist is too buys with their agenda to care.

  73. karmaghost says:

    Maybe someone said this already, I dunno, but obviously the water is shorting something out and perhaps the reason why you can’t recreate it at the dealership is that their watering the car down, but not driving it in those wet conditions, so the water doesn’t get places it normally would on a rainy road. I dunno, I’m no mechanic, that’s just my $.02.

  74. coaster.n3rd says:

    For the import lovers. You might want to ask yourself, why is Toyota always issuing apologies?

    [biz.yahoo.com]

  75. nevergod says:

    sounds like some lazy techs not looking for the shorted ground wire, this is clearly the problem.

    BlkCav: its not the culprit, water’s causing problems with a ground, the guages and lights popping on/off are exactly that.

    gotta agree with ya something happened and the tech isn’t going to look at all these connections for the problem. theres no hours in it. warentee work pays terribly.

  76. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’m not sure Cerberus would care, either. I mean seriously, who really believes they plan on keeping Chrysler running indefinitely? They’re going to stem the bleeding as best they can until they can sell off what’s saleable (Jeep, the Viper, and the rest to factories in China).

    @EDogII:
    Chrysler needs to die, ASAP. They’re dragging Ford and GM down with them.

    @mytdawg:
    That’s right, and anybody can make a good car. Poor quality control doesn’t mean that every car is a pile of crap…there are still Yugos out there, with perfectly happy owners. And good quality control doesn’t mean Honda doesn’t ship out a few lemons now and then.
    The best you can do is stack the odds in your favor.

  77. jonworld says:

    @yesteryear: Yes! Call Cartalk on NPR!
    I’m sure they can help you out…thats what I do whenever I have car problems.

  78. madanthony says:

    I used to have a 2002 PT Cruiser that had an airbag light that would come on when it rained.

    That car also had the entire dashboard go out, and the transmission controller die – both right after the warranty expired.

    I was a big mopar fan, but I ended up trading it in for a Ford Ranger.

  79. snoop-blog says:

    c’mon and say it with me now “waaarraanteeee”. then, its either, fix it, or be sued for breach of contract.

  80. Baronzemo says:

    Loose Unconnected Clips And Solders

    Why do the British drink warm beer. Because Lucas also makes refrigerators

  81. Orv says:

    @coaster.n3rd: That’s a good question, but at least they own up to their mistakes. GM never apologized for the Oldsmobile 5.7L diesels that blew up, aluminum wiring that corroded and failed, bad automatic transmissions in Caprices, and Buick Somersets that ate alternators like potato chips. They figured customers would ignore the problems and just keep buying their cars out of loyalty, and that’s why Toyota and Honda ate their lunch in the 1980s.

  82. elyama says:

    I have a 2006 Charger too. Its the 1st generation of the car so I was expecting some glitches. Luckily I don’t have the dash thing going. But I do have the problem of the Charger not getting along with its alarm. Once its set it will just go off. This sucks late at night. The alarm company says its some wiring in the car itself. Who knows. Higher the technology the car the more problems it will have.

  83. SierraSurfer says:

    Duh, I know only too well what wears what badges and the chronic problems they all come with. I recondition more than two thousand “used” cars a year, of those I keep a third for sale, and the rejects are split evenly domestic and “import”. You oughta read some of the TSB’s from ALldata on the Toyota (Lexus), Nissan (Infiniti) and Honda. They just do a better job of hiding their problems. Being based in Japan has some advantages in that failures in Japanese production are traditionally hidden by the culture. Remember HariKari? Like I said, I’ve dealt with their corporate toadies the same as the domestic toadies, the import toadies are tought to be very quite about their failings. The domestic corporate toadies don’t know hoe to keep their mouths shut.

  84. hossfly says:

    Well put Sierra; EVERYBODY has a bad apple-or-two ….
    I own a ’94 GMC Yukon with 256,000 miles on it AND a ’89 Nissan with 247,000 on it !!
    Brian needs to contact his dealer and find out when the Dodge Factory Rep. is going to be there; they always come at least once a month.
    Brian needs to talk to the ‘rep personally and let him/her know what’s going on ALONG WITH the number of times it has been in for the same problem.
    It worked for me on a ’99 Dodge….got a 2000 model to replace it!!
    And it was the second best vehicle i’ve owned ’till my wife met a pine tree in the rain….

  85. TickedOff says:

    Sadly it’s stories like this (on the web and from friends) that explain why any American car would have to *pay me* to take one of their cars; in fact, more than the list or blue book price because it would cost me time and money to unload the junk.

    I recently had the opportunity to get a new Hummer H3 for free (it’s a complicated story), but refused outright. Never mind the gas mileage. I’ve heard the reliability nightmares already. It didn’t even get a second thought.

    I just got a used BMW instead for both a fraction of the dollar price and for less expected lifetime cost. Otherwise almost any other non-US car is likely better (Toyota/Honda are good choices for the budget-minded).

    I find this sad but the US auto industry got their one-and-only “free pass” back in the 70s and utterly blew their chance to make good on that gift. Quite frankly no one deserves a second freebie, not even for “nationalistic” reasons. I just hope they all go bankrupt and get dissolved sooner than later; they give the US a bad name.

  86. shor0814 says:

    X2 on the ground, or possibly the alternator connectors. But can someone explain the reason for a rocker arm change? That makes NO sense.

  87. sommacero says:

    All of you guys need to stop giving your false advice- this car simply is not like older cars, it is more advanced and has its own set of issues.

    In this case this car has what is called a CANbus which is connected to everthing like steering, brakes, radio, electronics, the dashboard, and many more. Imagine that it is like a older daisy chained network- when 1 thing goes wrong it has the ability to drag down alot more.

    There are 2 main wires in your car a CAN Bus high and a CAN Bus low. They can get messed up by putting a screw in the wrong place, or by 1 loose connection. The reason it is so touchy is that it is digital so any variance in voltage in the wires can create a ton of issues.

    There many cars that have issues on the road, you are for sure not the only one having this issue, try a web forum devoted to the charger/300/magnum.

  88. rellog says:

    @POLAЯ – EDITOЯIAL ENTITY: Good luck emailing Bob Nardelli…. How that pice o’crap got another CEO gig is beyond me, but now I know to NEVER by another Chrysler. So with em out and GM out for the craptastic job they did on the 3.1 engine, the only “American” brand left is Ford…. don’t put much stock in them either…

    BTW, why doesn’t karma ever work? Nardelli should be bankrupt and getting prison raped for the job he did at Home Depot… instead he’s raking in millions again. :(

  89. wildness says:

    That’s because 1) you bought a Dodge (where is it made nowadays? China?) and 2) it is payback for polluting the environment with 12 MPG.

  90. ninjatales says:

    It’s a Dodge. Terrible products. I recently had to deal with some really crappy Magnum for 1000 miles which I’ll write a short review soon.

  91. Buran says:

    @Orv: Never had a problem with any of my 3 VWs. But I second the lemon law recommendation. You’ve had it in 4 times — you might be eligible. See if you can’t get them forced to buy it back and choose a different car, preferably from another carmaker.

  92. greycobalt says:

    Didn’t this happen to Mulder before he lost time?

  93. MrEvil says:

    I second on the bad battery issue. Bad batteries can do crazy things to onboard computers. The batteries on my F250 finally kicked off and when they did my Windshield wipers wouldn’t turn off, I had relays clicking all over the place, and the stupid door ajar chime wouldn’t shut up. A fresh pair of batteries made all the troubles go away. You can take your car to Auto Zone or O’RLY auto parts and they should be able to test your battery for you for free. Heck, 2 years is about all the time I’ll keep a battery in a car.

    I also wouldn’t knock American cars too much either. Often when something on an American car goes bad it’s usually a something that costs under $100 to replace…but can eat the better part of a day’s labor if you aren’t a DIY type of person.

    One of my Employees en route to a customer had the DBW throttle pedal die on his ’05 Camry, cost $1000 to replace the pedal assembly (The part alone cost $800 dealer only). Same part for my F250 runs $250 and can be swapped in minutes with a few tools. I’ve not let him live it down since he was giving me hell about my Explorer and later making fun of my ex police Crown Vic. ONE repair on his car cost almost as much as I paid for the Crown Vic at auction. And anything I used to spend on my Explorer in repairs wouldn’t amount to a year’s worth of car payments.

  94. LUV2CattleCall says:

    If the dealer wants to play hardball, assuming the ECU is somewhere easily accessible, do what I did to the crappy BMW dealer in West Des Moines when my CD Changer was acting up: Ask to test drive a car. In many cases, they’ll just copy your driver’s license and not hop in the car with you. Drive to a predetermined location, swap the units with your car, drive back…say the ride was too stiff, and you’re all set!

  95. sabrinad says:

    I’m not a Charger/Dodge owner, but I am a VW owner, so I hang out at a VW drivers forum that at least one friend of mine used to fix a similarly bizarre problem (misfires in the rain == cracked ignition coil cover; no mechanics could ever find or fix the problem, but a tube of Superglue and the tips from the VW Vortex folks fixed it forever). I therefore suggest you find other Charger owners — [www.chargerforums.com] seems to have some interesting threads going on in their Problems forum (none that obviously parallel yours that I could see, but others — yikes, random engine shutoffs while in Drive going down the highway?). I’m with all the other posters above who suggest it’s a short or bad wiring. If this is a common problem, someone else with a Charger will probably have already ripped their dash apart and figured it out. Yay Interwebs! Good luck.

  96. zenith333 says:

    Not only can batteries mess up a computer, but battery connections can, as well.

    I had a Pontiac with all sorts of gremlins, including complete engine shutdown, while driving.

    I had the alternator and a fuel injector replaced. The problems came back.

    I replaced the battery and thoroughly cleaned the terminals. The problem was “solved” for about a day and a half.

    I ran down the the battery cables to their connections at the starter and engine block, disassembled, cleaned and re-assemled them and the car had no juice to the starter.

    Then, I noticed that my underhood light would flicker whenever I wiggled the positive battery cable. Turns out that the solder in the connection beneath that perfectly-sealed, like-new cable connection to the starter, was broken.

    Has the dealer run continuity checks on the Charger’s battery cables, both at rest AND while the ends are being wiggled? If you happened to have my Pontiac’s cable in just the right position, it checked out beautifully.

  97. MYarms says:

    Its probably the alternator belt. If the alternator belt is slipping when its wet, the battery won’t charge and you will just be draining it down to nothing over and over which would explain the dimming lights and the inability to start the car. Ask the people at the dealership to test your battery. I would also check your belts and the coil cover to see if any water is getting in there.

  98. Dilbert1 says:

    My brand new Dodge Dakota had similar problems with the dash lights and shifting improperly at highway speeds. Was in and out of the shop several times the first week. After multiple replacements of the ECM (Electronic Control Module) and the transmission controll module. Service could not duplicate the problem. When I went to pick up the truck the dash lights failed again. When I drive I use my headlights. The extra current used by the lights exceeded the grounding capability. Went back into service and was properly repaired. Dodge has a problem with grounding. Grounding for the entire vehicle was redone. This solved all the problems

  99. Buran says:

    @coaster.n3rd: Because in Japan, responsibility is taken seriously, unlike in the US. It doesn’t mean they have more problems. It means they’re willing to own up to the ones they do have and apologize to their customers.

  100. coaster.n3rd says:

    @Buran:

    But Toyotas are perfect, they shouldn’t break in the first place according to some commenters here.

    Bob9 won’t be returning here. He contacted me last night and told him Consumerist has blocked him. Seems hypocritical doesn’t it?

  101. Ben Popken says:

    @coaster.n3rd: Instead of posting ridiculous and off-topic conspiracy theories in the comments, why don’t you try emailing me if there’s something you really think I should take a look at? ben@consumerist.com. Sometimes stories get lost in the pile.

  102. Ben Popken says:

    El Bunnie writes:

    “You may want to let this guy know that calling the Chrysler customer service number actually does some good! I didn’t know these people existed, and was about to pull off emailing the corporate folks. I got some very nice individuals based out of Tennessee who were sympathetic to my cause, and managed to cover $1800 of work out of warranty. My PT Cruiser died in a big rainstorm 2 weeks after I got it (wiring had to be replaced), key thingie wouldnt let my key turn (had to be replaced), got sold the car with bad breaks, AND a bad battery. I just told them how badly the company’s dealers had been treating me and the myriad of issues i’ve had and they helped me out a ton!”

  103. MOPARForever says:

    Come on people. No car company has ever built a perfect car…yet. It does not appear that the factory has even been given a chance to see this vehicle. I had a 2006 Charger with a 3.5 liter engine. It was the best car I have ever owned/leased. NO issues what so ever. I currently have a 2007 Dodge Caravan with 30,000 miles. No issues other than some bad speakers from a Japanese manufacturer that Toyota has a large holding in.
    Also Toyota had a huge recall on ball joints last year, suffered through oil sludge issues a few years back and has a tailgate on the made in Texas pickup truck that crumples up if a 200 lb person stands on it. You can jump up and down on any American pickup tailgate and nothing will happen. There are also reports of suspect torque converters on these Toyota pickups.

    Also, whoever thinks Jeeps are an electronic test bed has another thing coming

  104. coaster.n3rd says:

    @Ben Popken:

    Because Ben, even comsumerist readers have a right to know. Doesn’t it go against what you preach here to A.) censor a user because he states your blog is biased B.) ask that this be handled in private C.) tell a fellow consumer and reader that his statement is a “ridiculous and off-topic conspiracy theory”?

    I’ll leave this here. Sometime ago several readers wrote in to explain they were having major issues with their Honda Civic. This was the same week that Consumerist posted an article regarding GM and their $39 billion loss (which was really a write off) that had no affect on any consumer anywhere. The honda issue which has since been picked up by several local news organizations was ignored by consumerist.

    Conspiracy? Well, consumerist can spin it any way they want.

  105. Ben Popken says:
  106. sirwoj says:

    Today Paul from Danbury Dodge called me and arranged for a Chrysler rep to inspect my car. Apparently Chrysler called the dealership, and I haven’t even sent the letter yet. The wonders of the internet.

  107. Heftyjo says:

    I think he unknowingly got the Christmas light option.

  108. ekasbury says:

    Car Talk. The EECB of public radio. I say go for it.

  109. cookan4 says:

    Its probably a simple fix of electrical tape and checking the relay and/or fuse box for any open holes or gaps.

    Rather absurd to throw out emails to executives on an issue that can affect any type of vehicle.

  110. sirwoj says:

    @cookan4:

    If the problem is so insignificant and absurd, why didn’t the dealers fix it before I sent a letter to the CEO?

  111. MOPARForever says:

    Could we get an update on Wednesday’s inspection, please. Thanks

  112. sirwoj says:

    I’ll give you an update after I pick up my car from the dealer on Friday.

  113. MOPARForever says:

    Updates?

  114. MOPARForever says:

    No update? The vehicle must be fixed!! Yes?

  115. sirwoj says:

    I have to test drive the vehicle in the rain before I can say it is fixed. Sorry Chrysler internets reading guy.

  116. MOPAR1 says:

    The hardest problem to diagnose in a vehicle today is an electrical problem. More so when the problem is intermittent and only happens under certain conditions. All manufacturers whether domestic or import, automotive or non-automotive consider an electrical problem to be the most difficult to diagnose. Blaming a manufacturer or a dealership for not finding a needle in the haystack that is not present most of the time is a little unreasonable. They both have the best of intentions to repair the vehicle as quickly as possible and inconvenience the customer as little as possible. Sometimes it is not possible to accomplish this easily. Be grateful Chrysler did seek you out and finally correct the problem. It is easy to sit back and be critical of what the dealership or Chrysler should have done. Brian, please update us with the status of the repair. It is easy to be negative when there is a problem but we all like to hear the positive when the vehicle is finally repaired and your driving it everyday.

  117. sirwoj says:

    Like I said previously, I will not write an update until I can test drive my Charger in heavy rains. Maybe the good people at Chrylser can talk to God and give us a rainy Saturday?

  118. MOPAR1 says:

    Brian, it is now well into the month of May and based on your silence we can all assume your Charger is now operating to your satisfaction. We have had a few heavy rain storms since the repair was completed. It would be nice to hear from you that your vehicle is now fixed. I am sure the good people at Chrysler would also like to know they were successful.

  119. MOPARForever says:

    Brian,
    How is your car doing?