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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good afternoon folks,

I am fighting an uphill battle with the dealership here in Ottawa, ON.
I drive a 2007 Dodge Caliber SXT, 2.0L engine, CVT (I think..)

Back-story/Definitions:
- I had an after-market engine immobilizer in my Caliber when I got it.
- Loss of power: Car ‘dings’ at me, definite slow down, RPM drops, Throttle warning light flickers; if I give it gas, the RPMs rev up again
- Stalls: Car turns off, gently, throttle warning light is on, and oil light is on (expected). I can start it up right away without issue

Basically, the issue I'm having is:

June 30: Could not start car, try to start, no response from engine, does not turn over, no clicking. Exited car, twisted gas cap, car started! It stalled within a minute. Started fine again, and stalled again within a minute. Started again, started driving (I was desperate), experienced intermittent loss of power while driving. When coming to a stop, intermittent stalling altogether.

July 1-6: Problem started out as infrequent, but quickly became regular; 6-8 'loss of power' or stalls per trip

July 7: Brought car to dealership, described the issue. They did their diagnostics, determined I was in dire need of a tune-up, new plugs, new PCV valve, new air filter. Paid for all that (300$), drove it off the lot.


July 8-11: Car was fine, but then started losing power/stalling again, infrequent to start, and got progressively worse.

July 12: On my way to the dealership, loss of power twice in a row, and engine light came on. Dealership did not know what the problem was, pointed to engine immobilizer. Had them remove it, brake switch failed, and replaced (likely their fault… but not of importance here).

July 13: Paid for all the above work (215$), drove it off the lot.

July 15: Turning left into my work parking lot, experienced another loss of power. No stalls yet, but given the current record, I’m expecting this to get progressively worse.

I’ve been perusing the forums here (Thanks!) and found a possible fix to improve throttle performance:
http://www.caliberforumz.com/showthread.php?t=14197&page=3
Edit: I did the above on my lunch, so we shall see if I notice any improvement when I leave work.
Edit: It did not produce any noticeable change

I contacted the dealership this morning and advised them of my displeasure at having paid over 500$ to NOT fix my problem; have not heard back yet.

At this point, I am looking for other possible causes for this failure.
Weather seems to be unimportant, as the failures happen regardless of the weather; I’ve seen it happen on hot humid days, and on regular dry days. I have no further after market devices on the car.
Edit: Over the previous weekend, with a full load and the AC running, it seemed to behave worse, 2 loss of power, 1 stall, in a 15 minute trip... however it could easily have been a fluke, as I cannot reliably reproduce the problem

I have not spoken to them about TSB 18-033-06 (which is regarding flashing the computer), but it will be the next thing I bring up.

So I leave it to the combined intelligence of the forums: anyone have any ideas?
 

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I had the same issue when I first bought my Caliber. had to replace starter alternator and battery in one sitting (luckily warranty covered all of it) With the loss of power it sounds like your battery is not charging enough or there is a bad ground somewhere.
 

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You definitely need to get your PCM and TCM software checked and brought up to the current revision required for your VIN. This will probably cost a few bucks, but may eliminate your problems.
Also, the throttle body may need cleaning - usually a DIY thing for an intermediate level backyard mechanic.

If possible - you may want to try another dealer.
 

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Or you may have a bad throttle body. You wouldn't be the first.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If possible - you may want to try another dealer.
I will never go back to these people again, since I am now telling THEM what to look for; they should be experts.

I have a ton of things to do this week, so I can't bring it back until Thursday. Since Friday, it's lost power 3 times, and outright stalled once. I noticed it was worse when I had the entire family in the car, with the AC on. Not sure how that relates to the throttle body (if at all), and it may just be coincidence as well... I've never been able to reliably recreate the stalls/loss of power. It just happens.

I'll keep everyone posted as I know more.
 

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Sounds like fuel starvation i.e. throttle body or fuel supply
problems.
Are you located in the GTA?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'm in Ottawa, so a few hours from GTA.

Spoke with the dealer last night; they believe it is now a problem with my TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module). He gave me a bunch of information on the phone, that codes were pulled relating to being unable to speak to the PCM, or something (alot of technical content I don't really understand). The jist of it was that it was not working properly. They had to run more tests, so kept it overnight.

I'm terrified of what's next; I google 'Replacing tipm', and I saw costs from 500-1000$ to replace it.. I've already dumped 500$ in 'fixes' that didn't resolve the underlying cause, and now will likely have to spend quite a bit more. Even with a discount on labour, I figure I'm going to be broke come end-of-day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Dealership just called...
1140$ for a new TIPM
200$ labour and diagnostics
+ tax

FML

I'm trying to find out more information, but I am not impressed at all.
 

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Messing about with the electrics is not advised on the Caliber because you can fry the TIPM.
One point I do not understand is that all Calibers have factory fitted immobilizers so what was this aftermarket job about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No kidding, mine came with one and I had it removed.
I assumed my immobilizer was after-market, but I really have no idea; when I got the car used in 2009, it had it. In either case, they removed it, but it did not change a thing.

The text on the invoice states:
ROAD TESTED. FAULT FINALLY FOUND, ON ROAD TEST. SCAN TEST FOUND MULTIPLE CODES FOR TIPM COMMUNICATION NOT FOUND. FURTHER DIAG FOUND TIPM TO BE THE CAUSE OF PROBLEM. TIPM NEEDED FOR REPAIR.

This all agrees with what they've verbally told me. I'm thinking of taking the car to an independant auto electrical shop to have them confirm the above diagnostic.

If the worse comes to pass, my brother-in-law managed to haggle their price down to cost:

848$ for TIPM
109$ for diagnostics
109$ for labour
= 1066$ + tax

At least I'll have the satisfaction of knowing they aren't making much off of my repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, the ordeal is finally over.
On Wednesday last week, my car kicked the bucket; stalled and would not start again. I had it towed to the dealership, and approved the work on my TIPM.
The next day, I called for a status update, and they had found something else! They discovered a wire deep in the car that powers the TIPM and PCM (?), which was corroded. This would mean the TIPM was intermittently losing power, which explains all the TIPM errors. They had to rip off half my front end to find it (it was hidden behind the front wheel wall (?))

They tried to charge me 970$ for labour (apparently it took 8.3 hours to find this wire?) but I argued them down to 450$, which is still terrible given that this was the 4th diagnosis on this issue.

I've been driving the car for almost a week now, and it has not stalled or lost power once since. I can also feel an incredible change in how the car performs; it's night and day, the difference.
In conclusion, FINALLY DONE.
 

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Good feeling to finally have your car back.I had a similar problem that took the car away for almost a month, dealership changed and updated every thing covered by warranty even the transmission. Then thy tryed to experiment on parts not covered. Their last claim was a bad throttle body, not wanting to experiment with my wallet I took the advice from a post and bought an eight dollar can of Throttle body cleaner. Ten minuets to spray and wipe. It took a day or so to feel the diffreance but three weeks later and I have yet to feel the problem. Its worth a try.
 
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