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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some help with our 2009 Caliber SXT. This is a car that my daughter drives to work (and everywhere else). We bought it new from the dealer and have kept the maintenance up-to-date. Until last summer when we needed to replace a leaking radiator cap we have had no memorable issues. Here is a rundown of the issue we have now….

It started with a check engine light throwing a P0507 in early December. We reset that code and it drove fine for a couple of weeks. Then the check engine light was back and after a couple of miles the red lightning bolt (ETC light) was with it. We had the codes read at the local parts store to confirm our code reader and were told we needed to replace the throttle body.

After some online research, we decided to clean the existing throttle body first to save some money. The existing one appeared to be in good shape, was not very dirty, nor damaged visibly. After a complete cleaning it was reinstalled in the Caliber. The codes were again reset. At this point we were good to go for about a week. The first really cold snap we had the red lightning bolt was back. No code, just the little threateningly red light.

If the car did not get a chance to warm up it would go into a limp mode of sorts. It would idle very roughly. It would not drive over 20mph. It did not die, but it sounded awful. If it ran like this for a bit, you could sometimes turn the car off and wait a couple of minutes- then turn it back on and the light would be gone. Then it would drive fine. At this point we decided to go ahead and replace the throttle body with a new unit. $145 and an afternoon later the throttle body was installed.

We turned the car on after the install- No light. Great! Next morning when we go out to warm up the car, the light is back. Same thing, a ten-minute warm up, restart the car- light goes away. If you do not give the car enough time to warm up and try to drive too soon it goes into limp mode. We were beginning to think this was a weather issue. Can cars be allergic to cold weather?!?!

So, we started looking through your forums… could it be the battery. We checked and since the battery was over five-years old we replaced that just in case. Not the battery- light came back. Maybe the alternator… checked it on and off the vehicle. Both checked good. 14v with our meter and the local shop checked it as well. As an aside- We hope we don’t have to ever remove that serpentine belt again- UGH!

Between each of these attempts we reset the TIPM/PCM per the forum steps just to be sure. Each time it would give us a bit of hope that we found a fix. Unfortunately, just working on the car seems to warm it up so that the light goes away. The next morning it always seems to return because it was cold again.

Back to the forum we kept reading and found it could possibly be the wiring… this we knew the least about. We have looked at everything. Four of us crawling everywhere we knew to look for anything out of the ordinary. Honestly this car is pretty clean- the wires don’t look dry or cracked or worn. We wiped down a few that were a bit dirty and dusty, but we don’t see anything rubbing or worn. Nothing looks like it has been hotter than it should have been. We don’t even really see any that look faded or anything.

We currently have no codes, but if we cold start there is the red lightning bolt (ETC) light nearly every time. We have changed the Throttle body, the battery, reset the TIPM/PCM numerous times. If it matters, the oil and the plugs were changed (by us), the transmission and brake fluids were flushed (by a shop) as part of the scheduled maintenance the last week of January. Here is my question: Have we exhausted all of the DIY options on this? Is there anything else for us to look at ourselves or is this likely a software issue where the Caliber needs to be “flashed” as we have read in some of the posts? Sorry for the long post, but we wanted to give you as much information as possible to work with. We appreciate any help you are willing to give us!
 

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I don't know, I'm not a mechanic, but have you checked the intake manifold runners to make sure they're operating properly. There's a random problem with them from time time, but if you do a search here, I THINK you'll find some information on how to repair it if it's screwed up. Good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not familiar with the intake manifold runners, but will search the forum and see if that turn up a solution. Thank you for the suggestion. I will let you know if that fixes the issue.
 

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Did you find a fix? I have the same issue with my 09 Dodge Caliber. I’ve replaced the alternator, battery and the throttle body. Also changed the oil and made sure all fluids are good. I’m at a loss at this point. I can’t keep putting money into this car but don’t have enough to buy a new one. I just want to fix the problem so I can drive it long enough so save to get a new one.
 
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