1998 Plymouth Neon Starting Problem

I have a 1998 Plymouth Neon that will start after it has cooled completely, and be fine through out the day, but when I get home from school and I start it again, it makes a strange screeching noise, and after turning off the engine and trying to restart the car, the vehicle will not start again, but all of the lights work, the battery is fine, the alternator is okay, the starter is a brand new OEM part, new ignition coil, new spark plugs, new safety neutral switch, new speed sensor, new battery cables, new camshaft position sensor, the only extra thing it does have is fog lights that were not put in by the dealership, this was done when my uncle still owned this car back in 1999. The only other problem that it has is an Error code of P1899 (Safety/Neutral Switch Stuck) and at times when turning the steering wheel, it will make a screeching noise halfway turned until you let go a bit, and then it is able to completely be turned either way, and one last thing is that the speedometer was a bit erratic one time, while I was driving home on the freeway. Any thoughts, Ideas and help will be welcomed, if I misspelled something or stated something that is wrong, please forgive me, for I am human, and humans do make errors.

Under what conditions does this screeching noise occur?

  1. Only when attempting to start the vehicle?

  2. Or does it occur only when the vehicle has been running, then it starts to make this noise for some reason, so you immediately turn off the engine. Then when you try to restart the engine immediately after turning it off, it won’t start?

Also, what do you mean by “it won’t start?”. Does it make that "rrr rr rrr " sound when the key is in the start position, but it won’t catch and run? Or does it just sit there in silence with the key in “start” making no sound at all, or maybe a click?

The screeching sound occurs after driving the car for a while and coming home. When we decide to drive somewhere else, we turn the key and it sounds as though the starter screeches. So in worrying that it might ruin something, we turn the key to off. Then when we turn the key to start it, there is no sound just the lights come on the dash board, no sound from the starter at all.

This morning tried to start the car and it took 3 tries with the “rrr rr rrr” sound. Decided not to chance getting stranded somewhere and to get a ride to work.

It seems like you have three problems during attempted starts (key in “start”)

  1. sometimes you hear a screeching noise so you abort the start attempt.
  2. sometimes you hear no sounds at all, and the engine doesn’t even crank (no “rrr” either)
  3. sometimes you hear the “rrr rrr rrr” sound, but the engine doesn’t catch and run

That’s a doozy of a starting problem. I don’t recall anyone here saying they have all three of those problems at the same time before. The easiest of the 3 to diagnose is number 2. So if you can get it into that state, tow the car to a mechanic. DIY’ers would usually approach this by first getting a battery and charging system test, and cleaning the battery posts and terminals.

Possibilities beyond that include the neutral safety switch, ignition switch, under-dash starter relay, starter or starter solenoid contacts, wiring or grounding problem between the battery and the starter, grounds between engine and chassis, or a problem with the starter gear not meshing with the flywheel/flexplate teeth properly.

Starter would be my first guess, but battery and battery connections are also suspect.

Was able to drive the car to a mechanic, found out the starter was defective, so I am getting a refund and a new one. Now the only problem I have is the P1899 code showing up, and the only thing that is coming to my mind is this, since it is a new safety neutral switch, and the wiring to it is fine, could the computer need to be replaced?

Your mechanic can test/verify the neutral switch input to the PCM to determine the cause of the fault.

There is a 99% chance the problem is in the wiring, neutral safety switch, switch installation or shift cable adjustment and not the PCM.

The wiring was snipped higher up, we didn’t notice it before because it was hidden with all of the other wires as in it was wrapped up.

I glad you got all the problems fixed and your car is back on the road. Good for you. Yes, you are right, sometimes wiring problems can be difficult to find b/c they get hidden deep inside the wire bundles. I had a problem like that on my Corolla, and had to unwind a huge bundle of wires to find it. What happened was , I found the battery was leaking just a tiny bit of battery acid, and the spot it leaked happened to be where that bundle touched it. So the acid slowly decanted down and inside that bundle, and eventually ate a wire splice in half. That was quite a challenge to find, so I know your frustration.

Unfortunately, with our problem you can actually see where the wire was snipped with wire cutters. But thank you for the positive remarks!