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Dead?... my '93 plymouth sundance gone?

Everyone was a tremedous help in March of '09, when you helped me diagnose this car using the ignition key codes…and it was the alternator.

Yesterday, I pushed my buddy to the limit and drove 285 miles. The engine sounded like it was racing at the stop lights. At each of 5 pit stops, on turning off the ignition, the car gave a “thud” sigh. I had to get all the way home and thankfully did.

Today though, on turning the key, I got the usual ignition sounds, but then “click” and nothing. I tried to pull the codes. I got the beginning “12” and the all clear “55”. On turning the key back towards myself, there is no radio or anything.

New water pump 3 weeks ago and lots of rebuilt stuff done over last couple of years.

Might anyone have an idea of what this could be? Please don’t say “Curtains”…my new job starts next week.

Thank you.

Since there were no codes and no engine turnover sound I am imagining it is again the electrical system.

Do All Other Electrical Items Like Lights, Horn, Radio, Etcetera, Work ?

If so, do the headlights dim way down while trying the starter with the lights turned on ?

Got any buddies ? Have you tried a jump start ?

If you have jumper cables, try hooking just one end of one cable to the negative (-) battery terminal (be sure it’s the negative terminal!) and clamp the other end to the cleanest piece of iron / steel you can find on the engine and then try starting it. Forget the other cable for now. Just use the one.

Is that battery a 93, too ? How old do you think that battery is ?

You state, “At each of 5 pit stops, on turning off the ignition, the car gave a “thud” sigh.” Are you saying it sounded differently than usual when you shut it off ? Explain.

I wonder if when the water pump was replaced 3 weeks ago the belt was tensioned sufficiently to run accesories like altenators and water pumps ? With The engine OFF! . . . See if you can grasp an turn by hand the pulley for the alternator or water pump and have the pulley slip inside the belt.


I will try lights and horn and jumper cables, no radio, but starter does not make any noise, no response…clicks off.

Battery is last years heavy duty Interstate.

At each shutoff engine came to an abrupt stop…a “thud” sound and a bit of a jolt to car.

After water pump was replace, car ran well and became progressively worse within the first 5 days: 1. Engine "noise"
2. Squealing
3. Coolant leakage - had to refill quite a bit myself

Brought car back: 1. Mechanic replaced one of the already new belts with a slightly smaller one. 2. He said something about the coolant leakage could happen due to air pocket (something like that, I don’t remember exactly)

Note: New radiator a couple of months ago…so reservoir was already flushed.

I will get back to you with results.

Thank you.

Check all cable connections from the battery and too the load center AKA fuse box. Also check grounds. A Bad electrical connection will cause a voltage drop which will cause the engine to race. This is because the SMAC, aka the ECM will speed up the idle to try and make the alternator put out more voltage.

I’m sorry it took so long for me to get back to you.

I had the car towed to shop…I could not do everything.

A new battery terminal clamp was put on. Car works to mechanic’s satisfaction, but I told him the engine was still louder than it was before the new water pump was installed. (He is a very serious, straightforward and decent man with only certified mechanics and has treated me very well, not going for the throat in any previous repair.) He said the engine sounded fine to him and I should not worry. I’ll guess I have to wait and see, but I would like to know how a water pump installation might affect the engine?

I had a 1985 Ford Tempo that would get noisy. When I checked under the hood, the air intake hose would come loose from the box holding the air filter. I reaattched the hose several times and finally bought new, large hose clamps to replace the clamps the factory supplied. Open your hood and check the big hose going from the air filter box. It may have gotten knocked off.

It’s dark outside. I’ll give that a shot tomorrow.


After driving the car yesterday, with the engine racing again on startup and at every light, as well as that sudden “thud” on shutoff, I drove directly back to the shop.

Finally, the newest diagnosis and repair seems exactly right! The “idle motor” needed to be replaced. Apparently it caused the computer to command the engine to race. Maybe someone can explain this better, but the car shed 10 years and sounds like it’s old self again…quiet.

As the only driver of this car, every time I went to the shop since June, for inspection, oil change, new radiator, tires, whatever, I would mention changes in the sound of the engine, noise and finally the racing this past weekend. Like medical Dr.'s though, sometimes it seems to take perserverence and patience for the mechanic to cover all the bases successfully. I do notice though, that my mechanic tries to go for the simpler, less costly solutions first, then proceeds as necessary.

Thank you to everyone who shared their expertise. You have helped a long term unemployed person, me, start my new tri-county job with much more peace of mind.