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It is just the whole car

Back in the fall of 2005, I purchased a 95 Dodge Intrepid from a “friend” as a starter car since I had just gotten my licence. I never expected the car would still be running today. When I purchased it, it had over 200,000 miles on it. I have had a new fuel pump put in, new brakes, tirods , new computer, etc. Well, except for the ti-rods, all the work was done by my best friends father, who is a retired mechanic. Every time I get an estimate from the shop, he tells me I’g getting ripped off, and since this guy can build a friggin’ engine out of sand I trust him. (Bad analogy, I know, but hey I’m a girl, I know nothing about cars. Anyways, thats the background. My latest problem concerns a delayed start up when I turn the ignition. Also, often their is a one to two minute delay for my speedometer and gas gauze meters to “turn on”. I was told the problem is likely arisin from a bad connection between one of the wires either within the computer or in the dashboard. I have no idea. I’m sorry if this post ends up confusing you guys, like I said I am a moron when it comes to cars and how do I know I won’t be ripped off if I take it in to the shop? It has happened begore. I am on a fixed income due to a medical disability so I really cannot afford a huge bill but at this point, I am wondering if it would be better to junk this one and shop around for a new vehicle. However, if I do that, I could very well run into more problems. So, I guess since I am not a mechanic, I’m pretty well scrwed, huh?

There is no way for anyone here to determine a problem like this.
Making a somewhat wild guess or two here, I might be leaning towards a faulty ignition switch (electrical part) or a bad connection on a battery cable end.

By the delayed start I assume you mean the starter motor does not turn the engine over or even click? If so, this could be a sign of a faulty ignition switch or a faulty neutral safety switch. Another possibility here if you do hear a starter click sound and the engine is not turned over by the starter motor is that the starter motor itself is failing.

That being said, I don’t know that I would put a lot of faith into what your friend’s dad is saying. He’s constantly claiming that you’re being ripped off, etc. and if this can guy can build an engine out of sand then why hasn’t he fixed what could be a comparatively simple problem to diagnose and solve?

If he’s the same person replacing parts (as in new computer) and now claiming the problem is in a wire within the computer then you should take anything you’re told with a grain of salt.
I’ve got to go now but will take a look at a wiring schematic later today and see if I can provide some info a bit more substantive than what I’ve mentioned.

In the meantime try to elaborate a bit on the symptoms; whether you hear a starter click, any lights dimming when the key is turned to the START position, etc. Maybe someone else can weigh in on this with more info than I’ve provided.

My guess is that you have some small cracks in the solder joints on the instrument cluster. This is a fairly common problem with Chryco vehicles from that era. It has to do with the cold solder method they used to manufacture these assemblies.

The standard DIY fix is to remove the instrument cluster, take it to the workbench, and reflow the solder. Alternately, you can replace the cluster itself. They are available from salvage yards cheap, but there is no guarantee a used cluster will work right.

Since this is not a safety issue and does not affect the drivability of your car, you might choose to ignore the problem and continue driving your car as-is. That certainly is an acceptable solution.

Yes, that is what I mean by a delayed start, the engine is not turning over. When I start the ignition, yes their is a click, but I do not hear the motor running. Like I said, I am sorry to confuse you, I am a chick, I know crap about cars. Thats probably why I’m always getting ripped off. Look, I do not know what is wrong with my vehicle. I am trying to explain it the best I can. I should have just went to auto school. My friends dad knows a little about the current problem that I am having. My boyfriend and I replaced the old computer (well, he did, I watched) with a “new” one from the junkyard and obviously their is no way to know the background on a junkyard car or any of its parts but that was the only option I could afford. My friends dad took out the old computer and put in the “new” junkyard computer and the problem still remains. That was the last time I really spoke to him about it because of other issues he has been having with my friend which I do not want to get in the middle of. I trust him, though. Ever time I go to the mechanic, I get ripped off. Look, I’m not trying to be offensive, but I’m not that green. Where do auto mechanics make their money? On commission and labor? The higher the consumers bill, the higher their commission. I’v heard and seen enough to know, and yes women do get taken advantage of waay more than guys. I’m just saying that is the way it is. That’s business, your out to make a buck. Look, its not like anybody here has to work on my car, I am just asking for an answer. I appreciate the responses I have gotten thus far.

If that is the case, SteveF, how much do you think it would cost to repair, just an estimate. Is it better to leave as is? Thanx.

Whoa, ease up on the hostility…I can’t see anything in ok4450’s post that warrants that kind of response. If anything, you should be thankful he took the time to write what he did and that he’s taking the time to look at a wiring schematic for you later…something he might regret after reading your post.

Well, it seems you have more than one problem. I answered only the issues with the gauges. My remarks do not address the delayed start, since there really isn’t much information. Worn ignition switch?

A replacement cluster, used, will cost whatever the market bears. You might find one on the internet from some Stratus owner who is ‘parting out’ his car. Anything from $10 to $50 is reasonable. A new one would be up in three figures.

Many owners with this problem make an attempt for a DIY repair. Often they succeed, it’s not too difficult. Try to find someone willing to have a go. If it works you have a free fix. A mechanic might decline to attempt the repair and insist on replacement.

As I said, this is not a critical repair. You could easily get away with doing nothing and try to put up with this minor nuisance.

DIY? Whats that? Would the worn ignition switch kill my engine?

DIY stands for Do It Yourself. Some repairs are simple enough for an owner, with a only bit of experience and a lot of confidence, to attempt at home.

A worn ignition switch can’t hurt a thing. It just makes starting up a little more challenging. Understand I was merely guessing when I made this suggestion. That switch might or might not be responsible for the problem.

I could make a few more suggestions about the actual problem but don’t know whether I should or not. You’re offbase on a few things believe it or not.

So you don’t think it could be a faulty wire going from the battery to the computer? That’s what I have been told, but also that the issue could very well be something else, too. No one seems to know for sure. And my friend thinks I should take it in for a free estimate and that CarX would do it since they have done free estimates for her sister BUT her sisters got veteran status and that gives her a discount anyway, plus she has a rappor with one of the mechanics so that gives her lee-way. I have a feeling if I were to go in and ask for a free estimate they’d laugh in my face and tell me to get real. I don’t know how to make sense out of this. I don’t know. I think I have all ready made a fool out of my stupidity so may by I shouldn’t say anymore.