Car died when driving and won't start [w/ video link]

Tombala

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This is interesting, at least for me since I've never seen something like this.

For context, this is an '04 with RSI Twin Turbo.

A few weeks ago as I was driving around 30-40 mph, so practically idling :), the car just died. Engine suddenly went quiet and I had to coast to a stop by the side of the road. Dash was still on. Turned the ignition off, back on, it cranked a little, tried again, it started, and I drove home.

All was well until last week I went to a dealer to meet the viper tech and make an appointment. On my way home, same thing happened again. I was able to start the car after a few tries of cranking and was on my way again.

Then last weekend, I gave someone a ride, drove hard, all was well. Got home, trying to coast on my driveway to my garage, it just died again. This time, though, there's no starting it. When I go to crank, the tuner doesn't have power. I turn to crank, all the dial red lights come on. Then turn it one notch below crank and tuner comes alive along with radio. Turn it back to crank and they lose power again. The car was having some battery issues like slow crank and battery draining so after the first two stops above, I narrowed down to the battery lid touching the terminals. I fixed that (tightened the terminals that were loose as well and temporarily removed the cover) and thought I had it solved but it seems to have just gotten even worse now so something else seems to be afoot.

Open to any recommendations to just get it going until I can take it to the dealer on Friday. Any ideas on what I can check? Got multimeter and can figure out things with some direction. Is there a short somewhere maybe? I'm at a loss.

Video link showing the lack of power. Note the tuner unit and the dial red lights. First time the tuner never comes on as I move the key all the way to crank. Coming back, though, it comes on finally. Going back to crank, it dies again.
 

eaks

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I would look into the ground connections.. Sounds like you may have something loose there and with the battery terminals themselves bring loose I wouldn't be surprised if you have some other grounds that are loose and causing you issues.. Hopefully someone with some more knowledge of the electrical system can give you some places to check.

Best of luck
 

eaks

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It seems to get power after the first attempt at cranking and returning the key to the acc spot. Moving back to crank it loses power again. Why would it lose power in one position of the key but not the other?
Could be a bad ignition switch but since you lost power while driving I am still thinking a grounding or wiring connection issue somewhere.
 

Goggles Pizano

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@Tombala you better define 'cranking' because in your video you are not cranking the car. You just moved the key to the run position.

You said you have a meter. I said to check for voltage at the tuner when it gets power to it. You are using the power up cycle of the tuner to verify that. That is WRONG as you are assuming that the tuner 1) working correctly and 2) that is only getting power when you do whatever you are doing. You need to check for 12V at the tuner with a ground reference on the body. Then 12V with reference to the ground on the tuner. All with a meter.
 
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Tombala

Tombala

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@Tombala you better define 'cranking' because in your video you are not cranking the car. You just moved the key to the run position.

You said you have a meter. I said to check for voltage at the tuner when it gets power to it. You are using the power up cycle of the tuner to verify that. That is WRONG as you are assuming that the tuner 1) working correctly and 2) that is only getting power when you do whatever you are doing. You need to check for 12V at the tuner with a ground reference on the body. Then 12V with reference to the ground on the tuner. All with a meter.
You don't see me cranking because you can see the ECU display is dead and when it's like that, there's nothing happening when the start button is pushed. That's what I was trying to show in the video. It has no power at crank position of the key. I could have pushed the button but nothing happens when I do that. I just didn't push it in the video.

I'll check the voltage at the actual ECU as you recommend.
 

Goggles Pizano

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Cranking refers to when the engine is actually being spun by the starter.

A vehicle can crank but not start.

Or a vehicle can not crank.

Both problems are different. A proper description of the problem is a must as it can lead you down the wrong path very fast especially communicating on the internet.
 
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Tombala

Tombala

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Cranking refers to when the engine is actually being spun by the starter.

A vehicle can crank but not start.

Or a vehicle can not crank.

Both problems are different. A proper description of the problem is a must as it can lead you down the wrong path very fast especially communicating on the internet.
Fair enough. Let me clarify. I turn *the key* to the crank position. Push the start button and nothing happens. But before I even push the start button, when the key is in the crank position, all the red lights are on on the dials on the right and the tuner display is dead without power. Then of I turn key back to the accessory position, the tuner display and radio display come back on. But turning the key back in the crank position actually makes them loose power again and pushing the start button does nothing.

Hope that's clear enough.
 

Goggles Pizano

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Check the voltage on the tuner, radio, windows and the rest of the gauges or anything that needs power to work in the different key positions (off, acc, run, etc).

Possibly your ignition switch but that would next to check.
 
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Tombala

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Thanks for the help anyway. It was scheduled to go into service tomorrow morning for the dying-while-driving issues. Now I can't even take it in!
 

Steve-Indy

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Frustrating issue.

Having a 2004 Service Manual would be quite helpful...particularly the 8 W section.. While in general the Gen III service manuals appear to be the same ( or nearly so), keep in mind that some of the color coded wiring is different when comparing 2003 and 2004 to 2005 and 2006 Vipers. This can play a role in the field when tracing wires to and from entity connector pinouts.

As always..."powers and grounds" ,
"plugs and pinouts" are great guides to troubleshooting...but it can be very time consuming, though ultimately rewarding.
 
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Tombala

Tombala

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Ah, "pin outs" makes sense now. Thanks. Didn't know the term. Yes, some diagrams would do wonders.

You in Indy, too, Steve? Where do you have your viper serviced? And any recommendations for a tow company to move it?
 

Steve-Indy

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Yes, I am in the Indy area...northwest side.

Service is a tough deal...but I do have some thoughts...including a towing company that I have used many times for Vipers for both short and long hsuls.

Give me a call if you like. 317-402-9013

I sure hope that you can pinpoint the issue soon...admitting that summer is not my favorite time to drive Vipers. :)
 

EastCoastSRT10

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This is interesting, at least for me since I've never seen something like this.

For context, this is an '04 with RSI Twin Turbo.

A few weeks ago as I was driving around 30-40 mph, so practically idling :), the car just died. Engine suddenly went quiet and I had to coast to a stop by the side of the road. Dash was still on. Turned the ignition off, back on, it cranked a little, tried again, it started, and I drove home.

All was well until last week I went to a dealer to meet the viper tech and make an appointment. On my way home, same thing happened again. I was able to start the car after a few tries of cranking and was on my way again.

Then last weekend, I gave someone a ride, drove hard, all was well. Got home, trying to coast on my driveway to my garage, it just died again. This time, though, there's no starting it. When I go to crank, the tuner doesn't have power. I turn to crank, all the dial red lights come on. Then turn it one notch below crank and tuner comes alive along with radio. Turn it back to crank and they lose power again. The car was having some battery issues like slow crank and battery draining so after the first two stops above, I narrowed down to the battery lid touching the terminals. I fixed that (tightened the terminals that were loose as well and temporarily removed the cover) and thought I had it solved but it seems to have just gotten even worse now so something else seems to be afoot.

Open to any recommendations to just get it going until I can take it to the dealer on Friday. Any ideas on what I can check? Got multimeter and can figure out things with some direction. Is there a short somewhere maybe? I'm at a loss.

Video link showing the lack of power. Note the tuner unit and the dial red lights. First time the tuner never comes on as I move the key all the way to crank. Coming back, though, it comes on finally. Going back to crank, it dies again.

Hopefully you have this resolved already but since you are boosted it sounds like you have a vacuum leak.

I’ve had several boosted cars as well as my friends and they all do the same thing when they have a vacuum leak. They all die randomly at low rpms.

I would double check all your vacuum and charge lines.
 
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Tombala

Tombala

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Hopefully you have this resolved already but since you are boosted it sounds like you have a vacuum leak.

I’ve had several boosted cars as well as my friends and they all do the same thing when they have a vacuum leak. They all die randomly at low rpms.

I would double check all your vacuum and charge lines.
Not resolved yet. Haven't had a chance to go back to it yet. Steve shared some pin out diagrams, too.

I'll check all the lines. No idea what a vacuum line is. Didn't know there was one. :D
 

EastCoastSRT10

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Not resolved yet. Haven't had a chance to go back to it yet. Steve shared some pin out diagrams, too.

I'll check all the lines. No idea what a vacuum line is. Didn't know there was one. :D
It’s basically all your air carrying hoses and lines.

You should have one going to your wastegates and blow off valves. Those would be the new ones added by the kit. Sometimes they come loose or develop a hole from rubbing on something.

The stock lines would be one to your brake booster, and a few coming out of your valve covers. A lot of people will add an oil catch can to the big one going into your intake
 
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