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My car did something wierd this morning.

RiusRius Globex CEONobody ever says ItalyRegistered User regular
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, so I have a 2008 Dodge Charge SE with cool (and perhaps relevant) things like electronic stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, brake assist, etc. While driving to work this morning, I was headed toward an intersection as the light turned yellow. I was at perhaps 30 mph and would have continued through (being about 4 car lengths from it) when someone in the oncoming left turn lane floored it.

Deciding that I'd rather stop instead of T-bone him, I hit the brakes. I didn't slam on them, just applied more pressure than usual. My car decelerated quickly and then the brake pedal shuddered a bit, followed by what sort of felt like the front of the car shuddering, followed by silence as I came to a complete stop. Worried, I eased off the brakes and the car didn't idle forward. I had to shift into park, turn my key to off and then restart the engine, which happened normally and after that I drove to work without any problems at all.

I just had my car into the dealership for an oil change and tire rotation, general inspection, etc, and it came back clean, so I'm not sure what the deal is here. Anyone have an idea?

Rius on

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    The Raging PlatypusThe Raging Platypus Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    You sure it wasn't just your anti-lock brakes kicking into gear?

    The Raging Platypus on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2009
    Yeah, sounds exactly like what ABS feels like. The gears being 'disabled' sounds odd, but I don't drive automatic. Maybe that is a safety feature if the car decelerates extremely quickly, assuming a collision is imminent or likely it kills power to the wheels once the car stops. In fact, the engine might've just stalled. If you slam on the brakes in a manual and you go from travelling at 30mph in 4th gear to a complete stop without engaging the clutch fast enough, then the engine will likely stall. Again, I don't know exactly what an automatic would do under those circumstances.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    After you came to a stop, was the engine still on? Did you attempt to shift to Park or Nuetral and then back to Drive before shutting off the engine?

    Even in an emergency stop (which this doesn't really sound like) the car should not have done what you describe. Sounds unsafe, I'd take it to the dealer to get it checked out (it's under warranty right?).

    Djeet on
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    DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2009
    Yeah, the loss of power is a bit strange, but the other part is ABS exactly.

    Doc on
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    TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    The Charger transmission seems to have problems in the 1-2 gear range from what pops up on google, and this sudden braking would be in that area if you were only going 30mph but braked so hard the ABS kicked in and the transmission didn't know what to do.

    Chrysler transmissions in general have been pretty bad, this just seems to highlight it.

    Do you have someone beside the dealer who could look at it, like a trustworthy mechanic? Ask your family if they are in the area.

    TexiKen on
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    RiusRius Globex CEO Nobody ever says ItalyRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Djeet; I don't know for certain if the engine was still on after I stopped; I actually didn't shift into neutral or park before turning the key off. It wouldn't let me turn the key all the way; that's when I realized I was still in D and then shifted to P before turning the key off completely.

    Now that I think about it some more, I think I may have tried to hit the gas just a little bit after realizing the car wasn't idling and that didn't give me any power either. So I would assume that the engine was off after I stopped.

    About anti-lock/ABS brakes; Over the past winter (Chicago) my brake pedal would automatically flutter (presumably from some combination of brake assist/ABS brakes) whenever the car detected wheel slippage. This didn't feel like that at all, though, and for sure the engine area shudder wasn't like anything previously experienced.

    Rius on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2009
    The engine shudder could've been the engine stalling. They do that when they do that. And the ABS would generally feel different on dry tarmac from when it kicks in on icy or wet conditions.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Write down the events as best you can remember and get thee to an auto repair facility (I also like independent mechanics, but if it's under warranty the dealership is worth a shot). It would be terrible if something like this happened on the highway in response to heavy braking from getting cut off.

    It could be an engine stall, but I'd have expected the check engine light (or some service light on the dash) to have gone on. A combination of heavy braking, crappy transmission, and bad gas?

    For safety reasons I'd probably not try to replicate the issue, though having a good description of events might help the mechanic replicate it.

    Djeet on
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    GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    TexiKen wrote: »
    The Charger transmission seems to have problems in the 1-2 gear range from what pops up on google, and this sudden braking would be in that area if you were only going 30mph but braked so hard the ABS kicked in and the transmission didn't know what to do.

    This sounds like exactly what happened. I've driven several cars with automatic transmissions that have a lot of trouble downshifting quickly.

    Gafoto on
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    necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2009
    Having had a Chrysler with ABS and knowing how they feel, I can say with about 99% certainty that's what you felt.

    necroSYS on
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    VaelorVaelor Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My car decelerated quickly and then the brake pedal shuddered a bit

    That's your ABS engaging, which you probably already knew.
    followed by what sort of felt like the front of the car shuddering, followed by silence as I came to a complete stop.

    That's your engine lugging heavily and finally dying, which will feel very strange and not at all like ABS. It will also be a strong enough sensation to overwhelm the ABS. Why did this happen? Well, that's a tough question. Modern cars are frustrating that way.

    I don't know anywhere near enough about Chrysler cars to make sweeping statements about their transmission engineering, but I will say that in my experience some late-model Chrysler vehicles (and other manufacturers as well, just to be fair) sometimes have problems with the way the computer coordinates the running of the car.

    Essentially everything to do with a modern car's power/drivetrain is coordinated via onboard computer these days, and there is literally no end to the list of things that slightly buggy software is capable of fucking up. Valve timing, fuel/air mixture, engine idle speed, transmission shift logic... all of these things are at the mercy of onboard computer control. During your emergency stop, a chip somewhere did or did not do something and the car reacted poorly to that decision.

    If you're lucky, and you take it in to the dealer (still under warranty, I hope?), there is a small chance that their diagnostic computer will find a defective piece of hardware on your car. Swap out the offending chip and you're golden.

    Otherwise, you may have found an undocumented bug in Chrysler's code. Congratulations!(?)

    ~V

    Vaelor on
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