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Dodge Caliber Engine Problems

New to the Forum. I have a SXT Manual 1.812 month old with 2400 miles, just wondering if anyone is having problems with their car stalling out when the car is in neutral or when the clutch is in at low speeds or when stopping. The RPMs drop to about 500 and then just stall out. Car starts back up with no problem but i've had this happen about 9 times since I got it. If anyone has any ideas I'd appreciate it. I love the car and have had no other problems so far.


  • My Caliber has developed an issue that I am wondering if anyone else has seen. The engine is knocking fairly regularly when accelerating between 25 and 45 mph. It seems to happen when the engine is under load such as climbing a grade or starting and stopping in traffic. Dealer says there may be a flash upgrade but they have not seen anything yet from Chrysler on this.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Have you tried running mid-grade or premium through it? Have you asked the dealer to check for a defective "knock sensor"? Most modern cars have adaptive ECM's (engine control modules) and aggressively advance the spark for more power and fuel economy, only backing off when the knock sensor detects pinging. Since the knock sensor is a piezo electric crystal on the engine block, it is so sensitive that usually the driver NEVER hears what is going on.

    (I usually run mid-grade to pick up a little horsepower based on the adaptice ECM's.)

    IF midgrade or premium makes the knock go away, congratulations, you don't have a defect, you have a feature (I say this a bit tongue in cheek) because you will be picking up horsepower. If the knock DOESN'T go away with premium gas, you need to be more aggressive with the dealer since serious knocking, as opposed to a very, very light pinging, is really, really hard on an engine.

    In the long run, of course, you really need to get a flash upgrade.

    BTW, are you running a national brand of gas? The owners manual for our Chrysler/Dodge (not a Caliber) emphasized using a good brand of gas, and switching brands before upping octane. I find Shell, 76 (Conoco maybe where you live), Chevron to be best (see ).
  • cat9374cat9374 Posts: 1
    My Caliber is knocking all the time now. The Dealer said it is going to be a software problem and it will take some time before Chrysler gets a software update in place. I really hate driving my car with that noise, but they said as long as the check engine light does not come on then were ok.
  • vrmvrm Posts: 308
    My Caliber is knocking all the time now. The Dealer said it is going to be a software problem and it will take some time before Chrysler gets a software update in place. I really hate driving my car with that noise, but they said as long as the check engine light does not come on then were ok.

    The problems listed in the last few postings are a red flag for new buyers.

    I will not bother to test drive the Caliber.

    Chrysler seems to be no different than GM or Ford: rush the new car into production. Worry about the fit, finish and quality details later.

    Buyer beware!
  • After speaking with the dealer service techs about the same problem in my Caliber it appears that Chrysler may have pushed the limit in tuning the timing on the Caliber to get the best MPG rating. To fix the spark knock they may have to change the software to retard the timing but this will probablylower the average MPG of the car. If high gas mileage is not a primary concern for you then they may have a fix to solve your problem. It sounds to me like they need to go back to the drawing board on the engine and drive train setup for future production.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Have you tried running it on premium gas until they can re-flash the engine control module? You should try to bring the knocking under as much control as possible, it is harmful to the engine. The fact that the check engine light isn't on, only means it isn't "violating" emissions requirements.

    ALSO have you asked the dealer to reflash your engine control module with the existing software? Since most owners are not reporting this problem, it could be that the program in your car is "corrupted" somehow (after all it IS a computer program, albeit written to flash memory and not a harddrive).

    I'd put in premium gas for now, and push the dealer harder.
  • It's happened to my husband a few times, he said it's usually when the motor isn't warmed up. Not sure why and it hasn't happened to me so I'm not worried about it, yet. ;)
  • Hi blkhawk60 - also new to the forum - have had my Caliber for a couple of months and am up to 11,000 plus miles. Lots of highway driving. But am having the same problem you discuss. Stalls out in neutral (shudders sometimes also) or when the clutch is in at low speed. Trying to convince the dealer that it's not my driving. Has your problem continued?
  • al2derfal2derf Posts: 5
    Hi yomaggie,
    I am having the same stalling problems with the clutch either in or out and the car stalls in neutral. I filed a complaint and have called the customer CAIR 1800 number three times. Since the dealership can not duplicate the issue they tell me they can't do anything about the problem and will not acknowledge it as a problem. This is a safety concern. You may try calling the 1800 CAIR to at least put in a concern. If more vehicles start demonstrating this then the engineers will have to pay attention.
  • Hi yomaggie- I'm still having the same exact problem hat you are having. I'm in the military stationed in Germany. Getting my car checked out by any dealers over here is almost impossible they are all Mercedes dealers (Chryler owns them). The caliber hasn't even begun selling here yet. It doesn't happen that often but I have had it happen as I down shift goining into a corner and when the car stalls out there is no power steering and this car will not turn without power steering. I'd tell your dealer that you talked to other people with the same problem, something like this is probably not going to get better wih time. Let me know if your dealer figures anything out. I'm probably going to try a garage on post and see if they have any clues to what might cause this problem. Other than this problem I love my caliber
  • al2derfal2derf Posts: 5
    I responded I think to the follow up email you sent. I too have had the same stalling problems while in neutral and since it has not happened to the mechanics at the dealership they don't want to acknowledge it as being a problem. I have called the 1800 CAIR number in the manual and reported this issue. If there are three cars displaying this problem then it must be a problem and should be reported to DaimlerChrysler for their engineers to figure out. It is a safety concern that they need to be aware of. I also followed up with my customer satisfaction survey and let them know what's going on. In the manual you will also find the mailing address to DaimlerChrysler to report the problem if you think it falls into being a :lemon: .
  • Caliberchic said she had the same thing happen. I'm going to try calling that number and writing in. I'm going to make an appointment to see the local authorized Chrysler service garage, so they can tell me that nothing is wrong. And then I will call and write to Chrysler. Just let me know if you get anywhere with your dealer.
  • al2derfal2derf Posts: 5
    Blkhawk60 - My dealership does not want to acknlowledge that there is a stalling issue. When I asked for them to put it in writing to me they won't. I have sent the certified letter to DaimlerChrysler and will give an update if they respond. I also filed a complaint at: and if they do not comply then will follow up with:

    Since you are overseas you may want to find out what your rights are if they can't or won't fix the problem.
  • I am so glad I found this! What you've described is EXACTLY what's been happening to me. It's a bit of a relief to hear it from someone else as I've told my story to anyone who will listen and I think they think I'm crazy. My car stalls in neutral every so often. What it does more often than stalls is go down to 400 rpms quickly and pops back up to normal (700). I've been stopped at lights and it shudders like it's going to stall and then the rpms pop back up. I've even been parked, in neutral with the e-brake on and the the oil light went on and it the bells went off like it was going to stall and then the rpms went up over 1,000 and leveled off at 700. It's been so weird. Stalling in neutral is just strange and shouldn't be. I've stalled pulling in to parking spots...typically happens at low speeds/rpms. I've read on another forum that it could be the computer needs to be updated as my car was built before July 06...not sure if this problem is happening with cars built after that date (something about reflashing). I'm waiting to talk to my dealer to see if they think they can fix it.
  • Our Caliber was doing the same thing. Massive spark knock. We took it to the dealer and they added new software to our computer which took care of the spark knock. But did lower our gas mileage to 19 to 22 mpg. We have since started using synthetic oil and regular gas 87 octane and we are now getting 25 mpg consistently. We drive this car for a living (average of 200 to 250 miles/day). Our car now has 22,000+ on it.
  • I am about to take delivery of a new SXT with 5 speed and I wonder if it can be presumed that a car produced later in the year would ship with the updated software? Also has anyone found a fix for the stalling?
  • I brought the car in 3 weeks ago for the stalling. The dealer contacted Chrysler and they said there wasn't an 'exact' fix for it yet but suggested the dealer reflash the computer and do a 'few other things'. The dealer told me Chyrsler said they should have more info by the end of the year. The rpm's still drop down and pop back up, but the car has only stalled once in the past 3 weeks. So maybe it is almost fixed??? I read somewhere that the problem was with cars that were built before July '06. My suggestion would be that if you find the car stalling in neutral, tell your dealer to contact Chrysler because they are aware of the problem. Good Luck!
  • So far no sign of either the knocking or the stalling. My Marine Blue SXT was newly manufactured in October; so perhaps they are getting re-flashed and updated before they leave the factory. I'll keep the board posted if anything develops!
  • My Caliber has about 1,000 miles on it. When I shut down the car after about a half hour or longer drive I get a loud pinging sound from has to be the exhaust system. Is this normal? Have others experienced this.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,966
    New car, new exhuast system. Metal heating up and expanding a bit, then cooling off and contracting.
    I would guess that as the car ages the noises will diminish somewhat and you'll notice them less.

    When youget around to changing out a muffler or piece of the exhaust, you probably notice them again. ;)

    Congrats on your new Caliber! Be sure to rave about it in the New Caliber Owners - Give Us Your Report! discussion!

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  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    This has been a common complaint on Calibers manufactured
    before July 2006 and has been posted on numerous
    Dodge forums,there is no TSB covering it but quite a
    number of owners have had it resolved by DCX and dealers
    willing to understand it as a customer satisfaction
    Call DCX customer line and complain or find a dealer
    who is willing to help,they have to replace the exhaust
    pipe and resonator assy. under warranty system.
  • foxy4foxy4 Posts: 3
    :cry: hi we are having the same problems with our new dodge caliber 1.8 se unleaded we bought it in september 06 and have had nothing but problems with the stalling when we pull away the revs drop and it stalls nearly every time unless we rev excessively also in reverse it judders before stalling. and we are currently trying to send it back as its been in for repair and still has the same problems is there any one who can help us with who we can contact next other than the dealer. thanks.
  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    Another complaint with regards to software,this has been
    noted on other Caliber forums regarding the 1.8l/5spd
    stalling and fluctuations in rpms.
    It again has been resolved by a software flash or update
    covered by Tech Service Bulletin #18-033-06,quite a number
    of owners with these symptoms claim this resolves the
    stalling problems.
    Call DCX customer service or try another dealer you deserve
    service for money spent on your purchase.
  • vocsvocs Posts: 7

    Today we ran a lot of errands and were out shopping our new caliber RT, AWD. We got it 6 weeks ago it has 1880 miles on it. The check engine light came on out of no where.

    Anyone have any clue what is going on?

    Should I not drive the car? I have to take a few trips this weekend/holiday to families houses. Should I be worried about driving it?

    Any help is appreciated.

  • bigtsrbigtsr Posts: 149
    Check the gas cap is on and tightened and if it's gone when you restart car generally it's not an immediate thing,but
    have it checked out that's what warranties are for.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    If your car was built prior to November, it may need to have its engine control computer reprogrammed - see Tech Service Bulletin #18-033-06. You can tell the build date of your car from the placard attached to the front driver's seat door or door sill.
  • foxy4foxy4 Posts: 3
    has anyone got dcx customer service telephone number please thanks as having no joy getting the car sorted and are now really fed up with the dealers fobbing us off :confuse:
  • I took my new(900 miles) Caliber to the dealer for a MIL light. They are going to replace the pcm computer. They say it is a problem inside the computer and not a software problem. 2.4l cvt r/t fwd
  • Customer Service is at 1-800-853-1403 how long have you been waiting? I waited 9 weeks and I hear that some waited up to 16 weeks.
  • foxy4foxy4 Posts: 3
    thank you for the telephone number but im in the uk so dont no if it would be the same number as you gave me we had a meeting with the dealers and with head office people and we said we have had enough of the lies and how the car performs so they have offered us a new dodge so hopefully this one will be ok fingers crossed but we have been waiting since september 06 so 4 months and now we hope it will be ok foxy x. :)
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