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Discussion Starter #1
My wife's 2012 Chrysler 200 has been absolutely flawless up until last week. Now it has a tiny glitch.

Last week, when driving with about a 3/4 tank of gas, the gauge plummeted to empty, low fuel light came on, and then about a minute or two later, the gauge returned to the actual reading and the light went off. She had pulled over and verified that the gas cap was on tight. Good for her for knowing that. Not so good to pull over and get out inches from 65 mph traffic.

Today she filled up, and right after that it repeated - the gauge plummeted to empty, low fuel light came on, and then several seconds later, the gauge returned to the actual reading and the light went off.

But then a new one - about 15 miles or so later, another warning light came on. She said it's a somewhat round symbol with some appendages, almost directly under the low fuel warning light. From looking at the owner's manual online, it appears to be the transmission fluid temperature. She was just shutting the car off at work anyway, and all had appeared well.

Anyone had this happen on a recent vintage Chrysler product, or a 200 specifically? If so, what cured it? It's under warranty at 10,000 miles, so we'll take it in and get it addressed. Just wondering if we're the only ones to experience this.
 

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No TSB's on an erratic fuel gauge or ATF overheat lamp issues. If they are related, the instrument cluster (CCN module) may have some fault codes stored.
The PCM and TCM are in the same housing and the fuel gauge and ATF overheat are outputs from here on the communications bus. Hopefully a clue has been left behind if it does not act up for them.
There is a PCM/TCM flash reprogram for nicer shifts on TSB # 18-023-12 if that hasn't been done yet. You also want the latest software flashes other modules as required.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, got home and had her show me which warning lamps came on. As she said, the low fuel has tripped a few times, with the gauge plummeting. But the other one that came on and stayed on is the Check Engine light, not the Trans Fluid Temperature.

I drove it a mile around the neighborhood, and within 0.2 miles the fuel gauge went to empty, light on. It corrected itself about 1/2 mile later. The swing was abrupt, like you would see in key off on a tach.

Luckily the key dance DOES work on the 2012 Chrysler 200, so immediately the P code comes up in the odometer display. And it showed "P0462", then "dOnE". The P0462 is simply low voltage to the fuel sensor, so the Check Engine light is entirely and only related to the erratic fuel gauge. That eases my mind that it's safe for her to continue using the car until we can get it in for diagnosis, perhaps on Wednesday.

We have been back for 2 oil changes and a tire rotation, no idea if they did a flash. It wasn't noted on the service order, don't know if they would. It shifts fast, seems fine. I can ask them about the TSB. Thanks.
 

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I checked a Dodge/Chrysler service manual for a 2008 Avenger which is only a facelift away from the 200 model. For code P0462 it indicates to check for poor electrical connections at the instrument cluster CCN which I believe is the connector bus. Also check the electrical connector at the fuel pump module. Maybe bending a pin slightly will make a better contact and eliminate the problem.

It is also possible that the sending unit which has a mechanical float which rises and falls with the liquid level in the tank has a damaged finger(s) on the variable resistor and has some open spots on the contact rub strip.
On the Avenger ( I would expect the 200 to have the same platform architecture) it is easy to access the fuel pump module and sending unit. Open the left rear door. Remove the rear bottom seat cushion. Towards the left rear door there is a large rubber plug/grommet which is easily removed. Once removed you have geat access to the fuel line connections and electrical connections and locking ring on the fuel pump module. Believe it or not but some engineer finally designed a large hole in the floor pan so one could easily gain access to the in-tank fuel pump.

The car is still probably under warranty so let a dealer make the diagnosis and fix.
 

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Just a point of reference, our 2010 Journey SXT has a CAN "C" BUS while our 2006 Ram has a CCN (Cabin Compartment Node) for the communications bus. I believe Bob's 200 will probably have the CAN "C" BUS. It does sound like a communications issue or poor/bad connection somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, since it is under warranty, I'm going to call today for a service appointment.

I was curious and checked into buying an FSM. Of course, they are all on CD-only these days. It's $135. YIKES. Considering that a paper 3-volume set was $90, it seems crazy to charge $135 for intellectual property alone. Shipping and the CD itself can't be more than $2 of that cost.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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No more paper? That's annoying...
 

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My '05 PT Cruiser has done that occassionally (rarely) since new, but under different circumstances. If the fuel tank fills high, and then I go on a straight and level highway for about 50 miles under conditions where I am getting 30+ MPG, the gas gauge sometimes will go to empty and sound the low fuel chime. It returns to normal about the time when the gauge would normally start leaving the "full" mark... maybe at 70 miles into the tank. Naturally, the dealer could never replicate the problem. At 130,000 miles still does the same thing -- never was fixed.

My guess is that the fuel gauge is slightly misadjusted at the top end. Then after the gauge doesn't move for 50 miles, the computer thinks something is wrong, panics, and decides it doesn't know how much gas you have, so it sends it to the bottom just in case! Of course having a programming background I'm always guessing that there is an algorithm behind everything. I could be wrong!

I wonder if you have a fuel level sensor problem.

Stephen
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's not how this behaves. It drops normally as the fuel is consumed, linearly, and this malfunction can happen at any point in the scale. It typically drops for 1-2 minutes, then shoots back to the correct reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dropped the car off yesterday. They left a voicemail with my wife that it's a 'sensor' and they have to order the part, no timeframe given yet. The dist center is only 12 miles away. It will probably be done late today or early tomorrow. I'm taking this to mean that it's the fuel sending unit. Anyone know if it's integral with the fuel pump, or a separate unit? Warranty repair, regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
They replaced PN 68042937AA, fuel sending unit. Would that be separate from the pump, or did that include the pump? Just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks. I would guess that it still involves opening the tank, which was full. We got the car back full. Presuming they had to drain some gas and added it back.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, my wife reported that it's doing the same thing again today. So either the replacement sending unit is also bad, or they didn't find the true cause of the failure. Could be at the dash or at a computer module (BCM or whatever they call it now).
 

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I would have to believe that the root cause hasn't been found yet.
A cluster self-test may reveal a fault code, maybe not. I'm sure that they checked for that early in the diagnosis. If the problem isn't there for them and they can't get it to act up in the shop,then they might try a 'Hail Mary' repair like a sending unit.
The cluster is now the CCN (cabin compartment node) and takes over many of the responsibilities of a previous BCM.
The fuel level sender wire (DB/Wt) goes through an intermediate connector (C200) in the dash on its way to the cluster where there may be an intermittant open. There is also a STAR case (S1208000148) for a poor ground (G303) near the tank in the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks. A poor ground would make the gauge go to full.

Last time, it set a fault code of P0462, for low voltage to or at the fuel sending unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, it looks like it's the cluster. Last week the gauge plummeted to empty several times within 15 minutes or so, tripped the Check Engine light again.

Last night, while driving I went over a very slight bump, and the entire cluster went blank for just about one second, then came back. When it did, it had cleared the Check Engine light. It also cleared the average gas mileage setting, which was about 28 mpg, and it went to 23 mpg, as I was doing city driving. It also illuminated the ESC light, and that light would not go off even when toggling the switch on the dash.

So it looks like there is a bad connection at or in the cluster. Last night's event will prompt the dealer to look there for the issue.
 

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Thursday my car did the same exact thing with the fuel gauge. To be honest, the fuel level was low to begin with, and when it dinged at me, I figured I was actually running low. So I stopped for a splash of fuel, and when I started it back up, the gauge still read empty and dinged. after a few moments it jumped back to right below a 1/4 tank. If it does it again, I guess I need to let the service dept at the dealer know.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Dealer took the car in 3 weeks ago while we were on vacation for a week. They pulled the cluster and checked/cleaned the wiring connections. It was fine for about 2 weeks after. Yesterday my wife filled the tank and shortly thereafter, it occurred again. I'm thinking that it's still the cluster itself and not the wiring. It happens more often when tank is full or nearly so. Back to the dealer again later this week. We are 15 months and almost 15K miles into the warranty, want to resolve it before it runs out.
 
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