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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me start out by saying that I'm not posting this thread to bash on FCA or my current dealer. If that was the case, I wouldn't have just placed an order for a different vehicle from said dealer. In all honesty, I guess I just needed to vent a little.
Anyway, my wife and I currently own a 2016 Charger R/T (her daily), a 2016 Challenger Hellcat, and a 2017 Challenger Scat Pack (the car this discussion is pertaining to). We have had zero issues with the '16's and I loved driving my Hellcat so much, that I purchased the '17 SPS to drive daily. Within the first week of ownership, I started to experience various problems. My local dealer quite literally has the worst service I've ever encountered, so I began using a dealer 30 miles out of town. I truly feel like my new dealer has tried to solve all of the issues with my car but my SPS is simply a lemon.

In order to prevent boredom, I will only go into specifics about a couple issues, which I believe to be related. Last summer, while taking my car through an automatic wash, I noticed my A/C would stop blowing cold just as I entered and would resume normal function after exiting and driving for a couple hundred feet. I monitored this for a couple weeks and the problem would occur almost like clockwork every time. I scheduled an appointment and after having the car for a few days, they stated that although they did duplicate the problem, they did not have a solution. At that point, I wasn't overly concerned and frankly just figured I would live with it.

About a month ago, while I was going through the same car wash when my battery light came on. I checked the voltage and it was all the way down to 10.6 volts. The outside temps were pretty cold, so my seat heater, steering wheel heater, and front and rear defrost were all on, along with the fan being close to full speed. After exiting the wash, I went roughly 100 feet and as if someone flipped a switch, it went back up to 14.4 volts. I then made it a point to watch the next couple of times I went through and sure enough, at the exact same spot my A/C stopped working, the charging system also dropped out. I scheduled an appointment with service and they had the car for a couple days and the service manager called to inform me they would most likely replace the alternator but couldn't really duplicate the problem. It was at that point I mentioned to him that I felt certain that the previous issue with my A/C dropping out, was one in the same. I suspected the clutch on the compressor was releasing when the voltage dropped below tolerance and this was what was causing my A/C to stop working. Well, after having my car for a total of 8 days, they did perform a TSB on my TCM for downshifting "bump" issues (one of many), but never could duplicate the charging problem. Aside from the fact that the update to the TCM didn't actually solve my driveline clunking, they proceeded to try to blame my charging issues on the car wash. The service manager stated that there was soap residue on the alternator and that it could be the cause. He stopped short of telling me to quit using an automatic wash, but seriously....who builds a car that can't make regular visits to a car wash? During the next visit to my wash, the cars voltage is still dropping out, so I guess the alternator didn't fix it.

To top it off, the gears are whining again and are getting loud enough that the tech made note of it on my service ticket. At this point, I'm thinking about trading it for whatever I can get out of it and eat the difference. My fear is that if I keep it, it might tarnish my view of my Hellcat and sure don't want that to happen.
In 11 months of owning this car (8,600 miles), it has spent over 2 months (may actually be closer to 3) in the shop for various issues.

To date, it has had the following repairs:

1) Right and left axles
2) Rear end assembly
3) Three head units
4) Water pump
5) Front brakes
6) Alternator

I won't bore you anymore with the specifics of the other issues (unless requested) and appreciate it if you actually took the time to read this all the way through.
 

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I can't comment on the mechanical issues you've experienced, but the Car Wash issue with both your A/C and charging system sounds suspiciously like Electro-magnetic interference. The automatic car wash likely uses A/C variable frequency drives to control the rotating equipment and/or AC servo drives to move those touchless laser wash heads on their multiple axis. Whether it's rotating brushes or just the motors that drive those the moving wash sprays, a malfunctioning motor drive (or even poorly routed unshielded motor conductors) can be huge emitters of magnetic interference.
In industrial environments, great care is taken to properly shield, ground, enclose emitters of electromagnetic fields, specifically to protect sensitive electronics. Even something as simple as propping an electrical control cabinet door open, can expose the internal emitters to the surrounding environment.
 

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Wow that really sucks! I own a 2016 SPS (ordered and received in the end of 2015) and the only issues I've had was the water pump, the right fender was loose and a bolt in the rear light housing kept coming loose. It's a daily driver so I have over 31k miles on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I can't comment on the mechanical issues you've experienced, but the Car Wash issue with both your A/C and charging system sounds suspiciously like Electro-magnetic interference. The automatic car wash likely uses A/C variable frequency drives to control the rotating equipment and/or AC servo drives to move those touchless laser wash heads on their multiple axis. Whether it's rotating brushes or just the motors that drive those the moving wash sprays, a malfunctioning motor drive (or even poorly routed unshielded motor conductors) can be huge emitters of magnetic interference.
In industrial environments, great care is taken to properly shield, ground, enclose emitters of electromagnetic fields, specifically to protect sensitive electronics. Even something as simple as propping an electrical control cabinet door open, can expose the internal emitters to the surrounding environment.
As I work with and around VSD's, commercial switch-gear, and magnetic bearing chillers daily, I actually thought of that as a possibility. Even though I will NEVER take my Hellcat through there, my wife takes her Charger and has never had an issue. I've also owned three other vehicles that I've taken through there and none have experienced anything like this.
I know how a lot of folks feel about running their prized possessions through an automated car wash, but this is a high end quality car wash. I guess anything is possible, but they utilize state of the art equipment and their preventive maintenance looks to be on par from what I've seen.
I appreciate your thoughts on this though K-Dawg.
 

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To date, it has had the following repairs:

1) Right and left axles
2) Rear end assembly
3) Three head units
4) Water pump
5) Front brakes
6) Alternator

Except for #5 I would say the repairs have been fairly common (have read posts hear with people experiencing such failures) with challengers in general but to have it all happen to one car...you sir should play the lotto.
 

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I can't comment on the mechanical issues you've experienced, but the Car Wash issue with both your A/C and charging system sounds suspiciously like Electro-magnetic interference. The automatic car wash likely uses A/C variable frequency drives to control the rotating equipment and/or AC servo drives to move those touchless laser wash heads on their multiple axis. Whether it's rotating brushes or just the motors that drive those the moving wash sprays, a malfunctioning motor drive (or even poorly routed unshielded motor conductors) can be huge emitters of magnetic interference.
In industrial environments, great care is taken to properly shield, ground, enclose emitters of electromagnetic fields, specifically to protect sensitive electronics. Even something as simple as propping an electrical control cabinet door open, can expose the internal emitters to the surrounding environment.
I run my Jeep thru the car wash about once a week. My wash is mostly pneumatic operations that I can see. I work industrial maintenance and I cant say I ever have seen interference on the DC your talking about. Al most all my machines in the plant are 24VDC controls and sadly some are still Canbus(Devicenet) 5 volt. I think the only AC controls I can think of is maybe the garbage compactor outside.


Does make you curious what the voltage problem is. Slipping belt when wet is certainly a possibility.
 

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I have the rear end whine on my 16 Scat Pack A8, and just lived with it until something really serious happened to my car requiring a trip to the dealer. Just before Xmas, my A8 trans made a SERIOUS downshift while cruising slowly in rush hour traffic. Check Engine light came on, trans was stuck in 3rd gear limp mode. Drove it to the dealer, dropped it off, and noted the rear end whine to the service guy, along with the infernal rattle in the B-Pillar right next to me left ear.
Code came back as "Wrong Gear Ratio Selected"?! They flashed the Trans Control Module, which fixed it. They replaced the rear diff fluid, but the whine is still there. They then replaced the drive shaft, and that didn't help either. It's not THAT bad that I can't live with the whine, so I'm not going to pursue it any further. They did fix the rattle, which bugged me the most.
 

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In order to prevent boredom, I will only go into specifics about a couple issues, which I believe to be related. Last summer, while taking my car through an automatic wash, I noticed my A/C would stop blowing cold just as I entered and would resume normal function after exiting and driving for a couple hundred feet. I monitored this for a couple weeks and the problem would occur almost like clockwork every time. I scheduled an appointment and after having the car for a few days, they stated that although they did duplicate the problem, they did not have a solution. At that point, I wasn't overly concerned and frankly just figured I would live with it.

About a month ago, while I was going through the same car wash when my battery light came on. I checked the voltage and it was all the way down to 10.6 volts. The outside temps were pretty cold, so my seat heater, steering wheel heater, and front and rear defrost were all on, along with the fan being close to full speed. After exiting the wash, I went roughly 100 feet and as if someone flipped a switch, it went back up to 14.4 volts. I then made it a point to watch the next couple of times I went through and sure enough, at the exact same spot my A/C stopped working, the charging system also dropped out.
I think I've deduced what is happening (specific to Shaker models)

You're going to have water draining from the Shaker scoop while in the car wash:

- right on top of the water pump pulley
- the water will have soap (acts a lubricant)
- belts get wet with water / soap and slip
- the a/c compressor probably won't turn fast enough to function, or pressure drops low enough that system switches it out
- the battery voltage dropping down that low and picking back up is another sign of that

The carwash scenario is putting a lot of water in place with the engine running vs. what happens driving in rain, etc.

I've never had the belt slipping - I wash by hand and after drying, all the water would have dripped away and whatever small amount doesn't cause the belt to slip.

You SP has a 220A alternator - you can run rear defogger, both heated seats and all the lights and it will maintain a 14.1-14.2V output.

That's probably why the shop can't replicate the problem - and as they noted the soap residue on the alternator - that' probably because there's soapy water being flung around by the belt.

So what you have is a transient condition with the carwash - not something to worry about.

I imagine if I dumped a bucket of water on the hood / scoop of my SPS with the engine running the belt might slip for a couple of seconds until the water flings off from it, but even in heavy steady rain (and I've been in heavy downpours at a stop / low speed) it hasn't acted up.

For example on your 'Cat, the engineers put a water shield on the left from the radiator - there was water getting on the ABS pump due to the heat extractor vent being above that area.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I think I've deduced what is happening (specific to Shaker models)

You're going to have water draining from the Shaker scoop while in the car wash:

- right on top of the water pump pulley
- the water will have soap (acts a lubricant)
- belts get wet with water / soap and slip
- the a/c compressor probably won't turn fast enough to function, or pressure drops low enough that system switches it out
- the battery voltage dropping down that low and picking back up is another sign of that

The carwash scenario is putting a lot of water in place with the engine running vs. what happens driving in rain, etc.

I've never had the belt slipping - I wash by hand and after drying, all the water would have dripped away and whatever small amount doesn't cause the belt to slip.

You SP has a 220A alternator - you can run rear defogger, both heated seats and all the lights and it will maintain a 14.1-14.2V output.

That's probably why the shop can't replicate the problem - and as they noted the soap residue on the alternator - that' probably because there's soapy water being flung around by the belt.

So what you have is a transient condition with the carwash - not something to worry about.

I imagine if I dumped a bucket of water on the hood / scoop of my SPS with the engine running the belt might slip for a couple of seconds until the water flings off from it, but even in heavy steady rain (and I've been in heavy downpours at a stop / low speed) it hasn't acted up.

For example on your 'Cat, the engineers put a water shield on the left from the radiator - there was water getting on the ABS pump due to the heat extractor vent being above that area.
I appreciate your thoughts Hal H, but that's not it and I'm 99.9% certain. When this first happened, I put some duct tape on the drain and ran it through and the voltage still dropped out. The voltage actually drops out before the the soap hits the hood. From my observation, it begins when the underbody jets hit it. I've told them this, but they stated that couldn't be it since it has the belly pan on it. I actually have a friend who has used the very same wash for the last 3 years and his Shaker car's never had a single issue (albeit his is a 5.7) . My service department went as far as to open the hood with the car running (all possible accessories turned on) and spray the engine bay with a hose. I have no reason to doubt they did this, as I'm buddies with the parts manager and he's actually been involved in some of the troubleshooting, since he has been with me when the issues arise. My next question is this.....Why wouldn't FCA simply run some drain lines out and away from the engine to assure this couldn't happen? My dealer created a STAR case with FCA and they had no record of any complaints such as mine in their system. There is no way I'm the only soul who takes their Shaker car through the car wash, so it would stand to reason that there should be others at some point with this issue. My dealer may not have been able to replicate it but they know it's happening, so my frustration is the fact that they keep the car for 8 days and just send it home with no attempt at a solution? I know it's not the end of the world, but compounded with all of the other problems...I've had enough.
In all honesty, this voltage problem is only the latest issue and the one I chose to focus my story on, but it's hardly the worst. That distinction goes to the constant "clunk" coming from the driveline. I actually began asking about it on here within 10 days of ownership and had very little response. Really, it comes down to the fact that due to all of the issues, I severely dislike driving this car now. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'd like to add another thought. Not speaking to specific brands, new cars roll off the car lots every day and the majority of those new car owners will experience virtually trouble-free ownership. A certain percentage of others will have a major issue or two but nothing that can not be solved through diagnosis and repair. Then there are the select few that buy a new car and it's simply a lemon. It'll have endless issues and frustrate the owner to no end, until they finally have had enough and move on. I lean strongly towards Mopar as a whole but I'm not what most would consider brand loyal. Over the years (not counting my Scat Pack), I've purchased 12 new autos of varying brands. Up till now, I've had a warranty claim here and there but nothing even remotely close to this. It's my belief that this time the dice simply came up snake eyes for me.
 

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This takes me back a few years. I have an '11 IE so I've seen all the early problems and recalls. The good news was the problem was not under the hood, it was in the door latches outside the car. The early ones had no waterproofing under the door handles and would short out whenever they got wet at the car wash. As long as water was concentrated on the door latches they would short out and try to unlock the doors continuously which drove down the voltage across the electrical bus until the water ran off. The best way to troubleshoot is to go to a wand wash and slowly power wash down one side of the car, then the other. As you come close to the door latches with the power wash watch what happens to the lock knob inside the car. If the interior lights come on and the doors try to unlock, there is your problem. There is a recall on them. I had to have mine swapped out twice to fix the problem. I imagine in a drive through car wash the same thing happens, only with the car running it will wait to get to 5 mph out the other side before automatically locking the doors, removing the short circuit and driving like normal. Good luck.
 
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