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Can I save this 2016 500e 33k miles?

1097 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Studeb
Not running. Zero charge. The previous owner brought it to the dealer at Orange Coast Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat in Costa Mesa, CA and they diagnosed it as a dead battery and presented the owner with a $31k estimate to replace it. I asked why it wasn't replaced under the 100k/8-year warranty. No one in the dealership service department seemed to know. Tragically my laptop with a brand new copy of AlfaOBD on it died upon arrival, so I quickly downloaded the Android demo and took the attached screen grabs.

I'm going to head back in the morning with a working laptop and a new 12v battery. I've been through the pre and post-buying checklist but this is obviously a sick car. Do the attached screen grabs tell us anything terminal? What new information should I mine tomorrow? Should I contact FCA and find out why the battery wasn't replaced the last time it visited the dealer in 12/22?

Or do I just run and pretend I never saw this 500e?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.


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Oh. U69 was completed in Sept. 2018.
What happens when you plug it in?
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That's exactly what you need to check, because when the HV pack is dead like this one, charging is the only function available.

However, since the dealership should certainly have tried plugging in, the first thing I'd do is make sure it's asleep: Key off for 2+ minutes during which you don't open OR close either of the doors or the hatch (since any of those movements wake it up). So to disconnect anything, leave at least 1 door open for access.

Then leave the humidity sensor unplugged, just right of the rearview mirror. Click to enlarge:
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Middle fingers in each of the upper openings, pull perpendicular from the glass, round toothpick kept parallel to glass, pushed straight in to wedge the black socket open & pull the purple plug. If the sensor isn't there because the glass was replaced with the gas model part, dig around under the headliner, since that's where they usually leave it plugged in.

While it's still asleep, I'd disconnect the 12V battery, then disconnect the HV fuse under the back seat for 5 minutes, check its continuity:
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Then reconnect it carefully (note the last 3 pics) & then reconnect the 12V.
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Then clear as many codes as possible, especially in the Battery Pack Control Module in AlfaOBD's "Battery Management" section, & the Power Inverter Module in the "engine" section.

Then I'd check the 12V starter battery for 11.6V or more at the wires, not the terminals, in case there's a bad connection.

Then I'd plug in, preferably to an OEM cord that was just plugged in, with the 4 lights going green one at a time, & the 2 lights going from red to green as shown:
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If it doesn't make the "clunk" sound in the vid here...:

...then check the current min/max voltage as follows, not like in post #1, which appears to have incorrect data (click to enlarge):
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Then scroll down & send us a shot of this, minus the red I added:
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AlfaOBD shows that the car's low voltage "warning" & "alarm" levels are both 2699mV, so if the min is above that it should allow charging. I'd think that it might allow charging even at its "emergency" level of 1999mV, but I'm not positive.

I am positive that the car won't start or charge if there's no clunk, so the next thing to try is a contactor reset:
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If that still doesn't work, the last thing I can think of right now is that some owners have tried everything & then left the 12V & HV disconnected for 30 hours & then it worked after clearing codes again.
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If it will turn on, check for a flashing odometer which indicates it needs a "proxy alignment". Usually the car works fine with flashing miles, just no phone pairing or USB function. However, at least 3 of us also had strange readings from the % gauge & mine had strange mV readings to match.

If the mV readings are thrown off by proxy misalignment, they may make the car think it should prevent charging. Once aligned, it might charge. Alignmnt is easy but requires a $140 OBDLink MX+ & a $10 "yellow adapter".
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Oh, wait! Orange Coast Fiat is less than 30 miles from me, so if the odometer is flashing I can meet you there with my MX+ & yellow adapter.

But meanwhile you should also check/clear codes in the On-Board Charging Module in the Battery Management section of AlfaOBD, because of the very last line below...:

  • Nearly all failures have been from a low 12V starter battery.

  • Nearly all the rest have just been from a computer glitch (often from the humidity sensor) creating a false alarm that makes the computer think it's unsafe to start &/or charge. The car works once the error code is cleared with OBD &/or battery disconnect reboots. The contactor disabling glitch was only discovered a little over a year ago, & gives many if not all of the symptoms of HV pack failure, so likely many of those warranties were unnecessary.

  • Only 1 or 2 failures were definitely from:
    • One or more weak cells in the HV pack. You can't check for that until it charges to 100%. It's usually from long-term storage/shipping without charging, or from failure to get U69 done before it causes damage, & you can't check for that without maintenance logs, because Sept 13 2018 is just the issue date.
    • A bad PIM &/or the DC-DC converter it contains. ~$6k new but a used one works.
    • A bad BPCM inside the HV pack. The one I remember had pretty low miles, about like this thread's subject line. There's a guy in Poland who knows how to fix that part.
    • A bad OBCM. The one I remember had about 90k miles & I think the other one was plugged in during a lightning storm. That's about $2k new, installed.
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Thank you ETS. Your advice and procedures are very appreciated. Amazon is delivering me an OBDLink MX+ tomorrow and I bought grey and yellow adapters a few weeks ago in anticipation of purchasing a 500e. I'll set up a second meeting with the owner on Monday morning and be back here directly afterward with a full report. Thanks again.
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Try to make sure you'll have access to an OEM charge cord. If not, I could bring mine.

Either model shown above should be fine, although I'd prefer the older one that actually goes with the 2016 model year. It has appeared to have reset at least 3 of our cars after they started failing to charge.
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  1. With car asleep, leave humidity sensor unplugged, disconnect 12V, check HV fuse continuity, reconnect it after 5 min*, then reconnect the 12V.
  2. Following onscreen key position instructions*, clear all codes (BPCM, PIM, OBCM) & if odometer is flashing do proxy align* until shows "Finished" (mine took 3 tries).
  3. Confirm 11.6+V at the wires, try OEM charge cord & if it doesn't work, check "Minimum Cell" in BPCM status section (not the faults section) for 2000+mV (or better yet, 2700+) & if it looks good but there's no clunk, try contactor reset.

*1. If possible, do a 30+ hour disconnect before even bothering with steps 2 & 3.
If not, & none of the above works, then try 30+ hour disconnect & repeat steps 2 & 3.

*2. Turn the key only 1 click to "mar" before connecting OBD. 2 clicks might make it think the "engine" is running. Proxy align sequence:
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Good luck guys! Keep us updated 👍
I'm heading over there Tuesday morning. Stand by for a full report.
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Just curious, have you bought it?
If you fix it, does the price go up? Or does the owner say thanks and drive it home?
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