1998 Dodge Neon • 4 cylinder FWD Automatic • 179,000 miles

Car would not start, died on the highway and would not restart. Replaced battery, alternator, and intake manifold gasket. I know that the distributor timming is off. Have set timming multiple times as well as rotated distrubutor to see if I was still off. My question is it possible for it to have jumped timing and this is why it will no longer start. I can get it to sound like it is going to star, but it will not stay running.
August 22, 2011.

Having the timing off a bit on your car generally will not keep it from running as the adjustment is very small.
One possibility is that the spark plug wires are out of order. Go through them and make sure you kept them right.

Did you do this work after it stalled on the highway?
Did you replace the intake gasket because you heard a leak or because they are problematic?

Have you ever done the timing belt on your car?

The reason I ask is that you have an Interference type engine where stretching the belt beyond the tensioners' capabilities will cause rough running and possible valve damage. If the belt breaks it will damage the valve train.

It will throw a code if the cam gear has been jumped by tooth. So, if you can, get an OBD reader and check for trouble codes. Other things to check would be vacuum leaks, bad plug wires, (pull a plug and see if it is a nice tan brown color), anything gunky or black is rich and white is lean.

Let me know if the car dies before you replaced said parts and the other information and we can start from there.

Hi guys. Never saw a distributor on a Neon.

Aug 22, 2011.
Thanks CardioDoc. Iwas in late night early model mode.

With CD's correction that you have spark boxes or coil over type ingition, I would think that the plug wire order or the wires themselves.
If you are talking about timing skipping a tooth on the timing belt, there is an OBD code that will pop up if you go get your car scanned.
Again, if the timing belt is old or has skipped a tooth, it can cause catastrophic failure in your motor.

I am not sure what happened, but when I asked the question it is for a 96 asro van 4.3L 2wd. I entered all that iformation on the ask question page.

Aug 22, 2011.
It is a 96 Astro van. The web page did not save the car information that I entered and diverted it back to the neon. Everything stated in my question is for a 96 astro van. Having timming issues. Thanks

Aug 22, 2011.
I have another question, replace the timing gears and chain. I now have no spark. Is it possible that if the Crankshaft Position Reluctor Ring is not aligned correctly it will create a no spark issue? Ther was spark prior to replacing the timing gears and chain. Thanks

Aug 23, 2011.
I don't think the position snensor ring would cause a no spark situation. Hoever it could as a safety default, but I think with it off that far it would have trhown a code.
Have you tested the coil?
That is the next thing I would do.

Power coming to coil and if the crankshaft sensor is not centered right on the timing cover it will not send the signal for the coil to let out a spark. I do now have spark coming from the coil. Had to readjust the timing cover. Still having an issue with the timing on the van. Hoping that when it is all back together it will fire right up.

Aug 23, 2011.
Just so I am straight on the chronological order of events; Van brake down and you replaced; battery, alternator and intake manifold gasket.
Then the Van still would not start. What lead you to replacing the battery, alt, IM gasket?
Did you ever check for spark before you replaced the timing gears and chain?
Was the timing gears and chain something you did after the battery, etc?
There is a chance that your engine is equipped with a Non-Interference safety mechanism.
This means if the timing chain fails or stretches it stops the engine before the valves can hit the piston and damage the motor.
I have not found a definitive answer on this yet and will get an answer from a higher up expert if need be.
However if you are getting spark to the coil, it should be sparking and I am assuming you are turning the van over, so if there was any interference from the gear being out of line, you would have heard it.
Also, the timing chain cover should drop right into place when installed in relation to the crankshaft marks.
Are you sure the motor was a TDC and the can and crank were aligned up? Sometime after installation it is a good idea to turn to assembly 10-12 times and re-check alignment. If the is a chance it could be off by a tooth, it might not hit pistion to valve until its running and the valves stretch. Not to mention performance issues.
I you don't have it totally reassembled, you might want to consider re-checking the cam to crank alignment. I realize it is hard to mess up but rotating it can make a difference as I have found out myself.
I will watch for your reply and check into a few more things and if I can't figure it out I will ask someone I know who is A Ford wiz. He is hard to get a hold of but I will get in contact with him by tonight if necessary. I am actually going to try getting hold of him again right now.
I don't want to give you any answers that I am not fully 100% and move in the wrong direction and waste time.

The van had an intake manifold had a leak before the van broke down. I took and had both battery and alternator tested, both tested bad. I did test for spark coming out of the coils not the wires though. I changed the timing gears thinking it may have jumped a tooth. It had not jumped a tooth, but the chain was loose. So I replace the timing gear set. It does have a new distributor cap which resolved the no spark going to the spark plugs. I rechecked the timing before it went back together everything lined up. It still will not start.

Aug 24, 2011.