Mechanics

HAVE A STARTED SPUTTERING & CUTTING OFF WHILE IN GEAR, IT SEEMS TO IDLE OK IN PARK BUT STILL SPUTTERS A LITTLE. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

2000 Chrysler Town and Country • 209,367 miles

It starts right up, but once put in gear seems to lose power and wants to turn off. It will not stay on if in gear and at a stop, have to keep it in neutral. Will only go about 25 mph before it starts to shake the entire vehicle.
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Alopez10123@yahoo.com
February 2, 2012.




Please list your engine size. That's important when discussing running problems. You should have a Check Engine light on and a diagnostic fault code in memory related to a misfire. I think I'd start with the basics like spark plugs and wires. To run that poorly, there is going to be something fairly obvious.

Caradiodoc
Feb 3, 2012.
It's a v6 3.3 liter flex fuel. It ran fine the night before then it just started acting this way in the morning. It was extremely foggy that morning, could that have anything to do with it?
I do not have a check engine light on now, the battery had been disconnected by a person who stopped to help. Drove it home about 9 miles & it did not turn back on. What should I do from here? On a limited budget.

Do I take that to mean the Check Engine light was on before someone disconnected the battery? If so, doing that erased all of the valuable stored information so those important clues are lost. You might be able to get the light to turn on again by driving the vehicle but there are going to be a lot of variables now to confuse the Engine Computer. It reconciles one sensor to another to know when something is wrong with one of the readings, and short and long-term fuel trim numbers will all be erased. Those are what the computer uses to add or subtract small amounts of fuel from the calculated desired amount for any driving condition. It learns them over time while you're driving. If there's a problem already, those numbers can't be relearned. That is going to add to the poor performance.

Also, it is very common for the engine to not start or for it to stall when approaching stop signs unless you hold the gas pedal down about 1/8". The computer is going to have to relearn "minimum throttle" before it will know when it has to be in control of idle speed. We'll handle that simple procedure once the running problem is solved. All of this could have been prevented by leaving the battery connected. You'll know next time.

The 3.3L did have a lot of trouble in the early '90s with spark plug wires. The common symptom was backfiring during moderate to hard acceleration. Also look at the coil pack. If one of the three coils fails, two cylinders will be dead. Without equipment to perform tests, the fastest thing to do would be to get a used one from a salvage yard and just plug it in to try it. A bad coil will cause a severe misfire at all speeds.

Injectors should be the very last thing to consider. Chrysler has extremely little trouble with them. If one failed, or more likely a wire is cut or a connector is loose, you'd still be able to hit highway speed. The chance of two or more failing is very unlikely, especially as you sad, it was fine the night before. Unless a mouse chewed through some wires, I'd suspect a spark-related problem.
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Caradiodoc
Feb 3, 2012.

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