03 Stratus RT 3.0L (mitsu)- Dies after removing spark plug wire

  • 3.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • 170,000 MILES
My car has been idling rough so I changed out my spark plugs. I found in doing that that my fuel injector o-rings were worn out and cracked, so I replaced those and the car still idled rough, leading me to think that my spark plug wires were worn out.

I tested this by starting the car, and while running pulled the spark plug wire off the distributor cap to see how the car responded - if it sputtered harder, that plug was good, if it stayed the same - that plug/wire combo was toast.

I pulled the first wire, no troubles, car sputtered a little, I replaced the cable and it worked. The second one, same thing. But the third one, I pulled and it sparked the tar out of me when I tried to put it back on and then the engine died. I replaced the wire and went to start the car - it would not turn over, it sounded like the starter was engaging, but the engine was not turning.

I have replaced all the wires on that bank and tried to start it, same result.

I am at a loss. Did I fry the distributor cap? The distributor itself?

Any help is much appreciated.

Do you
have the same problem?
Friday, February 13th, 2015 AT 8:30 PM

1 Reply

I hope you learned a lesson about messing with those wire with the engine running. Pulling that wire could have spiked the computer but you need to do some basic testing to narrow things down.

All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.

Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.

2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.

3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

4) If all of these things check good, then you would need to do a complete compression test.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.
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Saturday, February 14th, 2015 AT 5:54 AM

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