1990 Chrysler 5th Avenue Car won't turn over

  • 3.3L
  • 3 CYL
  • FWD
  • 100 MILES
The car was running fine and One night I went over a speed bump, not too fast and the car shut off mid drive. I pushed it home and it hasn't started since. So I had my mechanic look at it and it will turn over and sound as if it wants to come on but never starts. We have changed the fuel pump, fuel filter, fuses, spark plugs, spark plug wires, ignition coil and new battery. Still it sounds as if it is going to turn over but it doesn't. Now we are looking at compression but that is where my knowledge is limited. We sprayed starting fluid in it and it started for about 3 seconds and cut out that is what prompted the spark plugs and ignition coil cuz it was missing spark but now that we have all new pieces it is still doing the same.
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have the same problem?
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 AT 9:52 AM

1 Reply

Something here is really confusing. How can you have no spark, yet the engine fires on starting fluid?

It sounds like nothing was actually diagnosed. A lot of random parts were replaced so now there's a lot more variables to look at. For future reference, Chrysler fuel pumps almost never stop working while they're already running. They fail to start up during engine cranking.

To avoid confusion, we need to clarify some terminology so we're talking about the same things. "Turning over" and "cranking" are the same thing, and the engine does, it doesn't, or it cranks too slowly. The engine has to turn over to be able to start and run. Your title say the car, (engine) won't turn over. That is a battery / starter system problem. All the parts you replaced point to a failure-to-run problem which is entirely different. That's the confusion I want to avoid.

You also must be aware that you added a new problem by replacing the battery. The Engine Computer lost its memory. All of the fuel trim data will be rebuilt without you ever knowing it, but the computer has to relearn "minimum throttle" before it will know when it has to be in control of idle speed. Until that is done, the engine may not start due to idle speed being too low, unless you hold the accelerator pedal down 1/4". You won't get the nice idle flare-up to 1500 rpm at start-up, and the engine will tend to stall at stop signs. To meet the conditions for the relearn to take place, drive at highway speed with the engine warmed up, then coast for at least seven seconds.

Disconnecting the battery also erased any diagnostic fault codes that were stored in the Engine Computer, so that valuable information is lost. Some codes related to the camshaft position sensor and crankshaft position sensor will not set during cranking. They will set as the stalling engine coasts to a stop. Without those codes to tell us where to start looking, the first thing you need to do is determine if the automatic shutdown (ASD) relay is turning on. You'll need a test light to check for that. A digital voltmeter will work too, but for this preliminary test, a test light is easier and faster.

Look for the wire at the ignition coil pack or any of the six injectors that is the same color. On newer models that is a dark green / orange wire. I can't remember if a '90 model used the same color. Back-probe through the rubber seal to take a reading on that wire at the coil pack or any injector. If it's easier, you can also test on either of the smaller bolt-on terminals on the back of the alternator.

The test light should light up for one second when you turn on the ignition switch. THAT is what most digital meters respond too slowly to catch. Next, that 12 volts should come back during cranking. If it does, we have an ignition system OR a fuel delivery problem. Those two together are only responsible for about five percent of no-starts. If the 12 volts does not come back during cranking, you are not going to have spark, fuel pump, or injector pulses. The Engine Computer turns the ASD relay on during cranking when it sees pulses from the camshaft position sensor and the crankshaft position sensor. It's that relay that sends 12 volts to the ignition coil, injectors, alternator field, and fuel pump or pump relay.

Since the engine stalled after hitting a bump, a bad connection in a connector is much more likely than a failed sensor. Start by looking at the wiring for them. Tell me if the ASD relay is turning on, then we'll figure out where to go next.
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Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 AT 4:55 PM

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