1997 Dodge Caravan Intermittent stalls/hesitations

Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 3.8L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 245,000 MILES
My dads Grand Caravan has been acting up lately, it stalls at low idle or stopped at light, it doesn't do it all the time just sometimes, I cleaned the throttle body and IAC Valve with carb cleaner & gas, hasn't helped, I changed half the plugs recently, I haven't got to the 3 rear plugs but the front 3 were horribly worn, could it possibly be the rear 3 missing enough to stall or misfire if they were as bad as the fronts?

For the mileage, it still runs like a beast for the most part, but its been doing this intermittently lately.
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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 AT 5:44 PM

27 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Yes, the rear plugs could have an affect on performance. Are you sure the IAC is working properly? Have you checked for vacuum leaks?
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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 AT 6:06 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply, How would I check to see if the IAC is working correctly? There are a few skinny vacuum lines that were broken last year, If I could find a exploded view of the vacuum lines and where they route to, I could fix those tho.
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-1
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 AT 7:04 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Remove the IAC and have someone cycle the key on and off. You should see the plunger move. As far as the vacuum hoses, I have to check if I have a schematic when I get home. Would that be okay?
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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 AT 8:50 AM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Yes that would be fine, thank you
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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 AT 10:46 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Take a look at this and let me know if it helps.

Joe
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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 AT 5:33 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Yeah, that should help with the vacuum hoses
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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 AT 6:41 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
That's good. Let me know how things go for you.
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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 AT 6:46 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Will do!
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Friday, October 3rd, 2014 AT 6:53 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Sorry I haven't gotten back to you until now. The van stopped stalling earlier this year but now its doing it again, I changed all 6 plugs in it a couple weeks ago and it hasn't helped, I have yet to tackle the vacuum issue, I did however find when I had the plenum loose that the hose from the PCV to the rear Valve cover was broken, they may have been triggering a P420 code, as I fixed that hose and that code has not been back on.

I cleaned the IAC and that didn't fix the problem either.

There are no codes, I was wondering if it couldn't be fuel filter clogging or fuel pump trying to fail, but it starts right back up, coil? It doesn't stutter it just dies.
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Saturday, July 4th, 2015 AT 7:38 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Nice to hear from you. Have you checked fuel pump pressure?
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Saturday, July 4th, 2015 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Not yet, I can do that in a little bit, what should the pressure be at?
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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 AT 6:54 AM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
I checked fuel pressure and it showed 43 psi which sounds about right.
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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 AT 8:25 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Actually, my book says 43 is the lowest pressure acceptable. It gives a reading between 43 and 53. The pressure you mentioned. Was that with the key on engine off?
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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 AT 6:34 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Yes
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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 AT 8:25 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It should be okay. Listen, since you have tuned the vehicle up, no vacuum leaks, there are no trouble codes, and the fuel pressure is okay, I have to start questioning the engine itself. Are there 245K miles on this engine? If so, have you checked intake vacuum or engine compression?
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Monday, July 6th, 2015 AT 8:34 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
250,500 +/- now, no I haven't done either one of those tests
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Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 AT 1:53 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Wow! That's a lot of miles. Do you have a vacuum gauge or a compression gauge? If not, see if a local parts store will lend or rent them to you. Start with vacuum. Basically, all you do is connect a vacuum hose to the gauge from the intake. It should hold steady 18 to 20. Make sure you have a direct port to intake vacuum. Ported or venture vacuum will be much lower.

When you test it, allow the engine to warm up and idle when checking (throttle closed). If the vacuum is low and there are no leaks, that leads me to believe the rings are worn or there is a problem with a valve. And the engine compression is low.

To truly know what the compression is, a compression gauge should be used. However, it takes more time to do and is more involved. Lets start with intake vacuum. Do that and let me know what you find.
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Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 AT 7:37 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
We ran by autozone one day it stalled, and they ran some tests on the battery, alternator and I thought a few other things and said everything looked fine, he mentioned maybe the fuel filter may be clogging up or restricted, we went to Walmart and passing back buy I decided to stop back at autozone and pickup the fuel filter since it was cheaper at autozone than at our local Advance Auto, a few weeks ago I released the pressure, supported the tank and removed the strap bolts toward the passenger side, dropped the tank and removed the filter, installed the new one put back together and it seemed to have a few pounds higher fuel pressure, I tried to blow through the old one and it did feel restricted somewhat, however that didn't stop the stalling,

I decided to post on a dodge forum and got a few theories of what it could be, I pondered about the possibility of a bad fuel pressure regulator seeping the pressure back into the tank not allowing optimum pressure because I thought I seen the gauge dropping gradually, my theory was if the regulator was bad maybe it wasn't allowing the pressure to build up to 49lbs. So I purchased a pressure regulator but never installed it because it didn't come with the gaskets from where I bought it. I'll likely return it.

The other thing is the lead end on the ground cable was nearly broken in half on one side, I had a replacement end that clamped on the wires, so I took cutters and snipped the end off, skinned the coating back and put the new end on and fingers crossed hadn't had a stall or stutter since.

I haven't checked the fuel pressure, but was kinda wondering if that cable end could have affected the amperage of the fuel pump causing a lower pressure, but again I haven't checked the fuel pressure since I changed the end, if its still low I'll have to check the regulator, I know there are no leaks at the injector seals because there is no gas smell around the rail, and there is no leaks around the filter either, I double checked since I replaced it.
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Saturday, August 29th, 2015 AT 5:47 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
You nailed it! My guess is that was the problem all the time. Keep in mind, without a good ground, nothing works the way it should. My hats off to you. Let me know if it continues running good.
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Saturday, August 29th, 2015 AT 7:24 PM
Tiny
MCASDORPH
  • MEMBER
Will do, Thanks
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Saturday, August 29th, 2015 AT 8:12 PM

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