Dodge Stratus Hesitates, Stalls, No CEL

Tiny
MAXIMUS419
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 DODGE STRATUS
  • 83,000 MILES
I have a 2001 dodge stratus that hesitates when the car is cold. The car starts up first thing in the morning with no problem but starts to hesitate at the next stop sign. Sometimes it stalls but sometimes it takes off. If the car is completely shitched off after driving only for s short distance (engine still cold), the car has some problem starting up. But it does start up and then with some hesitation takes off. After the engine is warmed up I have not seen the problem. This happens every day when the car is not warm yet. Also, the car refused to start one day and it had a bad SKIM module and that was recently replaced and the problem still continues. Also, no CEL is thrown and hence no codes to read. Please HELP! Running out of options.
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Sunday, March 4th, 2012 AT 5:49 PM

14 Replies

Tiny
TWO LANE
  • EXPERT
One of the first things I would try is to clean the tbody and the iac motor they could bee gummed up. There are other things to check check your batt a weak batt can cause allot of problems.

Thank you
Two Lane
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Sunday, March 4th, 2012 AT 6:18 PM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
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Thanks for your response. I will try your suggestions. The car is at the repair shop. But I did have battery problems from the car lying without use for several months. Also, the car has 80K miles on it. So time to replace the battery.
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Monday, March 5th, 2012 AT 3:02 AM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
  • MEMBER
Two Lane,

I took it back to the dealer and after several days of analysis, he is telling me that the real cause is that the engine coolant is leaking and hence the engine is over heating and shutting off. This explanation just doesn t make sense in my non-expert mind.

The dealer wants to fix the leak and charge me $600 for this and is willing to guarantee me that if this does not fix the problem, he will fix the problem free of cost after that.

Does anyone think the dealer is talking sense?

Also, the heating in my car has not been working properly for a while. For atleast over a year or two. The blower runs but hot air takes a very long time to circulate. The dealer seems to think the coolant leak problem is related to this as the coolant circulates and acts as a heating element and since the leak, hot air does not blow? I have been taking my car of regular oil changes and so on and no one ever pointed out the coolant leak before

Someone please help really running out of ideas?
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 AT 8:31 PM
Tiny
TWO LANE
  • EXPERT
Did they say where the coolant was leaking from and what they wanted to do.
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 AT 9:17 PM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
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Did not mention exactly where it was leaking from but I assume before it gets to the heating coils? He was going to show it to me tomorrow. Is there a specific point that will confirm if the reasoning by the dealer is correct.
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 AT 11:28 PM
Tiny
TWO LANE
  • EXPERT
Was the original problem the car not starting, are they saying that the coolant leak is causing this or is it something different and did you find out why the car was not starting. The coolant leak could just start thats why someone might of not seen it before. The heat if it is low on coolant the heater will not get hot because the coolant runs through the heater core and then the blower motor blows over that. Find out what they are fixing and get back to me.
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 3:08 AM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
  • MEMBER
Two Lane, thanks for your reply.

The original problem was hesitation and the car not starting up after the first complete stop. It would and it does always start up on the first crank in the morning even if it is cold.

The car did not start up at all a few days ago and that was due to the SKIM module. Towed it to the dealer and changed the SKIM module (the red security light was blinking and I assume the dealer replaced the module rather than just tweak it to work). The car starts up fine now but the original problem of hesitation and difficult to start after the first complete stop still exists. Still not sure if the car has any problems once it is heated up.

The Dealer now wants to fix the coolant leak. The leak is before it gets into the heating coil but under the hood and not inside the car. As you say, the coolant leak might have just started but the dealer thinks fixing the leak and the gasket will fix the hesitation problem and is willing to guarantee or fix the problem for free afterwards (provided he can figure it out).
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 3:47 AM
Tiny
TWO LANE
  • EXPERT
They should have pressure tested the system to find the leak do you know if they want to replace your head gasket and if so that can cause an idle problem if the car was low on coolant sometimes car will run rough. It is hard to tell you what is wrong with out seeing the car but if the shop is a good shop and they make sure it is in writing you should be ok. You can also ask them for an estimate on the job and what they are going to do and then call around to other shops and see what they would charge that will let you know if they are charging a good price.
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 4:41 AM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
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The tech did not perform coolant pressure check. He definitely showed me visible signs of leak. Not sure how bad the leak is as it was not dripping. The leak was at the coolant temperature sensor before it get diverted to the heating core for the cabin heating. So the leak is not at the head gasket. He is recommending to fix the leak and replace the coolant sensor.
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 2:06 PM
Tiny
TWO LANE
  • EXPERT
I would replace the sensor if it is leaking but they didn't want 600 dollars to do it that is high. The hesitation problem and runs rough could be due to low coolant but is rare to see it would have to be very low. I would say if you still have the hesitation after the repair and the check engine light is not on try cleaning the throttle body and then go from there because it could be allot of other things.
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Thursday, March 8th, 2012 AT 4:04 AM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
  • MEMBER
I got the car back from the dealer. He fixed the leak and sensor and the coolant was really low. The car runs very smooth and I also have heat in the car right away. So the coolant was low.

Today is a warm day and the car ran very well. Got to check on a cold day as the problem used to occur on very cold days. Thanks for your help. I will post again after the car has ben running for a few days.
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Thursday, March 8th, 2012 AT 1:34 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
A bad ECT can cause the symptoms described and if you have topped up the coolant and do not have ant losses issues, I believe the problem is resolved.
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Sunday, April 8th, 2012 AT 8:43 AM
Tiny
MAXIMUS419
  • MEMBER
The car is running smooth now but the dealer did fix the leak - a very small one and topped of the coolant. No problems so far.

Thanks for your help.
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Sunday, April 8th, 2012 AT 4:52 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Good to know the problem is fixed.

Have a nice day.
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Sunday, April 8th, 2012 AT 5:48 PM

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