The reason I thought of fuel pump was because of the hundreds I had come in, no codes, great driving van but a plastic impeller on an in-tank pump would come apart little by little clogging a good filter and giving decent fuel pressure until it was needed most. And once it goes, the pieces of plastic are all throught the filter so that is part of a Caravan's fuel service, a pump and filter together. It would happen always at or around 70,000 miles or 7 years whatever came first. I'm sure glad you own a caravan, the single most innovative design that has come out of this country(and Canada) with the Dakota being second. If it still starts hard warm and you have a bad gas cap. Before you get in the van after a 30 minute hot soak try unscrewing the gas cap, if you hear a swooosh from air pushing in, the cap needs replacement or a small hole drilled in it, till you get one. It happened to me in the van I owned.
It's the 177,000 miles, if you never had head gaskets done, here is what happens, it gets hot and leaks into one or two cylinders while the pressure drops as it sits hot. Once the pressure from being driven under full operating temperature is down from a slight leak internally from a cooling system problem like this, it will be tight, the cylinder bores expand at a different rate then the pistons. Now you'll have differences in the alloys reaction to heat plus a little water in the engine, this wipes the oil off the walls and also makes a tight fit, a slow or longer crank and the 177,000 is the one reason I thought of it, a 3.3L maybe, But a 3.0L Mitsubishi was a head gasket and timing belt eater plus had bad oil pressure switches, they leaked, all the Mitsubishi engine oil switches tended to leak. A sure test of a leaking head gasket is to remove the cap on the radiator and put it under the same pressure as the cap says it should relieve the pressure at 14-16lbs. Pump it up and watch to see if the pressure tester holds, if it doesn't hold take it off, pull the plugs, disable the coil, and crank it over, the coolant will spray out the bum cylinders and it will sometimes come out like a shower please be careful. If you never had these replaced, it's time to pull both heads they crack also and if your going to take the manifold off, might as well do both. This takes care of the intake manifold gasket, the valve cover gaskets and renews and reseals the most likely places for failures from both coolant and oil leaks. If you have the 3.0L those belts should be done along with the water pump and put a new adjuster spring on the timing belt adjuster. Valve stem seals, lap the valves, inspect both heads and take a look at the cylinders. It might be easier to check and see if you can just trade the cores in and replace them with reman heads. Make sure the rest of the van, the lower part of the engine and trans are not going also. You have alot of miles on a great mini-van body style, and probably the best engine setup. Even for those miles. Remember there are other things, it should have Nippodenso or NGK plugs but the Champions were fine also, and the air filter, pcv, and wires and cap all play a part because of the conditions the van is in as it is starting hot. A hot start is hard on plugs and secondary anyway. Even new.
See if you have any codes, turn the key on, off, on, off, then on and watch the flashing 'check engine' light. You might have a code for a coolant sensor(22) a dist. Pick-up(54) or a MAP sensor(13 or 14). Do the key method within 5 seconds. But as many times as you want. Two sets of 5 flashes, is 55 and means the end of the diagnostic mode. Let me know if you have any and any engine work you have already done, I don't want you to spend any extra money and you could probably get a pretty cheap long block. OK, I just want to try and help. Good luck. Ok Ed
There are other things like leaking injectors(black smoke when it does start). A real bad head gasket or cracked head will smoke like crazy all the time(white smoke). Oil is blue.
Monday, March 29th, 2010 AT 7:53 PM