1987 Dodge Caravan starting

Tiny
EDONGJR
  • MEMBER
  • 1987 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 177,000 MILES
When the engine is really cold like overnite it will start right away but after you drive it leave it off for several monutes like 30 its will be hard starting. What could be the problem?
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Friday, March 26th, 2010 AT 9:24 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
A bad fuel pump or gas cap will do this. Also be sure it's not overheating, you probably have a 3.0L in it, they had a problem with head gaskets leaking, it affects starting for a couple of reasons. Usually from overheating.
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Saturday, March 27th, 2010 AT 9:54 PM
Tiny
EDONGJR
  • MEMBER
I would like to think that its the gas cap, the fuel pump was replaced a bout 2 months ago and it did not solve the problem. About the head gasket does both of them need to be replaced, how do you test when its leaking?
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Monday, March 29th, 2010 AT 8:44 AM
Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
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.
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Monday, March 29th, 2010 AT 7:53 PM
Tiny
EDONGJR
  • MEMBER
Thank you very much for your help, it is really very informative. I do know a little bit about this van thats why i'm the only one trying to fix this besides I dont have the funds to do expensive repairs. It seems the way you explained it to me it looks I might need a new engine(joking). Anyway it still starts and never fail even once in guess i'm going to leave it the way its is for now. You know even in its present condition it still manage to pass the "real" state inspection.
This van is really very importatnt to me specially for my son who loves it even its already 23 years old. Again thank you very much for the help and as soon as I have the budget to do this I will definitely do it because it really makes sense and I really want to solve the problem.
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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 AT 6:46 AM
Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
You know, I had an 84, big difference, a carb. But I have an 87 3.0L service manual.
All the key code information and think your doing the right thing. Any 87 van in good shape and has high miles has been takin care of. It will either get worse or maybe go away, either way, if you need anything, I would always be glad to help. Bye sir, good luck to both of you. You'll notice losing coolant, yet slowly and no leaks you can see, thats when its getting worse. Ok
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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 AT 8:53 PM

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