1997 Dodge Caravan 97 Caravan

Tiny
UNYQUE16
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 127,683 MILES
My van kept stalling and would not start Starter and battery are fine replaced cam sensor ignition coil and computer it still won't start any suggestions would be helpful also the alternator is fine
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Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 AT 11:43 AM

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Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
The engine needs a spark at the right time, good fuel, and must be in good mechanical condition to start and run. You can either scan the PCM for trouble codes, or try checking for spark first at the plug wires and work your way back from there if no spark, test the engine for fuel pressure, injector problems, or bad gas, or if those are ok, do an engine compression test and go in that direction. The first thing I would do is put the DRB scanner on it and moniter everything all at once. A good Chrysler tech. Can do that for you and he can also make sure that the parts already replaced are correct and haven't failed pre-maturely. Either way, No one would venture to guess on that vehicle because its just too difficult and if someone got lucky, well thats a small chance. I hope you have luck on your side though. It's really a good year for the minivan.
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Thursday, August 27th, 2009 AT 8:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
"Doesn't start" is a pretty generic statement that doesn't mean much. Also, "kept stalling" implies it was running, so "would not start" doesn't agree. Which is correct? Does the engine crank and fast enough to start? Do you hear just one loud clunk from the starter but it doesn't spin the engine? Do the dash lights act normally in all ignition switch positions? Did the engine stall previously or was it running fine until you turned it off? Was the battery recently disconnected? Is there anything you can do to keep it running?

There could be anything from a broken cam on the end of the ignition switch cylinder to worn solenoid contacts to a cracked flex plate. If the engine cranks fine but doesn't fire, you MUST check for both fuel pressure AND spark. Troubleshooting the first one you find missing can lead to a whole bunch of wasted time. There's three systems; the spark, the fuel, and the trigger circuit that tells the engine computer when to operate the first two.

Replacing the computer on a guess has also introduced more issues. There are no long term fuel trim values in memory, and until it learns minimum throttle, it won't idle on its own. It will stall every time you take your foot off the gas pedal.

If it starts and runs for two seconds, then stalls every time, it is in anti-theft mode. If your van doesn't have anti-theft built in from the factory, you MUST install a used engine computer without that programming. You can't tell from the part number. If a used computer has that programming, it will teach it to the body computer. When you finally put in an engine computer without anti-theft, the body computer will then upgrade the engine computer. They can go back and forth upgrading the programming in each other, and there is no way to undo it. Both computers must then be replaced at the same time before the ignition switch is turned on. The only way to be sure of getting two non-upgraded computers is to find both from the same donor vehicle, or buy two new ones from the dealer at the same time. A glitch or voltage spike can cause the engine computer to self-program itself to anti-theft status. It's rare, but I've been involved with three vehicles that did that. This is not an issue if your van has the factory anti-theft system built in. Any engine or body computer will work but then must not be installed in a different vehicle without anti-theft.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, August 28th, 2009 AT 4:40 PM

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