1997 Dodge Caravan It won't start.

Tiny
JASONJC
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE CARAVAN
1997 Dodge Caravan 165000 miles

Problem #1- I cannot get the van started, the ignition does power the starter solenoid, I can hear it clicking. It won't turn the engine over. The battery is fine, I tested it. Problem #2- before the latter happened, it would die when cold if I put it into drive, as to drive from my driveway. After about 10 minutes of idle running, it would hesitate to go but then if I put enough gas to it, I could get it out of the driveway and would be fine the rest of the day. There have been times of hesitation as I gave it more gas while going down the road, but that is intermittent. Right now, I would like to get it started. No one has looked at it but myself.
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Monday, March 24th, 2008 AT 1:49 PM

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Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
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IF power to the starter is there, try tapping on the starter while holding the key in the crank position to see if you can jar it. Do the lights dim a little when the key is in the crank positiion?
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Monday, March 24th, 2008 AT 7:48 PM
Tiny
JASONJC
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Nothing happened when I rapped on the starter with a hammer while in crank position. The dashboard lights do dim a bit (seems normal) when turning the key into crank position. I assumed dashboard as you weren't really that specific about what lights. ;)

Do I suspect a starter replacement? To my knowledge and knowing the previous owners, that the starter has never been replaced.

Jason
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Monday, March 24th, 2008 AT 8:50 PM
Tiny
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Dash light. Any lights. This usually signifies that there is a draw on the starter happening, but it isn't moving. It is looking like a starter to me.

After that is solved find out what codes are in the pcm. Sounds like something is misinformed the computer about the temperature and may be flooding the motor.
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Monday, March 24th, 2008 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
JASONJC
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I'll check into that. I am a hands on kinda guy and understand some of these things. What I'll do with the starter to start with is loosen it up and reinstall it. Perhaps the bendix is stuck out or something of the sort. The bendix shaft is greasable isn't it? If so maybe I can get into it and give it another lube. If that is the case, do you have any lube recommendations? If all else fails, I'll replace the starter.

So far, your suggestions have made alot of sense and I thank you much!

Jason
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Monday, March 24th, 2008 AT 9:50 PM
Tiny
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Honestly, I've never rebuilt a starter or went after it to try to fix it, but why not?

Not sure where you would find the parts. You can try a reman, but replacement is the ideal way to go.
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Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 AT 5:23 AM
Tiny
JASONJC
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I decided not to get into the rebuild of the starter due to time. I did replace it just today.

I still have a problem in that it seems to be turning the flywheel but not enough to get full rotation to start. I had my son start it up while I watched the belt to see if it was turning at all. It wasn't much but some. As soon as it would turn a bit and limit out for what ever reason, then it would start to click. So if I could put sound to text. It would go something like: Ruughhh Rughhhh. Click click click. Before the new starter the only noise was the solenoid. I think I have gained in the resolve but not quite there yet. Any suggestions?

I did loosen the starter up after the first initial install to see if I had it lined up right, but it seemed really cut and dry for installation, is there any possible way it could be out of alignment from install? It went in just as easy as it came out. Simple enough.

Another thing I noticed was when I turn the key to crank position the dash lights go out (no lights).

J
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Thursday, March 27th, 2008 AT 4:32 PM
Tiny
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Get a breaker bar and a socket and try to turn the motor over by hand. Assuming the starter is getting full power, and the starter is good; somthing mechanical may be binding internally or the torque converter may be engaged.
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Thursday, March 27th, 2008 AT 7:07 PM
Tiny
JASONJC
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Ok, I finally got the van started today. I had to jump the battery as it wasn't giving enough juice to the starter. While having it jumped it didn't start right away, so I let it sit for about 10 min and it gave enough charge to turn over. Yay! Now I can get it to a mechanic for some computer testing.

Now for the next issue. When it is cold in the morning the van starts just fine, idols great, all is good until I put the van into drive, then it dies. After about 10 min of warming up it will go but it will be hesitant and the need to step on the gas more than usual is relevant for it's departure. This really only happens when the van is cold. Once on the road, it is good the rest of the day.

J
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Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 AT 8:01 PM
Tiny
JASONJC
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"When it is cold in the morning the van starts just fine, idols great, all is good until I put the van into drive, then it dies. After about 10 min of warming up it will go but it will be hesitant and the need to step on the gas more than usual is relevant for it's departure. This really only happens when the van is cold. Once on the road, it is good the rest of the day."

Bumping this up hoping for some help.

J
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Thursday, August 14th, 2008 AT 5:47 PM
Tiny
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There may be a carbon issue happening. Clean the throttle body bore and IAC and then relearn idle.

Relearn procedure:


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/30961_relearn_1.jpg

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Friday, August 15th, 2008 AT 6:04 AM
Tiny
JASONJC
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I did pull off the throttle body and pulled out the IAC valve from the TB. The valve had a fair amount of carbon (black soot). It seemed maybe it wasn't seeting flush to the housing when operating due to the carbon? Anyways. I cleaned the valve and the TB as good as I could with brake cleaner. The valve wasn't extended beyond an inch so that was good news.

Being that the issue only happens when the engine is cold, I'll have to try it in the morning. I'll do the procedure for relearning idle before I attempt to drive it out.

Your suggestion toward the carbon was what a friend of a friend (dodge mechanic) told me a while back, so thanks for the confirmation. Last time I didn't take the throttle body off, I just cleaned the best I could with it installed. Thanks for inspiring me to do a more thorough job of what I should have did last time.

I'll post more after the morning test with a cold engine.

Thanks!

Jason
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Friday, August 15th, 2008 AT 10:54 PM
Tiny
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I wouldn't use brake clean, may damage sensors.

Get a can of intake cleaner. With the snorkel off, use a bottle brush to scrub it out in conjuction with the spray. When you get the deposits off, start the engine and run the idle up by hand and spray the the remainder of the can into it with the idle raised.

Get 3 cans of seafoam. Pour one into the tank next time you fill up. Add a can every other fill up and I think you'll see a difference. More isn't better, so make sure the tank is full and only go the three cans.

Check your air filter while your there too.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/30961_dirty_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/30961_clean_2.jpg



I hope this was your solution.
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Saturday, August 16th, 2008 AT 6:47 AM

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