1999 Dodge Caravan Won't start after water pump replaced

Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 110,000 MILES
After changing the water pump, timing belt driven, the van wouldn't start. Found the timing way off on the cam closest to the cab of the van. Happened when I removed timing belt to replace water pump. Found zero position of the crank to allign arrows and notches of the cams to the block, distributer rotor pointing at #1 cylinder position indicating "top dead center" position of #1 cylinder. Still no start. I can't go to work without my car. HELP please.
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Sunday, April 18th, 2010 AT 9:44 AM

15 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi jsearls. Welcome to the forum. Was the distributor removed? If not, all you need to do is set the cams properly. If it was out, the rotor has nothing to do with pointing to number one cylinder. That was a coincidental characteristic of the V-8 engines of the past.

If you're trying to line up the distributor, it is important to understand that when cylinder number one is at top dead center, the rotor must be under the contact for spark plug wire number one, but that terminal is under tha cap. The spark plug wire is not directly over the contact underneath. They are off by 90 degrees. You can follow the circuit under the cap between the plug wire socket and the contact.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, April 18th, 2010 AT 11:35 AM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
I followed the instructions in my Haynes manual for this vehicle and still no start. I do understand about the points of the distributer cap and where the contact of the rotor are displaced approx. 90 degrees. I still have no start.
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Sunday, April 18th, 2010 AT 4:12 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do you have spark from the coil wire? If not, check for 12 volts at the coil positive wire or one of the small wires on the back of the alternator. It should be there for one second after the ignition switch is turned on, and again during cranking. If it does not show up during cranking, the Automatic Shutdown (ASD) relay is not turning on.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, April 18th, 2010 AT 4:25 PM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
I'm sorry. I have 2 jobs so my time to work on the car is limited. I did use a volt meter to check for voltage at the plug wires and I had voltage when the motor was cranked. I dont have a fuel rail so as for fuel, I'm not sure. I do hear the fuel pump turn on when I turn the key to the on position. Here is a question, when I took the timing apart and tried to start the car, could I have damaged the valves? Also, when I try to start it now, it cranks and when I step on the gas pedal all the way to the floor it sounds like the car almost starts, sounds like "budumph, budumph" and then stops.
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Monday, April 19th, 2010 AT 5:23 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The 3.0L is not an interference engine so no valves to worry about.

What are you checking with a voltmeter? For spark, just hold a plug wire near the engine while a helper cranks the engine. If you have spark, the fuel pump should be running too during cranking.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, April 19th, 2010 AT 10:26 AM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
I am working on the van myself so I am having difficulties turning the key and checking for spark at the same time. Therefore, the use of the meter. Back to the beginning, after finding top dead center of cylinder #1, I lined up the cam arrows with the notches on the block and then made two full revolutions of the crank, by hand, and the two timing arrows on the cams lined back up with the notches. Doesn't this mean the vehicle is timed right? Am I missing an electrical plug or connection somewhere on the side of the motor?
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Monday, April 19th, 2010 AT 3:06 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup, sounds like the timing belt is correct. To check for spark, leave the ignition switch in the "run" position, then you can remove the cover from the starter relay and squeeze the contact, or, remove the relay and jump the two terminals for the contacts, or, use a jumper wire or remote starter switch to connect the two terminals on the starter. That will allow you to stand by the engine and watch for spark.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, April 19th, 2010 AT 3:32 PM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
Ok I'll try that to help me check for spark.
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Monday, April 19th, 2010 AT 9:00 PM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
I have spark. Its red/orange but I have spark. I sprayed Thrust starter fluid into the intake throtle body and it did not start. I feel with my finger, the auto shut off relay engaging when I turn the key to the on position. Also the fuel pump relay is engaging. Any more ideas?
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 4:04 PM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
Got it to start but very very very difficult to start. Had to keep pedal to floor. It sounded like it was being bogged down. Finally idled. When given gas it dogged out and stalled.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 4:48 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You're right about the Automatic Shutdown (ASD) relay. You wouldn't have spark if it wasn't turning on. That means the distributor is working. Since it won't run on starting fluid, there must either be a problem with the timing belt, (unlikely that both are wrong so it should try to run on three cylinders), the spark plugs are fouled with raw fuel, or, (and I'll never admit I did this once), you had the rotor out of the distributor and forgot to put it back in! It wouldn't hurt to verify there is spark at the plug wires if you only checked from the coil wire. The GM HEI system had a lot of trouble with "punch through". That's where when a plug wire was removed and held so far away from ground, the spark couldn't jump the gap, but the voltage was so high, the spark insisted on getting to ground somehow, and that was through the rotor. Once that happened, it left a carbon track behind and from then on, all the spark current went through that short. The cure was to replace the rotor. I never heard of that happening to a Chrysler rotor, but double-check just the same.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 5:26 PM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
I already removed the plugs and checked for fuel/wet plugs. None found. The spark was seen from the plug wires individually. I dont know if you saw the response that I did get it running, though very difficult, and it only ran for a minute, and when I gave it gas, it dogged out and stalled. Cant get it running again.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 5:48 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yes, I missed the comment about getting it running. Sorry. It sounds like the cams are off a tooth or two. The notches in the covers behind the sprockets are real tiny. Is it possible you saw some other notch or scratch and used that as a timing mark?

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 7:05 PM
Tiny
JSEARLS
  • MEMBER
I did find that the timing is still off about 3-4 teeth. I will disassemble the motor to reset the timing and I'll let you know. I cant work on it till Saturday.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 7:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Happy day! Sorry you have to go through the work, but happy you found something. In your next reply, I want to read that it's running.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 8:28 PM

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