1996 Dodge Neon Engine cranks/no start (DOHC)

Tiny
APADILLA001
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 DODGE NEON
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 139,000 MILES
Have owned this car for about 8 years, has been very reliable. Started leaking antifreeze on driveway and found waterpump leaking. Replaced waterpump and timing belt. Set timing per manual and rotated motor 10-12 times by hand to verify timing marks before installing timing belt cover, etc. Engine will crank but will not start; the following items are what I have checked:
Compression test, all cylinders between 152-160 psi
Fuel Pressure Test, 45-52 psi
Getting spark at all plugs (removed plugs and grounded)
These are the items that have been replaced to try to solve the no-start:
New coil, new plugs, new plug wires, new crank position sensor. (Items were 8 yrs old)
Have scanned ECM and showing no error codes.
Have electrically disconnected fuel injectors and tried starting fluid at throttle body, no-start. Engine will not try to fire at all, no back-fire, stutter, etc. Acts like the spark is not getting to cylinder at correct time. I can pull spark plug after attempt to start and find plug wet with fuel, this was reason for using starting fluid to make sure injectors were not flooding engine.
Any suggestions or ideas?
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Thursday, June 26th, 2008 AT 7:29 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
I would hook up a timing light to it (mark the timing marks with paint or chalk), crank the engine, if you don't see the timing mark close to the mark on the block, then the timing belt is on wrong.
This would also verify that spark is going to plug, if timing light won't pulse, then no spark would be indicated.
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Friday, June 27th, 2008 AT 10:38 AM
Tiny
APADILLA001
  • MEMBER
I will try the timing light this evening. If the belt is incorrectly installed, could I still be getting the good compression checks? I have taken 3 different compression checks and they all come out the same. I was reading a forum on Dodge Neons and came across a similiar problem as mine. The recommendation given to car owner was to get cam position sensor and crank position sensor sychronized with a scanner (Snap-On MT2500). Have you guys ever heard of this? I will get back with you on timing light.

Thanks, Art
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Friday, June 27th, 2008 AT 12:38 PM
Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
A compression check would tell you the valves are closed (and are opening), but would not tell you if the camshafts are timed correctly.

I was thinking the timing light would give you an indication as to wheather you are close with regard to timing or way off (not suggesting you did anything wrong), because sometimes the manuals can be confusing.
Some Toyotas, for example, have installation marks on one side of the camshaft gear and timing marks on the other side, so if you installed the timing belt using the installation marks, the car would not run since they are about 45 degrees off of the timing marks.

As far as the sychronizing the cam and crankshaft sensors, I would think the manual would say something about it, but am not sure about that.
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Friday, June 27th, 2008 AT 3:15 PM
Tiny
APADILLA001
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I checked the timing using a timing light per your suggestion. The timing shows to be off exactly 180 degrees. Before I installed the timing cover I marked the TDC location on the cover. The only hard TDC mark gets covered by the timing cover when installed. I put a mark on the harmonic balancer also and matched it up to the TDC mark on the timing cover before installation. Glad I read a forum before installing everything a couple of weeks ago. What is causing the timing to be off? The cam sprokets have only one mark, the shop manual shows the marks to be facing each other at the centerline of the head, this is exactly the way they are set up. The mark I orginally put on the harmonic balancer is on TDC when the cam sproket marks are facing each other at centerline. I did not mark/check any of the sprokets before tearing everything apart knowing that I understood how everything was suppose to go back on; that was a mistake. Is there a chance that one of the sprokets has a broken pin or some modification was done before I bought the car 8 years ago? I did the first compression check before installing timing cover and harmonic balancer to verify the belt was on correct. Any ideas?
Thanks for your help,

Art
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Friday, June 27th, 2008 AT 9:24 PM
Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
So the manual says that the crankshaft timing mark should be aligned with the mark on the block and the camshaft timing marks should be facing each other, one at 9 o'clock and the other at 3 o'clock?
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Saturday, June 28th, 2008 AT 6:35 AM
Tiny
APADILLA001
  • MEMBER
Your last statement was correct about the crank pulley being on the mark on the block and the cam sprokets being at 3 & 9 o'clock. Exhaust cam is at 3 and intake is at 9. The cam marks are facing each other. I will be tearing everything apart today again and starting over on the timing marks. I will use the timing light before I install the timing cover, pulley, etc to verify timing. I will also do the compression check again. I know I have to be extremely careful when turning the cams and/or crank because of it being the interference engine. This is a spare car and I need to get it running. I use to tinker on engines 25 years ago, I will get this one right also. I will let you know when the car is running.
Thanks for your help.

Art
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Saturday, June 28th, 2008 AT 7:27 AM
Tiny
APADILLA001
  • MEMBER
Just wanted to update so this doesn't happen to somebody else working on their car. When I torn things apart to recheck the timing on the belt, I found that there were actually 2 marks on each timing gear. The mark that I had used to set the timing was incorrect, the correct mark is the small indention at the bottom of a V at the gear. The first mark that I used was straight across one of the teeth on the gear. It stood out more clearly than the one on the V. I verified everything through compression checks and timing light. The engine fired off with about 15 seconds of cranking. You guys pointed me in the right direction. Thanks for your help.

Art
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Friday, July 4th, 2008 AT 11:44 AM

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