2004 Dodge Stratus Rough Idle

Tiny
MANADRAIN
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 DODGE STRATUS
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 49,000 MILES
I have a 2004 Dodge Stratus SXT Sedan that has recently been giving me issues with rough idleing.

Description: The car will run fine on the highway or long drives. However many times when I am sitting at a traffic light I can see notice the car appear to want to stall and the RPMs drop. Sometimes this happens only one time. Other it occures about three or four times. I have had this issue at times when I have started my car up in the morning and let it warm up (since it is now winter). The other day when I put the car in reverse and backed out of a parking space the car was running rough and stalled. I was able to start the car up and had no other issues at the time.

Work done: I had the car at three different shops. Back in October I had a general tuneup done on the car and had the spark plugs replaced. I had the issue with the rough idleing prior to this. The issue kept getting worse and around the end of November I took it back to the dealer (Dodge/Chrysler Dealer) to have them look at it. They told me that it appears to be carbon build up and suggested replacing the spark plugs and wires. I explained to them that I had the spark plugs done only a month ago. They told me that they found Platinum tip plugs in the car and only recommend gold plugs. They said the spark plugs are also misgapped and one of them was cracked. I had them do the throttle body clearning but took the spark plug issue back to the shop I had that work done at. The guys at the shop I had the spark plugs done said they are only able to get Platinum spark plugs and don't know if this is a dealer only part. They replaced the spark plugs and said they are gapped correctly. They also said they don't know why the dealer said you can not use the type of sparkplug in the car because it calls for this type. I drove around with the car for about another month and the same issues occured. It is now January and I had the car stall on me so I took it to another local shop who I have used before that seem to be good at troubleshooting very odd/difficult car problems. They kept the car for 2 days and said they ran several tests on it and the problem is with the Idle Air Control. They said the problem is not occurring all the time but replacing this should fix the issue. I had them do this and they said they tested the car after and it ran without any issue. I drove the car the next day and when I let it warm up in the morning and I was cleaning off the snow I could thought I could hear the car running rough twice but figured I was just parinoid. I drove the car to work (35 miles one way and didn't have any issues - 11 lights however this is morning driving so not as much traffice). When I came home and stopped at the first light the car ran rough again and could see the RPMs drop. It only happened one time coming home. I then went out again but took my family in the car because I wanted someone else to see the issue and know that I am not crazy. We drove the car in some locations that I had to sit in traffic and I pointed out three different times it happened and they noticed it as well.

Question: What should be looked at to try and resolve this problem.
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Saturday, January 9th, 2010 AT 6:43 AM

6 Replies

Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER
Hello_

Check battery voltage and state of charge.

If the battery is run down and the alternator is working hard to recharge it, the increases load on the engine may pull down the idle rpm to the point where it causes the engine to stall. Check the battery state of charge to see if the battery is run down or failing. If the battery is low, use a battery charger to recharge it, or drive at highways speeds for half an hour or so. If the battery is failing and is not holding a charge, time to buy a new battery.
NOTE: Low voltage can adversely affect the operation of the ignition system and fuel injectors, causing stalling and misfiring. A good charging system should produce about 13.5 to 14.5 volts at idle.
Battery Voltage and State of Charge:

12.68v.......... 100%
12.45v.......... 75%
12.24v.......... 50%
12.06v.......... 25%
11.89v.......... 0%
These readings are at 80 degrees F. Battery voltage readings will drop with temperature roughly 0.01 volts for every 10 degrees F.)
(At 30 degrees F. A fully charged battery will measure about 12.588 volts, and at zero degrees F it will measure about 12.516 volts.)
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Saturday, January 9th, 2010 AT 8:59 AM
Tiny
MANADRAIN
  • MEMBER
I just spoke with the tech that is looking at my car and they stated that they had already checked the battery and it is charging correctly. Thanks you for the reply.
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Saturday, January 9th, 2010 AT 9:29 AM
Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER
HELLO _

Ask your tech to look at the Short Term Fuel Trim (STFT) and Long Term Fuel Trim (LTFT) values. Normal range is plus or minus 8. If the numbers are +10 or higher for STFT and LTFT, the engine is running LEAN. If you rev the engine to 1500 to 2000 rpm and hold it for a minute or so, and the STFT value drops back down to a more normal reading, it confirms the engine has a vacuum leak at idle. If the STFT value does not change much, the lean fuel condition is more likely a fuel delivery problem (weak fuel pump, restricted fuel filter, dirty fuel injectors or a leaky fuel pressure regulator) than a vacuum leak.
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Saturday, January 9th, 2010 AT 9:54 AM
Tiny
MANADRAIN
  • MEMBER
I had my car back for a total of 3 days before the problem occured again. The shop said the problem was with the spark plug wires(I believe the first one to be exact). They said they drove the car around and had a computer hooked up to it monitoring the car. They could see a misfire on cylinder 1. They said they changed the wire on 1 and 3 I believe and they drove it again. The problem occured again and this time was with cylinder 3. They replaced the spark plug wires.

I drove my car for two days and didn't seem to have an issue. However when I started my car this morning (colder out about 20). It took about 1 minute and I could hear the car running rough. It did this for about 15 seconds and then I noticed the engine light come on (I believe this is the MIL light). It was blinking. I turned off the car and waited for about an hour later. I started the car again and wanted to see what would happen. It started up without any issues. I drove it back to the shop and they have looked at it and have not been able to reproduce the issue. They are going to try it again tomorrow.

After doing some research I found a few TSBs that seem similar to my issue

TSB 1801405
TSB 1804004
TSB 1802404

I don't know the specifics on what they are but the more dodge forums I have read I have found that many other people have complained about the same issue. One person mentioned that they had to reprogram the computer in the car which I would believe may be TSB 1801405.

Do you know any details on these.
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Friday, January 15th, 2010 AT 4:32 PM
Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER
Hello
the shop should have scanned pcm for code(s), to verify if it is the #3 or #1.
If it is, interchange the misfiring cylinder #3 with the one beside it on the coil.
If the misfire move to the new cylinder, the problem is with the coil. If the misfire stay at the same cylinder, the problem is with the exhaust or intake valve.

I'm not award of the TSB.

The ignition coil must be checked.
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Saturday, January 16th, 2010 AT 1:22 AM
Tiny
J750
  • MEMBER
It would appear that your problem is too much fuel pressurecaused by the return line on the fuel pump being obstructed. NHTSA ITEM NUMBER : 10013985 down stream fuel system. The fuel pump must be changed to the updated version.
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Friday, February 5th, 2010 AT 6:31 PM

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