Intermittent stall and take forever to restart

Tiny
KEN MOORMAN
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 HONDA ODYSSEY
  • 3.5L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 325,000 MILES
At 60 km my van just dies and take ten to fifteen minutes to restart.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Monday, November 28th, 2016 AT 9:07 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I am guessing the no-start means the starter cranks the engine okay, but the engine does not run. If that is correct, the best suspects are the camshaft position sensor and the crankshaft position sensor. Those often fail by becoming heat-sensitive, then they work again after they cool down, typically after about an hour. The place to start is by having the diagnostic fault codes read and recorded in hopes a code is set related to the intermittently-missing signal. The people at many auto parts stores will read them for you for free.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, November 28th, 2016 AT 9:27 PM
Tiny
KEN MOORMAN
  • MEMBER
Yes it does crank over but I do not hear the fuel pump. And I also do not have a check engine light.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, November 28th, 2016 AT 9:42 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You could have a failing fuel pump, but the Check Engine light is not a valid clue. Chrysler fuel pumps typically fail by failing to start up, leaving you sitting in your driveway or parking lot. Once running, they rarely stop while you are driving. GM pumps are just the opposite. They almost always start up, then fail while you are driving, leaving you sitting on the side of the road. I do not know what the typical history of Honda fuel pumps is, but you are describing the typical GM-type failure.

Many people erroneously think the Check Engine light has to be on to read fault codes. That is not true because those codes are stored in the various computers. That is what makes them so valuable, especially when working on intermittent problems that are not currently acting up.

The other important point is there are well over two thousand potential diagnostic fault codes that could be set just in the Engine Computer, and they all mean very different things. Only about half of them refer to things that could adversely affect emissions. Those are the codes that turn on the Check Engine light. The light does not get turned on for things that do not affect emissions. A failed cam or crank sensor will result in an engine that does not run, and one that does not run cannot have an increase in emissions, hence, no Check Engine light.

The other clinker is on some car models, it is hard to set a code for one of those sensors. That is because there isn't enough time between the initial failure and when the engine coasts to a stop. For that you need a scanner to view live data and see if either sensor signal is listed as missing during cranking.

Your observation that you can't hear the fuel pump is a good one if you normally can hear it run for one second when you turn on the ignition switch. That might point to a failing pump, but it is very important that you don't get hung up on the first thing you find missing. The next time this happens and you do not hear the pump run for one second, immediately check for spark. Whether or not you have spark will tell us if we need to look at the fuel pump and its wiring or something that both systems have in common, which is those cam and crank sensors.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, November 28th, 2016 AT 10:00 PM
Tiny
KEN MOORMAN
  • MEMBER
Thank you. I will also check fuel filter and fuel pressure when it acts up again.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, November 28th, 2016 AT 10:06 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do not worry about the fuel filter. On Chrysler's you will never solve an engine running problem by replacing that, except for diesel engines. On all other brands, a plugged filter will not cause sudden stalling. 1999 was right in the middle of when many manufacturers were switching from the fuel pressure regulator on the fuel rail on the engine to putting it inside the gas tank. Depending on the fuel supply system design, it can cause sluggish acceleration or erratic idle speed when the filter is plugged. With the older design with the regulator on the engine, it is more common to have a plugged pickup screen in the tank. That causes engine stalling when the highest volume of fuel is being pumped, which is during coasting from highway speed. The engine will run better at highway speed.

Now that I shared that wondrous story, I do not know why I did not think of it before. This plugged pickup screen has happened to me three times on two cars. It has always occurred after driving at least five miles, then it takes five to ten minutes for the screen to stretch out again and allow fuel to pass. At that point the stalling occurs right away on fuel-injected engines, and after another mile or two with carbureted engines. The easiest way to find that is to borrow a fuel pressure tester from an auto parts store that rents or borrows tools. I like to clip the gauge under a wiper arm so I can watch it while driving. The pressure will go up and down a little with changes in engine vacuum if you have the pressure regulator on the engine, and it wont take you long to learn what "normal" looks like. On my older Grand Caravan, normal pressure is around 50 psi, and when the problem occurred, the engine still ran fine with no symptoms down to 20 psi. It started to surge at 15 psi. Some engines will exhibit major symptoms when the pressure drops as little as 5 pounds from normal.

With this plugged screen, you will still have spark when the engine wont run, and you should still hear the fuel pump run for one second when you turn on the ignition switch. If you do not hear the pump, but you normally can, that is the better suspect.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 AT 1:41 AM
Tiny
KEN MOORMAN
  • MEMBER
So I changed the fuel pump relay and drove it for over an hour with no issues today I even use the van to pull another van onto a car trailer.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 AT 1:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
So you're saying it's solved? That can't possibly be true because I didn't come up with that solution! :)

In all seriousness, we always suggest switching two relays around as a quick test, but it almost never pans out. If it looks like this is the solution, you might want to pop the old relay's cover off and inspect the contacts. If they don't look burned, they can often be cleaned with a tiny strip of sandpaper folded over so both contacts get scraped clean at the same time. Also look at the terminals in the socket to be sure they aren't stretched. That can happen when someone sticks a test probe in too far and spreads it open. In most cases there is room on one side of a terminal to stick a pick in and squeeze it closed to make a tighter fit.

Based on your original post, this is a common way for a relay to act when it has dirty contacts. As they heat up, they can expand / turn / twist / slide sideways a little to where a previously-burned spot gets between the shiny parts of the contacts, and causes insufficient current to get through. This type of failure occurs more commonly to relays that stay on for long periods of time, like fuel pump and ignition system relays. It occurs less often to things used intermittently, like for radiator fans and wipers.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
KEN MOORMAN
  • MEMBER
Almost 100km not one stall
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 AT 9:07 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Glad you could get it fixed please use 2CarPros. Com anytime we are here to help

Best, Ken
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 1st, 2016 AT 11:51 AM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides