Unsolved problems - mechanics shaking their heads

Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 97,000 MILES
Car stopped going down the freeway. Got off the road got it towed to a garage. They said the fuel tank frame was broken and gas was not being distributed properly. Replaced the bracket and then the car still would not start. No codes. They then said it might be the catalytic converter. Checked that and it was not blocked. They said take it to dealer. Cost $130. Then towed it to a Dodge Dealer repair center. They said it was the map sensor. Replaced it and the car started but still doing dead like before. They didn't know what was causing it but thought it might be the catalytic converter. Recommended I not go any further because the bill would be more than the car's value. I paid them $300. Just to replace the map sensor. Then I was told of a reputable mechanic and called and talked with him. He said he would look at it. After three days, he looked at it and told me it was the pigtail on the map sensor. Very difficult part to find and took four more days to get it. Then today, called and said that wasn't it and I should pick up the car. He said still no codes. I asked if it could be the brain. He said that's a possibility but doesn't want to chance it. Already owe him $200. Do you have any suggestions. The car only has 108,000 miles on it. Had to dump it when I know the problem can be resolved if we can just figure it out.
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Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 AT 4:01 PM

16 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Check for fuel pressure first it should be 49 psi with key on and engine not running. Doe steh aldl get power so codes can be read? Check your asd relay (automatic shutdown) under hood just witch it with a like relay and try resetting your anti theft, it may be giving you a problem. Auto parts rent gauges for checking pressure. And attach to fuel rail then try wiggling crank sensor connector if it starts it needs to be replaced, same with cam sensor. And yes it cold be the brain or ecm but that is the very last thing you replace and they are vin specific so even if you got it off another car it would have to be programmed to your car. Also for a quick test for fuel spray choke cleaner in intake and if it starts it's a fuel problem.
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Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 AT 4:40 PM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
It is not a fuel issue. Now that the map sensor has been replaced, it runs fine so long as you're driving down the freeway. When you get in traffic and come to a stop sign after the vehicle has warmed up, as you press on the gas it cuts out and dies. Then the vehicle will start but it has be reved up until the rpms get high and then it will go. Sounds like it's a timing issue and I don't know what sensors are controlling the timing that would make it do that. Looked for vacuum leaks with no success but thought it might be a possibility. Has plenty of HP once it reaches a high rpm. When rpm drops, it starts cutting out and acts like it wants to flood. I talked to an old school mechanic friend who drove it last night and gave me this input. I can see I did not do a good job of phrasing my questions. Maybe this will give you better insight. I am a female and not a mechanic. What do you suggest.
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Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 AT 3:17 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
I kinda think it's an ecm problem you might try cleaning the throttle plate on bothsides and iac hole as well as they get gummy and will give problems at idle or coming down to idle. WHAT ENGINE IS THIS"? A 2.4 or 3.0Li need to know for a couple of things
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Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 AT 3:48 PM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
It is a 3.0
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Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 AT 5:42 PM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
Is there a place I could find a diagram of the location of the throttle plate
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Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 AT 11:12 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
The throttle platejust follow the air tube from air cleaner to engine remove the duct work and you'll see it. Ok in the drawing I've sent there is a thing called a purge solenoid. At idle it should have vacuum on one side only. If it is comeing out both sides then the solenoid is staying open and your car won't idle to good. All you need do is to see if vacuum is coming out of both sides or if a one piece hose at solenoid block off vacuum and see if it straightens out if it does then the solenoid is bad and needs to be replaced. Also the other other thing I've pointed to may do the same but not sure if your car has that or not and whether it would actually cause the problem. Other than that I don't know what to tell you.
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Thursday, July 4th, 2013 AT 8:25 AM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
Ok, here we are at another headscratcher. We did what you recommended. And the car ran great - excellent performance for about 20 min and then something begins to go wrong - if you try to give it any gas to accelerate, it dies. Then we restart it and when you try to accelerate in neutral, it has issues. Then it will eventually start to rev up again but will die once put into gear. Then you have to put into first to get a high rpm so that it can be gimped home at 40 mph top speed. It takes a while to get up to that speed because you can't accelerate.
Is it possible is that it could be a heat related issue with some sort of sensor or electronics.
Your take, please.
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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 AT 12:03 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
What is fuel pressure? What is psi of fuel. And have you checked things like vacuum to purge solenoid like previous replies I've show pic of where they are located and given instructions on how to test for it.
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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 AT 4:53 AM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
Yes. Now let me rephrase the problem.
When you first start the car, it runs great. No problems with anything. All psi's are fine. No problems with anything.
After 20-30 minutes, it shuts down. You can no longer accelerate. It idles, it won't accelerate. Goes dead when you accelerate.
It will restart, but all it will do is idle. The minute you try to press the gas, it will die.
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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 AT 4:58 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Have you checked the automatic shutdown relay with a like relay? The only other thing that icold think of wold be the crank or cam sensors. You have to check resistance of both but I have no spec on it so check against new. If the resistance is not the same as new then replace those. Also do a wiggle test while running on crank sensor, the connection may be bad causing your problem. Other than that I have no other suggestions to give you.
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Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 AT 6:53 AM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
We replaced the crank sensor and did not solve the problem. Does not appear to be an automatic shutdown relay - checked that too. We are now going through the process of checking ignition coil and control module. Will let you know what we find.
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Friday, July 12th, 2013 AT 5:39 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Ya know I don't know if you have missed this or not but have you checked the purge valve solenoid and the other parts I sent in the two drawings? I still see no reply on that. Even though you replaced the crank sensor the CONNECTOR does go bad and will shut the vehicle off that is why I said to do a wiggle test on it.
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Saturday, July 13th, 2013 AT 6:02 AM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
Sorry, yes we did those. Also did the wiggle test. Replaced the ignition coil but that was not the solution either. Due to the fact that it only shuts down AFTER it warms up - which takes about 20 minutes or so, and it is consistent - and that there are NO codes. Even the dodge dealer mechanics could not get a code. There are few things that can bypass codes. Brain is one of them. That may be the next step.
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Sunday, July 14th, 2013 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Well check resistance in cam and crank sensor because they can escape codes I don't 'know what it's supposed to be but check against anew one it shold be about the same with to much resistance they gethot and won't work til they cool down.
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Sunday, July 14th, 2013 AT 3:31 PM
Tiny
GOFFERS1
  • MEMBER
A cracked rotor in the distributor cap. How simple, yet all the mechanics including the Dodge people didn't find it. We replaced the pcm and thought that would do it, but no. Then as a last ditch attempt, I went to Auto Zone bought a new distributor cap and rotor, asked my son to put it in and bingo. Twelve parts later, and I don't want to think of how much money, (close to $1,000) it's fixed for $15.00.

Thanks for your suggestions and time. This taught me to always go simplistic first. I'm very relieved and at the same time exhausted. Appreciate your input.
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Monday, July 29th, 2013 AT 11:16 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
When I answer a question like yours I assume that that was done already. But yest that would do it as well because as the engine would heat up it would spread and allow the spark from the coil to ground out immediately. But with todays cars people (mechanics) don't think of the basic stuff. I've seen a lot of tuff happen in my almost 50 yrs of working on these lol. Glad that you got it fixed and thanks for using 2carpros.
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Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 AT 6:11 AM

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