2009 Dodge Caravan SXT - Shakes Violently [Archive] - The Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forums

: 2009 Dodge Caravan SXT - Shakes Violently

10-28-2009, 12:51 PM
I just purchased a brand new 2009 Dodge Caravan SXT 4.0L/6sp (auto) about 2 months ago.

I've had this problem twice now. Both times, under same conditions. Normal temp, normal driving (passing), vehicle warm.

I would be traveling down the highway, passing another vehicle. Then all of a sudden the vehicle would start shaking violently (like I was lugging it) and then engine light would start flashing. When this occurs, then engine runs rough, the light continues to flash and even normal acceleration causes the vehicle to shake. Even if I slow down to 30-40 the vehicle continues to shake violently upon even slight acceleration. The light continues to blink and ding until the vehicle is turned off.

The first time this happened, the vehicle died and I coasted onto the shoulder. Both times this occurred, I let the vehicle sit for 20-30 minutes and everything returned to normal and I could not reproduce the issue.

I've taken it to the dealer and they say no codes are stored, except for an unrelated "inverter overload" code. I've never used the interior power inverter so not sure why this is even showing up. But they say, the computer should have stored a code and they expected to see a "misfire" code but did not. It was passed off as possible bad gas. But now it has happened twice.

The vehicle currently has about 4000 miles on it and the dealer has thus far been unable to nail down the problem.

To me it feels like an engine problem but acts like the vehicle is stuck in 6th gear and put under a load (lugging).

Any help?

10-28-2009, 01:07 PM
A flashing SES light indicates a malfunction has the potential to do serious damage. I wouldn't recommend driving it much further if the light starts flashing again. One option is to have the dealer install a "copilot". They will connect an OBDIII scanner to your van's diagnostic system and let you drive the van around with it a few days. The scanner will record anything the diagnostic system detects and real-time engine functions.

There are many possible causes but high on my list would be the loss of the crankshaft position sensor signal. This sensor is key to establishing engine timing and fuel scheduling. Rough running and stalling are classic symptoms. This and other sensors are infamous for not producing a fail code. Next would be an O2 sensor,the EGR system if equipped, fuel pump, and the ignition coil.

10-28-2009, 05:37 PM
Thanks for that information.

I have contacted the dealer and they are not prepared to install a co-pilot at this time. They only have two and they apparently use them internally. Since the vehicle may run normally for 30 days without acting up, this may tie up the co-pilot unit for an extended period of time.

They are asking me to bring it by next time it acts up, without shutting it off, so they can capture the code(s)..?? Problem is, I travel a lot for work and this will most likely happen while I am far from hometown (Dodge City, KS) and far from a Dodge dealer.

I guess I'm just going to have to drive it until damage is done and hope that I am still within the 36k mile warranty. I am worried that I may have purchased a lemon.

10-28-2009, 05:57 PM
I would agree with the dealer, depending on how many miles you have on it. Next time it acts up, keep on going. If the engine or trans fail, then that is a warranty claim as long as you have all the necessary service records.

10-28-2009, 06:33 PM
If you are out of town when it happens again, then take it to a dealer in that area and have them look at it.

10-29-2009, 08:27 AM
Could it be a faulty fuel pump?

10-29-2009, 04:48 PM
Could it be a faulty fuel pump?

I'd put it on the list.

10-29-2009, 05:30 PM
Although it would be nice to have "your" own dealer look at, wherever you are if it is acting up, just pull into another Dodge dealer and say this is a safety concern.

Also, on the fuel pump issue, I had an 2007 Ford F-250 (used on site for work) and it developed what I thought was a bad tranny or a blown gear...it would jerk and shake violently when I tried to hammer the gas to go up steep hills or accelarate quickly (F250 are notoriously slow...lol).

In any case, once I took it in to our yard and had our maintenance guys look at it (they're all certified Ford techs) he said it was a bad fuel pump. They changed it and it was good to go.

10-29-2009, 06:22 PM
I agree this issue must be fixed, but I wonder (if/when it happens again) whether you could manually downshift it to try to terminate the fault or not. At least you have a lifetime warranty, right?

11-10-2009, 08:14 PM
I agree this issue must be fixed, but I wonder (if/when it happens again) whether you could manually downshift it to try to terminate the fault or not. At least you have a lifetime warranty, right?

Same issue here (amongst many many other issues) yet dealership CAN NOT REPLICATE of course...Yet my new dealership is really good but not at their fault for not finding issues of course. I am just getting use to the several months of ownership and the more time in the shop getting fixed than driving it...