Won't start, no spark, no codes

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Thread: Won't start, no spark, no codes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Won't start, no spark, no codes

    I have a 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager 3.3 with ~120k mi that shut off while driving and will not start back up. It will turn over, but not start. no codes are shown, checked all fuses and relays, changed coil pack, crank sensor, cam sensor. still no spark
    took it to the chrysler dealership and they told me that both computers needed replaced for $1800. I only paid $1150 for the van. I was leaning towards the PCM or a corroded wire, but I am uncertain. Any ideas as to what it may be?

    the starter worked intermittently before this, sometimes the van would shut off while driving, but would always start back up(happened about 3 times) and I have a leak at the top of the end cap of the radiator. ac compressor was removed and replaced with a pulley

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    St. Cloud, MN

    Have you checked for bad grounds? That could produce intermittent problems, leading to a hard failure. Easiest and cheapest thing to try first.

    My mom's 94 GC 3.8 started doing the same thing, until it stranded her one day. We tried both cam and crank sensors, and got nothing. Spent $40 on a used engine computer from a nearby junkyard, and that was what it needed! It's been running great ever since (2-3 years now).

    If you look for a junkyard computer, match as many things as you can (engine, transmission, year, with A/C, etc.). Mileage and interior features are tied in to the Body Control Module, so not as important. Good luck!
    DAN(husband of member STEPHANIE)

    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited - Dark Charcoal Metallic with chrome trim, taupe leather interior, loaded. In need of rust repair on rockers and liftgate. Now enjoying the new family mommy-mobile!

    Knowledge can never be wisdom without experience.
    "Your experience is a commodity."
    "Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor."

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    San Diego

    Check for power to the coil from the PCM at the 4 pin coil connector using a test light. Don't touch the dark green/orange wire to ground. As the engine cranks the light should flash. If none flash the coil drivers in the PCM aren't supplying power to the coil. One reason could be the ASD circuit is denergised because the PCM isn't seeing the cam or crank signal. To confirm check for power at either O2 sensor. If there's no power it confirms the ASD relay is denergised. Check cam and crank sensor wire continuity and reference voltage. If there is power at the O2 sensor but the coil has no power, it's likely a bad PCM unless you have an open wire or corroded connection - your suspision.

    You can get rebuilt PCMs for $250 - $350 at several web sources. Autozone has them for about the same.
    Last edited by RIP; 05-11-2011 at 10:35 PM.
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    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 214K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to RIP For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Portsmouth, VA

    Not to hijack 2XTURBO's thread (1996 3.3L), but this all sounds a lot like the problem I'm having on my 1999 3.8L T&C, 200K+ miles. The engine died while driving and won't restart. No spark and no fuel pressure at the rail. I can hear the fuel pump start when key is turned to run. Primary and secondary coil resistances okay. Signal from PCM at coil pack is normal for two of the three pins, but the pin for cylinders 2 & 5 has a constant ground whether key is on or off. ASD and fuel relays both check out as good. I get a very tiny voltage (<0.5 mV) from the Green/Orange wire to the coil when key is in run position. Shouldn't this be 12 volts? I'm not familiar with how to check the cam position and crank position sensors. Could use advice on that. Haven't checked power to the O2 sensor, but good idea. I'm thinking either one of these sensors (Cam or Crank) could be causing the PCM to shut down both the spark and fuel, but that doesn't explain the constant ground. Can anybody confirm this? I'd like to be a little more sure I haven't missed anything before putting the money into rebuilding the PCM.

    Other info - Initial OBDII scan gave 0300 and 0301 codes (general misfires and cylinder #1 misfire), but second scan later on returned no codes. ????

    Thanks RIP for your expertise. I can't figure out how to officially thank you, but if you tell me how, I'd gladly do it.
    2003 Grand Caravan
    1999 Town & Country

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Rip, when you say PCM, are you referring to what Autozone calls the Engine Control Computer? I replaced mine without success. I suspect a water issue causing a sensor to short out and send a shutdown signal to the ECC. My van just dies at freeway speed.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    I have a 2003 Dodge caravan and I have no spark and I have changed the coil pack and the cam shaft sensor and the crank sensor and spark plugs and still no spark but I have a question the plug that plugs into the coil pack there is 4 wires the 3rd pig tail makes the pin light work but number 1,2 and 4 don't light up at all or when I turn the key it don't blink Or light up and I checked the power supply to all the other plugs/sensor they all good if anyone knows please let me know thanks

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Thanked 57 Times in 44 Posts

    Assuming you've specifically checked for spark with something like a timing light...

    Have you backprobed the cam and crank sensors to verify that they are both sending a signal? Something better than a basic test light would be needed for that -- either a scope, or a DMM in a pinch if you slowly manually rotate the engine to watch for the output voltage pattern (with the fuel pump disabled and fuel pressure safely relieved, just in case it up and decides to start on you!!).

    The coil pack connector will light your light (if grounded) on the common (V+, I believe) wire, if the ASD relay is energized. The other three wires likely go to open-collector driver outputs on the PCM, and shouldn't show much of anything except when the PCM energizes the driver transistor (then they'd possibly blink a LED-based 12V test light connected to the common wire).

    - G
    1998 Grand Voyager @306,000mi, 3.3L FFV V6

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    Thanked 55 Times in 48 Posts

    Post #7 is spot on. Next time you see an old clamp-on timing light at a garage sale grab it. It is then easy to verify that each plug wire is sending a spark. Flash it at your belly or something (no marks on crank like old days). That is how I quickly verified a bad coil pack in my 3.8L. As said, at the input connector, one wire is +12V ignition source, the others are shorted to ground (by transistor in PCM) to charge up the coil and when they open the coil sparks, just like the points did in 1960's cars. There are 3 coils, each firing 2 cylinders simultaneously (one needs it, one is "wasted").

    Also spot-on is that a bad crank sensor signal is the main thing that can fail without triggering any PCM codes. Without that, the PCM doesn't know the engine is rotating. Sometimes, the 8 V shared supply is drawn down by the cam sensor, disabling the crank. I am unsure of the necessity for the cam sensor. Some say it won't spark without it, others that it is just for sequential fuel pulsing. I think it varies over the years. You can try "just" swapping the crank sensor, though it is a tough reach to get it (under exhaust cross-over pipe). If you don't feel much magnetism in it, people say that indicates "marginal". Without an O-scope, it is hard to test further, though you might see a signal from a voltmeter by turning the crank over by hand slowly. It is a 5 V steady signal from a Hall-effect sensor, not the transient spikes you see from a VR sensor. Don't ask, research these terms. Also, get a wiring diagram to know which pins at the PCM to probe.

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