2000 Grand Caravan - Won't Start



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Thread: 2000 Grand Caravan - Won't Start

  1. #1
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    2000 Grand Caravan - Won't Start

    I've got a 2000 Grand Caravan with 3.3L V6 and 152K miles. Generally, the car has been running ok. I used the car yesterday and it was fine. This morning it would not start. Turn the key from off to run and I'm pretty sure I hear the buzz/hum of the fuel pump over the sound of the ding chimes. Turn the key from run to start a and the starter engages and turns the engine but it will not kick over. I put a multi-meter on the battery and it read 12.3v.

    Here is what the car sounds like. I insert the key, turn to run and let the ding chimes stop then turn the key to start. Not the best recording but maybe it'll help:
    (Click here for the .mp3)

    What is the problem? Spark, Fuel? Any other possibilities? I'll try and do a spark test tomorrow. Also, I have a fuel pressure gauge with a schrader valve. Does the Caravan have a diagnostic port for that and if so what should the fuel psi be?

    EDIT: No check engine light on. I plugged in my OBDII code reader and it confirmed no codes.

    Thanks
    -Bob

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  3. #2
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    That really reminds me of a spark timing issue. I am almost thinking camshaft sensor but I would also think that would produce a code. The other infamous sensor is the crankshaft sensor.
    Then of course, the coil itself or wires may be suspect. Sometimes the insulation breaks down and the resulting arc-over reduces the spark voltage to below what will allow starting.

    A place to begin would be to spray some starter fluid in the intake snout while someone is cranking. If that gets a rise out of her, you know it is fuel related. Else, spark related.
    98 Town&Country LXI, 3.8L, 192k miles (sold)

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    Thanks for the info 98t&c. I borrowed a timing light form a friend today. This seems like a safe/simple way to check for spark at the end of the front 3 wires. Its difficult to get at those back three plugs so how do I check for spark back there? Can I use the timing light right at the coil to check for spark at all 6 posts. Is that even necessary. Maybe initially I should just concentrate on is there ANY spark so just do a check of the front three plugs. If I have spark at all three front plugs then check on fuel. If I do not have spark at any of the front three then concentrate on spark. For the fuel test your suggestion of spraying starter fluid in the intake sounds good I also read up on how to to the fuel pressure test in the Haynes manual using the Shcrader port and the Haynes manual specifies the PSI (49 IIRC).

    OK, so when I get home from work today I'll try the quick spark and fuel tests to get some data. Right now I have not data.




    I assume if I have spark then the problem is NOT the cam or crank sensors because form what I've read on this forum

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    Is it an inductive timing light, or an old school one that connects to the wire in series with the plug?

    An inductive light will work anywhere on the plug wires, could check them all at the coil.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
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    Its an inline timing light. For the back three plugs do you think I could rig this light up at the coil? Just clip the light's (green) clamp right to the coil post. Obviously, I wouldn't be testing the wires or plugs but at least it would tell me if the coil is working. For the front three plugs I'll clip it inline at the plug which will at least let me know if those wires are ok.

    picsay-1305653911.jpg

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    Ok, I have some data now.

    Here is what I now know:
    I have spark at all 6 posts on the coil. The timing light lit up on each post. I have fuel pressure on the front rail. Key in RUN position it jumps up to 50 psi initially then fades to 45 psi after a few seconds. Did not get psi reading with key in START position (forgot ). Did not get reading on the back rail because its to difficult to get at. The battery now reads 12.25v.
    What now? What can I learn from this?

    Does anyone have any suggestions for additional diagnostics?

    Any idea what might be going on?

    Thanks
    -Bob

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    You have spark and good fuel pressure. Means none of the injectors are firing. You could shoot some starting fluid into the intake then crank it, it should fire a few times to confirm the no fuel issue.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg View Post
    You have spark and good fuel pressure. Means none of the injectors are firing. You could shoot some starting fluid into the intake then crank it, it should fire a few times to confirm the no fuel issue.
    The car was working fine one day and not the next so what would cause all the injectors to stop firing? Electrical? Its there a fuse for the injectors?

    I will try the starting fluid intake test but how exactly do I do that? Do I take off that plastic tube in front throttle body, swing open the throttle body plate and just spray it in behind the throttle body and then crank the engine? Is that how you do it?

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    Yep do exactly that. But don't spray the stuff while cranking. Just shoot some in then turn the key. As to why its not getting fuel, not sure at the moment. I'll have to brainstorm.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

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    Although the timing light sounds like a good idea to check for spark, it is not. It works for checking timing but will strobe even if the voltage is low. I have seen defective coils still produce a spark. Just not enough to get the engine started. Arcing coils or wires will compromise the spark enough to keep the engine from firing. A good test for arcing is to crank the engine at night in a dark location and look for arcing around the coil and wires. Make sure you eyes get accustomed to the darkness first.

    However, first get a can of starter fluid and see it the engine will at least run for a few seconds. You could do as you mentioned and take the rubber connection off of the throttle body snout and spray some in there. Or you could try taking the air filter assembly apart but may be more work. Spray a reasonable amount but don't go overboard. Maybe a one second wide-open spritz. If you notice any difference in how it tries to start it is probably a fuel issue.
    Last edited by 98t&c; 05-17-2011 at 10:30 PM.
    98 Town&Country LXI, 3.8L, 192k miles (sold)

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