my sister has this 1998 dodge caravan that for the last month or so, she has had trouble starting it.
Most of the time it will start right up. Every now and then however, it will just crank and will not start. It seems once I pump the gas for a bit, it will start, then run with no problems.
Just tonight she had to call me out because she could not get it started. So I got in and pumed the gas and it took a couple tries but after it sputtered for a bit, it started up and is running fine now.
Anyone know anything about where I could look for a problem before she has to take it in?
I thought it might be the distributor, but it has an electronic distributor with no coil.
I am hoping it is something simple that I can take care of, but I never really did work on cars a lot, especially the newer ones.
try changing the fuel filter other than that hopefully someone else can help you out
The first thing I would check is the fuel pressure. When the fuel pumps start to go bad sometimes the vehicle is hard to start but runs fine once started (even at 80 MPH). Go down to Autozone, Advance Auto, or whatever chain stores you have in your area and rent/borrow a fuel pressure gauge. It easily connects to a schrader valve on the fuel rail. The normal fuel pressure is about 48 PSI.
check the computer codes. all mopars with fuel injection allow you to check the codes by simply turning the key on 3 times.
go here for more info
Call a pro.
The "gas" pedal is really just an air pedal now. So I don't see why moving the throttle blade back and forth would have anything to do with the problem.
In open loop mode, which is when the vehicle is cold, there are only three things to check if the engine does not run. Air, fuel and spark. Don't worry about anything else until you determine those three things are present.
check your fuel regulator. sounds like it's leaking fuel back to the tank. then it takes time to push the fuel back to the throttle body.
let us know what it is.
FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE!!
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I thought you couldn't stand your sister. Let her walk.
Try changing the air filter worked for me I have a 97
"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in
no other way."
-Mark Twain, American writer (1835-1910)
Pumping the gas won't do you any good except maybe lean out the a/f mix while you're starting.
I'd put in a new fuel filter and air filter before doin any diagnosis. Aslo pull the spark plugs and check the condition - see if they indicates lean/rich problems. This probably won't fix it, but if MAY, and you need to change that stuff regulalrly anyways so you're not out anything.
- Check the air filter to see if it's clogged. Hold it up to the light and you shoudl be able to see light through it as you flip through the pleats like pages in a book - see if it starts any easier with the air filter off (but don't run it for more than a few seconds with the air filter off).
- Is there a check-engine light / service engine light on? Your local parts store may read the codes for free, it's just ODB-II, so they all have readers.
- Is there gas in there? Don't trust the guage or your sister (sorry!)
- Sounds like the fuel pump is starting to act up, or you may have a pinhole leak in the system.
- Does the hard-start occure in a regular pattern? it with temperature extremes, or when the car has been left off overnight etc?
- Whe you go to start the car, try turning the car to engine on, wait for a couple of seconds, then turn the key off. Repeat. Each time you turn the key from OFF to ON it causes the fuel pump to pressurise the system to make starting easier. If you do this a couple extra times before starting the engine then it will ensure the system is pressurized even if it started off empty. If this procedure make the hard-start go away completely then check for issues with keeping the fuel rail pressurised, such as pinhole leak in the fuel rail or fuel lines, or maybe a bad pressure regulator.
ALSO check over overpressure. Also could be caused by bad fuel pressure regulator. If the system is overpressurized then it'll inject more gas than the engine needs and the rich mixture will cause all kinds of issues like mad MPG etc.
If you don't have a pressure regulator then take to to Mpar for a diagnosis.
If you DO have a fuel pressure guage and a schraeder valve on the fuel rail then you can check the following:
1) Hook up the guage, engine/key off, and then trun the key to the on position but don't crank it. You should see the pressure jump as the fuel pump pressurises the system (attaching the guage will cause a slight pressure drop as the guage hose fills. Be sure the attach the guage overflow hose into a gas container on the floor)
2) Start the engine and check the fuel pressure at idle.
3) Shut off the engine and then watch the needle to see if it drops (possible leak on the pressure side)
Ask you local mopar dealer what the normal pressure range is for 1) engine off, 2) key on pressure and 3) engine idle pressure