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Hard starting 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan

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I have a 2000 Dodge grand Carvan that has been a hard starter in cold weather since we first bought it new 7+ years ago. Of course, with age, this problem has gotten worse. I replaced plugs & wires about a year and a half (20K miles) ago. Does anyone have any suggestions to look at that might improve the starting on this vehicle? In general, it pretty much will not start unless I run the engine heater when temps are below zero. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Ah!!!!!

Finally, a good old (in my realm) Veh. failure situation. Its been awhile (I am not a Toyota/Honda guy sorry). I like domestic car/truck concerns. Ask anything though, between Airjer, 4woundering, anyone else and I. We can figure out most anything. I live for these questions.

What do you mean by hard starting? Slow to crank over or cranks over fine, but will not fire?

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What engine is in it also?

Does the engine spin over slow, or the same speed just doesnt start?

Does it seem like it wants to start, or doesnt at all?

Doe it smoke or miss after it does start, does it smell bad?

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Ok, sorry, I should have given a lot more detail.

The engine turns overe fine, battery and charging system are in decent shape. The engine sounds like it starts to fire then dies out. I can usually get her to start by holding the accelerator to the floor and cranking. Not usually any smell of flooding or anything like that, but she just doesnt quite want to keep running. I am wondering if there might be a sensor somewhere that is B/O?

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Any check eng. light on? Have you scanned for DTC’s (codes) yet?

First thought would be possibly lack of fuel caused by a weak pump, but with the cold air issue, it might be something else. Gummed up throttle body, air filter or something else cold related.

I will shout this out, what weight oil are you using? Are you up to date on changing it?

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Sorry but what size engine?

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No check engine light, Air filter was changed this fall, Oil is 5W-30 (recently changed), Engine is the 3.3L Flex Fuel. Not currently using E-85 however I have used it in the past. As I mentioned, this vehicle has always been cold blooded even when she was relatively new.

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Quote:


Not currently using E-85 however I have used it in the past.


How long ago did you use E85? Did you follow procedure in owners manual? A little side not, you can not run one tank of E85 down and then go back, you have to blend takes. They advise (for good reason) to stick to one or the other, no switching back and forth. Also you are supposed to ruin synthetic oil with E-85. It all in owners manual. Maybe you have done all of this. If you would have had any concerns from this, their most defiantly would be a check eng. light on.

Does this occur more so at start of the winter/late fall time. This also could be a winter blend fuel issue. I know some would get issues like this when they switched over. I have seen it in Taurus and Sable.

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A few things to check, see if fuel pressure holds when you shut the key off, you will need a fuel pressure gauge.

Another thing is bad o2 sensors, will cause ecm to think it is running e-85 even though you are not using it. To check this you will need a scan tool and monitor e-85 % , see if it is reading above 40% when you know you have none in it. Also monitor o2 sensors and see how they are reacting.

Sorry I dont know of a way to test this with out special tools.

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Getting someone with a scan tool to take a look at the sensors key on engine off could help you get some ideas where to start also. The ambient air temp sensor and the coolant temp sensor should both read the close to the same if the engine is cold and sitting outside. If they are not reading roughly the same temp as the thermometer, there maybe an issue there. The reason is, the computer uses these readings to decide how much fuel to give the motor on a cold start. A lot like a choke would on a carburated vehicle except with the fuel injection it is holding the injector open longer. The colder the air, the more fuel it takes to start the engine. If one of these sensors is not reading as cold as it should, there is not enough fuel being delivered. It may not set a code because as the engine warms up, the sensors will start to read right. As stated above, fuel pressure would be the place to start as there may be a leaking pressure regulator, injector, or the pump has a bad check valve leaking pressure off. Find a good shop, they should be able to help you get the problem solved.

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Before you do anything clean out the throttle body. If it starts with your foot on the pedal there might be an issue with minumum air. A dirty throttle body could cause this. This would be the simplest thing to do as well as good mainteneance on these particular intake setups.

Older models would experience a start and stall when cold and usually could be fixed by cleaning the throttle body.

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If you do decide to clean the intake, get the 3m stuff. It is the best there is.

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Quote:


The ambient air temp sensor and the coolant temp sensor should both read the close to the same if the engine is cold and sitting outside. If they are not reading roughly the same temp as the thermometer, there maybe an issue there.


Ding, ding, ding!

I was having a mind blank out yesterday and could not put a finger on this scenario. In my second post, I wanted to post this, but my mind could not let me remember about this. I scratched my head all day and just could not figure it out. Too much Carb. Mox fumes and brake dust over the years! grin.gif

Thanks! I have seen this cause this issue before.

Like Airjer said, I would clean throttle body first. It will fix this concern also. Then if it persists, code scan is next step and monitoring stuff would be in future.

Good luck!

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