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#1 Old 07-17-2008, 10:34 PM
protegechris
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Randomly dying?

So I've had P0300 for the last.. 5 months. Random misfire. I've replaced distributor cap, rotor, ignition wires, and spark plugs.. to no avail. I've quit messing with it because I just can't find the issue and can't afford to keep throwing money at it.

My issue now is that.. sometimes the engine will just die. It has happened on the interstate a few times, going around 65. I can feel it die, and then start right back up (because the engine is running at 65mph in drive... hah). At lower speeds, it's just dead. Sometimes when slowing down, sometimes when idling.

I have no real work history on this thing. I was thinking maybe clogged injectors.. or fuel filter.. or something.

After it dies, I can start the engine right back up like normal. Last night, I was frustrated so I just drove around with wide open throttle for a while every chance I got. Drove about 35 miles today without it dying. It happened once before like that too, when WOT fixed it for a few weeks.

I just wanted to get some opinions on what I should start out with on this issue.

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD
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#2 Old 07-18-2008, 12:27 PM
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Last person I heard with that problem, was also a engine hesitating problem like it would bog then come back. The fuel injector in cylinder 1 was going bad. 70$ to replace and install.

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#3 Old 07-21-2008, 12:54 PM
cjbarron5
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crank or cam sensor will cause the same problem but usually throw a code associated with it but I have seen it happen with no code if you are talking about your 1996 caravan in your signature then I would check the grounding on your coil packs also.......good luck
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#4 Old 07-23-2008, 12:58 AM
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Where are the grounds for the coilpack(s) located? Dumb question, I know.

Also, do you think this could be related to (or causing) my random misfire code? I've replaced spark plugs, ignition wires, cap, rotor, and everything else you would think would cause it without success..

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD
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#5 Old 07-23-2008, 09:21 AM
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coil packs self ground for the most part so unbolt them and make sure they are clean(meaning no rust or corrosion) both mounting surface and coil pack also it could be a bad coil pack but most of the time it will kick a cylinder specific code but not always...........good luck
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#6 Old 07-23-2008, 10:04 AM
protegechris
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Quick question. I always was under the assumption that the ignition wires (6) went to spark plugs (obviously), but that the 7th went to a (single) coil pack. Is there a separate pack for every cylinder? Assuming there are six, and one of them is bad.. what's the best way to test? Possible with a multimeter or do I need to replace them one by one with a working pack?

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD
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#7 Old 07-23-2008, 11:32 AM
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first lets clarify which vehicle "we" are working on..........I assumed it was the 96 caravan correct? if so there is no "real" way to test them let alone any safe way like I said earlier they usually throw a cylinder specific code when the pack is "bad" if this is a vehicle that has a cap and rotor then we need to go a whole diffrent route.............I guess Im alittle confused you said you changed the cap and rotor and such but you are getting a p0300 code which I think is a newer code let me know
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#8 Old 07-23-2008, 06:35 PM
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It's the 1996 Caravan 3.0l v6.

I replaced the distributor cap and rotor about 3k miles ago.

The wire in the middle goes to what I assumed was the coil. Am I totally mistaken? I see how it's confusing I was speaking about multiple coil packs.. but yeah. I was a little confused too. :]

I should mention the van died a few times over the last few days and I have to crank and crank it until it finally fires up. Something is definitely going out. I have a multimeter, was thinking about testing the coil for resistance if that would give me any idea on its life quality

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD

Last edited by protegechris; 07-23-2008 at 07:50 PM.
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#9 Old 07-23-2008, 11:32 PM
cjbarron5
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ok now we are on the same page......yes the wire in the middle does go to a SINGLE coil....now 3k ago on cap and rotor should be fine with no problems BUT if you live in a humid climate that gets hot during the day and cool at night you could have a moisture problem in the cap....would not hurt to pull it and look for moisture and "carbon build up" basicly anything out of place. check for good power to the coil also with the key on and the engine off........also check the firewall connection(where all the wires go into the van)...this was a problem on my dodge truck not sure on the vans though.....a faulty coil or bad pickup coil would do the samething.......fuel pump or fuel filter????? got a autozone around????? rent a fuel pressure tester and check it out wouldnt hurt drive around with it hooked up for awhile and see what the pressure does when it dies.......enough for now cause thats alot........let me know.....................................side note i didnt think the 96 had a cap and rotor my 93 is ditribterless ignition but it does have a 3.3 also just a little strange thats all
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#10 Old 07-23-2008, 11:35 PM
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Thanks for the advice man. Where's the fuel filter at on this beast? I'm almost positive it has never been change. The previous owner was ghetto as hell, and didn't take care of it *at all*. I'm positive that it has a cap and rotor. :P I'm trying to find information on the normal resistance on the coil if anyone happens to have that info.

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD

Last edited by protegechris; 07-24-2008 at 12:55 AM.
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#11 Old 07-24-2008, 02:28 AM
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I pulled some codes via the key on/off x3 method.

Code 12-Direct battery input to PCM was disconnected within the last 50 Key-On cycles.

Of course, nothing to worry about here.
Code 34-Speed control solenoid circuit-open or short detected in the speed control vacuum or vent solenoid circuits.
Makes sense, my cruise control hasn't worked since I had my clockspring done at the stealership. I should complain at them for that, but they'll probably claim it wasn't their fault.. and I don't really care for it anyways.
Code 17-Engine is cold too long-engine coolant temperature remains below normal operating temperature during vehicle travel; possible thermostat problem. Closed loop temperature not reached-engine does not reach 50F within 5 minutes with a vehicle speed signal.
I live on the Texas/Arkansas border.. it's well into the upper 90s every day. The engine usually stays a little below the middle of the gauge. I don't think this would cause a misfire, either way.
Code 11-No crank reference signal detected during engine cranking.
New code since the engine started stalling out. Possible help with diagnosis?
Code 43-Engine cylinder misfire-engine cylinder misfire detected in one or more cylinders.
Code 43-Engine cylinder misfire-engine cylinder misfire detected in one or more cylinders.



The only one that is NEW is the 11. The 11 is probably significant. The 17 has been there since I got the van, and the 11 has showed up only since the engine has started dying. I should mention that the stalling happens when idling, when driving 40, and when doing 80 on the interstate. I can feel it die, and because I'm doing 80 on the interstate.. it starts back up rather violently. :/

One last note: On a cold start, the engine cranks quickly and is strong. After getting to normal temp and restarting.. it cranks slow and sometimes I'll hear a knock. Not sure if it's related or not. Battery is new and charging system is reading proper voltages.

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD

Last edited by protegechris; 07-24-2008 at 03:53 AM.
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#12 Old 07-24-2008, 04:34 AM
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Sorry to bump again but I have more information on it. I went out to check on my new cap/rotor I put in about 3k miles ago. The contacts on the inside of the cap have white stuff on them and look like they've made contact with the rotor.

I got a P0302 today along with the P0300.. and I didn't see it as significant.. but the contact for #2 has a decently deep NOTCH cut into it, seemingly from the rotor. Both of these were replaced at the same time.. what can cause this?


EDIT - YAY:
I went out, cleaned off the contacts and reseated the rotor. I had my relative do the rotor because I was busy, and he used the factory screw/bolt rather than the new one.. so I reseated it and used the one that came new with it. Put that back on, started, and no more check engine light.

I only drive 6 miles on it, but that resolved it for now which means I'll probably end up just buying another cap and/or rotor.

However.. in that 6 miles.. the engine cut out twice. It idles smoothly enough that I can't really tell when it dies. At one point, I was going about 35mph down a hill, and at the next, I was at a red light.

I went home and checked the trouble codes by doing the key turn. The only code I get now is CODE 11 - for the crank reference signal.

Does this just mean the crankshaft position sensor is bad, and if so, would that cause the engine to cut out? If so, where is it located and I'll just replace it. Woot. Progress.

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD

Last edited by protegechris; 07-24-2008 at 05:32 AM.
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#13 Old 07-24-2008, 09:16 AM
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lots of info and I think you are on the right track the fuel filter is back on the drivers side in front of the rear wheel yes I would change the crankshaft position sensor and check the wiring to it also Im not sure if the 3.0 has a knock sensor but it would be worth looking into also how about the ignition control module????? just some more ideas
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#14 Old 07-24-2008, 12:08 PM
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This sounds to me like it's a problem with your photo optic sensing unit (AKA ignition control module). It's inside the distributor under the rotor and under a protective cover.You will get the no crank reference code,misfire codes and cause it to stall. Code 17 sounds like the temperature sensor is going bad. The 3.0 with a distributor doesn't have a crankshaft position sensor,thats what the photo optic sensing unit is. It also sounds like you need to hook up a timing light and check your timing,that would be the slow roll and knock when warm.

Last edited by StandOnCliff; 07-24-2008 at 12:28 PM.
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#15 Old 07-24-2008, 01:32 PM
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I had read about the 3.0 not having one independent of the distributor.. but Advance Auto and Autozone both have a crankshaft position sensor for the vehicle listed.. from what I've read, it's the *camshaft* sensor that is inside the distributor.

I know I was including a lot of information, but if someone else were to have the same issue.. well, I like to document what I do to find a resolution.

Crankshaft sensor:
http://www.autozone.com/R,840195/veh...ductDetail.htm

Guide for replacing it:
http://www.autozone.com/shopping/rep...00c1528003c4f6

The AutoZone guide for the CAMSHAFT position sensor states it is integral to the distributor.

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD

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#16 Old 07-24-2008, 02:35 PM
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I see they have changed the style of the distributor,my bad. They do now have both a cam sensor and a crank sensor. I would do them first then. I would start with the crankshaft sensor first. Your sensor will be located as figure 5 in the guide shows.

Last edited by StandOnCliff; 07-24-2008 at 03:14 PM.
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#17 Old 07-24-2008, 03:24 PM
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It looks like both styles are being shown. I myself would figure it being either a distributor or non-distributor making the difference whether it has crank or cam sensors. If you don't have one on your tranny it is the Photo optic sensor which is the crank sensor and the ignition control module in one unit.
http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductL...osition+Sensor For that link to work properly you need to add your vehicle, in my vehicle,on that page.

Last edited by StandOnCliff; 07-24-2008 at 04:20 PM.
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#18 Old 07-24-2008, 06:52 PM
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I replaced the sensor today.. I've driven it twenty miles without any stalling. Considering I stalled twice in 5 miles last night, I'm thinking that fixed it. Trouble code hasn't come back either!

Thanks for all the help, everyone. This forum is an invaluable resource.

1992 Mazda Protege DX - Sold :[
1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
1996 Dodge Caravan - DD
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#19 Old 07-24-2008, 09:38 PM
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I made a general little guide on replacing the crankshaft position sensor in the '96 3.0l v6 in case someone comes along and might benefit from it in the future. It was really quite simple, but I made a video regardless.


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1995 Ford Contour GL - Wrecked and parted. :[
1991 Dodge Dakota - Sold :[
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#20 Old 07-29-2008, 12:12 AM
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Glad you got it fixed !!!!!
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