1996 Dodge Intrepid ES with a 3.5 V6, has 137000 miles, automatic transmission.
Will not crank over, won’t start, starter spins but does not engage.
I bought this vehicle with a so called “Leaking water pump”. I checked the oil dip stick and saw clean oil, no water or antifreeze on it. Bought the car and drove it 30 miles home and parked it. The next morning there was about a half quart of antifreeze on the driveway. Checked the overflow bottle, which was nearly empty. Put in almost a gallon of antifreeze and drove to Autozone. Picked up two bottles of water pump sealer. Since the water pump was not making noise, I hoped this was a cheap fix for athe time being. I poured one bottle it into the overflow bottle and the leak completely stopped. I then drove it over for three weeks, almost two thousand miles, had a small water leak and put in the second bottle and had no more water leak problems. The temp gauge always read less than half way on the gauge, no overheating, drove great, put almost two thousand miles on it after that. I then got a check engine light, went into O'Reilly Auto Parts and the code was Mis-Fire. Cleared the code and the next day, got another check Engine light. Went back to O'Reilly Auto Parts and the code was the same Mis-Fire. Cleared the code again and they said it was most likely the spark plugs or the spark plug wires. Bought plugs, pulled out the 5”inch spark plug boot and then pulled plug number one on the front right. As you know the plugs are way down inside the manifold, takes a 4” inch extension and the spark plug socket. The plug looked great, checked the gap on new plug, replaced it and put the boot back on. I did not replace the other five at that time as I left the task for another day. Three days later, while driving on the freeway the temp gauge went past the half way mark and I pulled over, opened the hood and the engine compartment was hotter than normal. Tried to remove the over flow bottle cap half way and antifreeze was coming out of the over flow tube, let the car sit for a few minutes, then drove to a friends home and parked it for about five hours. Got back in the car (almost midnight), started it and drove home bound on the freeway. Was going 70 mph with cruise control working fine, when the temp gauge began to climb, I thought the thermostat must be sticking, so turned on the heater to see if that would help circulate the antifreeze, all of a sudden I got an Engine Oil light and Check Engine Light on, then the temp gauge dropped and I thought all was good. The Engine Oil light went off and then the motor began to sputter and there was no power as I pressed on the gas pedal, dead gas pedal. My heart sank and the car began to slow down and coasted to the side of the freeway. Came to a stop, put it into park and tried to restart it. The starter was turning but no engine turn over, nothing but the sound of the starter. The engine quit and I was thankful there was a full moon and no rain. I grabbed my golf clubs and made the walk of shame down the freeway. There were four different vehicles that passed me and nobody stopped. I walked a bit over a mile before a State patrolman turned on his lights and scared the crud out of me. He got out laughing and said, “I just got to know what’s going on. I have never seen anyone carrying golf clubs down the road at midnight before”. I told him my story and he gave me a ride home from there, giggling all the way. Next day, my mom and I went out with a tow rope and we towed into a repair shop, the guy went out and tried to start it, just had starter noise. He said, “Sounds like no compression, may have broke the timing belt and if you did, you may have bent the rods if this is a Interface motor your screwed If the timing belt is broken you may have blown the motor. Call the Dodge Service Dept. and find out if it is an Interface motor and remove the timing belt cover and see if the timing belt is broken. I called the service manager and found out it is an Interface motor (I thought OMG) but he said “The chances of the rods bending and the motor blown would be pretty minimal if anything. So, take it apart and find out if the timing belt is broke and call me back”. So, I began my task, went to a web site and watched a two-part video on how to take out the radiator, A/C belt, Serpentine Belt and tensioner, Crankshaft pulley, the two timing belt engine covers and what did I find? That the timing belt was NOT broken, now what the heck do I do? “Check the timing marks on the block, since it is a dual overhead cams motor I checked to make sure the crank was at Top Dead Center (TDC) and rotated the engine clockwise to line up the mark on the crank pulley to the TDC mark on the block, checked both the camshaft sprocket alignment marks and found the passenger side camshaft sprocket was to the left of both indented marks on the block, so the camshaft must have moved one tooth to the left somehow. The white indented mark on the camshaft pulley was not in the same position as the drivers side camshaft pulley which was between the two dented marks on the block. So I figured the timing belt skipped a cog, simple fix right? According to the website I took off the belt tensioner and loosened the timing belt. Bought a new timing belt and water pump. Replaced both and even turned the crankshaft two complete turns and lined up to TDC, checked the camshaft sprocket alignment marks and both sides are in the middle of the two marks on the block, seems all is perfect. I had high hopes, put it all back together, which is a process, but that is why I love mechanics anyway. So, went to start it and what happened? SAME thing, starter making noise, no cranking, no fire. I called the service dept. and he said “Replace the camshaft senor and crankshaft senor and it should fire right up”. I researched where these are located and will most likely replace them today and see what happens next. Any clues out there in this World Wide Web of Internet what I can do next? By the way, I have also torn it all back down and checked the timing belt alignment marks and rotated the crank to TDC, both the camshaft sprockets are aligned perfectly in the center of the alignment marks, re-rotated the crank two more turns and re-checked the camshaft, all perfect! I have taken photos of this whole process for anyone to verify what has happened. My phone number is 406-530-1103 and my email is [email protected]
thank you very much anyone? I have read and reread so many forum posts about this problem that my eyes are getting terrible the last two days. Posts that have 97 Intrepid 3.5L Won't Start, Need Help! Some say ECM is bad, some say Camshaft and Crankshaft Sensors are bad, am I on a wrong path?