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Woud like to start off by apologizing for the other thread I posted in five times in order to get five posts in order to be able to start my own thread.

Official NOOB thread right here. Van has 153K miles. Here is what happened in chronological order:

1. I left the vanity lights on, battery got really low, but still able to crank the car.
2. Eventually the battery died. But before it fully died, I had to jump the car a few times. Prior to the successful jumps, I attemped to crank it, and go the sequential 'clicking' sound which occurs when the battery is so low that it won't crank without a jump. I don't know what those clicks (the sound of the starter?) were from.
3. After jumping the car a few times, each time I attempt to start the car, there is hesitation prior to the start. The sound that it made while attempting to start, was nothing like the 'normal' sound I would get when the battery was just fine and not drained.
4. I replaced the battery with a one that I got from a battery reconditioning place. You give them your old battery and you get a reconditioned one for $27.50 with a 6 month warrranty. I've used this place before with decent success. Most batteries I've gotten lasted at least a couple years from here.
5. After battery replacement, there is still the same hesitation as there was before the reconditioned battery. Each time I go to start, it seems like the car is not gonna start, but then at the last second, I get ignition.
6. This morning, proabably the fourth day into my reconditioned battery, I start the car, and within the first mile, at the first stop light, the car stalls. Had to restart on the road, and again it was barely a start. There does not seem to be a difference in the car's ability to start cold (overnight), or right after a drive of several miles.
7. Finally, after a drive of 40 miles, the car was parked for 4 hours. Went to start it up again, barely started. Stopped at a gas station after a few miles of driving, and it won't start back up. Tried to jump it, it wouldn't start.

With the key in the igntion, the vanity light, headlights, and radio all turn on. With the key in position #2 , I believe what I hear is a slight hissing sound which lasts for one second (normal sound I always hear--not an air leak or anything), which I believe is the fuel pump turning on (I could be very wrong on this).

Car won't crank, not even the multiple sequential clicking sound of what I believe is the starter (which is what I used to hear the first time the battery got low.

There did not appear to be a fuse for starter. All of the fuses were good.

There does not appear to be a fuse on the positive battery terminal like there is on my Toyota.

The positive and negative cables are firmly attached to the battery terminals.

I have not tested the voltage on the battery. The voltage gauge on the cluster (which I don't necessarily trust, but which seems correct), shows slgihtly less than half (slightly less than 12v?).

I almost feel like just buying a reconditioned Bosch starter, an alternator regulator, a starter relay (if there is one), and just replacing all those. I guess it could be the battery, but then again the same hesitation I get now was occuring before the reconditioned one was installed.

If you've read this far, thank you. Any suggestions on what I can try?
 

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congrats you bought a dead battery. chrysler products are very picky about bad batteries as in they do weird things. if the voltage in the battery is below 12.6 volts the battery has a failed cell. go buy a new battery and try that before you start throwing random parts at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The battery is not dead, it's testing at 12.8 volts. What would be the next thing I should check now that it's known that the battery is good?
 

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The voltage alone does not tell you the condition of the battery. I have seen batteries say 13 volts, but did not have enough amps capacity.

For example, the battery may supply enough current to operate a small 12v device or even headlights, but not enough to operate the starter. Very common.

So you could still have a bad battery. Load testing is required. Take it to any auto parts store and they should be able to run a load test on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Aload test was conducted at Kragen/O'Reilly. The battery was good. I ended up taking it to a mech. He was honest and good at electrical testing. He checked the battery again, then the starter relay. Both were good. Power was going to the starter but the starter was bad. The reason the starter was bad, was because I had a leaky oil pressure switch. The oil pressure switch, which is located above the starter on a 1993 Caravan with 3.0 engine, was leaking oil INTO the starter. Presumably it got into the body of the starter, and also probably more importantly, into the starter solenoid. I'm not sure, because he showed me the starter full of oil, but I couldn't see if it got into the solenoid (it appeared sealed). Same mech told me I had other oil leaks from the timing chain cover, and probably from the main crankshaft seals, and also the oil pan gasket.

He replaced the starter for $79+tax & core for the part and $90 labor (1.5 hours at $60 per hour including diagnosis).
He replaced the oil pressure switch for $33+tax for part and $30 labor
He greased the terminals on my battery and sent me on my way. $242.08 was my total price. I feel it was a good price since he told me where all my oil leaks were coming from.

I'm now wondering from the forum guys: does around $500 sound fair for the following:

-oil pan gasket replacement
-both valve cover gaskets replacement
-both timing chain cover gasket replacement
-new timing belt
-replace timing belt tensioner (I buy the part and supply to mechanic)
-crankshaft main seal replacement

The car loses approximately a quart of oil every 1,000 miles or so, however I check it religiously and add it every 3-4 days.
I'm torn because it's a good reliable beater that I use to haul things and for when I go to the junkyard to get car parts, but then again it's old, has lots of wear to the paint and I don't know if I will be using it for more than about 15,000 miles or so more. I feel like I could just be adding oil for the remainder of its life, but then again if it lasts for the full 15K miles I plan to use it (at least), then I could have just paid the mech the $500 by then instead of constantly adding oil
 

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$400 would be a pretty reasonable price.

$500 is a bit on the high side imo.

But it's also very important if you trust the mechanic....the slightly higher price might be worth it. Cheap work is often very expensive.

Expensive work can be a bargain. Depending.
 

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$400 would be a pretty reasonable price.

$500 is a bit on the high side imo.

But it's also very important if you trust the mechanic....the slightly higher price might be worth it. Cheap work is often very expensive.

Expensive work can be a bargain. Depending.
The advice is much appreciated. I will try to work the mech down to $400. I will be supplying all the gaskets and new timing belt, which I can get for cheap online. I figure I can buy all the parts and the oil for about $75. So I'll tell the mech I can pay him $400 and supply the parts, and see what he says.

Again, thanks for all the advice gents. It's good to know there's a forum where people still know a thing or two about these old vans
 

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You're welcome.

Owning these things is a LOT more relaxing and a lot less expensive if you have some tools and don't mind getting your hands dirty.

I don't know if you have any mechanical inclinations but it sure is mighty rewarding to repair things yourself.
 
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