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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been working on my 2002 caravan 3.3L sport for a few weeks trying to fix a rough idle and stuttering when I start moving from a stop. It also chugs going up hills.

I was getting a p0403 code, so I checked the connector to the egr valve it was corroded. I replaced the connector, code still there. So I replaced the egr valve and now there is no code, which would be great but all the same symptoms are still happening. I will say it has improved but it still happens with the same frequency. Now it doesn't chug much when I'm in park but when I'm in drive stopped it chugs.

My Googling turn up something about the C102 connector

if you guys have any ideas or advice I love to hear them.

I also changed out 4 of the 6 spark plugs, 2 where seized and I didn't want to break them. Edit. I should also include that I've already replaced all the spark plug wires.
 

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You need to get those last 2 spark plugs out. Use the smallest racket set you have a spark plug socket for. If you had 1/2" and 3/8" then use the 3/8". It puts less force on the plug than the 1/2". Let the car run or take it for a ride to heat up the engine. Then put on a long sleeve jacket and gloves so you don't get burned and use the tighten, loosen, tighten, loosen method in this video.


You or a mechanic has to get those out to start the fix right.


Causes of rough idling are:

Dirty fuel injectors so get a good quality fuel injector and fuel system cleaner and run a tank of treated gas.

Spark plugs, wires and ignition coil. I would start with getting the last 2 plugs changed so you have all new plugs. Keep wires and ignition coil tinkering on back burner if other stuff doesn't fix it.

Is the air filter clean?

Make sure PCV (positive ventilation valve) is clean and open.

EGR valve you already addressed.

If still not fixed test all the spark plug wires or replace without testing if they are old.

Test ignition coil. Videos on YouTube link...


If still not fixed then physically clean fuel injectors.

If still not fixed I am stumped.
 

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Lack of misfire in park while having a misfire in gear is usually a dead giveaway of spak/ignition failure. Get those last two plugs dealt with before you give yourself room to overthink anything else. If the wires are old, replace them as well.

If you want to try out some actual diagnosing before shotgunning a hundred other new parts at it, I have some steps to share. I would think that you've got to have a misfire code by now. Assuming you've got some kind of code reader at your disposal, plug it in and look for misfire codes. (P0300 through P0306 are possible) They don't have to turn on a check engine light to have pending codes stored. (If you have an actual scan tool, I'd love to know about it.)

If you don't have a code yet, you could take the van out for a beating on the road. Mash the gas pedal while you're climbing some steep hills and be aggressive on take offs. The big idea would be to force the van to have enough misfires to create a new code. Don't try too hard for too long on that step. If you overdo it, you could melt down your catalytic converter if it is a spark misfire. If your check engine turns on and starts flashing at you, you've accomplished your goal and it's begging you to stop beating on it at that point. Also, try to be mindful that I'm encouraging you to drive really aggressive without being a jackass.

If you can find/create a new misfire code, my money says you'll be able to pinpoint it to the plug(s) you haven't changed yet. If the misfire points to a cylinder where the plug is new, then it's time to swap that spark plug to a different cylinder and look for the misfire to move with the spark plug. If the misfire stays at the same cylinder, you can swap plug wires between two cylinders that are close enough in length or have that new box of wires handy. You're still looking for the misfire to move. Any time the misfire code moves with the part you just moved, the part you just moved is a bad part. If you swapped in a new part and the misfire goes away, the other part is also junk. It's easy to get tunnel vision here. You can find a problem, and may still have more than one problem to chase. Also keep in mind that new parts can still be bad parts.

If the misfire still hasn't moved, you'll want to get yourself an adjustable inline spark tester. Thexton P/N THX458 is what I recommend. (I'll add a pic below) Dial the tester all the way out to 40kV and install it into the spark plug end of the plug wire of the misfiring cylinder and connect the other end to a clean block ground. Start the van up and look for the spark tester to show a clean white/blue spark consistently jumping the gap. Another method you could try is with a test light and you can do this at both ends of the spark plug wire. One end tests the wire, the other tests the coil. It's about the same test as the inline tester, but it can be a shocking experience, so it's up to you if you want to attempt it. But it's the cheapest & easiest way I'd know of to check for a faulty wire or coil on waste spark system like yours. Here's a Scanner Danner video to show you exactly what I'm talking about:


Paul uses a scan tool and a test light to prove his teaching. You don't need a scan tool. You just need to be able to observe where the spark is or isn't happening with the test light. Pay attention to what he's saying about companion cylinders and how the RPM drops. If it's an issue with wiring leading to the coil, we can discuss that later. And before I forget, the other end of your test light needs to be connected to a clean engine or chassis ground. Never connect it to directly to the battery ground.

Whatever you do next, please just stay focused on the ignition system for now. We can move past it once we know there's nothing left to diagnose within it. I realize I've been a bit contradictory here. Don't buy a hundred new parts, but buy new parts. So I'll clarify: Two more spark plugs and a set of wires if/as needed, yes. Bottles of injector cleaner, and new injectors, and another EGR valve, and a PCV valve, and a new PCM and everything else, no. Not before proving they're actually bad components anyway.

In the meantime, can you share some pictures of the old plugs you were able to remove?

Inline tester as promised:
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You or a mechanic has to get those out to start the fix right.


Causes of rough idling are:

Dirty fuel injectors so get a good quality fuel injector and fuel system cleaner and run a tank of treated gas.

Spark plugs, wires and ignition coil. I would start with getting the last 2 plugs changed so you have all new plugs. Keep wires and ignition coil tinkering on back burner if other stuff doesn't fix it.

Is the air filter clean?

Make sure PCV (positive ventilation valve) is clean and open.

EGR valve you already addressed.

If still not fixed test all the spark plug wires or replace without testing if they are old.

Test ignition coil.

If still not fixed then physically clean fuel injectors.

If still not fixed I am stumped.
Alrighty thanks for the reply! Spark plugs number one priority, gotcha. Got the van in the garage and I've been getting it to temp and adding PB blaster to hopefully help break them loose over the next few days. Of coarse it's the 2 plugs on the back right so it's a pain not being able to look at them directly.

I should have mentioned that I've already changed the spark plug wires. And I will check the coil pack before I go ordering a new one.

Pcv was function fine, altho a little sticky. cleaned now

I've got a can of sea foam to use when I fill it up to hopefully clean out the fuel system.

Changed the air filter anyway. Wasn't too bad but since I'm getting the van ready for a 8000km trip figured I might as well do it.

Thanks for the advice, I'll get those 2 plugs and run the sea foam and I'll post back in here with my results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lack of misfire in park while having a misfire in gear is usually a dead giveaway of spak/ignition failure. Get those last two plugs dealt with before you give yourself room to overthink anything else. If the wires are old, replace them as well.

If you want to try out some actual diagnosing before shotgunning a hundred other new parts at it, I have some steps to share. I would think that you've got to have a misfire code by now. Assuming you've got some kind of code reader at your disposal, plug it in and look for misfire codes. (P0300 through P0306 are possible) They don't have to turn on a check engine light to have pending codes stored. (If you have an actual scan tool, I'd love to know about it.)

Whatever you do next, please just stay focused on the ignition system for now. We can move past it once we know there's nothing left to diagnose within it. I realize I've been a bit contradictory here. Don't buy a hundred new parts, but buy new parts. So I'll clarify: Two more spark plugs and a set of wires if/as needed, yes. Bottles of injector cleaner, and new injectors, and another EGR valve, and a PCV valve, and a new PCM and everything else, no. Not before proving they're actually bad components anyway.

In the meantime, can you share some pictures of the old plugs you were able to remove?
Thanks for the input! I do not have a code reader but I've been taking it to lube city where they will plug one in for free which has been helpful.

I should have stated before that I have already replaced all the spark plug wires.

If changing these last 2 plugs doesn't sort my problem I will get into working my way through some of your ideas. Unfortunately I am running out of time on these repairs before a trip across Canada.

Here is a pic of some of the old plugs
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Quit fooling around Hokey. Those plugs look like they were out of a Model T. LOL! Now show us your plugs.

Those plugs are worn out for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quit fooling around Hokey. Those plugs look like they were out of a Model T. LOL! Now show us your plugs.

Those plugs are worn out for sure.
Hahaha still got another 50000 on em at least :p

The last 2 have fossilized I'm thinking
 

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Initially, the plugs looked a little scary because of how dirty the porcelain was. But careful observation indicates those plugs are not very old at all. That makes me wonder if you're not the first person to have trouble replacing two spark plugs in the past. If you can see those last two plugs as they rest in the heads, I'd like you to take a look at and maybe even snap pics of them if you can. You'll notice that even for as dirty as the plugs are that you've pulled, you can still see the shell in a silver color. The manufacturer specified interval for your plugs is 60K which means the shells would be good & rusty if they've lived a full life. I really want to see if the shells on the last two look silver like the two in the pics or are they rusted to hell. People do shit jobs like a half a turne up and they get away with it, too. Dodge is no help in this scenario either.

Within the 01-07 generation of the Caravan, the engineers decided to change the spark plug interval from 60,000 to 102,000 miles. Either 05 or 06 was the change over year. They changed nothing else. The coil, wires, and the spark plugs remained entirely the same. I can tell you from experience, those plugs are pretty good at living well beyond their intended life spans at either interval. You may have two spark plugs that did just that, but are now ready for a trash can funeral.

Right or wrong, I really want to see those last two plugs. Please keep us posted.
 
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I've been working on my 2002 caravan 3.3L sport for a few weeks trying to fix a rough idle and stuttering when I start moving from a stop. It also chugs going up hills.

I was getting a p0403 code, so I checked the connector to the egr valve it was corroded. I replaced the connector, code still there. So I replaced the egr valve and now there is no code, which would be great but all the same symptoms are still happening. I will say it has improved but it still happens with the same frequency. Now it doesn't chug much when I'm in park but when I'm in drive stopped it chugs.

My Googling turn up something about the C102 connector

if you guys have any ideas or advice I love to hear them.

I also changed out 4 of the 6 spark plugs, 2 where seized and I didn't want to break them. Edit. I should also include that I've already replaced all the spark plug wires.
Might help to clean your MAP sensor inside the big air filter hose and clean inside your throttle plate with carb cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Might help to clean your MAP sensor inside the big air filter hose and clean inside your throttle plate with carb cleaner.
Do I have to remove the throttle body to clean it or can I just spray carb cleaner inside it while it's still in place?
 

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Do I have to remove the throttle body to clean it or can I just spray carb cleaner inside it while it's still in place?
No, just remove the big hose that connects it to the air filter housing and spray some carb cleaner in the throttle. You can open the butterfly and spray in there too. Keep a towel handy to clean it. It really made a difference in how my 01 caravan runs.
 
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