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sprinkles08
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 21572
Experience:  ASE Master & Advanced level certified, Chrysler Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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Chrysler town & Country Limited LXI: My 1998 Chrysler Minivan

Customer Question

My 1998 Chrysler Minivan dies and starts right back up periodically. For the first time it died while traveling at 65 miles per hour. I wouldn't start for about 3 minutes.. Starting is not hard. It usually always starts as soon as you hit the ignition. Engine runs great, Idles great, and gets great gas mileage. Any thoughts?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!
There are quite a few things that could be doing on. The powertrain control module could be going down due to an internal failure, junction block or wiring issue, you could be losing fuel pressure, or you could be losing spark. A failing crank sensor is the most likely cause of a loss of spark but it could also be wiring or an ASD relay issue.
The first step in diagnosing the problem is to check for fault codes. Do you know if any codes are setting?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My check engine light lights up periodically. But I dont know the code. Also I failed to mention this has been going on for two years.and all my dash lights arent affected.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
The first step in diagnosing the problem will be to see what codes are setting. If you don't have a scan tool or code reader you can have the codes read for free at most big chain parts stores such as Autozone.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, get back with you after I do that. See if they are open today.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
Sounds great!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The code is for the EGR Valve.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
What P code is setting?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
P0403
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
That won't be related to the dying.
In the period that it didn't restart did the starter still engaged?
Does it die abruptly like the key is turned off?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, the starter engages. It always instantly starts right up. Idles fine and runs fine. However, when first starting, as in this morning, it died a number of times getting out of my subdivision. Then as usual, doesn't die after the inital periodic ritual.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
After the initial dies. Which is just like turning the key off, except all other functions of the car works propertly, such as dash radio, blower etc. It will still die, but at much, much less intervals, could run for hours or a day or two.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
Have you noticed if the tach drops out before or during the time it dies, before the engine stops turning?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can't really say for certain. However, I feel like I may have seen that however, it happens so quickly, i really can't say. Another, fact that may or may not help, is that the van has always, at times bucked, like a bad transmission. It happens very seldom, but it does happen, more that I like. That has been going on off and on since we purchased it in 1999. Also, this is the 3rd transmission, so it doesn't seem to be a transmission problem.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But, makes me wonder if it isn't related. Such as ECU or PCM problem??
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Our heater/air blower, blows and doesn't blow also. It will sometimes go on while we are driving. It usually stays on once it comes on, but now always.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I probably, should retire this buggy. But, it runs so good, and doesn't use oil and ride great. So, I guess, I hate to give up.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I meant NOT always. NOT NOW always above.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
It will take monitoring data while it's happening to know for sure but I believe the crank sensor signal may be dropping out. The crank sensor monitors crankshaft speed and position and is the main input needed for spark. If the crank sensor is failing and it's signal is dropping out, there is a sensor wiring issue, or the cam sensor is internally shorting and taking down the 8v reference to the cam and crank sensors then it will die abruptly. If the 8v reference circuit goes down it will take down the cam and crank senors both at the same time, killing the engine, but no code can set.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Crankshaft Position Sensor Symptoms
There are a number of reasons why a crankshaft position sensor can fail, and a number of symptoms associated with that failure. Problems with the crankshaft sensor will often present as problems with engine timing. If you think your sensor has failed, here are some common symptoms of a bad crankshaft sensor that can help you in determining whether or not it has failed.Acceleration Problems
As the engine speeds up, there needs to be adjustments to spark timing and fuel injection. Without accurate input from the crankshaft sensor, the ECU can't make these adjustments as well as it should. This can result in slow or uneven acceleration.Reduced Gas Mileage
Without accurate timing information fuel injection won't occur as efficiently as it should. That means the engine will need to use more gas and your morning commute will use up more fuel than usual.Engine Misfires
Lack of proper spark timing can cause a different problem: one or more of the cylinders may misfire. That is to say combustion may be disrupted. You will feel, and maybe hear, this as a brief stutter in the engine.Rough Idling
You might feel that the engine runs rough or vibrates at idle, say, when you're sitting at a red light. This is similar to the above in that it stems from poor spark timing.Stalling
As seen with rough idling, sometimes crankshaft sensor problems are worse at low engine speeds. Sometimes the engine might even stall out entirely at low speed if the fuel injectors aren't giving it the fuel it needs.Difficult Starting or No Starting
It might be hard to get your engine started without the fuel it needs or without proper timing. If the crankshaft sensor has failed completely, and isn't sending a signal to the ECU at all, then the computer won't send any fuel to the injectors. This will leave you unable to start the car.Check Engine Light
A failing or failed crankshaft position sensor may cause the check engine light on your dashboard to come on. A diagnostic scan tool will show a code between P0335 and P0338. The check engine light doesn't always come on, though, so you could be experiencing any of the above symptoms for some time before you see the warning light.Related Issues
There are a number of different problems that can cause similar symptoms to a crankshaft position sensor problem. Many of the issues mentioned above can be caused by failures in the ignition system or fuel injection system. Before you conclude that the crankshaft position sensor is bad you may need to run some tests.Does This Sound Like Your Car?
If you are experiencing the problems mentioned above, then it may very well be time to replace your bad crankshaft position sensor. However, before you replace it, you might want to run some tests first to confirm that the crank sensor really is the source of the problem. Check out this article from the experts at 1A Auto to learn more about how to test a crankshaft position sensor.Doesn't have any of the symptoms but the stall? Got anything else?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
You don't believe that the crank sensor could be the problem because it causing all of the issues on this list?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No because, it isn't causing any of the symptoms. It doesn't sputter, rough idle, run rich, etc, etc. Looks like it would have at least a few of the other symptoms at least once. Am I wrong about that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It seems the ecu or pcm symptoms seem to fit it much better. What's your thoughts on that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm wondering if I have a loose connection or bad connector in the ecu module located under the hood. Add to this, I have memory of have a problem when I first bought the car, but out of warranty, of the shop jumping wires from the unit, and explaining that they just saved me a lot of money. Kinda starting to make sense to me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With that extra info, do you have any thoughts for me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, I'm also just remembering the wires going to the unit being melted and having to be replaced.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That was at least 10 years ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
However, if you feel, that the sensor may possibly fix it, I would be willing to try. How, do I go about doing it?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
I'll dissect the list then. It reads like something taken from a Yahoo news article rather than someone with working technical knowledge of a vehicle. If the PCM was failing it would prevent the starter from engaging, which is why I specifically asked if it was.
Acceleration Problems
As the engine speeds up, there needs to be adjustments to spark timing and fuel injection. Without accurate input from the crankshaft sensor, the ECU can't make these adjustments as well as it should. This can result in slow or uneven acceleration.
This isn't relevant information.
Reduced Gas Mileage
Without accurate timing information fuel injection won't occur as efficiently as it should. That means the engine will need to use more gas and your morning commute will use up more fuel than usual.
Completely false.
Engine Misfires
Lack of proper spark timing can cause a different problem: one or more of the cylinders may misfire. That is to say combustion may be disrupted. You will feel, and maybe hear, this as a brief stutter in the engine.
The crank sensor can't cause a single cylinder to misfire.
Rough Idling
You might feel that the engine runs rough or vibrates at idle, say, when you're sitting at a red light. This is similar to the above in that it stems from poor spark timing.
The crank sensor won't cause a rough idle.
Stalling
As seen with rough idling, sometimes crankshaft sensor problems are worse at low engine speeds. Sometimes the engine might even stall out entirely at low speed if the fuel injectors aren't giving it the fuel it needs.
Partially true, but the writer shows they aren't familiar with what a crank sensor is used for. The amount of fuel injected doesn't matter if spark is lost, and if the crank sensor signal is missing there won't be any injector pulse anyway.
Difficult Starting or No Starting
It might be hard to get your engine started without the fuel it needs or without proper timing. If the crankshaft sensor has failed completely, and isn't sending a signal to the ECU at all, then the computer won't send any fuel to the injectors. This will leave you unable to start the car.
Again correct in that it can cause a no start condition but not really written correctly. Without the crank sensor there will be no injector pulse and no spark, not a timing problem.
Check Engine Light
A failing or failed crankshaft position sensor may cause the check engine light on your dashboard to come on. A diagnostic scan tool will show a code between P0335 and P0338. The check engine light doesn't always come on, though, so you could be experiencing any of the above symptoms for some time before you see the warning light.
A failing crank sensor will set a code about 50% of the time and I mentioned a common issue on this control system that can prevent a code from setting at all. Also note that the last sentence states you may experience any of the symptoms without seeing the engine light.
Unfortunately I won't be of any help if you choose not to trust my factory training and years of dealer experience. Your question is open for others.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
However, if you feel, that the sensor may possibly fix it, I would be willing to try. How, do I go about doing it? That was the last part of my reply. Which, I had hoped you would interpret as giving you your due. I appreciate you taking the time to individually answer the breakdown. Sorry, you took offense

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