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OnlineHelp, Mechanic
Category: Car
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Experience:  Mechanic
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99 Villager: hesitation..warmed..Distributor Cap, Rotor

Customer Question

99 Villager has some serious hesitation only when warmed up. Changed out Spark Plug Wires, Distributor Cap, Rotor, and Spark Plugs. Ran a bit better, but didn''t change the hesitation. Replaced the fuel pump & strainer. runs smoother, but no difference in hesitation. Was suggested that I change the coil. Where the heck is the coil?? Suggestion to clean out the throttle body. Haven''t done this yet.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

Hello and thank you for choosing Just Answer.

1999-00 3.3L Engines

The ignition coil is part of the distributor assembly, and must be replaced as a unit. Please refer to Distributor, Removal and Installation for the procedure.

I don't believe that this is your problem I would suggest that you take a look at the crankshaft position sensor, rather than the coil (which is the distributor).


  1. Remove the CKP sensor from the vehicle.

  2. Visually inspect the sensor for signs of chipping or cracking, especially at the tip facing the flywheel.

  3. Connect ohmmeter leads between the sensor terminals.

  4. Compare the resistance with the following values:

    • 1996-98 vehicles: 432-528 ohms at 77°F (25°C).

    • 1999 vehicles: 166.5-203.5 ohms at 68°F (20°C).

    • 2000 vehicles: 512-632 ohms at 68°F (20°C).

  5. If the readings are outside of specifications, replace the sensor.

    Ohmmeter connections for CKP sensor testing

    Ohmmeter connections for CKP sensor testing

CKP sensor location

CKP sensor location

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Totally don't see the sensor. Looking to the lower right of the Valve cover (front). can send you a pic. All I see even under the hoist bracket is the exhaust manifold. Is it relatively in plain sight like the drawing you sent? Are you sure you are looking at a 99?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

You may have some trouble seeing it as it is a little lower than what it appears to be in that picture.

Emission and electronic engine control component locations-1999-00 3engines

Emission and electronic engine control component locations-1999-00 3.3L engines

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I removed the heat shield around the exhaust manifold to get a better look, but there is no wire hooked to any sensor in that area. We had the engine replaced a year or so ago. Is there a chance I have a newer engine? I do not think that it is an earlier model, as I could not find an ignition coil as my 93 - 98 manual shows (used to have a 93) Can I identify the engine? I would double your pay if you can help me to get this fixed, but right now, I don't see the sensor. (I'm no dummy when it comes to engines - I know what I should be seeing)
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

Did you try looking from the bottom?

Like I said it sits lower than what appears on the picutres. They all show top view, while the sensor is low, it's very low.

Even if you had a new model that picutre is for the 1999-2000.

Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

From the bottom look at the flywheel and I am sure you will spot the sensor.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Found it... Yikes. Underneath, under it's own heat shroud. Took the plastic shield off the bottom, and the wheelwell. Can get to it from under but will have to remove a few other parts. You fairly certain this should do it?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

Yes, I am fairly certain that is your problem. I would not waste my time with changing the distributor. If it was the distributor you would notice it throughout, not only when warmed up.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK... I'm off to get er out. Tell you what, if it works I'll pay you $20, if not, we'll keep going and I'll at least pay you the $9.00. How do I up the pay if I choose to?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

When we are done, hit accept and then it will prompt you to where you can add a bonus.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK... Replaced but no difference. The one I pulled out did have a dent in it (How that would happen inside the engine kinda scares me, but...)

Took it out for a test run and about 10-15 mins into the run, it started back with the hesitations again. Engine warmed up to normal range.

Service Vehicle Soon" Light did come on now. If it is still on tomorrow, I will take her down to Autozone to get the codes read.

Any ideas on what's next??
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.
Next would be getting the check engine light scanned and finding out why the light came on.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Will do. FYI... I took most of the manifold shields off, removed the hoist bracket, still didn't see it. Took the plastic guard off the front, and the wheel well plastic guard and could see it from the drivers side. After all that as I put it back together I found there is a plate held to the main manifold guard that gives access and a direct path to the nut that holds the heat shield over the sensor so you can't see it. Using a small ratchet, and a 12" small extension with a #10, you could loosen that shield from the top without taking all the things off I did.

I'll get to the ODB check tonight. TTL
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Went to Autozone, your alma mater, OBC pulled up P1336, P0325, and P0138. Crankshaft Position Center. Knock Sensor, and HO3S 12 circut condition (Heated Oxygen Sensor bank 1 sensor 2.

I think that the Knock sensor is just caused by bad gas from time to time, and the O2 can be set off from misfires, right? Which leaves the Crank Position Sensor again. I have put replacement parts in that don't work. Do I need to get another one?

What do you think? I don't want to go chasing sensors around?...

Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

Well, you may want to check the sensor make sure its mounted right. I dont think it's the other two, I do blieve they came on due to the misfire.

Also the P1336 is a Crankshaft/Camshaft position code, and I hate to tell you this but yoru camshaft position sensor is a part of the distributor as well.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'll double check the Crank Position Sensor again, but if that doesn't do it, then I'm looking at a distributor?

What about the Throttle Position Sensor? A buddy is telling me that he thinks that is what it is.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK pal... You get to be both the answer guy, and an Autozone rep. Pulled the sensor back out, and it looks fine. Tested it's resistance and it measures 561 at 78º anyway (not quite 68º) which is OK for a 1998 or 2000 vehicle (according to your info) A 1999 engine is supposed to be measuring between 166 & 203.

Called Autozone to see if they gave me the wrong year, but when they look up this part, Part# XXXXX is listing for a 1998, 1999, or 2000.

How sensitive is the rating for this part?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.
Thats the part, but the measure was low. You may need to purchase a O.E. (Original Equipment) from the dealer. That reading is off by a lot.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Read the old part and it reads the same resistance. It worked for years OK with that rating??
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

Well if the Crankshaft sensor is okay then you need to move on to the camshaft positions sensor (distributor) or have a freeze data done on the car to findout which sensor is giving wrong output.

Here is the code that's in question.

CKP = Crankshaft Postion Sensor

CMP = Camshaft Position sensor

Trouble Code: P1336 (3.3L V6 - Auto)
CKP or CMP Signal Malfunction

Possible Causes:

  • CKP sensor or CMP signal circuit is open or shorted to ground
  • CKP sensor or CMP sensor is damaged or failed (check for EMI/RFI on this circuit).
  • Base Engine problem or concern exists


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So if I take it to a local shop where I can have them throw a OBC tester on it, they should be able to isolate it for me?

Hey, can I pay you and still keep asking questions, ro if I go ahead and pay do I loose this link to you?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 8 years ago.

You can pay me and the link will stay open.

Yes you need to have a freeze data or live data test done to isolate which circuit is giving low output. You have three codes, you need to find out if the sensors are bad or if they are triggered all by one sensor.

OnlineHelp and other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
For the benefit of readers looking at his thread, the problem seems to have been fixed. I took the distributor cap off, removed the protective cover off from under the cap, and found the shaft to have a little bit of play in it. I think a bushing is going out. I blew out the unit with compressed air, and some small metal shards came out. Most likely from the bushing on the shaft. I cleaned off a bunch of built up dust off the pickup coil and disk, and put her back together. I put some more tension on the spring that contacts the main coil contact on the cap, by pulling it a little longer and placing it back in the coil when i put the cap on. Whatever combo or single thing I did here, it seems to be better now. The distributor might be going due to a worn bushing, but for the meantime, it is running better.