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'01 Dodge Intrepid keeps dying while driving

My 01 Dodge Intrepid has a year old rebuilt engine and a yr. old master computer. Past two months, just dies while driving. Try to start and just turns over and over and over. Once it sits for two days, it will start right up first try. Twice it has died at the same spot on the highway entrance ramp! Seems like a clogged fuel filter but shop says there is plenty of fuel and good pressure. They think it is the computer and needs to be “flashed” at a dealer. I smell oil burning on the engine and the oil light keeps coming on but the oil was just changed and is still full and clean??? I’m unemployed and interviewing this week–please help diagnose! I can’t afford to keep paying for “guess” repairs. (forgot to tell you, the first time it went in for this problem the guy just replaced a relay–doesn’t show any codes) Just got it started today and was thinking to take it to the only Dodge dealer left in town for the computer flash but will this do any good? Please help!! Thank you thank you thank you! Jennifer

It could be the computer, but then it could also be a bad battery connection, or bad plug wires, or an intermittently-failing fuel pump, or a problem with the venting apparatus on your fuel tank.

So here’s what you do:

First, pop the hood and verify that the battery connections are tight and clean.

Then drive it around until it stalls, pull over, and take the gas cap off. Now try to start it again. If it starts right up instead of you having to wait for 2 days, you probably have a pressure problem with your fuel tank. This can be expensive, but you can just drive around with the gas cap slightly loose to keep the problem at bay until you’re back on your feet.

If it’s not tank pressure, then check for spark. If you have a timing light this is easy to do - just hook up the light and then put it inside the car and try to start it. If it flashes, you have spark. If you don’t have a timing light you’ll need help. Disconnect a spark plug wire and remove the spark plug, then put the wire back on the plug. Now have someone crank the car over while you watch the spark plug to see if it sparks.

If it’s not any of those things, and assuming you really are getting fuel pressure as you should, then that does point to a possible computer problem. Check its connection before you have it flashed, though, as a loose cable can cause problems like this, and since it was replaced so recently it’s certainly possible that whoever did the job didn’t get the cable seated properly.

Before you worry about anything else you should worry about that oil light. The oil light has nothing to do with the actual level of the oil in the engine. It is about oil pressure and by the time it comes on you’re basically already in a heap of trouble. Best case scenario is that it is the pressure sending unit itself. You said that you smell oil burning - has your shop checked for leaks? Oil pressure sending units do leak and if they are they will send a low pressure signal. Someone needs to measure the actual oil pressure. Maybe you just need a new shop?

As for the stalling, they probably replaced the ASD relay which if you have to guess isn’t a bad guess. But lets reduce the guessing. Go to an auto parts store and buy a can of starting fluid and a spark tester (for the spark plugs). The next time it stalls and won’t start you’re going to use those to figure out if you’re missing fuel or spark. If a little starter fluid squirted into the intake will get it to fire a little bit then you have a fuel problem. If that doesn’t help, hook up the spark tester & check for spark.

Someone at your shop or at the auto parts store can show you how to use these things if you don’t know how.

very good did not think of the spark test idea thank you

thank you will start testing

Quite welcome. Follow cigroller’s advice first - I got so busy talking about your stall problem that I completely forgot about your oil light, which could be very serious.