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2005 Dodge Caravan-turns over but will not start

We were going down the road and van just stopped. The check engine light came on first and then it would turn over but wouldn’t start-what should I look at first?

You should look at whatever error codes got stored in the computer. They will have the format P1234. Major chain auto parts stores read these free. But some also lend them since the van isn’t running (?) or you can buy one for about $60.

Might as well start there.

What engine is in this van & how many miles are on it?

2.4L engine, 131,000 miles and no, it is not running. Thanks for the advice!

We are getting spark to the plugs and there are no codes stored in the computer.

Turn the key to on - not until it cranks, just to where the dash lights up. Listen for a 2-3 second hum that probably sounds like its behind you - that will be the fuel pump. If you don’t hear the pump start checking the fuses & relays for the fuel pump. The owners manual may be of some help, but generally you’ll need to check the fuse box inside of the car & the power distribution center under the hood. The PDC is probably along the driver’s side somewhere & the relay/fuse ids should be on the inside of the cover. The easiest way to test the relay is to just swap it with an identical one that you know is good (i.e. for a component that you know is working).

Of course, it would also be great to slap a fuel pressure gauge on it if you have one. If the pump runs the actual fuel pressure is the next thing I’d want to know.

Fundamentals. Pull a plug wire (isn’t this like a NEON with the DEEP plug wells and waste spark ignition?) and put a screw driver in the boot while someone cranks it with the screw driver close to a metal grounding surface. Do you see spark? If so, replace the plug wire and grab a can of some volatile and spray a slight amount in the throttle body (ether, brake clean, etc - you’ll have to remove some air plumbing/ducting to get to it) BE CAREFUL and be prepared for potential back fire - so don’t just spray continuously. Just a little at a time to see if it kicks. If it does, then you have a fuel issue that can either be the pump (most likely due to no codes) or some electronic issue that triggers the injectors. On rare occasions, the crank position sensor can be bad and throw no code. This happened on my son’s Cherokee. No codes when scanned. That, however would produce no spark. The cam position sensor is what triggers the fuel injector pulse. That should throw a code.

I’m getting the hum from the fuel pump but I’m not getting fuel to the fuel rail. I pulled off the fuel line. Question- should I be getting fuel there when I turn vehicle over? The gas tank is full.

Yes, you should get fuel at the rail - I assume that you just popped the pin on the pressure valve and no fuel comes out? If that is so, then you either have a fuel line completely blocked up (how old is that fuel filter?) or your pump is ok electrically but mechanically dead.

Put a new fuel filter on it and then see what happens. Actually, when you have the fuel filter off, you could rig a piece of hose onto the supply line, run it into a gas can, energize the pump and see what happens.

Well, we are still trying to figure out the problem. It is not the fuel pump, as we had thought. Could it be the timing chain?

It has a timing belt. Gates lists it as a non-interference engine, which I kinda find hard to believe …but …so it could be the reason it’s not starting and why it would just cut out.

You should be able to see the top cogs (cam sprockets) in one manner or another … If they’re turning, the thing should be doing something beside just sitting there. If truly snapped, it would still get spark from the crank sensor, but would not get fuel since the cam sensor would see nothing.

To verify that you are having a fuel delivery problem simply spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake. If the engine runs on that then you have confirmed the trouble. If it is fuel related the trouble may be with the injectors not working. Make sure all the fuses are good. If the injectors aren’t working and the fuses are ok then the trouble may be with the PCM module which controls the injectors.

Maybe the ASD (Automatic Shutdown) relay has gone bad. It’s not unheard of as a lot of electrical current for the injection, emissions, and ignition pass through that relay.

Your first step should be to verify that ALL fuses and fusible links are good. The engine controls run through a number of fuses/fusible links and if one fails the engine will quit running.

This may sound oversimplified but I’ve seen more than one vehicle towed (some for a 100 miles) because of something like a lowly blown fuse.

Spent some more time on the van. I did retrieve some codes. They are P2074-manifold pressure/
throttle position correlation high flow/vacuum leak. Next is P0016-crankshaft/camshaft timing
misalignment. Next one is P0340-no camshaft signal at powertrain control module [PCM].
The last one was P0522-engine oil pressure/switch circuit, low voltage. I checked all the relays again and sprayed starter fluid in air breather to see if it would turn over; no results. Wondering about cam sensor and timing chain.