Carivan won't start after several repairs


I have a 2000 dodge carivan that has 290,000 miles on it. I don’t want to put a lot of money into it.

Just recently I put in anew alternator, then had some work done on the exhaust.

Immediately afterward, I had trouble starting it. My macanic fixed a gas leak, then it would start sometimes, other times it would not start. Then different macanic, replaced a sensor. It started a few times and it is back to not starting again.

It makes an rrrrrr sound like it is getting some sparks, but it won’t make the final start. The battery was tested, and jumping it with cables doesn’t help. My brother and the tow truck driver thought it might be the fuel pump, which was replaced about a year ago.

Any thoughts?


Make sure all the fuses are good

Verify that the plugs are getting spark

Verify that the fuel pressure is within normal specs . . . with a gauge

Perform a compression test

290K? That Caravan has done well by you I’d say. Every mile going forward is like free money it seems to me. Since the last thing done was exhaust work, and provided you’ve proved by testing the spark and timing is ok, my guess is some exhaust problem or another remaining. You know how kids put a potato in the exhaust pipe, then the car won’t start? Exhaust problems can easily prevent a car from starting. A mechanic would probably do an intake manifold vacuum reading during the crank process. If that wasn’t conclusive, I think what I’d do is break the exhaust system open before the cat and see if the car would start fine then. It would be loud and unsafe, I’m not saying drive it that way, but it’s just a temporary debug to see if that fixes the no-start problem. If it starts fine that way, you’ve either got an exhaust obstruction or a leak.