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Minivan engine Just quits

HELP, My minivan has a problem and my repair guys cannot find the cause!!! While waiting at a lite, driving dow the stree or even going on the highway my car’s engine just QUITS. They changed the MAPS and some other part but it still quits. Sometimes t will restart right away. Sometines It takes 15-20min of playing to get it started. This past week it quit while driving on the freeway going 60mph and I had to sit at the side of the road over half an hour before it would start. Does anyone know what could be causing this?? My car is at the shop again for 3 days and they cannot find the cause. Please call Auto Masters at 925-798-8800 for any suggestions for them so I can get my car fixed finally. Thank you all.

What does it do after it stalls? You turn the key and … does it crank and crank and crank but won’t fire up? Or do you turn the key and nothing happens?

What year is it?

Is the check engine light on? If so, what the computer scanned for error codes? If so find out what the codes were and post them here - the exact codes, not what anyone says about them. If the van in a 1996 or later it will look like P1234. If it is 1995 or earlier it will likely just be a 2 digit number.

Unfortunately problems that occur intermittently and randomly are very difficult to figure out so it isn’t unusual that someone is having a hard time with it.

Hi, After it stalls and I turn the key it cranks and cranks but wont fire up. It is a 93 Plymouth Voyager. It has 165,268 miles on it. Only the check gages light comes on not the check engine light. I will have to check on the codes. The stupid care does not want to act up with the mechanics. It only did it one time for him yesterday but then started right up for him. It did not stay off. The outside weather does not matter nor if I have not driven it for a day or two. I will let you know about the codes next week. Thank you for your help. NORA

A 1990 Dodge Spirit I owned had a similar problem. The culprit was the Hall effect sensor in the distributor; when it fails, the computer assumes the engine is not running and shuts off the fuel, I believe. The sensor cost about $25 as I recall, and took maybe 2 minutes to replace. On the Spirit, I had to remove the distributor cap and rotor, then remove a metal plate underneath the rotor. This revealed a rotating 4-bladed metal rotor, and the sensor (a small, fixed coil with a 2-wire cable leading out of the distributor body).

Checking the hall effect gizmo makes sense if your van is so equipped (I suspect, however, that it has a coil pack & no distributor).

Does anyone know whether you are losing fuel or spark? Its probably one or the other (or both). You could take the van back and drive it. The next time it happens and won’t restart if you can find out whether it is fuel or spark it cuts the search in half.

If you don’t know how to do this maybe your shop is full of nice and reasonable people? They might show you - how to use a spark tester, for instance. Listen for a fuel pump…use starter fluid…and such things.

It might also help if you could say what has been replaced (other than the MAP) and why. What diagnostic steps have been taken?

Along with the other suggestion I would check the crank position sensor and the electrical power to the ignition system. Any relays in the circuit would be suspect and also the ignition switch.


where is the crank position sensor

Does the “check gauges” light come on right before the engine stalls? And do you hear a “ding, ding, ding”, along with the “check gauges” light? When it stalls, is your foot actually off the gas pedal?
Can you use starting fluid spray, in the engine intake, to get it re-started?

WHAT engine in your 1993 Plymout Voyager? A 4 cylinder, or a 6 cylinder?

They may want to try changing out the fuel pump relay and the auto shut-down relay.


I’m not sure where the sensor is on your model but would suspect it is at the front of the engine near the crank pulley.

I just saw another post about the location on a 2003 model. The sensor is located in the transmission bell housing for that model. Yours may be the same also.

Hi, I asked about the codes but, he said because the car would not quit at the shop he could not hook up the tester. Grrrrrr!! I will ask him tomorrow what all he has changed and I will let you all know. Thank you. Nora

You didn’t answer any of our questions, except some weak reason for not getting any codes (if there are any) by your mechanic. If you answered some of the questions, such as, “In what manner does the engine stall, etc”, we might have more definitive responses.

Sorry, OK here goes. The check gauge light does come on right before it stalls and I can feel it when I drive that its about to go. There is no ding, ding sound at all. My foot is on the gas pedal sometimes, I have never used a starting fluid spray. Its a 6 cylinder van. In the benining it would only stall while idaling at a light waiting for it to turn green (foot on brake). Then after a few weeks it would quit while driving (foot on the gas). Then 2 weeks ago it quit on me while driving 65mph on the freeway(foot on the gas). Since it had been acting up earler that day I was in the far right lane so I was able to coast to the side of the freeway to stop. We sat there about 25-30min till it finally started up again. I was glad that at 8:30pm on a Friday night that the road was not too busy. Having it quit on the freeway was not a good feeling at all. While sitting there I would try to start it. It would turn but would not kick in.

It is kind of sounding to me that there may be a fuel delivery problem causing this trouble. You need to see if it is a fuel or ignition problem. Carry a can of starter fluid with you and when the trouble happens again spray a small amount ( about a one second shot) into the air intake and then see if the engine tries to start. If it runs for a bit then you know the fuel system is the trouble. Perhaps the fuel pump relay. If the engine still shows no sign of life then it is most likely an ignition problem.

Hi, I will pick up a can today and keep it in the car for when it acts up again. I did not act up now for a few days last week but, last night after a 10min drive on the freeway and as I drove into the parking lot to park it quit. It did start up right away. Also last week I tried giving it more gas when starting from a stopped position at a light. I would push down on the gas pedal much more then I would normally do while driving to see if it made a difference. I have also driven a lot less for fear of my car quiting on me and not restarting at really bad times. I will let you know how the ignition spray does.

Hi again, Been busy. OK I did not get the ignition spray because it would need 2 people to use it. One to spray while another person tries to start it. I asked my mechanic what had been changed so far. We replaced the Map Sensor and the Cam Position Sensor so far. So I decided to hope the third time is the charm and I had him replace the Crank Shaft Position Sensor this past week. I will now watch it for a week to see if Hopefully this will finally fix the problem. I will get back to you all in a week to let you know. I will be keeping my fingers crossed.