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97 Dodge Caravan won't start

The Crew
09-17-2007, 02:59 PM
97 Dodge Caravan SE (AWD) My wife drove to the store, when she went to leave, veh started then shut-off. I treid to start, no luck. Went back out the next day, vehicle immediately started and died. 12 hrs later, tried again same result, starts immediately then dies. I can hear the fuel pump running. I am going to replace the fuel filter and see what happens. Any suggestions?

09-17-2007, 04:07 PM
Welcome aboard. Always let us know which engine/transmission you have and what maintenance has been completed recently.

Changing the fuel filter won't hurt if it's due but, I doubt it will fix your problem. To properly test the fuel system you need to connect a fuel pressure gauge to determine the pressure the pump is producing. Should be near 49 psi. Short of that you can get a good idea by opening the shreader valve test port on the fuel rail. If fuel spirts out, you're getting decent pressure. If it dribbles or you see nothing, this warrants further fuel system maintenance. To prep, put on a pair of safety glasses, make sure the engine is cold, surround the valve with a rag to catch the fuel, turn the key on for 30 seconds then back to off, open the valve by carefully depressing the valves plunger with a small screwdriver or punch. Don't want to mess with all that? Crank the engine a minute or two then remove a spark plug. It should be wet with fuel.

Are you seeing the SEL (Service Engine Light). In either case do the key dance to see if any error codes are stored. Crank or cam sensors are infamous for causing your problem to one degree or another. The fact you hear the pump points away from them but, still worth checking. Make sure they are tight and connections are tight and not corroded. Unfortunately, they can fail without turning on the SEL as they should.

The Crew
09-17-2007, 09:20 PM
Thanks for the quick response, my goal is to get the vehicle running again. I was going to replace the fuel filter first, because it is probably the cheapest, and if I have to replace the fuel pump, I would want a new filter on it anyway. I am open to advice, I am "mechanically inclined", but I know little about Chrysler/Dodge. I went with a friend to pickup the vehicle today, I tried to start it before we moved it, no joy. We towed it out of the parking stall and over to the car caddy. Just for kicks, I tried to start it again, it started right up. I let it run for a while, then drove it around the parking lot. It seemed to run fine for about 500 meters, then it stalled and would not start. We loaded it up and brought it back to my house. Going to start working on it tomorrow, checking for loose wires, grounds etc. before installing new parts. Will also check the fuel pressure via the schreader valve.

It is a 97 Grand Caravan SE, 132,000 miles, 3.8L V6 MFI (not sure about Tranny) Recent servicing includes New Transmission, new radiator, new water pump, new brake lines, new A/C compressor, new starter, new tires, oil change less than 1500 miles, air filter and plugs.

Any help or suggestions.

The Crew
09-20-2007, 07:39 AM
Hello All,
Well it is running again, but I still do not know why it quit.
Fri the 14th, my wife called me to tell me that it would not start. I checked it out in the parking lot and everything seemed to working, however it would not start. On Sunday, I went out to make sure it hadn't been vandalized, it started right away, them immediately quit. I assumed a clogged fuel filter. (I could hear the fuel pump running). On Mon, a friend and I went to pick it up, I tried to start it before we moved it, no joy. We towed it out of the parking stall and over to the car caddy. Just for kicks, I tried to start it again, it started right up. I let it run for a while, then drove it around the parking lot. It seemed to run fine for about 500 meters, then it stalled and would not start. We loaded it up and brought it back to my house. Tues evening, I opened the hood, disconnected the battery and checked fuses and relays, poked around looking for any loose/corroded wires or connections, all looked good. Tried to start it, it started and ran fine. Has been running ever since, been driving it to/from work, (about 8 miles round-trip) seems to be running fine. Checked for stored codes, no codes found. I did notice that there was a lot of water on the passenger floor. I found that the "water tray" underneath the windshield was clogged with leaves and dirt. Cleaned and flushed the tray and drain lines, that seems to have fixed the water leaking inside the van. I drove it to work today in the rain, no problems.

Is it possible that the water that was leaking inside the van caused a short or caused some electrical component inside the van to fail? I did notice that whenever we moved the van there was a lot of moisture inside the engine compartment near the firewall, and water was dripping from under the vehicle. (I noticed because it had not rained since it was parked so I was wondering where the water had come from)


09-20-2007, 03:30 PM
Well, cross your fingers. Try to remember exactly which connections you messed with if it crops up again. Disconnecting the battery clears the fault codes. Your water problem could have effected it but, can't think what is on the passenger side that would.

09-20-2007, 08:00 PM
I would pull the battery cables even if they don't look corroded. thoroughly clean and rough up the battery terminal posts and the inside of the clamps , these can build up an almost invisible high resistance film . Had the same problem on our old 96 and this fixed that problem of it not starting , also have the battery load tested , if it is something like that it probably hasn't been charging correctly either , something easy to try and best of all its fre :-)

The Crew
09-21-2007, 12:14 PM

Crossing my fingers did not work. I drove the van to and from work for two days, no problems other than the water on the floor. I let my wife drive it today, Check Engine Light came on, checked for codes, came up with
Code 27-Fuel injector control circuit-fuel injector output driver does not respond properly to the control signal.
Can anyone tell me what that means and what I should be looking for??


09-21-2007, 05:26 PM
Do you think the world is out to get you at times?

One or more of six fuel injectors on one or more of your six cylinders is not working. Could be the injector itself or the wiring between it and the PCM or the PCM itself. I would imagine it was running rough.

Three ways to determine which injector is effected. 1) Go to Autozone and have them connect a scanner and read the scanner codes. It's free and I recommend it. Each cylinder has an individual code. 2) Gain access to the injectors and with the engine running feel each. The one not clicking has the problem. 3) With the engine running, disconnect each injector connector one at a time. The one that doesn't change engine RPM is the problem injector.

Of course you should visually check all connections. Might just be loose or dirty. When you find one thats not firing make sure it's getting a fire pulse from the PCM before you replace it. Have to have the engine running and it's best to use a special test light called a noid light by connecting it to the disconnected harness from the PCM. You can use a meter but, you stand a chance of frying the PCM. You can check the resistance of the injector. Should be near 12 ohms. Hopefully you'll find something obvious and can skip all this.

Did you fiddle with the injector harness or injectors when t-shooting? Can't see this causing your stall/no start problem unless you have multiple injectors not firing.

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