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Help with 97 Villager rough idle

04-19-2009, 05:09 AM
Hi. We just had to take apart the engine to replace the knock sensor. When my friend put the engine back together it began to have a rough idle and cuts off if you dont give it gas. He brought his computer system up to diagnose it and it showed a misfire issue and a erg valve problem. We replaces the spark plug wires and distributor cap and checked the plugs and they are all good. Yesterday,we replaces the erg valve and it is still doing the same thing!! This is our only vehicle and we have four children. I honestly don't know what else could be wrong!! Any ideas or help would be much appreciated!!

04-19-2009, 09:28 AM
What was the reason for changing the knock sensor???? These knock sensors rarely fail!!!!!! Any vibration in the engine will set a knock sensor code. Where there any other codes present???????

Check your IAC valve and clean.

Which engine and how many miles???

05-01-2009, 07:36 PM
I have the same problem.My 93 villager runs great till it gets warmed up,then its miss fires and back fires very bad.I changed the plugs, wires,dist cap,cat converter,and cleaned the mass airflow sensor.I want to clean the IAC but don,t know how to do it.Any hints?Thanks!

05-01-2009, 10:04 PM
I have the same problem.My 93 villager runs great till it gets warmed up,then its miss fires and back fires very bad.I changed the plugs, wires,dist cap,cat converter,and cleaned the mass airflow sensor.I want to clean the IAC but don,t know how to do it.Any hints?Thanks!

Check out this thread:

Have you checked the optical sensor in the distributor for any dust on it?? These distributors are prone to bearing failure which forms a grayish dust on the optical sensor causing it not report correctly to the PCM causing the misfire. Check out your distributor.

Hope this helps

Sending a PM

05-05-2009, 11:10 PM
Problem fixed.I cleaned the optical sensor on the distributor and changed the coil and all is well.There is an occasional miss when Idling in park but that's it.Van runs much better.:smile:

I noticed there is a little play on the dist. rotor,is that normal?

BTW,I gotta thank tempfixit for his great advice.He saved me lots of money.:biggrin:

05-06-2009, 05:10 AM
Thanks for posting fix crowpruitt.

Can you describe the play on the rotor a little more? Ae you saying the rotor itself has play or is there play in the distributor shaft meaning the bearing is getting bad?
When you cleaned the optical sensor was there grayish dust on it, if so possibly the bearing is failing causing the occasional miss. Check out ebay for a distributor, you may find one there.

How many miles on vehicle?

05-06-2009, 08:03 PM
The play I am talking about is when I grab the rotor I can wiggle it a little.

There was indeed grayish dust on the optical sensor as well as the dial with slashes on it(sorry,don't know what dial is

I'm not sure how many miles are on the motor,cause we just had it put in due to timing belt break on the original motor.I guess the valves were bent.I have the distributor from the original motor though.

Think I should change the distributor Tempfixit?

Thanks again for all your help!!!

05-06-2009, 10:45 PM
I would inspect the distributor from the original engine for dust and condition of bearing. If the same conditions exist on the original distributor I would consider finding a known good distributor or a remanufactored, look on ebay for a reman. one.
IF the original does not have any indication of the grayish brown dust it would be a good idea, I think it would remedy your missing problem.

I am surprised that there were bent valves with a timing belt breaking as these engines are non interference engines and should not be any contact between pistons and valves when belt breaks. Unlikely a compression test was done before removal. Were the heads removed to determine that valves were bent?? Do you still have the original engine?? I believe someone gave you incorrect info on your old engine.

The dial you are referring too is called the camshaft sensor.

When you replace the distributor either set number 1 clyinder (front clyinder"closest to passenger tire" on the head closest to the firewall) at TDC of compression stroke or mark the distributor housing and engine for same location placement of distributor housing. Also mark the rotor location before removal and install at same location. You will need to check the timing once the distributor has been installed with a timing lite.
You can also look up the procedure in the online service manual.

Glad to be of help and don't be afraid to ask other questons if any, that what this forum is all about, to help each other.

05-06-2009, 11:26 PM
Wow,I believe I was lied to.:mad:What happened was,my wife's grandfather owns a garage.Any family member receives free labor.He told us that the motor was junk(after timing belt broke)and we should just get another vehicle.He said valves were bent and crank was broke.I am not a very good mechanic.I just know the basics,like oil changes,plugs and wires,and simple stuff like that.So we just took his word for it.I never actually inspected the motor myself,and still haven't.

We put alot of money into our van(tire,shocks,etc.)and to be honest we never owned a more dependable vehicle than that villager.So after a brief discussion between my wife and I,we decided to fix it.

So,we called a few junkyards and found a 3.0L that would fit(only it came from a 95,our van is a 93) and had a friend change motors.The motor cost 300.00 and my friend charged 300.00 to put it in.He still has the old motor,btw.That is where I got the coil and extra dist. from.

So what you are telling me Tempfixit,all the old motor needed was a new timing belt,correct?If it is,then I think my wifes pap,and uncle didn't want to change that broken belt.It would have been cheaper if they were honest about it,because my friend who changed motors for us would surely have done the job for alot less than the 300.00 motor swap.

Oh boy when my wife hears this ,she is gonna be fired up,lol.

Well,I really am thankful for folks like you Temp that take the time to help us less mechanically inclined folks out.You really did save me alot of time and money.And nowadays with 3 kids,thats a godsend.THANK YOU!:smile::smile::smile:

Edit:When I said the rotor wiggled I meant shaft and rotor wiggled.It don't wiggle much,but there is some play there.I will check other distributor and post back.

05-07-2009, 06:54 AM
You mentioned something that was not revealed before about the old engine, (BROKEN CRANKSHAFT) where did the crank break???? The 93-95 engines are known for the crankshaft snout to break. (They usually break in the area of the harmonic balancer where the timing belt cranshaft gear is on the crank) The 93-95 crankshaft have a smaller snout than the 96's and newer. The main reason these cranks break on these engines is that the drive belts (PS, alternater, and a/c belts) are OVERTIGHTENED causing excessive pressure on the crank causing it to break. Make sure that the belts are not overtightened on the engine that has been installed.

Take the time if you can and inspect the old engine yourself to see where the crankshaft broke. If indeed the crank did break it would act as if the timing belt broke. If you friend has air wrenches it will be easy to remove the harmonic balancer bolt and the balancer should come off crank with little pressure. ANother thing you could do is try moving the crankshaft at the harmonic balancer to see if it has a movement verifying the broken crank.

Did your friend install a new timing belt and water pump in the used engine that you had installed as it would have been the ideal time to do it. When the engine was out of the vehicle it would take a fraction of the time to install??? I installed a new timing belt in my 94 about a year ago and it took me about 8 hrs to do from start to finish. (Engine in the vehicle)

Your friend removing the original engine and installing the salvage yard engine for $300.00 was a very fair rate for the job.

I would consider replacing the distributor because you say it has shaft play, so in time it is only going to get worse and leave you or your family stranded in the future. Find a good used one as they are exspensive new.

Personally I would inspect the old engine so you know the complete story on it before talking with family to prevent any hard feelings.

05-07-2009, 05:41 PM
I was told by my wife's grandfather that the crank was broke,I am not sure where it broke. We just took his word for it.

Unfortunately,we didn't have the money at the time to get timing belt or water pump when the engine was being installed.I am getting my mechanic friend to change that when I receive my state tax refund in about a month. He said he would do that for 150.00.Which I thought was a good deal.

Something you said caught my attention about the belts being too tight.When I make a turn in my van,the power steering belt squeals like crazy.Would that be an indication that the belt is too tight?If so how hard is it to loosen up?

I have no hard feelings towards my wife's pap about what happened.We are a little wiser now though.From now on we will get a couple opinions first before we make any decisions on our vehicle,lol.

I'm just glad we did not scrap that old motor,because there may be parts I can use off that in the future.It is currently at my friends house that did the motor swap.I'm gonna give him a call and have him inspect it to see exactly how bad it really is.

Thanks again for your time and great advice Tempfixit!

05-07-2009, 07:32 PM
Usually squealing of the belt is that it is to loose. There is bolt that you can adjust the tension with. The best way is too remove the passenger wheel, plastic cover on inner fender well to get to the adjuster to adjust. Make sure you use jack stand to support the vehicle when working on it.

$150.00 for labor to do the timing belt is very reasonable.

Keep us posted on what your mechanic finds out with the crankshaft and if you install a different distributor.

05-09-2009, 09:34 AM
Thank Tempfixit,I'll keep updating this thread on what I find.Thanks again for your great posts! :smile::smile::smile:

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