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Chrysler Repair/'98 Sebring 2.5l v6: no start after timing belt replaced


         Its been a while since you and I traded emails. Here is the new situation. I found out that the timing belt was broken. I went ahead and replaced the timing belt. While I was in there, I replaced the following parts, water pump, timing belt tensioner, timing belt tensioner pulley, and the timing belt idler pulley. Prior to finding out that the timing belt was broken, I replaced the spark plugs, distributor, and crankshaft position sensor.

         Upon completion of the timing belt repair, the vehicle would not start, only crank over and I was not seeing spark. I removed a plug and held it to ground. I swapped out the ASD relay with the high fan sped relay and it produced spark. I will replace the ASD relay on Tuesday as its the long weekend and the dealerships parts counter is closed until then. But, meanwhile, now when I crank the engine, t will turn over many times and partially start. It takes a long time and it wont stay running, its just a partial start. It did back fire once.

         I did remove the front timing belt cover and get the timing mark on the pulley as close as possible to the timing mark on the tin cover (top dead center). I checked the rotor in the distributor and it was pointing to the number 1 wire which leads to the number one cylinder. When I replaced the timing belt, I was able to line up all the timing marks perfectly and tension the belt properly. I even rotated the crankshaft 2 revolutions and double checked the timing marks. I did this a few more times for peace of mind. Every time I rotated 2 revolutions, the marks were spot on.

         Any and all advice will be much appreciated. I of course will rate and nominate you for your responses...

Thanks, Mike

ANSWER: Hi Mike,
Nothing that you reported seems to be suspicious.
On the spark plug wires, you are aware that the wire rotational order on the distributor cap is not the same as the cylinder firing order: the wires counting from the #1 cylinder tower are 1,3,5,4,2,6 counter-clockwise.
There are so many possibilities that it would really help to have a fault code readout from the pcm memory. I am not certain whether the ignition key dance (on-off-on-off-on and leave on, doing that in 5 seconds or less) will do that for the '98 model but give it a try, watching the odometer window. If not, then try to borrow a code reader from a friend. That would probably give us the best shot at correcting the problem.
You could try measuring the compression of the cylinders to be certain that those are about the same.
Other than that, any loose vacuum hoses or an egr valve that was stuck slightly ajar would be a cause for a too lean mixture to idle. Check the hoses, and then try moving the valve stem on the egr back and forth to be sure the spring-action internal to the unit is closing the valve to a dead stop. Look for a slot on the stem to insert a screwdriver to move the stem. If it is gummy, then put some WD-40 on the stem where it enters the valve body and work it some more.
Let me know if any of these approaches help.
Thanks for doing the nomination.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

         I do have a code scanner. I did read the error codes and the only one that was present was from when the car stalled originally, I think. The code was P0340. I believe that means a mis fire occurred. I will have to borrow a compression gauge so I can measure the compression of the cylinders. Im not familiar with the EGR valve, where is it and what does it look like?

         I feel that for some reason its not getting fuel. What would be the steps to ensure proper fuel supply and pressure.

Thanks, Mike

Hi Mike,
If you disconnected the battery in the repair process it should have erased the stale fault codes. The 0340 is about a fault with the cam shaft position sensor located in the distributor. So disconnect the battery, then reconnect, then try to start it, then check for fresh codes to see if you still get the 0340.
The egr valve is located near the thermostat housing and has a small diameter metal pipe that connects it to one of exhaust manifolds. It is bolted to the intake manifold and is mounted with the valve stem being horizontal. It has a round vacuum operated (via hose from an actuator that is located just below the oil filler cap) top piece. Follow the vacuum hose around to the corner of the engine where you will find the valve. Between the body of the valve and the round top you will see a flange that partially conceals the stem. Find the circumferential slot in the stem to move the stem with the tip of a screwdriver.
Check that stem 'action' first before doing the compression testing as that valve can cause a no/hart start if the valve isn't closed tight when the engine is off.
If that were the case, the engine would have a very lean mixture and thus gives the impression of a low fuel supply. To test the fuel pressure there is a test port on the pipe to the fuel injectors from the fuel tank. But do check the egr valve.
By the way, feel free to give each of my answers a nomination if you believe I deserve that.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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