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Chrysler Repair/Hard starting cold, gas smell warm


QUESTION: Roland, I have a 2005 Chrysler T&C Touring model van with 3.8L engine. When I start it cold, it takes 4 to 5 seconds of cranking to start and the engine has a lopping sensation when I idle or start to accelerate. After engine warms up it runs fine. When engine is warm starting it after sitting for 20 minutes or so, the engine starts immediately, no hesitation BUT there is a very strong odor of gasoline coming from under the hood. I'm thinking fuel system rebuild but need conformation.

ANSWER: Hi Dave,
There is an issue with the fuel mixture, but I would not approach it as a "rebuild" but rather try to determine exactly which part of the complex system is at fault and correct it. There is on-board diagnostic capability where you can find diagnostic trouble codes (4-digit numbers preceded by a P). In some model years you could access those with the ignition key ("on-off-on-off-on and leave on" doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time). Then watch the odometer window to see if the mileage reading is replaced by any 4-digit numbers. If not, then go to a nationwide auto parts store (e.g. Autozone) and see if they will do a readout for free via a code reader that plugs into a socket under the dash next to the steering column. If not then an independent shop will do it for around $40. Get the 4-digit code numbers. Let me know what you find and we'll go from there.
As to the strong odor of gasoline at warm start up, open the hood and have a helper start the engine while you observe for any specific location from which the fume appear to arise.
My hunch is a sticky exhaust gas recirculation valve (egr-valve) as that can play havoc with fuel/air mixture if it sticks ajar rather than closing tightly at shut down, start up, acceleration times. So if no codes come forward, that valve would be worth spraying its stem with WD-40 and moving the stem back and forth via the use of a screwdriver inserted into the slot that circumscribes the stem. There is internal spring-action which tries to close the valve, and it should do so.

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QUESTION: Roland, did the key routine as suggested and the following codes came up:

in that order.

I'm about to do a code look up in Google to get some idea what might be a solution to my dilemma and I'm looking forward to your reply and suggestions to what to do. I'd prefer not selling this van but don't want to spend a ton of money on a lost cause.

Be gentle but thorough please.


ANSWER: Hi David,
The 0032 says that the circuit which heats the right side upstream heated oxygen sensor is showing a problem with its voltage. I suspect that one of the heater wires is shorted, at the heated oxygen sensor proper. So take a look at the sensor located on the side of the engine close to the firewall that is located on the manifold or downstream a bit from that. Likely you will find one of the wire is broken or touching. These are fragile and subject to damage so the best thing to do is replace the sensor.
the 0305 says that there is a misfiring on cylinder #5. So I would pull the spark plug and verify that it is the source of the wet smell you have experienced on warm start up. If so, then probably that cylinder's injector is not controlling the gas insertion very well. But note that the 0404 problem may be contributing to this situation by creating a mixture that is too lean to ignite and so results in unburned gasoline in that cylinder.  
The 0404 is about the egr valve not doing what is expected of it. I would find the valve (in a small diameter pipe that branches off the right exhaust manifold and heads back to the throttle body, and notice that between its round top with the vacuum hose and the body of the valve proper there is a flange. Look inside that flange area for the rod which it the valve stem and notice that it has a circumferential slot into which you insert the tip of a screwdriver in order to move the stem back and forth. Spray some WD-40 on the stem where it enters the valve body and then move the stem back and forth to loosen its 'action'. There is an internal spring which should close the valve stem to a dead stop.
You might start with the egr and the oxygen sensor, and then see if the 0305 code goes away on its own accord as the miss may be mainly due to the other two items.

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QUESTION: Roland, once again you come through with expert advise. Now all I have to do is find someone that won't try to buy a new car with the fee they want to charge to change out the EGR and O2 sensor.
I did the O2 2 months ago in Texas, using my son-in-laws wrench and replaced the original with an aftermarket O2 sensor which I am now convinced was not a prudent thing to do. Everyone says to use OEM only.
I can handle the EGR with tools I have here in Florida but will have to buy an O2 sensor wrench unless I can find someone reasonable in Fort Pierce where I'm at.

You're a goldmine and I need to find some way to get your link on Facebook so more people get to benefit from your expertise along with the rest of the folks at All Expert.

Thanks again.

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the kind remarks and rating. On the O2 sensor fault code it may just be stale if you didn't disconnect the battery after replacing it, which is how you can erase all the fault codes. So try that and drive it for a while to see whether or not the 0032 code returns or not.
So now do the lubrication and exercise of the egr valve stem and see how that helps out the situation.

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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.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question, briefly unavailable, or asleep overnight, so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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