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Dodge Repair/'01 Minivan: Idiling Rough Wanting To Shut Off


QUESTION: I have a 2001 Dodge Caravan Sport with  3.3L Motor in it. Just recently after a very cold night, my mini van has been missing really bad. It not only misses but while I am at a complete stop it acts like it wants to shut off. My Dad and Brother are my mechanics, at first they thought it was the plug wires. I have replaced the plugs and wires but it did not fix the problem. They then stated that it could be the Coil Pack that has went bad. My brother has duct taped the gas pedal down a little so I don't shut off at stoplights in town, but this only works for a few hours before the problem is back in full force. I don't have a lot of money and cant seem to figure this problem out. Could you tell me what it is that needs to be replaced so that I can actually drive this vehicle in town?

Thank you,

ANSWER: Hi Lauren,
Has anyone tried to get the fault codes that may be stored in the memory of the engine controller? Turn 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 in the speedometer to see if the mileage reading is replaced by a 4-digit number preceded by a P. Let me know what you find and we'll go from there.
Another possible cause is that the exhaust gas recirculation valve is sticking slightly ajar instead of being closed when either you are at idle or accelerating. It is located in a narrow diameter pipe that branches off the right side exhaust manifold. It has a vacuum operated round top piece and between that and the valve body you will see a flange which conceals a rod which is the valve stem. It has a slot that circumscribes the stem into which you can insert the tip of a screwdriver to move the stem back and forth. Internal spring-action tries to close the valve. If it gummed up it may not close tightly. Try spraying some WD-40 on the stem where it enters the valve body and move the stem some more so it then closes tightly.

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

QUESTION: Thank you for replying. I tried turning the ignition key on and off, it did show a P and the last digit was a 4. What does that mean?
Thank you

ANSWER: Hi Lauren,
I need to know all 4-digits of that number.

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

QUESTION: The number that shows up is P1684

Hi Lauren,
That code is simply saying that sometime in the recent past the battery was disconnected. That is probably while the family was trying to service it. So it is not relevant to your problem.
Without any other fault codes my suspicion is that egr valve is the problem. A problem with starting/idling/but no fault codes is often just this and it costs nothing to check it out.
I would show the family my suggestion about the exhaust gas recirculation valve being gummed up and how to free up its action so it is closed to a dead stop. Let me know if they have any questions about it.

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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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