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1998 cirrus v6 randomly won't start, just cranks

Discussion in '1995-2017 FWD Sedans, Coupes' started by lorenz1, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. lorenz1

    lorenz1 Member

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    Hello everyone, before I begin describing I will give a little bit of background info.

    The problem first occurred a few months ago, where I went to turn the key and the car just cranked but wouldn't turn over and run... the night before the temps dropped to probably -10 celcius and then warmed to around 1 during the day. After some quick googling, the first thing I went to check was to see if the plugs were soaked in oil, and they were. This led me to believe that possibly the engine was drowning in oil. I went ahead and ordered some valve cover gaskets and spark plug tube seals. The day I went to move the car and replace them, I decided to try and start it, and it fired right up... I thought that's weird, but I just went ahead with the gasket replacement, and didn't have any starting issues, until today.

    Last night it was once again around -10 C and during the day it warmed up to around -1. When I turned the key over, it just cranked and then nothing... I let it sit a few hours, then I went to crank it again, and nothing. I checked the 3 accessible plugs and they were not soaked in oil... I was a little perplexed. I went to crank again, and gave it some gas so I could get it over the idle speed... and it stayed alive, but only with me giving it gas around 2000-2500rpm... if I would let go, as soon as the rpms would drop, it was obvious it wanted to die, so I kept revving it for maybe 10-20 seconds after the initial start, and it eventually caught and idled on it's own... went for a drive around the block, stopped the car, and started it a few times and it fired right up... I have no idea where to even beginning looking. I frankly don't care that much because it's a beater that i'm just trying to get the last ounce out of before it completely dies, and if I can keep it running for super cheap I will but if it'll cost a couple hundred just in parts, i'll probably scrap it

    I don't know if this is relevant or related, but the oil pressure light came on yesterday, but only during idle. This also happened once a few months ago, but I figured it's because the oil sensor is soaked in oil... the oil level is fine, and the light goes out while driving. The light yesterday didn't come back on the second time I started and drove the car. I can't say for sure if it's the actual sensor or a problem with maybe the oil pump, I have no idea
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    Oil is generally an insulator, so it shouldn't hurt spark or short out the plugs. It can over time damage (swell/dissolve) the rubber plug wire boots.
    The intermittent 'no-start' is from something else.
    You are either losing spark or fuel. Any fault codes?
    Do you have a scan tool to see if there is a cam sensor (distributor) signal or crank sensor signal? Distributors were a known weak spot on the early Mitsubishi 2.5L.
    The oil pressure light may be the switch itself is failing, especially if it is leaking externally.
     
  3. lorenz1

    lorenz1 Member

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    The scan came back with no codes, so that of course makes it more difficult to determine where to start looking. I haven't ran the car and checked parameters yet but i'll do that next time I run the car to see if I can see any data on the cam and crank sensor
     
  4. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    You may not get any fault codes or a 'ck eng' light.
    If the scan tool is capable of showing the cam or crank signal as being 'present' or 'lost' while cranking, that would be good diagnostic information.
     
  5. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Does this engine have an ignition rotor and dist cap?
    My 92 Daytona once went from running perfectly to a no-start one September, when it started to turn cold. Normally I replaced the rotor every 15K miles because they usually charred by then, but I had let it go to 20K miles.
    It took 2 days of diagnosing, but I finally determined from the weak orange spark inside a tester that the rotor was bad. I replaced it and it ran like a champ. It had just fallen off a cliff. Cars require more voltage for a cold, cold-weather start, and so it's possible that you are seeing a weakness in an ignition system part. When was your last tuneup (time and miles traveled)?
     
  6. lorenz1

    lorenz1 Member

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    Unfortunately no cam or crank sensor readout available on my generic bluetooth obd reader so that will make diagnosis a lot more difficult. As far as tune up goes I've done the spark plugs in the last 1000km and an oil change around 2000km ago.

    At this point, I'm likely to just drive it as is... I can do all the work myself but it's probably not worth the parts it would require even if I found what's causing the issue
     
  7. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    And what about dist cap and ignition rotor and wires? Do they apply to this engine?
     
  8. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    The Mitsubishi 2.5L V6 still had an old-school distributor.
     
    Bob Lincoln likes this.
  9. Jerry Simcik

    Jerry Simcik Well-Known Member

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    As we've talked about with these cars numerous times before, there are only so many things that can cause a "Crank, No Start" condition: The ASD circuit (crank sensor, cam sensor, ASD relay), ground wires, or the distributor.

    Before you do anything else, REMOVE the upper nut on the negative battery cable on the fender and then remove the main negative battery cable. Then verify that the LOWER nut is tight and the connection is clean. Then reinstall the main cable and upper nut. Then you can move on. (Your issue sounds a lot like a weak battery/connection problem in terms of the engine/driveability, and the lower nut secures two primary PCM grounds that will kill the engine but leave everything else working fine.) You can get down in the weeds with this diagnosis without a scanner, but you can find the root cause.

    With that said, however, the costs of these parts is so (relatively) low now, you're likely better-off to simply replace the problematic parts in this system; the distributor (which will also give you a new cam sensor, coil, cap, and rotor) and the crank sensor. They are right next to each other, and removing the distributor makes the crank sensor a breeze. (You'll also need to remove the master cylinder from the a brake booster, but otherwise, nothing else needs to come off.)

    You can get a reman distributor from Rockauto for less than $100.
    1998 CHRYSLER CIRRUS 2.5L V6 Distributor | RockAuto (at https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/chrysler,1998,cirrus,2.5l+v6,1314163,ignition,distributor,7108 )

    The crank sensor is less than $20.
    1998 CHRYSLER CIRRUS 2.5L V6 Crankshaft Position Sensor | RockAuto (at https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/chrysler,1998,cirrus,2.5l+v6,1314163,ignition,crankshaft+position+sensor,7196 )

    This is a case where throwing parts at the issue is becoming more feasible. Just a few years ago, crank sensors were $50 or more and distributors were several hundreds. That is no longer the case.

    If you'd like to break this down and start checking things more precisely, however, let me know. I have the full 5-volume FSM for these cars and lots of experience with them.
     
  10. Gerry G

    Gerry G Well-Known Member

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    I am also on a forum for chrysler convertibles and the consensus there is cardone for distributors and only OEM for the crank position sensor.
     
  11. Jerry Simcik

    Jerry Simcik Well-Known Member

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    Cardone is nothing special, but should work just fine. I definitely wouldn't spend 6-7X the money for a Mopar crank sensor though; not on these cars/engines...
     

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