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I have a puzzling problem with my 1996 Grand Caravan 3.3. I was driving the vehicle with no problem and suddenly it died. I let it roll on the shoulder and waited for a few seconds and restarted it. It restarted with no problem and I drove it again. One time, I drove it for over 500 miles before it died again. It sounded like an electrical issue because it just quits suddenly. No hesitation or any engine abnormality. The RPM just drops to 0. My CEL had been on for a while for an EGR circuit malfunction and did not have anything to do with the engine dying suddenly. Sometime the engine quits twice in one day and sometimes it will go on for weeks. The van is unreliable since I do not know when it is going to quit especially if I am driving in the highway. Any ideas? I know that this is very hard to troubleshoot since it is an intemittent problem.
 

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Fuel pump.
 

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Or an intermittant crank position sensor. These won't necessarily leave behind a fault code. If the tach immediately drops to zero while the engine is still connected and turning, this is probably it.
 

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Suspect wiring to crank sensor. Old wiring may look intact from outside. I had an '86 reliant wagon which would die on a particular downhill corner. Wiring to hall effect pickup in distributor (predecessor to crank pickup in distributorless ignition) was loose and g-force would swing harness and disconnect broken wire held together by insulation. Simple continuity check across harness connector to pick-up confirmed open circuit during wire movement.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
[sub]Georgey,[/sub]
[sub]I went and wiggled the wires in the engine compartment including the cam position sensor wiring and everything ran fine. I can't get the engine to quit. It is frustrating.. [/sub]
 

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I went through the same thing several years ago and it ended up being the computer. I never could diagnose the problem in a reasonable amount of time, because everytime I performed tests, the engine started and checked out fine. One time, months later, I determined that the computer was not providing signal ground for the fuel pump relay (I thoroughly went over all connections). I never had any codes except 12 and 55 (normal). I ended up going to the only junk yard in town that had a computer and paid $100 for an exact match. After I replaced it, I never had the problem again.

With that said, it could still be an issue with the crank position sensor, but I would expect to see a code for that. If it is the original fuel pump, I would replace it because they are a wear item. Mine went out at about 140,000 on my 96 Grand Voyager and it failed intermittantly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you John for the added info. It is frustrating that everytime I look at it. It does not fail. Hope it is not too hard to change the fuel pump if I have to.
 

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Thank you John for the added info. It is frustrating that everytime I look at it. It does not fail. Hope it is not too hard to change the fuel pump if I have to.
If it's like my '96 GC, it's not bad as fuel pumps go. I changed ours in the parking lot of the hospital one Saturday. Luckily there was only about 1/4 tank of fuel in it when it went out.
 

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Hello All advice is good. CKP sensors can open when intermittent stopping van. Also from my own knowledge,

check the ASD relay and also when it happens.wiggle the Ign switch. Sometimes the inside of switch

goes bad and will disconnect from system. Hope you fix it soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This is a follow up on a tread that I started about the dying GC:
I still have the same issue with my 1996 Grand Caravan just shutting down. I just replaced my fuel pump and fuel filter. It started fine and sounded normal. I took it for a test drive and it died again. I tried to get it restarted and it did not start. I ended up getting it towed to my house. After re-charging the battery, I started it and it started fine. It has been several days now that I start the van and keep it running to see if it will die again. Sometimes it will idlefor 30 minutes with no issues. Sometimes it will be idling and suddenly is quits. Sometimes it will start and sometimes it takes awhile before I can get it to start. If it does not start, I wait till the next day and it will start fine. The van is unreliable since you do not know if you will make it or not. I have not replaced the crank or cam sensor and I am leaning towards the computer.
 

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When you try to start it and it won't, is it cranking normally? Or not at all, or slowly?

Have you cleaned the battery posts and clamps, and checked the cables where they connect to the clamps for corrosion or damage?

Have you wiggled the ignition switch when it's running to try to make it die?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Bob,
Everything is fine with the battery and the starting system. It will be idling and then it just shuts down with no weird sound or sign that the engine is struggling. Wiggling the ignition switch has no effect,
 

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Next step is to unplug the power module, or whatever today's computers are called, carefully inspect the pins on both sides, plug and computer, and clean them, then repack with dielectric grease and reconnect.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ImperialCrown - the tach is working fine. The tach drops to zero when the engine is dead. It is working when the engine turning. The vans runs normal with no chugging, hesitation or loss of power. It just dies suddenly. SOmetime it will start right away asnd sometimes it takes a little bit longer. Cranking power is good, wiggled the wires to see if the engine dies, no luck. Wiggled ignition switch with no luck to duplicate the problem. I just replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump and the problem is still there. I also checked the coolant sensor wiring and changed the coolant sensor and problem is still there. I'll order the crank sensor if this helps. Thank you.
 

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The dealer's Co-pilot data recording tool may help pinpoint what is happening here better than guessing. I wouldn't just replace a PCM without some proof.
 

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Here's my experience with mysterious engine failures. My '90 Turbo Spirit once died unexpectedly when only two years old. Taking the cheapest route first, I cleaned and regreased (with dielectric grease) all electrical connections. Also cleaned the grounds. Didn't solve the problem. Then I wiggled the Hall effect sensor wire at the distributor and the engine died. Eureka! A new sensor solved the problem. I was careful to route and tie up the wire to prevent it from flopping around. The excessive movement of the wire on the old sensor led to its deterioration. No problem for the next 18 years until I got rid of the car.

About a year ago, my 2002 T&C minivan began quitting unexpectedly, always after 10 minutes from cold start-up. I cleaned and regreased all the electical connections, including the connectors under the power distribution center. No effect. Then I shook all the wires while the engine was running. No effect. Then I thought, if it always dies after 10 minutes of running, an electrical component must be overheating, or maybe a faulty solder joint breaks continuity. This pointed to a problem in the ECU. I replaced the ECU with a rebuilt unit that I got on the Internet. (The store said that their units were actually better than new.) The new ECU solved the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I replaced the ECU with a rebuilt Cardone from Auto Zone. Installed it and it was running fine for about 20 minutes and then it died. Same problem as before.I returned the ECU to the store and I do not think that it is the problem. I installed the old ECU and it ran fine. I suspect that it will shut down on me again since I did not replace anything. I will try replacing the crank position sensor. BTW, the fuel pump and fuel filter have been replaced too and it did not solve the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Here is an update to the mysterious case of engine shutting down intermittently on my 1996 Grand Caravan 3.3. The engine would suddenly die without any warning either while parked, idling, or driving. I had multiple codes ranging from coolant circuit malfunction, engine misfire, EGR circuit malfunction, crank position sensor circuit malfinction, crankshaft position sensor malfunction, couil circuit malfunction, and so on.It was hard to troubleshoot because sometimes the van would be running for a while without any issue and then the problem would appear. I was about to give up and thinking about getting rid of the van since it is not road worthy. This is what I have done or replaced in the course of over a year or so of having this problem in chronological order:

1. Replaced engine coolant sensor. No joy.
2. Replaced EGR transducer. No joy. Fixed EGR circuit malfunction though.
3. Replaced fuel filter. No joy.
4. Replaced fuel pump because I broke the plastic elbow to the pump while replaceing filter. No joy.
5. Replaced Engine Control Unit (ECU) computer. No joy. I'm glad I was able to return the computer to the store.
6. Replaced the Crank Position Sensor with a MOPAR part. No joy.
7. Replaced the Camshaft Position Sensor with a mOPAR part. PRESTO. Seems like the sensor fixed the problem. I have been driving the van for over 300 miles with no problem. Knock on wood and hope I don't jinx it.

The good thing is that my problem of engine hesitation while the engine is cold went away and the van is running fine now. It did not cost me a lot to fix the issue and saved me a trip to the mechanic or the dealership. Thank you to all those who helped me and gave their advice.
 
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