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Cheap discount parts store sensors often go bad in a year or don't perform correctly. I used a crank sensor from NAPA once to fix a Jeep Grand Cherokee, after the sensor had been previously replaced by a repair shop. They are located under the exhaust manifold/crossover pipe and are subjected to a lot of heat. It has a coil in it, so that is why they go bad when exposed to high heat for a long time. The crank sensors on these 4th gen vans just push right into a hole on the bellhousing, with no need for a paper spacer. Hopefully you just need a new crank sensor (Mopar or NAPA).
I've had terrible luck with sensors and other electrical parts from Crapa. At the shop I worked at, that's where my boss ordered from.

One time a Chevy pickup came in throwing a code for the crank sensor. We got a new one from Crapa. The truck wouldn't even start with the new sensor installed. It drove in on the old one. I yanked a used sensor off an old engine that was waiting to be scrapped, put it in, and sent the guy on his way.
 

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Where did you look for cracks on the flex plate? It cracks right around the bolt circle holding it to the crankshaft, sometimes making it difficult to see unless you use a borescope up there. It could have cracked free, slightly rotated and wedged itself tight again, but rotated from where it started. That would make the timing off and still allow it to run.

Has the timing sprockets/chain been replaced? Or maybe the timing cover (that holds the camshaft sensor)? Maybe the PCM was replaced? I know there were some differences through the years, and mixing them up will cause problems. I think there's 3 different types of timing sets/covers for these engines. They are listed in that engine rebuilder article about the 3.3/3.8L engines that's posted somewhere.
 

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I put a junk yard pcm in today. Exact same results
The more I read this... the more solutions, attempts, and failure... I believe if you were to remove the torque converter, you would find what Dan said above. Cracked, slipped, and wedged flex plate throwing the timing off.

Please post a picture when you find it. It would help scores of folks in the future if they get in a bind such as you are in Josh.
59040
59041
 

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Strange that it throws no codes. It should if it can't control idle speed or doesn't idle smooth (misfire codes). Did you check with a scanner? The dash bulb could be blown. An ELM 327 cost <$10 (bluetooth to Android phone app) and will give much more info, such as injector trims, O2 sensor plots. Your looking at spark plugs is very old school. It should idle fine on starter fluid shots. If so, you aren't getting fuel, which seems the main culprit. My 2002 3.8L T&C had the melted injector harness at the exhaust cross-over and also a cracked flex-plate (all around bolt circle as post 44 photos (plus radial cracks). Those surprisingly didn't set codes until so bad that it was bucking and setting misfire codes. You might swap your injectors for a rebuilt & flow-matched set. Many people offer that on ebay or locally on craigslist. I rigged up a little flow bench of my own w/ glass beakers and junkyard fuel rail. If a vacuum leak, the engine will idle too fast, if it exceeds the IAC limits (fully closed).
 

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My husband has a 2011 Caliber with the same problem and it was the throttle body. He says go to RockAutoParts.com and see if they sell a throttle body for this vehicle. Good luck. Took him several weeks to figure this out, then it was a reasonably easy fix.
 

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I'm still sold on the encabulator...
 

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My husband has a 2011 Caliber with the same problem and it was the throttle body. He says go to RockAutoParts.com and see if they sell a throttle body for this vehicle. Good luck. Took him several weeks to figure this out, then it was a reasonably easy fix.
A Caliber has an electronic throttle body. A 2005 Caravan doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
That makes my day. Had the new flywheel for a few days now. Just been dreading dropping the trans..
 

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Glad to read it's fixed, and thanks for helping others by sharing your result. And everyone else here went back to school and learned the brand new trick of running with the crank sensor disconnected, followed by running with the cam sensor disconnected, as a test for a cracked flex plate. File it away under things you won't find listed in the FSM.
 

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Looks like the new replacement flex plate has an additional stamped ring, hopefully to negate the cracking syndrome. Had I known there was an upgraded flexplate, I'd have considered replacing it when I installed my rebuilt transmission.

In hind sight, I didn't really get a chance to inspect the condition of the flexplate as I was working at my friends auto shop on the weekend, and part of the deal was that i would pay one of his guys to 'help' me. I had Juan replace the main crank seal while I was out getting us lunch and I didn't even get a chance to look at it... I too dread having to drop the transmission and hope it never comes to that....

Glad you Got-R-Dun...

AND you know you also have a bunch of new sensors and such, so it should remain pretty reliable.
You say you got this for a penny's on the dollar because it stumped a few mechanics?...

Let us see some pictures of your sweet van when you get her all cleaned up.
Cheers!

Thank you for posting your resolution, your feed back and findings really will help others in the future. Even when we are all dead and buried, these archives will remain, in tact, in the Nation Hall of Records right next to The Constitution of the United States of America....


...and Canada
 
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How was the alignment of the torque converter bolts, Josh?
Did you have to order the flexplate for a specific vehicle or transmission or torque converter?
*explain what you found out or what you needed to know, please.

Did you have to do any custom work to make it work?

It is my understanding that the bolt pattern for the torque converter attachment bolts may not be symmetrical so that one can't mistakenly install the wrong combination of torque converter/transmission. I believe that one bolt may be offset and that align's with a certain specified stall speed of the TC.

When I bought a factory (ETE reman) transmission, they were adamant about having my VIN so that they could ensure a seamless installation. Then they went and sent me the wrong one. We found out after we got the new transmission all bolted into place and while hooking up the TC, no combination of all four holes, there was always at least one bolt that did not align.
 

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Glad to read it's fixed, and thanks for helping others by sharing your result. And everyone else here went back to school and learned the brand new trick of running with the crank sensor disconnected, followed by running with the cam sensor disconnected, as a test for a cracked flex plate. File it away under things you won't find listed in the FSM.
It's not in the FSM, because it doesn't work on 2004 and older. 2004 and older need BOTH the crank and cam sensors in order to start and run. 2005 was different, along with different engine wiring harness and such.

This is also why there isn't an "upgraded" flex plate. This flex plate design may have started in 2004 with the NGC engine electronics changeover.

I've thought about trying to cut the center section from a flex plate (inside of the tone ring) and "double up" the thickness of the flex plate using it with another one. They seem to flex too much and crack. How tight were all of the transmission-to-engine bolts? I have a theory that some get loose, and the engine and transmission are NOT supported equally from the factory (the location of the front and rear mounts). Front mount bolted to engine, rear mount bolted to transmission. Bolts get loose, engine/transmission interface "flexes" under load, and flex plate is overworked and cracks. There are also no "stiffener brackets" from engine to transmission on the bottom, as Toyota does. This seems to be a big recurring problem with these vans, as I've said before we see 2 or 3 a year on this forum (how many are out there unreported?). Maybe preventative maintenance on these vans with higher mileage is to support the engine/transmission and retorque all of the mating bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
How was the alignment of the torque converter bolts, Josh?
Did you have to order the flexplate for a specific vehicle or transmission or torque converter?
*explain what you found out or what you needed to know, please.

Did you have to do any custom work to make it work?

It is my understanding that the bolt pattern for the torque converter attachment bolts may not be symmetrical so that one can't mistakenly install the wrong combination of torque converter/transmission. I believe that one bolt may be offset and that align's with a certain specified stall speed of the TC.

When I bought a factory (ETE reman) transmission, they were adamant about having my VIN so that they could ensure a seamless installation. Then they went and sent me the wrong one. We found out after we got the new transmission all bolted into place and while hooking up the TC, no combination of all four holes, there was always at least one bolt that did not align.
It was straight forward. Under $40 at oriellys for the flex plate. Just ordered it for the van. Chrysler products all have one offset hole. You just got to put them in until you find the right combination. But they fit flawlessly.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
It's not in the FSM, because it doesn't work on 2004 and older. 2004 and older need BOTH the crank and cam sensors in order to start and run. 2005 was different, along with different engine wiring harness and such.

This is also why there isn't an "upgraded" flex plate. This flex plate design may have started in 2004 with the NGC engine electronics changeover.

I've thought about trying to cut the center section from a flex plate (inside of the tone ring) and "double up" the thickness of the flex plate using it with another one. They seem to flex too much and crack. How tight were all of the transmission-to-engine bolts? I have a theory that some get loose, and the engine and transmission are NOT supported equally from the factory (the location of the front and rear mounts). Front mount bolted to engine, rear mount bolted to transmission. Bolts get loose, engine/transmission interface "flexes" under load, and flex plate is overworked and cracks. There are also no "stiffener brackets" from engine to transmission on the bottom, as Toyota does. This seems to be a big recurring problem with these vans, as I've said before we see 2 or 3 a year on this forum (how many are out there unreported?). Maybe preventative maintenance on these vans with higher mileage is to support the engine/transmission and retorque all of the mating bolts.
All the bolts were very very tight. Actually most of them had corrosion so they were a pain lol. Glad we got it done. Now to track down the rear exhaust leak somewhere around the manifold
 

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Just picked up an 05 caravan 3.3 with only 51000 original miles. $350 score from a friend who owns a car lot. He purchased it from an auction so I know no history on it. They tried to diagnose it and failed. As well as the people who auctioned it off. I've been scratching my head on this one for 3 days. Ok, it starts up and runs. Doesn't want to idle without giving it some throttle most of the time. Accelerates very slowly and has zero power. It won't even pull itself. I got it to go down the driveway and back at 5mph and that's about it. Usually dies out until cooled down then it'll run the same. Has 175 psi of compression across the board. New fuel pump, camshaft sensor, and coil from previous people. I tested the map, egr, iac, tps, and crankshaft sensor. Everything is fine. Throws no codes. Fuel pressure seems fine (don't have a adapter for my tester yet, but ran the van off of another tank hooked to a jump box with exact same results lol). It also wants to die if you put it in gear, but I pretty much rule out torque converter because it runs poorly in park and neutral. I've never seen an engine do this and I'm so stumped. Plugs look newer, wires look good. Apparently, two other people before me couldn't figure it out either. Anyone else ran into this issue? I had a trailblazer with the same symptoms but 4 intake rockers had fell off because of sticking valves. I don't believe that to be an issue with this one. It doesn't smell rich at all. Plugs didn't look lean either.
Had a very similar problem with my 96 T&C 3.8. Turned out to be a dirty Mass Airfow Sensor. Got a can of Mas sensor cleaner from Advance Auto, sprayed it down the intake tube. Voila! Engine ran fine. If problem persists, double check to make sure the sensor wire that goes across the air passage is not broken. Good luck. .
 

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LOL First, these vans don't have a mass airflow sensor. They have a MAP sensor in the far end of the upper intake manifold, and an Intake Air Sensor in the intake tube before the throttle body. Anyway, problem is fixed and it was not a sensor.

As for the rear exhaust leak, the usual culprit there is the very short, flex coupling between the rear manifold and the catalytic converter. It leaks when the engine moves under load, and is very hard to detect.
 
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