Question about 1990 Dodge Caravan

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2001 Dodge Caravan SE 2.4L.. In cold Weather it starts then stalls and dies...?

I have a 2001 Dodge Caravan SE 2.4L. In warm weather it is fine, but in cold weather like 30-40 degree mornings it takes a second to kick over and then when it does it stalls unless I give it gas. I did some research and asked around and I seem to be getting the same answer. Everyone is saying it is most likely the throttle position sensor. It is obviously something to do with the idle because when it kicks over it doesnt idle high it idles low. Could the throttle position sensor be the problem? Also the throttle cable should it be tight or have slack in it because mine has more then enough slack. Please help if you can thanks.

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  • jmcc419 Nov 05, 2008

    A friend has had this car since 2002 and I have been driving it for about a year and they just gave it to me. However that idle on cold mornings is an issue and little other things that you may be able to help me out with.
    Where is the Idle air valve? is that located right under the tps? 
    you just want me to start the car and tap it and see if it revs higher or lower?
    The car only turns over and stalls in cold weather in warm weather it is fine it starts up and goes with no problem.
    Also let me throw this at you. My heat doesnt work. When I turn the heat on I get hot air for about 2-3minutes after that it turns cold...what could cause this? I think the heater core is ok but may be clogged...everyone I have asked says it is most likly a vaccum leak...
    Any comments or answers are greatly apprecited.

  • jmcc419 Nov 05, 2008

    Another thing is the idle air valve if I tap it and idle goes up should it be replaced? is it inexpensive? or does that just mean I have bigger problems?

  • jmcc419 Nov 06, 2008

    im thinking the heater core is clogged because i had a mechanic do an oil change oil send unit change and the radiator changed and flushed and i had him look at the heater core and he said he didnt look too closely but most likly it is clogged but there is no major problems with the motor....and i would think a head gasket is a major your good....the air sensor is $70 aftermarket and original part is $80.
    I was thinking about trying what you said about tapping the air sensor and if it is bad i think im going to change the air sensor and the tps....might as well right..then i will tackle the heat....
    I heard the only way to check for a clog in the heater core is to unplug it and flush water with a garden hose through this true or do you have another solution....???
    also I have one more problem....I get inacurrate gas readings...if I have a half of tank or more I get accurate readings and the gauge works fine but anything below half of tank I get inaccurate readings and the gas gauge jumps from quarter or a tank to empty and then shoots back up to a quarter or higher....Do you know what this is about? I heard sometimes it could be serious and expensive but sometimes it could be as simple as a gas cap not sealing correctly...
    When you screw your gas cap on and close it the cap should be tight correct? not a little wobbly?
    When you open the gas cap it should break the seal and make a hiss noise to release preasure correct?
    and if it doesnt this means it is not sealing correctly? right or wrong?
    I hope Im not being a pain in the you know what but I came across this post in google and read some of your responses and you seem like you know what your talking about....not to mention that I really appreciate the help thanks a million....
    I await your response

  • jmcc419 Nov 06, 2008

    to Motor1258

    your saying start the car and crank the heat on high then feel the hoses to the heater core and see if one, both or if any are hot a at all correct?
    I know the basic parts and locations on my motor but where is the heater core located? Im guessing somewhere in the back towards the firewall???
    Throttle body temp sensor and air inlet temp sensor....where are these parts located on the motor and are they expensive? How can I find out if these are the parts that need changing?
    The radiator is brand new and was filled with new coolant the oil was recently changed...although the heat hasnt worked since last winter...most likly a clog in the heater core...
    If it is a clogged core I could flush it out but if it a valve not opening what can i do?

  • jmcc419 Nov 06, 2008

    ok....I get what your saying about flushing CLR through it. I was actually thinking the same thing. However I live in New York City and there is only public parking on the street so I dont have access to a pump or a place to plug a drill in....I was trying to figure out another way to go about it. I see where the heater core hoses hooks up to the section where the thermostat is and the other hooks up to the radiator and when you follow them back they both hook into the firewall like you said correct?
    If i disconnect the two hoses from the firewall, your saying pump the clr in one and flush it out the other right?
    Also do you have any idea where the heater core is located is it back towards the firewall or up by the thermostat?
    I have no heat at all....when the car starts and gets to normal temp it is just shy of the halfway mark between cold and hot...and I noticed if you put the heat on low is is warm for 3 minutes then turns cold but If I put the heat on like medium and hit the buttom with the circulation mark on it that activated a higher setting blower is comes out pretty warm...I was thinking most likly a clog what do you think?
    and if I do try the flushing out thing you mentioned am I looking at the right hoses the same ones you are talking about because I really dont want to be putting clr in the wrong part of the motor ...

  • JMC0073 Feb 22, 2009

    By the way Im Jmcc419 the originator of this post. I have to get a new userame because I cant log into that old one for some reason.

    I still have no heat. I disconnected the heater core hoses and ran radiator flush and CLR through it. Then I attached a garden hose and flushed all the dirt debris and rust particles out of the heater core from both ends until clear water came out at a high full force flow from the opposite end of the heater core. I bought new hoses hooked them up to the heater core and added some coolant and I have some heat but not much. I get about 10 minutes worth at air setting 2 or 3 and it turns cold. Does this mean I have to replace the heater core or could there be something else like a vacuum hose or something maybe even a vent door not closing.???
    Any ideas on what else to check or look for?
    By flushing the heater core. The van runs better, performs better, has more power and the heat temp on the gauge stays about the same doesnt go past the halfway mark. I dont think the heater core was the exactly problem apprarently but it did help out a little bit.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Anonymous Mar 21, 2014

    when I start the SUV in the parked position it idles high for about 30 seconds, and then when I first start driving it takes about 2/10th of a mile to adjust to a normal idle. At red traffic lights (at idle) it may stall. to prevent it stalling, I put the SUV in "N" and put my foot on the gas pedal to rev up the engine. It seems to stall more so in warm or hot weather, not when its is cold outside. I live in Florida so I'm not talking about extremely cold weather. It runs fine on the highway.



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  • Dodge Master
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I would not replace TPS or IAC. If it works properly during warm weather, then it should do the same in cold. I would be looking at a throttle body temperature sensor/air inlet temperature sensor. These sensors tell the fuel system how much fuel to send, according to air temperature. Your vehicle needs more fuel in cold weather to start & run properly. If the sensor is telling the fuel injection system that its still warm out, it will only send enough fuel for a warm start & run. As far as heater goes, be sure coolant is topped up and all air bled out, turn heater on and feel both hoses going to your heater core, they should be close to same temperature.If one is a lot warmer than the other, you have a flow problem or blockage somewhere, whether its a valve not opening, or plugged core. Let us know on feel of hoses, and we'll go from there.

Posted on Nov 06, 2008

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2008

    Before you shell out the money for a heater core if it proves to be a clogged heater core, try this:

    Buy a jug of C.L.R. from hardware store. Buy a cheap, or borrow a small pump that you can circulate the CLR through the heater core. (I used an old pump that could be attached to a drill, that had 2 garden hose connections on it) Remove your heater hoses from where they attach at firewall, to heater core. Attach garden hose or whatever from your pump to 1 of the heater core tubes sticking out of firewall, and tighten with a hose clamp. Attach another hose to other tube, for your return flow, and have it long enough to go back to jug or whatever your drawing the CLR out of, to circulate it through the heater core. Run the CLR through for a while, then let it sit in there for a while, then circulate again, & repeat this a few times at least. Then reverse the hoses, to reverse the flow. Circulate through again a few times. I let mine sit in there overnight. Give it a final good circulation through, and let it drain out. Hook your heater hoses back up as they were, refill your coolant bottle, and run engine with cap off, & heater on, and rev it a little for a few seconds every once in a while. Make sure you have air bled out of system, and replace cap. Take it for a drive ( watch temp gauge) & see if you notice any difference in heat temperature. I had an older Caravan with plugged core once & this did the trick, and was a lot less work & money. If worse comes to worse & pump not available, at least try gravity feed with a hose & funnel. Good Luck.


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  • Contributor
  • 26 Answers

Cable is fine,can be the tps but try tapping on the idle air valve and see if the idle kicks up,it works like a choke and if its stuck its a big vac leak

Posted on Nov 05, 2008

  • chuck pettit Nov 06, 2008

    yes it is by the tps if the idle changes it is bad,not sure on cost 60.00 or so.on the heat either the heater core is plugged or you have a head gasket problem

  • chuck pettit Nov 06, 2008

    on the heater core best is air pres then water blow threw both ways,on the fuel gauge its either the sender or the gauge usually sender in the tank,can be pricey,cap will not affect gauge at all



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SOURCE: 2001 Dodge Caravan SE 2.4L.. In cold Weather it starts then stalls and dies...?

Inlet air temperature sensor, also known as throttle body temperature sensor, will do that. Don't go changing TPS, or IAC, as suggested in other post. If they work good in warm weather, they should do the same in cold. Air inlet sensor tells system how much fuel to deliver according to temperature, as engine needs more fuel the colder it is when starting.

Posted on Nov 06, 2008

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