Question about 1998 Dodge Caravan

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Van will not start issues

My van does not do this all the time, but sometimes, I go to start it and it turns right back off after a second, then I try to start it again a few more times and the same thing happens, Then I try again, and it will not do nothing, after I let it sit for over a hour, it will start right up. 1998 dodge van

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  • pascagoula Jan 03, 2009

    I have the exact same problem.

  • dennisvincen May 10, 2009

    Same thing happening on our '98 Grand Caravan. Any ideas how to disable the anti-theft system or otherwise solve the problem without spending a gob of money?


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  • 512 Answers

Sounds like the anti theft system is acting up or activating for some reason

Posted on Jan 02, 2009

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Cuts off as soon as u start it up runs ruff makes a knocing sound in back wheel just had alternator replaced


Have someone tap on the MAS (mass airflow sensor) while you try to start it. It is located on the air intake hose (air filter line). From the front view of the engine, it will be on the right hand side between the intake manifold and the front most part of the van. It looks like a black box with a wire connected to it. First, pull the wire off and see if the van will start without it. Usually it won't, but sometimes it will start and run for a second. If it does, shut the engine off, reconnect the wire harness, and while you try to start the van, have someone lightly tap on the sensor with a screwdriver handle. Also, pull the airfilter out and check that. Sometimes its the simplist things that cause these problems. If while tapping on the sensor the car hesitates or hiccups, the sensor may be dirty or need replaced. First, after pulling the air filter, try again to start the van. If it starts and stays running, replace air filter. If not, and filter seems good, put that airfilter unit back together and purchase some Mass Airflow Sensor (MAS) cleaner. Pull the MAS off and spray the inside sparingly with the cleaner. Let air dry for about 10-15 minutes. Put the sensor back together as well as the airfilter unit if not already, and try to start the van. If the van starts and stays running, tap again on the sensor. If it runs smoothly, you're good to go. If not, and it hestitates or acts like it wants to die, it needs replaced.

Other reason the van won't stay running: check this first before any purchases:

pull the distrubutor cap off the distributor and check the rotor. It sits right in the center. If it's cracked, it needs replaced. If it's black and if the points (on the cap/inside) are black, worn (grooved) replace both. If these get replaced it's best to replace the spark plugs and wires. This set will also come with the coil wire.

Replace each plug and wire one at a time matching them to the new cap from the old cap. Start with the back passenger side plug, as it's the hardest to get to, and is more time consuming. If you can use as small of a rachet as possible with an extention.

Once these are replaced, and the wires are on correctly, start the van. Also, have a diagnostics test done to see if one or both of the two O2 (oxygen) sensors are good. These too could keep the van from starting.

How I know all this? I owned a 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE and replaced everything I just mentioned to you. Here's a heads up too: if you get a tranny leak or the tranny starts slipping (from a leak) park the van asap and have the seal and torque converter replaced immediately. If you notice a leak, check underneath to see if it is coming from between the tranny and teh engine block. If so, it is the seal inside the tranny. Replace it and the torque converter. Have the trannsmission fluid and the cooling system (radiator and block) flushed and filled with new fluid, and appropriate fitler and gasket.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. I hope this helps you fix your van. Being a previous owner of this exact make and model, I know the frustrations of such issues, and everything I have told you is what i did to ensure my van ran as needed.

Thank you,


Mar 21, 2010 | 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager

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