Question about 1997 Dodge Avenger

19 Answers

After a cold night, my 1997 Dodge avenger won't start...

I came home from work back in December and parked my 1997 Dodge Avenger. It was running fine all the way home. We had a very cold night. When I went to start it the next morning, the engine would turnover; but it wouldn't start.

I replaced the battery; the starter; spark plugs; and fuel pump. It still won't start. The plugs have a lot of fire, and It's getting fuel. It will turnover and act like it wants to start.

It's a four cylinder. Any suggestions?

Thanks!!

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  • brentagardne Jan 12, 2009

    Thanks for the suggestion, but my car is a basic Avenger without a car alarm.

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You could very well have water in fuel. I would purchase a bottle of Heet from your local auto store. I live in a very cold climate and that's a common problem around here.

Posted on Jan 19, 2009

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  • 367 Answers

Check ignition switch. Or timing.

Posted on Jan 19, 2009

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  • 115 Answers

If you have spark and fuel, the only thing left is timing. I suspect a vacuum leak (a larger leak would seriously ****** ignition timing). I'd first check with a timing light to make sure that your timing belt is ok. Once you've ruled that out, have someone crank the ignition (or a remote starter if you have one) while you lightly spray around any vacuum hoses and sensors with carburetor cleaner. If the engine tries to start you've found your leak. If it's not a timing belt or vacuum leak, it could be fuel pressure or the coil's output. You can also try spraying carb cleaner in the intake while cranking it, if it starts I'd go with Benimur's suggestion of water in the fuel. Good luck!

Posted on Jan 16, 2009

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  • 141 Answers

I would say you have one or more cylinders that have lost their compression. Remember if you ave spark and fuel, the only remaining piece of the puzzle is the compression factor. Without it it will not start.

Posted on Jan 15, 2009

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Id Check The Timing Chain Or Belt Whichever Is Equipped. You Have Provided Really Good Information You Have Battery, Starter, Fuel And Spark Thus Next In Line Is Timing Making Sure Fuel And Fire Come At The Same Time. If The Engine Isnt On Top Dead Center You Will Be Able To Crank Get Spark Get Fuel But Never Get Ignition Of The Fuel. Please Have Your Timing Checked And Repair It As It Will Pretty Much Just Flood Your Engine And Destroy It The More You Try And Start It.

Thanks For Using Fixya.com
Sincerely,
Michael Scott

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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  • 107 Answers

The 4 cylinders are susceptible to the timing belt skipping teeth, especially when being turned off. The cold night was probably coincidental, check the timing belt. if it has skipped, It would sound like the engine wanted to start but with incorrect ignition and valve timing it won't.

Hope this helps. mike

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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  • 100 Answers

Hello
I see a lot of great answer here!
I would check the timing to see if its off enough not to start.
if the timing is off 1 or 2 cogs this will be enough not ot start
very common when its cold out for this to happen
RD

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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  • 221 Answers

I would suspect the ignition module, or its connectors, check to see if there is spark during the period it will crank but not start by pulling a plug wire off, and holding it or placing it close to a ground, if there is spark, then its more than likely a fuel system problem.  Check your battery if its fully charged, if it is then you have a wiring problem (shorted wiring).
also the the pick up coil can be  defective. The coil has a number of names but is essentually a small magnetic coil that initiates the spark. The fine wires can connect or separate depending on the temperature. 

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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Best way to diagnose is to scan for codes, but not having that I would guess the ignition module then the crank/cam sensor.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Jan 15, 2009

    Any codes?

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Jan 15, 2009

    Even if the light is not on - the bulb may have been removed if you are not the original owner.

    Scan for codes.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Jan 15, 2009

    This means that the battery and starting motor are working properly, but the engine is not firing. If you continue cranking the engine over in this way, the battery will eventually run down and will need to be recharged, but the battery and starter are not the cause of your problem.

    There are a number of causes for this type of no-start condition, the most common being that you are simply out of gas. Assuming that you have fuel in the tank, you will need to go through a series of tests to determine what is causing the problem. The testing procedure requires that you use specialized equipment in order to determine the problem area. There are three main tests in order to get you pointed in the right direction. You will need to test for Spark, Fuel and Compression, in that order. As soon as you see a problem in one of those areas, that is where you will need to concentrate your efforts.



    If you have spark, fuel, and air, and it will not start, the timing is off.




    Spark:
    An easy way to test for spark is with an inexpensive spark tester. This is a device that is readily available at most auto supply stores. You use it by simply holding it next to a spark plug wire. If you see the neon lamp flashing while someone cranks the engine, then you have spark and should move on to checking for fuel. If there is no spark, or a very weak spark, you will have to do a series of methodical tests that vary depending on the type of vehicle. You will need a repair manual for your car in order to get the correct diagnostic procedures. A good source for on-line repair information at a reasonable price is Alldata-DIY.

    Fuel:
    First step here is to listen for the fuel pump running inside the gas tank. When you turn the key to run, you should easily hear the pump come on, run for a few seconds to build fuel pressure then turn off. If you do not hear it, it could mean that the fuel pump or circuitry is bad. (Fuel pump failure is a common problem on modern cars.)

    Fuel injected cars are very sensitive to proper fuel pressure. If the pressure is off, even by a few pounds, it will cause noticeable performance problems, or a no-start condition. To check for proper fuel pressure, you will need a fuel pressure gauge that is suitable for your type of system. A fuel injected engine (found on just about every vehicle less than 20 years old) produces very high fuel pressures and requires a fuel pressure gauge that reads up to 100 pounds per square inch. This type of gauge has a threaded connector that must match the pressure tap on your fuel rail. Since you are working with a highly combustible fluid which can be quite dangerous if you do not know what you are doing, you should leave this step to a pro.

    Compression:
    If you know that you have spark and fuel, the next step is to check for compression. For this, you will need a mechanic's grade compression tester that will screw into a spark plug hole. You will need to remove the spark plugs and use the compression tester to test the compression on each cylinder. If the compression is very low on all cylinders, that is a sure sign that the timing belt (or timing chain depending on the engine) has failed and will have to be replaced.

    Additionaly,:

    the other factor in this formula is compression. In order for the car to fire, you need all of the above + compression. If your head gasket has gone south, that can contribute to your problem.

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Scan the ECU with a code readers, then return us the error codes.

Then we can start from there.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

  • Ginko
    Ginko Jan 23, 2009

    Let us know if you solved your problem.

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Ok, new thing. while everything was flickering on and off, we noticed that there was this clicking noise whenever it flickered. eventually it stopped flashing, and the clicking kept on going. when we looked for the fuse box, we noticed that the clicking noise was coming from a box next to the fuse box labled "car securtiy system". (btw, the car is off) everytime we hit the car with our fists, the box would click TWICE. i lost the remote to the car a few months ago, and the security alarm randomly came on and off at times, and i had to start the car using the vallet button down by my left foot and still do. another aspect of the alarm was that when something hit the car, everything would FLASH and the car would beep TWICE... hm.... anyways. we disconnected the shock sensor from the car alarm box, and the clicking stopped. now when i test drove around, nothing flashes, or clicks. what is going on? could my alarm system be draining the battery or something? or is the alarm system just messed up? or does this still somehow relate to the alternator?

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

  • ABHISHEK.C
    ABHISHEK.C Jan 14, 2009

    if ur light is blinking it sounds like its trying to send you a trouble code. on older models you can find the trouble code by finding your diagnostic imput, <~ usually under your dash. once you found it get a wire and in your book find the ground port and the memory port. with the ignition on with out the engine running it, the check engine light should blink out trouble codes. for instance, if its a code 23 it would blink 2 times then pause then 3 times. but since its a 97 i would not recomend it. either find a diagnostic tool or take it to the shop to find the prob. if your not that good as a mechanic, then you'd make a poor electrical tech. NO offence i tried and wound up paying big time for frying my wiring harness haha, lesson learned.. good luck and i wish you the best for your dodge :)




    the only thing that will make the check engine light flash is a misfire fault that exceeds a predetermined misfire allowance in the pcm (computer) programming. the heater thing is just a coincidence. when was the last time the plugs/wires were replaced? check and see if plugs wires are arcing anywhere. rattle sounds like an exhaust resonator or muffler, or maybe a heat shield on the exhaust manifolds.

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  • 199 Answers

Would you consider pre-heating the plugs? Butane cigarette lighter would do for a few seconds long enough to heat the sparkplug tips.

Hope this helps.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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  • 47 Answers

The electric starter does not give enough power to start the engine.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

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Hi and welcome to FixYa,

Initially, other possibilities to consider:

  • water contamination of fuel, try adding SeaFoam in your tank;
  • remove air filter/cleaner. When cranking/starting spray Starter Fluid or even Injector Cleaner.
Check and perform preliminary visual or necessary inspection. Pls post back result(s). Good luck and Thank you for using FixYa.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009

  • Louie  Role
    Louie Role Jan 16, 2009

    Perhaps feedback from you on what has been tried, failed, results, observation wold help narrow down possibilities.

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  • 91 Answers

I would change the fuel filter because even if you changed the fuel pump and the filter is bad its still stoping all of the gas from makig it to the motor, Also would the car go from working fine to just not working at all of was there other symptoms leading up to this.....? If it went from running fine to just not running at all its usually a coil pack in 90 percent of the cases but you ensured that it was getting spark you said... Cheap way to diagnose these problems are to get a coilpack from advance put it on if it fixes it then your good if not just clean it up you can return almost everything at that place..and as for the fuel filter its 10 bucks and should be replaced anyways... If you have anyother questions let me know and i will get back to you quickly..And please rate me if you get a chance ill be glad to get to the bottom of this with you until its figured out i ran a shop for years..

Thanks,
Steve

Posted on Jan 13, 2009

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  • 416 Answers

1. Check the grounding cables. One might be not tight enough or deposited.
2. It might be water frose in injector or fuel line
3. Faulty Coolant temperature sensor (try to warm up this area with hair fan), O2 sensor.
4. Distributor cap is worn. Try to heat up this area too.
Let me know
Good Luck

Posted on Jan 13, 2009

  • Grigory Zyryanov Jan 14, 2009

    What about fuel cutoff relay. Did you check it. When you replaced pump relay might be cut fuel off.
    Did you check the fuel pressure at all.


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Before you replace everything on the motor... locate the fuse panel in the engine compartment and replace the ignition relay.

Robert

Posted on Jan 12, 2009

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Uhmm.......all dodge cars have the same issue.......


The reason being "CAR ALARM"....


This problem is also an aftermarket alarm issue.
The factory alarm is controlled by the remotes
locking and unlocking the doors. In your
case, there is also a starter kill relay inline
from an aftermarket alarm. You need to bypass this
before you can start the engine.

At least we know it's installed correctly
which is actually a good thing here.

Ok, try this.
Put the key in the ignition, and turn forward
all the way just before cranking. Then within
5 seconds, locate, press and hold in the
valet/overide button, found under the
dash area, (push button, spring loaded)
until the installed LED (the blinking light)
in your dash area goes on solid,
and the siren chirps once.

(Your valet switch might be the toggle
(on/off) type. in this case, key on,
flip switch in opposite direction,
then turn the key off.)

This should reset the alarm, and reset
the grounded relay on the starter wire,
allowing you to start the engine.

At this point, the only thing working would
be the keyless entry from the alarm,
if it came equipped that way.

Just Repeat these steps to place it
back to usable armed mode.
You may get 2 chirps, confirming it,
and the lights may flash twice as well.

That should do it.
If you want to remove it at this point,
take it to your neighborhood installer
for this, or buy the wiring chart
(Go to: www.vehiclewires.com)
for the vehicle, and reverse engineer it wire
by wire, until safely removed.

If it does not work out this way,
you will have to replace the system
with one you know how to operate
and what to expect. Don't want to
get stuck in another bad situation.

Let me know what happens.

Thanks.

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

  • taran_2005
    taran_2005 Jan 12, 2009

    if the fuel light is coming on its possible its out of gas,i have had that
    happen to me before ,that would make it not start back up,good luck


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  • 431 Answers

May be due to blocage in the fuel pump try cleaning it

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

  • nematics
    nematics Jan 11, 2009

    try starting several times then the blockage would be removed

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SOURCE: My 1997 Dodge Avenger's engine won't start

Try cam and/or crank sensor. If crank to cam timing isn't detected properly it'll crank all day but won't start. I had similar problem on my 2.5L V6 Avenger....drove home fine, no engine light, next morning it cranked, but wouldn't start. The crank sensor was faulty.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009

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My 1997 Dodge Avenger's engine won't start


Try cam and/or crank sensor. If crank to cam timing isn't detected properly it'll crank all day but won't start. I had similar problem on my 2.5L V6 Avenger....drove home fine, no engine light, next morning it cranked, but wouldn't start. The crank sensor was faulty.

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