Question about 1997 Dodge Intrepid

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I have a 1997 Dodge Intrepid ES with the 3.5 motor. For the past 3 years, the check engine light has been on but has been running fine. I now want to sell it so I went down to the auto parts store and the codes said that the plugs, plug wires, crankshaft sensor and a oxygen sensor needed replacing. I replaced the plugs and crank sensor then drove it to town and it ran great. The Check engine light was still on so I stopped by the parts house and they cleared the codes for me. I went out the next morning and the car would not stay running when I put it in gear or took my foot off the gas. I disconnected the battery for a while and the check engine light went away and the car ran great again. Drove it 60 miles and the light came back on an it said the right rear oxygen sensor was bad but the car was still running great yesterday. I went out this morning and tried to start it and it did it again, could not keep it running. Please help me.

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  • 8 more comments 
  • bnivek Jul 14, 2009

    Do you have a diagram of the exhaust system? I am having a hard time finding it as I have limited visability and access to get under the car.

  • bnivek Jul 14, 2009

    I saw one on the drivers side right after the 3 pc connector but don't know if it is the front or rear. Do you know how close the converter is to the manifold? it is the rear passenger that needs replacing.



  • bnivek Jul 14, 2009

    Thank you for the diagram. It does help but due to the location, I will have to find a mechanic to do it for me as I just got out of the hospital.. Do you know what the Dodge flat rate is to replace the righr rear O2 sensor?

  • bnivek Jul 14, 2009

    I thank you for the extra work in your research that you have done for me. I will use you again. Kevin

  • bnivek Jul 23, 2009

    Hello again.
    I finally got the O2 sensor changed and it made no difference. Do you know what the ignition coul output voltage is for this car?
    Thanks,
    Kevin


  • bnivek Jul 23, 2009

    The plugs were changed again but now to the OEM Champions and no change.

  • bnivek Jul 25, 2009

    I replaced the plug wires and it was the same. Took the coil down to a parts house and all is the same as a new one. Took the coil and hooked it up and again it runs the same. It seems to be one plug that is not firing running rough.



  • bnivek Jul 25, 2009

    I meant to say a new coil hooking it up and it still no luck.



  • bnivek Jul 25, 2009

    The one cylinder is not getting spark but all others are. Pulled the one plug and it smells of gas.

  • bnivek Jul 25, 2009

    Thanks, we did a compression check and that cylinder has 110# with 165000 miles


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  • 195 Answers

Then I am guessing that the oxygen sensor really needs to be changed, as most of the time the oxygen sensors will have intermittent problems and will sometimes work fine for a while and then bug up again. In some cases they will only go into fault at a certain pressure or temperature, so depending on how you drive the car it may or may not go into fault. A faulty O2 sensor will cause errors in the fuel maps of the onboard computer and will cause the engine to stall or choke cause it tells the computer to send the wrong quantities of fuel to the engine. In most cases this is even considered normal behavior, as a faulty sensor will cause the computer to run the engine in what chrysler will call SAFE MODE which runs the engine rich as to not damage it since it has not idea how much fuel to give it since the sensors are in fault. This was a fairly common problem with the LH frame series (intrepid, concorde, lhs, 300) as the O2 sensor behind the engine on the manifold is close to the firewall and often has problem drying up when it rains or it is humid and then rusts and go bad before their time. May also just be that if the plugs didn't completely burn the gas, since they were due for changing and after a while the unburnt fuel residue clogged up the O2 sensors. In any case it will require a new O2 sensor and it cannot really be cleaned. Also while you're playing around with the O2 sensors, be sure to check the catalyser, as it may be clogged and causes too much restriction and causes the engine to choke on its own fumes. This can also end up in damaging the O2 sensor and is a fairly common problem on all cars.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009

  • 9 more comments 
  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 14, 2009

    I am still looking for a diagram to help you out even further, but while you wait for me to find one i can at least tell you it is located directly on the exhaust manifold just a bit after the junction of the 3 pipes that come out of the engine, and usually requires you to take off the exhaust heat shield to get to it.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 14, 2009

    The rear one should be after the catalyser normally, so it should be either on the cat's rear end or a bit further after the cat on the pipe. Still looking for a diagram that shows enough to be of any use.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 14, 2009

    Here you go, after a darn while of searching the net for the best pictures i could, this i what i got for you. Hope this helps!:) If not let me know and i'll try to gain acces the dealerconnect or starparts via my father tomorrow.


  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 14, 2009

    Just forgot to also rectify that both the one you saw on the driver side manifold, and the one on the passenger side manifol are both the "front" ones, or upstream. The one on driver side is called the Bank 1 sensor 1 O2 sensor by the onboard computer, the one on the passenger side if the Bank 2 sensor 1 O2 sensor, For the "rear" ones, or downstream, the one on driver side after the cat is Bank 1 sensor 2, and the passenger side on after the cat is Bank 2 sensor 2. The onboard computer will tell you exactly which one in the code it gives and i will call them exactly like I said. So if it's the "rear" O2 sensor that is faulty, it should say that the Bank 2 sensor 2 O2 sensor is defective. And if so, as the diagram i gave you shows, it will be right after the cat and right before the Y-Pipe that relays both sides to one single exhaust pipe. The cat itself is the bigger size tubing right after the manifold's flange (where both exhaust parts bolt together at the end of the manifold).

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 23, 2009

    Not by heart, but i will look into it today, and if i don't find anything on the net i'll call up my old man and ask him, he prolly knows, and if not he can check his Concorde, it has the same 3.5l V6 in it, So it should be the same thing for the coils, and if all else fails he can get the info from dodge. He worked there a darn while and is now retired, but he still has a few dozen connections there and can still get what he wants from them.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 23, 2009

    Also forgot, in the mean time you should check the spark plugs too though while i scrounge up the info for ya, as running an engine too rich tends to render the plugs useless due to fuel sucking up in the electrode and all and causing them to stop firing correctly. In some cases you will be able to dry them up, put em back in and it will be like new, and some other cases where you need to change them. Anyway, if they are either soaking wet or covered in black sut, if that is the case on your car, then all that extra gas from the engine running in safe mode has rendered them bad and need to be cleaned or changed. So check that out a bit and i'll write back in a few minutes with the volatge the coils should have. And i'll ask my dad if there are any recurring problems with the firing plate at the same time.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 23, 2009

    Ok then problem really should be elsewhere, which is good and bad all at the same time.:p My pops is checking out the specs on the coil pack and should call me back in a few minutes with the info, so just sit tight a little longer and i'll be giving you the ouput voltage on the coils. By memory, he said it's about 30k volts, but hes checking to be sure, so shouldn't be too long.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 23, 2009

    Ok, so here is the low down from the real dodge expert (my dad, lol:p) you wont be able to test voltage output too much since it is between 35 000 and 45 000 volts at the output and there aren't that many voltmeters that are up to the task... The real way to test the coils will be to measure the resistance of the primaries and secondaries on the coil pack. The primaries should be between 0.45 and 0.65 ohms, and secondaries between 7000 and 15800 ohms. Anything in those ranges are normal. And he says that he doubts the coils are in problem though, and says the plug wires are the most common problem on those models. You can also measure resistance on the wires from end to end to verify if it seems ok or not. Each wire should have between roughly 3000 and 5000 ohms from end to end. So anything within that range should be normal, unless it gives those resistances and the wire seems to be cracked or frayed or the insulation seems dry, you should change them. If both the coil pack reads out as normal and the wires too and they don't seem damaged in any way, then you have much more serious problem on your hands, like the onboard computer being faulty or one or more wires in the main wire harness that have frayed over the years, or any other problem you really don't wanna get when you're selling a car... So i do hope with all my heart that it IS just the plug wires like my dad said, at least that way you wont end up spending a fortune to fix a car you want to get rid of. Hope this helps.:)

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 25, 2009

    That's very odd!! If it does misfire on one cylinder though, the engine's sound will change and also the OBD should give you a misfire code with the check engine light, so i don't think that would be the problem cause it would normaly say so, but then again sometimes there are exceptions. And as far as the TPS sensor and MAF/MAP sensor are concerned, did you check those? And other than that if there truly is one cylinder that misfires and you changed the plugs, wires and coil is normal, then the only other thing that could cause a misfire would be the injector of that cylinder not giving fuel either because of gunk and clogging, or a frayed wire in the injector's connector or harness that causes it to go on and off and the material dilates when the engine is hot and it stops moving and disconnecting, other that that the only things left are the on board computer and wire harnesses, which are alot of trouble and money and time for a single cylinder. A bad ground could also be causing something like this but i doubt it though, cause usually a bad ground would cause the engine to die off period, and not cause a precise cylinder to misfire. You might want to get a mechanic to try and find out which cylinder is misfiring with his special stethoscope if you want, he should be able to find out which it is with that and you'd have less seaching and replacing to do. And also if it isn't just one he should be able to tell you that it's not a precise cylinder and the engine just bugs up because of something else related to fuel delivery, or like i said, onboard computer and wire harnesses. So if it isn't just one particular cylinder then the less costly to test will be as mentionned before, the TPS sensor, MAF/MAP sensor and all the fuel delivery system including injectors, filters (not sure though on your model if the filter is inline bolted to the frame or in the tank with the fuel pump) and the fuel pump. Also sometimes the hoses crack and you get air bubbles in the fuel lines, but in those cases you would have at least a minimal fuel leak and would at least smell like gas all the time. Hope this helps and let me know how it develops, i'll do my best to support you in your repairs and decisions.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 25, 2009

    Ok at this hour i can't contact my old man to have his take on this, so i scrounged up some info on the net once more and seems that in some cases, the same model intrepid you have had a cylinder misfire problem due to bad valves/valve seals. So might be just that too, so in the mean time you might wanna check that one cylinder for compression. One fast and simple way they say to use on the net if you have an air compressor at home is to put the engine at top dead center and pull the plug, then compress air into the cylinder with a air nozzle with a rubber end to plug the spark plug hole, or even better if you have a fitting with correct size and threading to adapt the air compressor hose and get it to screw intro the plug hole directly with the fitting, and if you can't build up pressure to good you have either bad valve seals or bent valve stems, or just damaged valves. So you can always check that for now, and tomorrow i will ask my pops to see if he has any ideas or info on the matter.

  • Gilbert Labont?
    Gilbert Labont? Jul 25, 2009

    Well is you did mean 110 PSI pressure on the cylinder, then i think we found the problem. Your engine compression ratio should be 10.40:1, so you multiply by 14.7 to find out how many PSI that is. So normally the engine should have about 152 PSI and plus or minus 10 PSI is acceptable, and yours is at 110, so compression on that cylinder is too low and prevents it from firing correctly. At least in theory.:P A good trick they gave was to put in a bit of thick engine oil in the cylinder through the plug hole (not too much though so that the engine doesn't wind up having to burn 30 gallons of oil later:P) just to help it close the minuscule leaks there could be. Then take the compression test again, and if the pressure it gives you stays the same then the problem lies in the valves (either valves themselves or the seals on the valves seats) and if the pressure rises higher with oil, then it's the rings or the walls of the cylinder that are worn or damaged. So I think you finally put the finger on the correct blister.:) So again hope this helps, and if not, just write me back and i'll go back to the drawing board again.:)

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