Question about Dodge Stratus

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Have a 2000 dodge stratus that just stops running periodically. It first stalled when I played with the AC/Heater switch. Switch only functioned on high, when switched was jiggled car turned off. Then it just started turning off periodically when driving. I have replaced the AC/Heater switch, had mechanic check the AC coil cable, blower motor resistor, and he said everything is fine. Someone mentioned the O2 sensor, since now it starts to sputter, then keeps driving, or will stall. Could this be the problem? Or where else to look? Diagnostic shows no trouble codes.

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Since you have done a diagnostics, and no codes are shown, try the following:

Change the fuel filter/airfilter - these are common causues as to sputtering. Also, have all the vacuum lines checked and replaced if necessary. These are the cheapest and easiest to try first. If none of this is the issue:

1. If the car has a distributor: replace the plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor.

2. If the car has coil pack(s) (instead of distributor): have each (if mulitple) tested (or if one have tested) tested. Replace only any single pack that is tested to be bad.

3. There will be a modular that the pack(s) bold (screw) to: take this in as well, and exam it for bubbles, melting, white coloring; these will indicate a failed modular and needs replaced.

4. If it's fuel injected: Purchase a can of SeaFoam and poor it into the tank on a full tank (3/4 can). If you cannot fill the tank, determine how much has you have and appropriate the correct amount of SeaFoam for the amount of fuel: Ex: 1/4 tank - 1/4 can - 1/2 tank - 1/2 can etc.

Save a little bit (1/8 - 3/8 SeaFoam) and run the SeaFoam through the vacuum lines. This will clean the intake/carburator and the injectors.

If after any or all of these methods, the car still stalls, remove the A/C Unit control Modular (heater/A/C) and unplug it. Start and drive the car and see if it still stalls.

If so, you know the problem is not in the A/C Heater unit, and still somewhere within the engine.

Therefore, lastly replace the MAS (mass airflow sensor, if equipped) which will be located on the airfilter intake hose (top) between the intake manifold (top most part of engine where airfilter line goes into) and the airfilter cover.

With a screwdriver or mildly heavy tool, and car running, tap on the MAS. If the car stalls (idles differently or worsens) or the car dies, the MAS is bad and needs replaced, and most likely you have found the issue.

If nothing changes or happens, it could still be bad, howvever in most cases (99%), when a MAS is bad, a car won't stay running even when in park. It will die immediately.

If the car does stay running, try hitting the catalyitic coverter as it may have a small plug which restricts exhaust return flow back into the engine for reburnining of exhaust. If this is the case, it needs to be loosened, and the catalytic converter needs replaced, as well as the O2 Sensors (oxygen sensors).

A bad O2 sensor(s) alone will cause a car to run a wee bit rough, but not stall and die. These merely read the exhaust return level of the carbon monoxide/dioxide to tell the engine whether or not it needs to be reburned with new fuel. This is what helps increase gas mileage.

One more thing actually, one other thing it could be is fouled plugs. One or more plugs may be fouled (have oil on them) and are not sparking. If this is the case have them replaced (all).

As you can see there are several things that can cause a car to stall and die. In an effort to help you save both time and money, please print and take this with you to the auto parts store and have them help you start with the cheapest, and most likely causes first.

Start (always) small and cheap, and work your way up. Most of the time it is the smallest of parts/components that cause the biggest issues in cars.

Please, let me know if you need any further assistance in this matter.


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Posted on Apr 27, 2010


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