Question about 2003 Dodge Caravan

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Our 03 Sport Caravan was running real sluggish so we had the plugs and plug wires changed. Now when we start it the entire engine shakes and shimmys. It always starts but will not run smoothly at all. A friend of ours who sells cars and owns mainly Chevrolets said he has experienced the same problem with several of his Chevys he has owned. In fact just this week-end he had to replace one of his wifes 96 Suburban. (Side note: He said it took 3 caps to get a good one). Does the engine shake and shimmy sound like a distributor and rotor to you? I hate to just throw money at it. Thanks, Shooter

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  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 08, 2010

    Where were parts purchased, and what type of spark plugs did you/they install. I hope plugs were champions. No I'm not selling for champion, but I have seen many Chrysler products run rough on brand new plugs that were not champions. Should be a label on hood or rad support with proper champion # to install. What is mileage of your vehicle, and a little sluggish was only complaint prior to tune-up?

  • Brian Nov 08, 2010

    Was it stumbling bad before the plugs and wires were changed?

  • shooter1951 Nov 08, 2010

    motor 1258 and bjnalprkt, thanks to both of you for addressing our problem, it is appreciated. The plugs installed were Champion. They were installed by a reputable shop. Our daughter-in-law is the actual driver of the van and as i mentioned it was just sluggish to begin with so we thought it was probably ready for a tune-up. Little over 100,000 miles and hadn't had one yet. It would/will always start but just acts like it is missing on a couple cylinders. It ran somewhat better for a day or so after the plugs were changed but since they had another vehicle to drive we parked it and didn't mess with it for about 6 months. In the landscaping business so we got pretty busy. Now that things have calmed down we thought it was time to look into it. When I posted about the distributor earlier I didn't realize it doesn't have one. It has the ignition coils (is that right). It is a V6. My son called the shop that changed the plugs and they said they would run a diagnostic at no charge. Since they live about 8 miles from town they will have to get it towed it was suggested to go ahead and change out the coil before we take it in. Advance said they are about $30 or so. I haven't looked into it but is this something that is fairly simple to do? Any tricks we need to know or any other suggestions with this problem is greatly appreciated. Thank each of you again for your comments. Take care.


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  • Expert
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If the shop is willing to still look at it with that amount of time passes i would recommend that. At first it sounded like that the wires got crossed on 2 cyls. If it ran OK after the tune up then that is probably not the issue. I have had several coils go out and they are easy to replace, if you have the technical knowledge. If you end up needing more help troubleshooting it please let me know and i can help you out with that.

Like i stated when i started though, if the place you had the work done is still willing to look at it for no charge go that rout.

Posted on Nov 09, 2010

  • shooter1951 Nov 09, 2010

    bjnalprkt, Thanks again for your comments. It was a local shop that my son had heard was pretty dependable. When he explained what was going on they did offer to look into it at no expense which I agree says a lot about them. My son did pick up an ignition coil so we are going to put it on and hopefully if it doesn't fix it then it will at least improve it enough so we can dive it to their shop. Replacing the coil sounds pretty straight forward from what I read online. Jst be sure to unhook the battery cable and just do the plug wires one at a time to not get them mixed up. Are there any other instructions needed? I don't believe there were any error codes but if there were will disconnecting the battery cable reset the codes? Thanks again. Shooter

  • Brian Nov 09, 2010

    No it sound like you have it under control. Yes disconnecting the battery will reset the check engine light, but the codes will remain in it. If someone you know has a scanner they scould be able to still pull the codes off of it. Well good luck and should you need anything else don't be afraid to ask!
    Best of luck


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  • 6,674 Answers

I think at this point, if it sat for 6 mos, and had no running, I'd be real tempted to add some "HEET" gas-line antifreeze and water remover, to tank and fill it with fresh fuel and drive it to see what that does, before I get too carried away, unless it's running too bad to go anywhere.

Posted on Nov 09, 2010

  • shooter1951 Nov 09, 2010

    motor 1258, thank you for that advice. I was going to add a can of fuel injector leaner but the Heet is probably best. They only had about 1/4 tank if that in it. I will add fresh fuel before I start. As it is now we will have to tow it to the shop. He did pick up a coil so we will change that and hopefully that improves if not cure it.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 09, 2010

    I always like to eliminate the less costly things first. Keep me posted will ya?


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