Missing While Idling

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  #1  
Old 08-16-03, 07:20 AM
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Missing While Idling

99 Caravan with 87K miles, 3.3L V6 engine. Runs/ accelarates smooth at normal driving speeds but occasionally (irregular) it misses when idling. Some times it doesn't miss at all. No relation to weather conditions, engine temperature, etc. that I can see.

Don't recall the exact code number, but the diagnosis was "Missing #5 cylinder".

Can some one narrow this down a bit more? Fuel or electrical system? If it's a DIY service job - what needs to be done? If mechanic needs to do it - about how much might it cost?
 
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  #2  
Old 08-16-03, 08:10 AM
Joe_F
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When's the last time it saw plugs and wires? If you put a timing light on the wire is the beam erratic?

As for DIY of plugs and wires on this engine, read back a few days posts---Mike and BillySS gave some good advice about ways to access these plugs.
 
  #3  
Old 08-16-03, 08:40 AM
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Thanks for the reply Joe. Last time it saw new plugs & wires is when it was built. I was told by a mechanic that they're supposed to be good for 100K miles???
 
  #4  
Old 08-16-03, 11:03 AM
Joe_F
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WAY overdue.

I don't buy that "extended tuneup" baloney. Some manufacturers even recommend you remove and reinstall the plugs at certain intervals (even with these "extended" tuneup schedules) so they won't freeze in the engine.

I'm betting on possibly a bad ignition wire. At that point, I'd throw out the spark plugs at the same time. Again, 87k is WAY too long on a set of plugs.

I tune up my cars once a year right before the dyno tests---they all fly through.
 
  #5  
Old 08-16-03, 01:06 PM
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A 3.3L of this vintage does have platinum plugs installed or backserviced from the OEM. These plugs are "SUPPOSED" to last 100k miles. As Joe said 'BALOGNEY'. I have seen plugs come out of these engine with only 30k miles and they are severly burned. I personally reccomend changing the spark plugs at every 30k miles, no matter the type. Cylinder 5 Missfire would indicate you have a problem with cylinder #5. This has been discussed in previous posts, but to make things simple for you I will attempt to explain again here. The most common reason for a specific cylinder misfiring is the plug or the wire is bad. There are other more serious explanations but that is the cheapest and easiest place to start. A simple way to find out is to change the suspect plug into another cylinder and switch the wire with the same cylinder. If the code changes to the new cylinder then you have a bad plug and/or wire. Change them all at once, because when they start to go you will be out there every other day changing one wire and one plug. Post back and let us know what happens. If you try this and the code doesnt move then try a compression test on that cylinder. Cylinder #5 is in the left rear of the engine compartment (driver side).
Hope this helps ya,
Billy
 
  #6  
Old 08-16-03, 06:35 PM
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Thanks Joe & Billys68SS, your information is appreciated. It appears that it's time to do plugs & wires even though factory claims the platinum plugs are good for 100k miles.

From what I've read elsewhere in this forum (Billys68SS, etc.) this doesn't sound like a job for me. Buying the Nomex gloves & special tools would set me back more than a mechanics labor to do the job (not counting cost of plugs & wires).
 
  #7  
Old 08-16-03, 07:32 PM
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rckowal..... Actually thats not true. I dont think you will spend $130+ on a pair of gloves and a socket and ratchet, unless you buy all three from Snap On....... Let your van sit overnight and do it that way. Then just wear an old long sleeve shirt so you dont scratch your arm up on whatever might want to snag you.. LOL..... got plenty of those war wounds myself. Remove the serpentine belt from the alternator, dont take it all the way off. Remove the bracket on top of the alternator (its kind of triangle shaped with like 3 bolts in it, it also houses (i think) the top bolt for the alternator) let the alternator swing back towards the firewall, and you can reach the first plug (number 1). Remove the throttle body tube(goes to the air filter housing and you will be able to reach the plug wires and maybe even the other 2 plugs. Otherwise crawl underneath and get the back 2 from over top of the catalytic converter. It sounds hard but it really isnt. Just requires patience. If you dont have that then you lack the most expensive tool in Auto repair my friend.
Let us know how it turns out.
Billy
 
  #8  
Old 08-17-03, 05:12 AM
Joe_F
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Original poster:

The last time I spent $130 in tools was at the Englishtown swapmeet, and I needed a VERY large box to carry it all away and as you can imagine, my friend who went with me complained when I told him we had to go put it into the car. LOL. Put it to you this way--I had added up the value buying it new, and I doubled my investment without a sweat BEFORE sales tax .

As Billy said, the cost factor shouldn't be an issue. I've never sweated the cost of good tools or something I need---chances are I'll need it again. 99% of the time, this is accurate.

I would just add to disconnect the battery if you're going to move the alternator around--just for an added margain of not having something spark or get damaged.

Other than that, as Billy stated, it's mostly patience and time. And, as stated without both, there's no sense opening the hood for any repairs if you lack either---because that's half the battle.

I'd say you're looking at $65 in parts perhaps and maybe an afternoon's worth of time for a novice. Start early on a Saturday morning and you should be posting with a thumbs up here by afternoon time.

Good luck.
 
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