HELP!!! Rough idle hesitation when taking off? Mechanics have no clue

Asked by Aug 18, 2009 at 09:09 AM about the 2001 Dodge Caravan SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi, after van has ran for awhile when you come to a stop the idle is really rough. almost like it wants to stall. then when you let off the brake and give it gas it hesitates and stumbles before accelerating. runs and idles fine besides when you stop.  mechanic has recently replaced ac compressor(ac was not cold) and the alternator.  scan shows nothing wrong and he doesn't have a clue to the problem.
Problem started right after he replaced the compressor.

36 Answers

475

Hello, Try spraying FI throttle body cleaner, making sure you get the idle air passage located before the butterfly; worked for me.

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

it might be a shorted wire. try putting the front on rollers with the hood open and look at the engine and simulate the condition. it could also be a gas tank rush (gas rushin away from the pickup tube).

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

scan tools don't get everthing. you could have a bad wire that can cause an injector to be shorted and make the engine to shake until the stort is gone. that's old school, not many places teach that. check your wires.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
475

Hi, Check for clogged fuel injectors or TPS.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

remember he just had the ac compresor put in.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
170

I had the same exact thing happen after a new air condition sensor. 2003 w/89k in the past 3 months: -replaced a/c system -power steering flushed because it made noises at low speed -had misfire so they replaced plugs/wires, still had problem, then replaced crank sensor, then cam sensor, then flex plate (Finally stopped the missfire problem) -while checking for misfire problem, they also checked injectors, vavle springs -rough idle - changed idle control valve, throttle position sensor, cleaned throttle body, adjusted idle in their computer Still it idles rough after it's been running for 5-10 minutes, then 4-5 out of 10 times, when I take off, it hesitates really bad, then after a couple of grunts, it works ok till I take off after another 4-5 times. It's getting so frustrating, I think I'm going to trade it back into the used car dealer. Any last requests? Could it be a fuel filter, pump, cat converter?????

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.
95

Have the TPS checked.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
75

check fuel pressure.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
65

Hi , Did you ever get it fixed? I just started having that problem THIS Morning after having my water pump replaced after overheating. I figure when i overheated and my sensor didnt go off for Temp , maybe some other sensors were also damaged.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
180

its the egr valve how much you want to bet lol

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.
110

It is the fuel injector wiring harness. I had to replaced mine, of course after it fried the main Controll module. Harness located on top on the engine and due to the heat wires break down and shorten over time. You will have to remove the intake in order to replaced them. There is also a plug disconnect under and behind the coil ignition.Make sure you unplug cables from battery also.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
140

Why the hell don't people repost when the have their problem fixed or post that they are abandoning the issue?! It sure would help many people!

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.
150

haveing the same problem runs fine untill i turn on the air after i turn on the air it starts to stumble real bad 2001 town and country van any ideas

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
140

Have you done a motor mount check? Put car in drive and foot on brake and have someone look at engine while you rev it up and see how much the engine moves. Idle air control valve, Maf sensor? is there a noise?, possible worn ac compressor and causing the engine to not be able to maintain idle. If its that the ac will eventually seize up and break the belt. There are occasions when more accessories on causes voltage strain and affects the idle. I still haven't found the cause of mine, thought Lincoln says its the 5% compression drop in one cylinder which I can't believe. Replacing motor mounts because my body mount bushings were totally destroyed so it makes sense that the mounts may have too much play but I will know next week.

40

I just pulled out the tras the oil pump gear in tork converter broke i relpased the torkconverter / Used In mean time my trans mount on left was broke The sub frame behind trans rust away at steering rocken pinnon , i will schan and will change plugs just changed both site hubs . will bearung left rotor rust away . i will change that right site staboliser w joints on both end has to be change Muffler cxonnection is rust away I bought the rusty junk 2003 windstar my god i paid 1200 for it trans went out on first trip in just gona put it together i my change egr walve and tps cencer i hope after will run better i will put it out For sale nexst time i take it for a right i tought i got a good dill oh fuel filter also be changed I nuse bto by Windstar and tauruses webstreped a bunck i even cut off half of the car was in exidant , and sold those but i never by rusty junks like this one of cours 163 thousand mile aftre what do is expect , I wondwer if they got recals yet for rusty subframes and Rubber mount bushings for sub frame. , Well

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
40

I just pulled out the tras the oil pump gear in tork converter broke i relpased the torkconverter / Used In mean time my trans mount on left was broke The sub frame behind trans rust away at steering rocken pinnon , i will schan and will change plugs just changed both site hubs . will bearung left rotor rust away . i will change that right site staboliser w joints on both end has to be change Muffler cxonnection is rust away I bought the rusty junk 2003 windstar my god i paid 1200 for it trans went out on first trip in just gona put it together i my change egr walve and tps cencer i hope after will run better i will put it out For sale nexst time i take it for a right i tought i got a good dill oh fuel filter also be changed I nuse bto by Windstar and tauruses webstreped a bunck i even cut off half of the car was in exidant , and sold those but i never by rusty junks like this one of cours 163 thousand mile aftre what do is expect , I wondwer if they got recals yet for rusty subframes and Rubber mount bushings for sub frame. , Well !?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
170

I have an 03 dodge caravan. With in the last 6 months I've had to replace the throttle position sensor 3 times. I got it fixed less than a week ago and this morning the check engine light came on and the van started shaking horribly. If I left off the gas and press the gas peddle all the way it will accelerate without hesitation. The only code it will read is the throttle position sensor. Is there anything else that could be making this sensor short out and the van hesitate?

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.
110

I have an 05 dodge caravan changed the rear motor mount still surges shakes hesates at idle an take off. changed the timing?belt. still does the same any one have aidea what could be wrong please help

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
90

96 CARAVAN, was running fine till the AC compressor was replaced....sound familiar? Now it has a rough idle, almost like it's skipping. I'm replacing fuel filter, doing routine maintenance items, and having it turned in for plugs and plug wires ( cause I can't get to the back 3) and to have them diagnose the rough idle....I will repost next week with the verdict, and let you know if it actually works. We'll see.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
60

Had my check engine light come on today on my 2007 Grand Caravan (147K miles) after it started progressively running rough (skipping sensation) over the past week. Started out just a couple hesitations on the drive home (~40 min) last Friday. Today it was noticeable on the way to work, but on the way home it was pronounced. Check engine light came on just as I pulled into my drive. Had the fuel pump replaced last fall (wouldn't start one morning) and was told then that the fuel filter needed changing but was in the gas tank, so not able to replace it unless I had the tank pulled/replaced. The van would attempt to stall if I filled the tank - both before and after having the fuel pump replaced. I sense it's a fuel injection/flow issue from the way the engine feels when it hesitates. Had a tune up two years ago and the transmission flushed last year. Oddly enough, I just had the van in two days ago for inspection and it passed fine. Oil level was good and the mechanic mentioned the coolant was low, so added some.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
115

I have 2005 Grand caravan (145K miles). I've had check engine light, rough idling problem for a month now...only does this in the morning of when van is first started during first five minutes, especially when slowing down to a stop sign or light or when it's first started in afternoon. After 5-10 minutes, rough idling stops but check engine light stays on. If used later in the day, check engine light stays off and there is no rough idling. Took to Dodge dealership. First diagnosis was lower intake caskets leaking and oil pan gasket leaking. So, they installed intake manifold gasket, installed seal for intake manifold and installed gasket for oil pan. Next day runs fine. Two days later same problem check engine light/rough idling, took back to same Dodge Dealership...they diagnosed injector connector #4 was loose, so they tightened it up. Next day, runs fine. Two days later same problem: check/engine light/rough-idling. Third time took to local mechanic said spark plugs and wiring needed to be replaced. Next day, runs fine, Two days later same problem: check engine light/rough idling. Probably going to take back to second mechanic and offer up some of the solution/ideas above to get checked out.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
60

Follow-up (because I know some of you like resolutions): Just picked up my van from the shop - despite having it tuned up a year ago (correction from my original post - time flies when you're having fun), the manufacturer-recommended plugs (Champion) were not used and the coil was not replaced (not recommended at that time?). The plugs, and subsequently, wires went bad; hence, the hesitation and check engine light last Thurs. Plugs (this time Champions), wires and coil replaced and the van is running smooth. Only had to pay for the coil (part, no labor). One note - I have used this repair shop for the past 8 years and they've always been honest with repairs. Having worked in the auto service department in a large dealership many years ago, that's saying a lot. Best of luck to all of you in resolving your car issues.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
10

I have worked with older buicks inthe pas and had trouble with idle until I accidently oveerloaded the carburtor and caused a back fire that cleaned the exhaust manifold and blew black stuff all the way across the road. Idled smooth as silk after that. I also found that replacing a gas cap relieved the problem at times. The troulble now is that since there is no carb one has by pass the injectors with gas. Dont't try it if you don't know w hat you are doin.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
90

Hey all, posted this a little while back...sorry for the delay.----------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 96 CARAVAN, was running fine till the AC compressor was replaced....sound familiar? Now it has a rough idle, almost like it's skipping. I'm replacing fuel filter, doing routine maintenance items, and having it turned in for plugs and plug wires ( cause I can't get to the back 3) and to have them diagnose the rough idle....I will repost next week with the verdict, and let you know if it actually works. We'll see.______________________________________________________ ____________ SO after, plugs, plug wires, fuel filter, and 2 tanks full of sea foam injector cleaner (as recommended by the guys who did the fixing), this ole 96 Caravan runs 100% better and no longer sputters. It's been a couple months now, and still running fine. The mechanic said that the next step would've been the coil, but these fixes worked just fine. Maybe that'll help.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
20

Hi I had a check engine Light stay on and a low rpm idle 150, rough Idle it what felt like a rough idle was bad motor mounts, and the light ended up being a nuchals vacuum leak detections Valve it is mounted by the gas tank on a dodge grand caravan 3.8 v6 motor

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
20

I just got a 2005 dodge caravan, hesitate when ac is on...ive read some posts, but i think its a simple fix.... WEAK BATTERY. the battery draws alot of juice, and can fool up engine and transmission performance....off to autozone to check the battery.... it could be that and much more.....lets see.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
45

I have a 01 grand caravan sport 3.3 that had the same issue (after van has ran for awhile when you come to a stop the idle is really rough. almost like it wants to stall. then when you let off the brake and give it gas it hesitates and stumbles before accelerating) my van started this the day after I replaced the water pump and then I read the post on many sights and before long I spent a lots of money replacing things that was ok until I went on amazon.com and got a cheap obd2 scanner , and found it was just a MAP sensor , I cleaned the egr tube and replaced the gaskets ,I replaced the fuel pump , the fuel pressure regulator , the o2 sensor fuel filter , plugs . plug wires , cleaned the tbi and then replaced it , replaced the tps and the air idle control valve, and the pcv valve , and the fuel injector wiring harness oil and oil filter , added fuel injector cleaner , oh and the gas cap , when my wife said no more I then logged in to my amazon account and found a cheap obd2 scanner called maxiscan for under 20 bucks and when I pluged it in and ran the codes it cam up with a P0 107 and P0 108 , and then went to auto zone and spent 51.95 for a map sensor , so if you have the issue with your van like I see that many do check the map sensor first

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
10

These guys are right use Chemtool and spray inside the throttle body while running very good to clean it up also have someone show you the throttle position sensor and change it out. It is not very expensive. These two things should fix your problem .. thanks

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
30

I have a 04 town and country and it starts shaking in ideal and service light starts blinking. it will do that for awhile and then you cut it off and when you crank it back up it may or may not do it is reading misfire in two of the cylinders. but it comes and goes I have replaced plugs wires coils and o2 sensor but still does it

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
75

in response to question: hesitation on application of throttle from stop. vehicle for reference: 2001 grand caravan 3.8 litre 240k miles. 1) confirm no engine codes by quickly turning ignition switch from off to accessory 3 times in a row, leave in accessory. If you have codes, resolve these first. bad TPS, shorted injector coils, bad ignition module, bad air injection valve, bad map sensor and bad intake temp sensor will report codes. Don't shotgun parts if you dont have fail codes. 2) confirm your plugs and wires are in decent shape. iridium plugs last 100k easily. 3) is your air filter clean? if the above is good, then I found that the egr valve (long metal tube from front of intake manifold connects to this valve on lower left front of engine to exhaust manifold). is often the culprit. hot exhaust gases flow through this valve to intake manifold and the valve gets hindered by carbon deposits over time. the design isn't great, but replacing this $ 60 part AND it's two gaskets can make a noticeable improvement. don't use an aftermarket part, they have shorter life. much of the carbon build-up in your intake manifold comes from this gem, also causing problems by gunking up the air idle port on the intake manifold prior to the throttle plate. use some carb cleaner to clean this port which is close to the throttle plate. This egr valve degradation doesn't cause an engine code. A positive check is to block off the egr port on the intake manifold to see if hesitation is cured. note that doing so will cause an engine code to activate eventually, so it isn't a workaround.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
20

IF THIS STARTED AFTER YOU CHANGED replaced the compressor. THEN I WOULD SAY GO BACK OVER THE WORK TO THE compressor, IF EVERY THING IS GOOD RE CHANGE THE compressor IT IS PROBLE A BAD PART

75

with respect to tonyca3001, and others who have responded similarly, when a repair of one system causes another symptom to surface, it does not necessarily mean the repair is at fault. If the ac is now functioning properly, the compressor and other AC components are good. When A/C comes on, especially at idle or very low speeds, the load on the engine is increased, dropping engine rpm a bit, which the PCM computer compensates for, but if the mixture is already off due to the EGR valve, MAP sensor, vacuum leak, bad injector, or many other issues, the rough idle or cutout on accel will be made worse. That means the new compressor just enhances the already present issue.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
10

"Is the egr valve how much you want to bet lol" Ihad the exact same same symptoms. I tries the egr valve and problem fixed. :)

10

"Is the egr valve how much you want to bet lol" Ihad the exact same same symptoms. I tries the egr valve and problem fixed. :) thanks for the help robert

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
10

I wanted to chime in since most come here with the problem with no fix. This will be a long story but worth reading I promise ok so here it goes. I recently purchased a 2005 dodge caravan 3.3 v6 with 168000 miles when I got it the check engine light was on for the o2 sensor closet to the engine or before the catalytic converter I made the first mistake by purchasing bosch replacement o2 sensors DO NOT DO THIS they did not work I swapped them out for densco o2 sensors 1st problem solved (be mindful they switched o2 sensors mid production year on this model so it made a difference what month your van was made) ok next issue I was having was surging and rpm going up and down for no reason I replaced several parts= coil pack spark plugs and wires and the IAC all were realitivly cheap but did not fix issue so I read and read and spoke to several mechanics no solid answers until I spoke to my dad who has a 2005 Chrysler basically same van and he said he had similar issue and it ended up bad EGR VALVE ding ding ding I replaced problem solved. Ok last issue I have had was car instrument panel would go off and van would lose power even sometimes stall also i noticed head lights flickering at night now this one was tricky instanly I thought battery, alternator, instrument cluster all checked out ok so what next? Ground issue well yes but when I ohm out all working so what the heck? After hours of readig forums I was ready to give up I took one more look at all the ground wires from negative terminal on battery one is attached to instrument cluster and one attached to the body under battery tray after examing closely I found a small amount of corrosion on both which was causig bad connections I removed corrosion and repaired connection via soldering new mounting brackets and problem solved hopefully this helps at least one person out here have a good one all

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2010 Caravan. After I replaced the plugs and wires (turns out it was the coil pack so I changed that next) it started stalling mostly when at the lights. Then It started hesitating for just a milli second when leaving the lights. It would always start up again. So I went to Mopar wires and problem solved. How weird is that? The wires I used were Champion.

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