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Archive-name: autos/chrysler-faq/general/part4
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Last-modified: 2009/1/25
Version: 4.3

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PART IV - Engines: Idling, power, stalling, mileage; transmissions

There is a separate Neon FAQ.

Also see:

Part 3 - Classic cars
Part 5 - Funny noises, oil leaks, temperature stuff
Part 6 - Other stuff

* Many problems are caused by poor battery connections to the cables,
  which can cause signals to the computer to be incorrect. Check and clean
  the battery terminals and cables first!

* If your antifreeze was just changed and your car started to overheat,
   purge the system of air bubbles.

* Additional information on troubleshooting and repairs is on
  the web site at

** Index **

Note: there are *several* entries for some problems. Try using the "search"
 or "find" feature of your word processor, or browse through the entries.

We have eliminated some relatively uncommon entries.

1.   Stall/hesitation/sag
2.   Idle speed jumps OR Intermittent idle speed problems (2.2/2.5)
      *** (see also #28 and other items)
3.   Transmission noise: when shifting/stopping, buzzng/ratcheting
4.  Cold / freezing weather problems
5.  Power drops dramatically (engines with carb - esp 2.6)
        / icing of carburetor and other parts
6.  Magnum V-6 engine problems
7.  Power drop, black smoke, 2.6 liter
8.  TBI engine hesitation (2.2/2.5)
9.  3.9 liter (pre-1993) common problem - PREVENT IT
10.  Jeep 4.0 stalling
11. Power loss or gas mileage loss (2.2 / 2.5 engines)
12. Mitsubishi 2.6 cold start / drivability

1. Stall, hesitation, or sag

See for full diagnostics

2.   Transmission noise: when shifting/stopping, buzzng/ratcheting

Chrysler four-speed automatic transmissions tend to make a
buzzing/ratcheting noise when shifting gears or pulling to a stop. This
noise is normal and comes from the solenoids. It is most noticeable from
outside the car. A continuous buzz or whine could indicate low fluid or a
bad pump, but a fair bit of noise is normal and you can find it, to one
degree or another, on anything from an Acclaim to a brand new Town &
3. Fast idle on startup

(Bohdan Bodnar): This is normal for [some] Chrysler products.
The throttle body temperature sensor is used ONLY during hot
restarts;  during a hot restart, it is the dominant temperature sensor for the
first 10 seconds only.  So, if the engine runs funny for almost exactly 10
seconds during a hot restart, consider cleaning the contacts of that sensor.

4. Cold weather problems

Glen Larche said a MAP relocation kit is available to prevent problems
in freezing temps (rough cold idle, stalling) for older 2.2 and 2.5 liter
four cylinder cars:
Kit for turbo vehicles- 4419402
Kit for EFI vehicles- 4419401
5.   Power drops dramatically (engines with carb - esp 2.6)

In cold weather, some vehicles with the 2.6 liter 4-cylinder engine may
have severe power loss (e.g. after running about 20 minutes between 60 and
65 mph). If one steps on the gas, black smoke may come out of the tailpipe.
The solution  (from Dave Witte): A de-icing kit to heat the intake air
enough to prevent freezing. SOME engines had this kit at the factory. The
kit is not expensive.
My manual shows that the 2.6 had a carb air heater.  The tube that comes up
from the exhaust manifold, will be on the back side of the engine, and hard
to reach.  When the engine is cold, make sure that the vacuum actuator in
the air horn leading to the air cleaner housing is working. In cold
weather, with the engine cold, it should redirect all of the air flow
through the stove on the exhaust manifold. (Jeff Wieland)
The problem was freezing of the carb. and the answer was to moved the hose
that feeds outside air to the air filter compartment and position it
somehwere to the rear of the engine.  This prevents the outside cold air
from making its way over to the carb.(Ken)
6. Magnum V-6 engine problems

Problem: 1992 Dakota 4x4 with Magnum V-6. Engine faltering badly
sometimes when cold, sometimes when hot.  On cold starts, the engine
will sometimes act as though it's getting gas only at idle, won't
It will cough and sputter awhile, then "catch" and take off, running
fine from then on.  Other times, it will "skip a beat or two" at speed,
under mild acceleration.

David Wright: Some Magnum engines came with "mis-phased" distributors,
causing  intermittent missing.

Jerald Barker: Replace the back pressure transducer and EGR valve. The
Back Pressure Transducer lies next to the EGR valve just above the left
valve cover.
7. Power drop, black smoke, 2.6 liter

>After running for about 20 minutes the power drops out to the point
>where I have to pull over. If I am in "Park or Neutral" and step on the
>gas pedal, black smoke comes from the tail pipe.

With 2.6L engined minivans ... the airflow goes right
over the carburetor ...  freezing it solid.  Seconfd you stop, engine
heat thaws it out (which is why  you can stop, restart, and it seems a
lot better). I put a metal shield in front of the carburetor
to deflect wind around it and it worked. -- Jonathan N. Deitch
8.  TBI engine hesitation (2.2/2.5)

2.5 liter, TBI: Intermittent engine hesitation under high speed driving
ONLY or under moderately high speed and heavy acceleration.  The problem
NEVER occurs during moderate driving or heavy acceleration at low to
moderate speeds.

The brass pin you see from the top of the injector -- they didn't make it a
tight enough fit.
Eventually the
pin begins to back out and the ECM keeps shortening the injector pulse
to compensate for the change in mixture. The process can take several
months before it produces symptoms. The pin
backs out to a point that the ECM can no longer compensate for and you
get driveability problems. (dotto)

First check fuel pressure, around 14.5 psi engine off (using DRB in
actuator test)  I have seen the distributor pick-up unit on these
cut out intermittently.  When the computer loses the signal from the
distributor, it shuts fuel/spark off.  The Hall-effect plate tends to get
loose.  One TSB
involves re-locating the MAP sensor from the logic module(right kick panel)
to the right strut
tower.  EGR failures are also common.  They sometimes get stuck
open and  cause hesitation; try disconnecting the vacuum hose
from the  EGR valve.  The car will probably ping on acceleration, but
hesitation  should cease.  The valve is located on the driver's side end
of the  exhaust manifold.  You may have to remove the air cleaner
housing to see  it.  Faulty TPS sensor can cause this type of problem.
It may have a  "dead spot"  (Eric Eleazar)
9.  3.9 liter (pre-1993) common problem - PREVENT IT

My 1992 Dakota 3.9L needed a new timing chain and gears
at 49,000 miles.  This was originally diagnosed as "mis-phased"
distributer, and "fixed" to some degree.
According to one of the service managers, the 1992 Magnums had a
"single roller" roller chain.  The 93+ engines have the more typical
double roller.  This may be a common problem for the pre-93s.

The misfiring had been happening sometimes on upshifts, but worsened as
performance sagged. The misfiring occurs when the rotor gets enough out
of phase that the spark gets fed to the wrong cylinder. Ignition timing is
not changed by this
problem, valve timing *is*,
and distributer rotor "phase" is.  Get it fixed SOON. (Ron Luse)
10. Jeep 4.0 EFI engine stalls at a stop (Jeep 4.0 stalling).

The problem is the flywheel sensor.  It is located by following the
wires from the along the firewall and along the bellhousing. These
sensors get worn out from debris and it also might be just the
wires going to it. I had the same problem and took it to a dealer
and they couldn't figure it out either. (Ken Talley)
11. Power loss or gas mileage loss (2.2 / 2.5 engines)

Vaughn Smith's 2.5 was losing power and mileage. While replacing a burnt
rotor (one thing to look at), he took off the Hall effect sensor. He saw
that it read when each "vane" on the distributor shaft passed the pickup
point; the inner surface of the vane, though, was extremely dirty. He
replaced the rotor and cleaned the vane, and found that gas mileage and
power increased. He also found this problem on a 2.2 TBI and a 2.2 Turbo,
with some improvement in each case.
12. Cold start/initial run problem - MMC 2.6

(Courtesy Marvin Stockman) The Mitsubishi 2.6's carburetor choke pulloff
tends to break; the only fix is a $700 replacement.  I have made a  twisted
loop (like a hangmans noose) of soft metal wire and place the noose section
around the stud that holds the air cleaner duct. I let the twisted straight
section hang down into the throat of the carburetor.  I try to get the wire
as close to the wall of the carburetor as I can.  This has the effect of
preventing the choke plate from closing completely, and eliminates any cold
running problem.  It is important to use thin wire ( I used soft aluminum
wire) in order to keep the opening small, otherwise the initial idle is
very high.  Another solution would be to drill a small hole in the choke
plate.  During very cold weather, I pump the accelerator 4 to 5 times and
the car starts right up.
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