Troubleshooting a cranks but does not start condition can be quite a challenge since so many different things can cause your car or mini-van not to start.
In this article, we'll explore the basics of a no-start condition and how to troubleshoot it.
Contents of this tutorial:
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar Un Arranca Pero No Prende (Chrysler 2.0L, 2.4L) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
Difference Between A No Crank And A No Start Condition
I'm sure you've heard the terms: ‘My car doesn't crank’ and ‘my car doesn't start’. Is there a difference between the two? Yes there is! Here's a brief description of both conditions:
No-Start Condition: The engine cranks (turns over) like it wants to start but it never does. The usual culprits are:
- Failed crank position sensor.
- Failed fuel pump.
No-Crank Condition: The engine does not turn over when you turn the key to start your Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth vehicle. This is usually due to:
- Failed starter motor.
- Failed neutral safety switch.
- Failed ignition switch.
- Locked up engine.
This tutorial is geared toward a cranks but does not start Condition.
No Start Condition Basics
In a nutshell, your 2.0L, 2.4L equipped Chrysler car or mini-van needs 3 things to start:
When either one of the above three things is missing (when you crank the engine), your car or mini-van is not gonna' start.
This basic piece of information will make you aware that you need to see if the problem is being caused by a problem in the fuel system, or in the ignition system, or in the engine mechanical system.
Here are some more specifics:
1.) Ignition System
- The ignition system is the one responsible for creating and delivering spark. Without spark, the engine will crank but not start.
- The ignition system of the Chrysler 2.0L, 2.4L equipped vehicles covered by this article use a distributor-less ignition system. More specifically, it uses a coil pack type igntion system.
- In my experience, the most common component failures, of the ignition system that cause a no-start no-spark condition are:
- No power to the ignition coil pack.
- Bad ignition coil pack.
- Bad crankshaft position sensor.
- The Ignition System components can be tested in a methodical way to find out exactly what has failed (if indeed something has).
2.) Fuel System
- The fuel system is the one responsible with supplying the engine with fuel.
- The fuel system component that causes the majority of no-start no-fuel problems:
- Fuel pump relay (if equipped).
- Bad ASD (Auto Shutdown) relay (this is the relay that provides power to the PCM and the fuel pump or fuel pump relay).
- Fuel pump.
- The fuel pump can be tested to make sure it has really fried.
3.) Engine Mechanical System
- The engine pistons and cylinder head valves (and all the other related components like: timing chains, etc.) are the ones responsible for the induction of the fresh air the engine needs for the combustion process.
- Although rare, internal engine mechanical problems can and do cause no-start conditions.
- Possible internal engine problems are:
- Blown head gasket.
- Blown engine.
- Broken timing belt.
OK, the list of possible things that can go wrong looks pretty long but it is rare to see (or have) two different components go bad from two separate systems at the same time.
The cool thing is, is that there is a diagnostic strategy that you can use to figure out exactly what's wrong with your particular no-start problem. Let's find out more about it in the next subheading.