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Old 11-05-2009, 08:09 PM   #1
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Default Car help......

Okay, so my minivan is getting 12 miles to the gallon. Thats right, 12. I keep the Tach around 2200 accelerating. I get better mileage with out truck. Used to be getting 17. I looked at the plugs, and they are new. Basically no dirt on them (though the plug wires are another story). Tires are fully inflated (much moreso than when my sister had the car). Air filter is clean. Probably 5K on the filter. Oil is recently changed.

The only things I can think of (thanks to google) is the PCV valve, fuel fitler and O2 sensor, and possibly plugs (who knows, someone may have cleaned them)

Also, the engine sounds like there is a blower on it. At first it was only when I gave it a lot of gas, but now even when I'm accelerating normally I can hear a bit of a whine and what sounds like a fan going. This is coming from the passenger's side of the engine compartment...... where the accessory belt is... Could this have anything to do with it?

Oh yea, car is a 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan with the 3.3L V-6 and a 4 speed. Should I just search for a I-4 stick shift wrangler on craigslist or something? I like my van, because I can fit music gear and people in it, and the mileage SHOULD be fairly good, but I might as well have a big block V-8 in it.

Oh, and the brakes sometimes vary from normal feeling to very very very firm feeling. What's up with that?


Last tank I got 16. While not terribly awesome, I'm satisfied with it, considering the car is like 8 years old. Now I'm getting 12. Same driving, same gas from the same gas station.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Car help......

Fuel injectors or Throttle body? Either way, try cleaning them.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Car help......

Most likely a bad O2 sensor. Get some codes pulled at advance auto or something. If it's an O2 sensor, it will show up. Might be time for a reg tune up.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Car help......

My old truck had similar symptoms, However it also surged and idled extremely low. With the new technology and computer controlled vehicles I purchased an OBD Scanner so I can diagnose and fix my own vehicles. The Scanner and software ran me close to $500, However it's ALOT cheaper than the $150 most dealers charge to just "plug in". Most of the scanners you buy at Kragen, Autozone, etc only give you codes as opposed to telling you which component is failing, which is why I spent a little more on a higher end scanner.

Anyhow, It turned out it was my PCV (Positive Crankcase Valve), which only ran me 30 bucks in parts. All symptoms went away and I got much better MPG.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car help......

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Originally Posted by AmericanSensei View Post
My old truck had similar symptoms, However it also surged and idled extremely low. With the new technology and computer controlled vehicles I purchased an OBD Scanner so I can diagnose and fix my own vehicles. The Scanner and software ran me close to $500, However it's ALOT cheaper than the $150 most dealers charge to just "plug in". Most of the scanners you buy at Kragen, Autozone, etc only give you codes as opposed to telling you which component is failing, which is why I spent a little more on a higher end scanner.

Anyhow, It turned out it was my PCV (Positive Crankcase Valve), which only ran me 30 bucks in parts. All symptoms went away and I got much better MPG.
That is true, but if it's an O2 senser, the advance guys will get it. Otherwise, google the code they give you. Usually you can narrow it down to a common problem related to that code.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Car help......

I'm gonna replace the PCV this weekend. I looked at the manual, and its due soon, and seeing as this was my sister's car, it was not taken care of at all, meaning the oil got changed 4 months too late, so I'm assuming that did some damage.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Car help......

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Originally Posted by Rubber314Chicken View Post
I'm gonna replace the PCV this weekend. I looked at the manual, and its due soon, and seeing as this was my sister's car, it was not taken care of at all, meaning the oil got changed 4 months too late, so I'm assuming that did some damage.
Don't DO anything until you get the codes pulled. It's free and takes 5 minutes. Do it now.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Car help......

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Don't DO anything until you get the codes pulled. It's free and takes 5 minutes. Do it now.
Yea, I'll get them to do that. They can at Auto Zone, right?
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Car help......

Yep
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Car help......

The difficult thing with that is it doesn't narrow it down much. I at one time relied on Autozone, Kragen for just codes..For example, The guy gave me Code P0171, PO174...<System too lean- Bank 1>.. While that did narrow it down, It still could of been a dozen things. A bad MAF (Mass Air Flow Sensor) could cause that symptom. A MAF will run you a few hundred dollars. A bad O2 Sensor could cause it...But which one...A bad PCV valve could cause it, etc, etc. It was this reason I went out and bought a good OBD scanner, Especially if you or your families computer controlled vehicles run into many Check engine light or vehicle problems out of warranty.

Good Luck to you though!
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:54 PM   #11
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Default Re: Car help......

Yes, the scanner would cost more than the car is worth, or the gas that'd I'd save. The PCV valve needs replacing anyways, so its a good guess.
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: Car help......

True, It's a cheap start though going with the PCV valve along with O2 sensor..Most are reasonably cheap...However that MAF is another story. Hopefully it's just a faulty PCV or O2 sensor.

Keep us posted!
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Car help......

You all know they invented this place called an auto repair shop right?
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Car help......

Quote:
Originally Posted by vampist View Post
You all know they invented this place called an auto repair shop right?
Of course...

Parts......$26.95
Labor......$319.10

Total.......$346.05
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: Car help......

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You all know they invented this place called an auto repair shop right?
Yep, but If I'm fairly good with this stuff, and with help from a bunch of people I can reach the same ting for cheaper, and learning something in the process and then I can help other people with the same problem.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Car help......

Quote:
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You all know they invented this place called an auto repair shop right?
Auto repair shops are for people who have endless amounts of money and can't figure out how to spend it all...
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: Car help......

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanSensei View Post
Of course...

Parts......$26.95
Labor......$319.10

Total.......$346.05
Hahaha... that's pretty much how most bills work out to... Math errors and all......
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:20 PM   #18
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Default Re: Car help......

I can agree with the O2 sensor. Was that way on the Honda; Ran too rich from not having the O2 plugged. But wouldn't that throw the CE light?
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:26 PM   #19
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Default Re: Car help......

Highly doubt its an o2 sensor.

This sounds just like a case of a well use vehicle. How many miles on it? Doesnt matter. Matter you got a tank of badish gas. Invest in a can of seafoam. Fill up, use the can of seafoam, run that tank to the light and then fill up again. Calculate that tank and see where it gets you.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:11 PM   #20
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Default Re: Car help......

That's what I normally use. It's a bit expensive for a can these days, but it cleans more than just the injectors. It's a fuel stabilizer and all.
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