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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there,

I have posted this into the 3.8l Engine forum but have been recommended to look for help here in 4th gen.
So I hope I am not getting in trouble for copy pasting the text :)

I will try to be as specific as possible, but there is lots of funny stuff going on with my Town and Country from 2002.
A couple months ago my car started shaking when going uphill. Due to many panels being removed in the back of the car, there is two hoses (rear right wheelhouse) that (judging by temperature) are part of the cooling cycle. When accelerating the waterflow can clearly be heard and has kind of a weird metallic rattle to it. In the moment of the engine shake, that flow seems to stop for that moment and then goes on as usual.
These shakes vary in intensity from barely noticeable to me being unable to gain speed uphill because the shakes happened multiple times in a second.
I can interrupt the shaking by accelerating heavily, like literally almost flooring it. At high rpm and even double downshifts like from fourth into 3rd and straight into 2nd gear, the car did not shake or stutter.
The problems would intensify untill I got a check engine light.
This has now happened three times in 3 months.
When reading out codes I first got evap leaks and large evap leaks. (Later inspected the cycle from underneath and couldnt find any disconnected hoses or loose clamps)
As I was changing the spark plugs, the one in cylinder 6 was pretty damn loose. Wondered if that mightve been the reason for the leak codes.
Later I got a check engine light for unplugging the intake absolute temp. sensor for a test drive to see if the shaking stopped. Even after plugging it back in it didnt reset the light.
What´s weird: Every time the mechanics cleared the codes, the car would run fine for about 200 km untill starting with slight problems that get worse over time again. Also, no codes from the tranny at all.

I DIY-ed the following:
  • Air filter change
  • throttle body clean up
  • new spark plugs
  • new spark plug wires
  • new serpentine belt
  • intake clean up
  • inspected MAP sensor

I had a check engine light before the intake clean up which then turned off when I started the engine.
I thought that was a lead but the engine doesnt have a maf sensor as far as I am aware and that would be the only thing I could think of that causes such trouble.
Last time I got the check engine light cleared we read out the details from all the sensors and everything seemed normal apart from the exhaust.
The signal kept jumping between rich and lean.
Since I bought the car I knew there was a pretty significant hole in the exhaust, judging by the sound of the car.
By now that is the only thing, I can think of that is not the tranny.
Is it possible that the computer learns false "behaviour" because the exhaust keeps giving these weird signals?



3rd gen > all others
3,627 Posts
Where is the hole in the exhaust, if you know? If not, it could be leaking from the flexible pipe (very short) between the rear exhaust manifold and the catalytic converter, especially while accelerating because then that pipe flexes with engine movement. That could introduce air into the exhaust, or let enough exhaust escape to alter the O2 sensor readings and fool it into signaling the wrong mixture, causing running issues.

I think I said this in the other post, but check your fuel injector wire harness per the pinned thread at the top of this section. The wire insulation melts because of the extreme heat where the wiring is close to the exhaust crossover pipe, then injectors short together and spray fuel when they shouldn't, causing running issues. If left for too long, it will permanently damage the engine computer and you will need a new one, and have it programmed at the dealership.

3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I havent found the exact location of the exhaust hole but it is roughly in front of the rear right tire (blowing gasses out to the side, visible when its cold) so pretty far back. Where is that O2 sensor located?
Will have a look at the harness and the flexible pipe tomorrow.
From the top the wires and harnesses looked alright, although that thing next to the battery where all the wires come together confuses me with how there are some pins without wires.
ALso, there is an unconnected cable that seems to me like it belongs to the radiator? any ideas?


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