Making lemonade out of a lemon.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm a real troubled man. I have a lemon and an angry wife. I just bought a used '86 Dodge Caravan (2.6 liter with automatic transmission) for my wife and twin boys. My wife noticed that the engine often stalls in stop and go driving. It gets worse in a parking lot when trying to move back and forth. As soon as you take your foot off the gas pedal, the engine rpm drops to below 600 and it stalls. This never happens when the engine is cold and the idle is high. I had a major tune up done, but no luck. Please help!

RAY: Well, Charlie, now you know why the guy you bought it from was selling it.

TOM: But you should be able to figure out what's wrong with it. The first thing I would look for is a sticking exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve. The EGR valve, as the name implies, recirculates exhaust gas back into the combustion chambers during acceleration. If it's not closing when it's supposed to, it could be letting exhaust gas contaminate the mixture during other times, which could cause rough idling and stalling--particularly when the engine is turning slowly.

RAY: The other possibility is the carburetor. The 2.6 liter engine has a two barrel carburetor. If the secondary throttle is sticking in the open position, that could cause a "flooding condition," and could also make it stall at lower speeds.

TOM: So those are our suggestions for the car, Charlie. You're on your own with the wife. We have no idea what's making her so angry. Check the bathroom. Maybe you're leaving the toilet seat up all the time.

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