How To Fix Your Cargo Van When It Won’t Rev Above 2500 RPM

Here are the 10 reasons why your cargo van won’t rev above 2500 RPM, what you can do about it, and how to avoid it from happening in the future.

  1. Move carpet blocking your gas pedal
  2. Repair clogged fuel injector
  3. Replace clogged catalytic converter
  4. Fix faulty ignition rotor
  5. Replace fuel pump if low pressure
  6. Replace clogged fuel filter
  7. Replace clogged air filter
  8. Fix throttle cable
  9. Replace spark plugs
  10. Replace throttle body

If you’re hitting the gas pedal and your cargo van doesn’t rev above 2500 RPM, then it’s a sign of serious mechanical failure.

Get it checked out by a qualified mechanic while your cargo van can still drive. If you don’t, it’ll lead to further damage, and you’ll have to dish out more money.

It’s also a common problem that lots of modern cargo vans face, given their complexity and advanced moving parts.


1. Move Carpet so Not Blocking Your Gas Pedal

This might sound silly, but it’s the most common and easiest problem to fix on this list. If you’ve just got your cargo van cleaned, there’s a high chance that the people who cleaned your van repositioned the carpets.

If they positioned a carpet under your gas pedal, then the range of motion is decreased. It’s even worse if your cargo van has thick carpets, which most do.

 is your problem, then a very inexperienced mechanic may not find what’s wrong with your van, because there isn’t anything wrong with it.

Solving this problem is super easy. Simply move the carpet away from the gas pedal and try revving your cargo van again. If it revs higher this time, voila! You’ve found the problem without having to dish out hundreds of dollars at a mechanic shop.

If you’ve removed the carpet and your van is still not revving above a certain RPM, then your problem is more technical.


2. Repair Clogged Fuel Injector

Most modern cargo vans have fuel injectors since they’re efficient. A fuel injector is supposed to inject fuel into your engine through electronic valves. These valves distribute fuel evenly, so your fuel to air ratio is perfect.

If your fuel injector is clogged, it reduces the amount of fuel flowing from the gas tank through your fuel injector and into the engine. This affects the fuel to air mixture, causing it to become weak. Your engine won’t have enough power to rev past a certain number.

A dead fuel injector is another common problem in most cargo vans. If your fuel injector is dead, it means it doesn’t have enough resistance and won’t respond to electrical inputs. 

Symptoms of clogged or dead fuel injectors include;

  • Your cargo van has a low idle
  • The engine is difficult to start
  • Your exhaust produces black smoke
  • Bad fuel consumption.

Replacing a fuel injector is quite easy. First, turn on your engine and after 5 seconds of idling, feel which exhaust manifold isn’t warm. Your exhaust manifold looks something like this.

Be careful to not touch the exhaust manifold after the 5-second mark since it’ll be steaming.

Next, turn off your van and remove the injector connector from the exhaust manifold that isn’t warm. This is the faulty one. Last, get your hands on a new injector connector, this will set you back around $10 to $20 and replace the old one.


3. Clogged Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter reduces the amount of pollution that your car produces. Most catalytic converters cut down harmful emissions by 90%, but the more expensive ones can reduce emissions by 99%.

They are usually reliable and last well over 10 years. But if your cargo van won’t rev over 2500 RPM, there’s a high chance that your catalytic converter is at fault.

Think of a clogged catalytic converter as the opposite of a clogged fuel injector. With a clogged fuel injector, there isn’t enough fuel traveling to the engine. This makes the mixture weak because there’s little fuel.

But with a clogged catalytic converter, the exhaust airflow is restricted, and this affects the amount of air going to the engine. So instead of the mixture being too weak, it’s too rich because there isn’t enough air in your engine.

This leads to problems like;

  • Your engine feels sluggish
  • Black exhaust smoke
  • Your engine idles low
  • The gasses coming from your engine smells like sulfur.

On average, a catalytic converter costs $500 to $1,500. To find it, get underneath your van and look for something that looks like this.

To replace it, you’ll see there’s a set of nuts on either side. Get yourself a long extension bar with a socket that fits this kind of nut, and remove them. Last, place your new catalytic converter in the same position and tighten the nuts.


4. Fix Faulty Ignition Rotor

The job of your ignition rotor is to pass voltage through the ignition coils to your engine. This process ignites the fuel and air inside your engine, causing the explosions that run the engine.

Ignition coils are connected to your ignition rotor. This rotor spins inside the distributor cap and creates sparks that power your car. But, when the voltage that passes through these ignition coils is weak, then your engine produces little power. 

This can be the reason why your engine maxes out at 2500 RPM.

Some common symptoms of a faulty ignition rotor include;

  • Your cargo van struggles to start
  • The engine of your cargo van is prone to misfiring
  • Your check engine light flickers
  • Strange noises coming from your engine.

Fixing your ignition rotor can set you back around $70 to $130. I suggest going to a qualified mechanic to fix your ignition rotor since there are lots of electrical parts, wires, and contact points that need cleaning. If you mess this up, you can not only harm your cargo van but yourself.


5. Replace Fuel Pump if Low Fuel Pressure

One of the main reasons for low fuel pressure is a faulty fuel pump. A fuel pump is supposed to pump fuel from your gas tank into your engine. But if your fuel pump doesn’t send the perfect amount of fuel to the engine, it can create underperformance. 

This can be one of the reasons why you press the gas pedal, and your cargo van won’t rev higher than 2500 RPM.

If you run your gas tank till empty before filling it up, then your fuel pump won’t last long. This is because the fuel in your tank is supposed to cool down the fuel pump. As your pump is running and generating heat, if there’s little fuel to cool it down, it’ll overheat and break down.

The fuel in your gas tank also acts as a lubricant for your fuel pump. If there’s little fuel, then your pump can rust. 

Symptoms of a faulty fuel pump include;

  • Your engine misfires a lot
  • Your van feels sluggish when you hit the gas pedal
  • Starting your cargo van is a hassle.

If you have low fuel pressure, get it checked out immediately because if your fuel pump doesn’t work at all, you won’t be able to start your van. Replacing a fuel pump can set you back around $200 to $600.

First, you’ll need to jack up your car and remove the back wheel closest to your fuel tank. Put another jack under your tank so when you remove it, it doesn’t fall. Next, remove the nuts and straps associated with the gas tank and lower the jack under the gas tank. Open the cap of your gas tank and you’ll see the fuel pump attached to the cap. It looks something like this.

Simply replace the old fuel pump with the new one. Screw the cap back on, jack up your fuel tank, and reattach the nuts and straps. Last, put the wheel back, lower your cargo van and you’re good to go.


6. Replace Clogged Fuel Filter

The role of a fuel filter is quite self-explanatory. It’s supposed to filter dirt and dust particles from the fuel as it travels to the engine. Even the smallest particles can wreak havoc on your engine’s performance.

But if your fuel filter is clogged, it won’t be able to catch particles like dirt, rust, and paint chips from entering your cargo van’s engine. Then your engine won’t perform like it’s supposed to.

Common signs of a clogged fuel filter include;

  • Black smoke coming out of your exhaust
  • Problems with acceleration
  • Stalling when you come to a stop 
  • Trouble starting your cargo van.

Most cargo vans have their fuel filter under the bonnet. An easy way to find your fuel filter is to follow the fuel lines from your fuel injectors to your gas tank. It’ll be somewhere in between.

Once you’ve found it, you’ll need to remove the clamps. A simple screwdriver will do. But an issue most van owners face is that the hose is almost impossible to remove. For this, a dental pick or pliers is super helpful.

Next, remove the two hoses connected to the fuel filter and attach them to the new one. Last, use a screwdriver to tighten the screws and you’re good to go.


7. Replace Clogged Air Filter

Just like a fuel filter filters debris and particles from your fuel as it enters the engine, an air filter prevents dirt, dust, and insects from entering your engine.

This clean air allows your engine to perform better and keeps it healthy. You get different types of air filters. Some include circular panels and cylindrical air filters.

When your air filter is clogged, it can’t effectively prevent dust from entering your engine. This causes serious mechanical failure.

Some symptoms of a clogged air filter include;

  • Less engine performance
  • More black smoke coming out of your exhaust
  • Your fuel consumption is higher than more.

Swapping out an air filter is one of the easiest repairs on this list. First, you’ll need to find your air filter. In almost all vans, it’ll be in a big box connected to a long tube that runs towards your engine.

Simply flip the small levels on the side of the box to open it. If your van’s box doesn’t have these levels, then a screwdriver will do. Next, swap the dirty air filter out for a clean one, close the box, and you’re set.


8. Fix Throttle Cable

Your throttle cable or accelerator cable is a piece of metal wire that connects your gas pedal to the engine’s throttle plate. When you press the gas pedal, you control the speed of your car. 

Some newer cargo vans have electronic throttle systems, however, a good majority of modern cargo vans still use throttle cables to control the engine.

If your throttle cable is faulty, it won’t engage the engine to its peak performance when you hit the gas pedal. This causes your cargo van to not rev above 2500 RPM.

Common symptoms of a faulty throttle cable include;

  • Problems with cruise control
  • Acceleration problems
  • Delayed acceleration

It’ll cost around $50 to $100 to fix a faulty throttle cable. I highly suggest going to a qualified mechanic to get your throttle cable replaced since all vans are different and it’s quite easy to mess up your van.

9. Replace Spark Plugs

Ignition system failure is another reason why your cargo van won’t rev above 2500 RPM. The most common reason for ignition system failure is a faulty spark plug.

Sometimes the spark plug’s porcelain shell is cracked and damaged. This wear and tear causes the spark plug to become more resistant to electricity. It’ll take more energy to create a spark.

If there isn’t enough spark to create the necessary combustion, your engine will lag. 

Other signs of ignition system failure include;

  • A rough idle
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Your check economy light is on.

You’ll need four spark plugs for your cargo van, and this can set you back around $20 to $50.

Finding your spark plugs is easy. Look for where four tubes are running to your engine. Pull them out and you’ll see a spark plug screwed to the engine. Use a long extension bar with a socket and remove all four spark plugs. Last, screw in the new ones, plug in the tubes, and you’re set.


10. Replace Faulty Throttle Body

A throttle body is a tube that contains something called a butterfly. This butterfly is a pivoting flat valve that controls the amount of air going into the engine. The more you hit the gas pedal, the more this butterfly opens.

This allows more air to go to the engine which burns more fuel and allows you to go faster. 

But when you hit the gas pedal and your throttle body doesn’t open as it should, then you won’t get far.

Other common signs of a faulty throttle body include;

  • Poor fuel economy
  • High idle
  • Slow acceleration.

When buying a throttle body, expect to pay around $300 to $1000. First, you’ll need to find your throttle body. It’s always connected to the engine and air duct. Using a screwdriver, loosen the clamps and wiggle it until it’s separated from the air duct. Next, unbolt the 4 bolts that connect the throttle body to the engine.

Bolt your new assembly to the engine and slide the air duct back on. Last, tighten the clamps so there’s no air leakage.


3 Ways To Prevent This Problem From Popping Up Again

Preventing problems with your cargo van is always cheaper than fixing it. Here are 3 ways to prevent these issues from happening again in the future.

  1. The number one way to prevent problems with your vehicle is to get it serviced regularly. This allows your mechanic to pick up problems when they’re still small, and you won’t have to dish out lots of money in the future.
  2. Don’t let your tank run on empty. If your gas tank is low, there’s a higher chance of your fuel pump overheating and causing problems.
  3. Last, whenever your check engine light comes on, take your cargo van to a mechanic immediately. If you don’t, it’ll cause bigger and more expensive problems in the future.