Mechanics

CAR WON'T START UNLESS ABNORMAL PRESSURE/TORQUE APPLIED TO KEY WHEN IN START POSITION. BAD IGNITION SWITCH?

1997 Dodge Caravan • 140,000 miles

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.3L SE: We noticed recently that when you turn the key to START, console lights come on, but it does not

start unless you apply extra pressure on the key (not sure if it is extra torque - like you are trying to turn the key past START, or

if it is extra downward pressure (while holding the key in START); then it will start.

We concluded that there must be a bad connection of some type, so I decided to try replacing the ignition switch.

Disconnected battery, removed shroud, unscrewed T10 security screw, removed connectors, removed ignition switch. Actuator rod looks

fine. I did not remove lock cylinder.

Purchased replacement ignition switch at local auto parts store. Turned ignition switch connector (with screwdriver) to line up with

actuator shaft. Reconnected connectors, screwed T10 back in, reconnected battery.

Key was not in ignition, but I noticed immedidately (upon connecting battery) the continued chime sound that indicates that you have

key in ignition when door is open. Close door - chime stops, key still not in ignition. Insert key, turn to START; console lights

come on, but it does not start. I applied the extra pressure/torque (that worked with old ignition switch), but it still does not

start.

I wondering if I had messed something up, so I removed new ignition switch and put old one back in. Reconnect battery. Key not in

ignition. No chime sounds (normal). Insert key. Turn to start, apply extra pressure/torque and it starts.

Ok, so I'm thinking that maybe the new ignition switch is defective (like it thinks that the key is in when it isn't), or could I have

possibly messed something up with the new ignition switch?

Also, with this need (with my old ignition switch) to apply this extra pressure/torque on the key to get it to start, does that sound

like a bad connection in the ignition switch (as I have been assuming)? Or could it be anything with the lock cylinder or actuator

mechanism?

Thanks for your help, John : )
Avatar
Jpoliver
June 24, 2012.




Are you using the original lock cylinder and key with the new switch? Take it out and look at the partially-round cam on the end. You'll see it's cracked. That causes it to turn the switch not quite far enough to reach the "crank" position. The dealer's parts department has a repair kit.


Caradiodoc
Jun 24, 2012.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try to remove the lock cylinder to check that out.

What do you think is causing the new ignition switch to make the chime sound (when there is no key in the ignition). Would that mean that the new ignition switch is defective?

Thanks, John : )


Tiny
Jpoliver
Jun 24, 2012.
The switch may not be turning far enough to turn the chime switch off. I wouldn't worry about that yet until the cam is repaired.


Caradiodoc
Jun 24, 2012.
Hi, I wanted to give you an update: I was able to remove the lock cylinder, but did not see a crack or anything wrong with it.

I've concluded, however, that you were right in that the switch is not turning far enough clockwise to solidly reach the start position.

What is interesting, though, is that the new switch also does not turn far enough counter-clockwise to reach the normal detent off position (to turn off the chime). I found that if I turn the new switch counter-clockwise (with a screwdriver) to the detent off position, the chime turns off.

My old switch also does not reach the detent off position, but for some reason it does not chime when the key is out.

While experimenting, I happened to notice that if I rotate the ignition switch housing clockwise a couple degrees (there is a little play in its physical mounting) (note that, in doing this, the ignition switch is rotated in the opposite direction of the lock cylinder), this effectively allows the lock cylinder to rotate the switch innards a couple more degrees clockwise, thus making better contact in the start position.

Thus, since the lock cylinder did not seem to be defective and the new switch was no better than my old switch, I ended up with a somewhat unusual mechanical solution. I wedged a couple pieces of wood under the ignition switch to help it stay in the slightly rotated (clockwise) position, which allows the lock cylinder to rotate the ignition switch innards a couple more degrees, making sufficient contact, and seems to be working!

Thanks again very much for your help!

John : )
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Tiny
Jpoliver
Jul 18, 2012.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU DID NOT SLIDE THE SWITCH TOWARDS THE STEERING WHEEL FAR ENOUGH (IN THE ELONGATED ADJUSTMENT HOLES ON THE SWITCH) BEFORE YOU TIGHTENED THE LOCKING SCREWS DOWN?

ON JEEP CJs (SIMILAR IGN SWITCH) I WILL PUT THE KEY IN THE "ON" POSITION THEN SLIDE THE SWITCH (ACTUATING ROD INSIDE OF IT) UNTIL MY RADIO/ ACCESSORIES COME ON---THEN I KNOW I'M IN THE RIGHT "CLICK"SORTA CALIBRATING THE SWITCH TO THE KEY POSITION

JUST FROM MY READING YOUR PROBLEM----IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE "IN-BETWEEN" CLICKS ON THE IGN SWITCH

JUST A THOUGHT

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 18, 2012.
Thanks for your input. My Dodge Grand Caravan ignition switch is not the same as the one in your link. My switch is as shown
in the image below.

Nonetheless, I would agree that in the off position, the switch is between clicks (which is what I referred to as the detent position). However, I'm not aware of any option to calibrate it to match the lock cylinder. I just rotated the hole on the ignition switch (as shown in the picture) to line up with the activator arm which is connected to the lock cylinder.

John : )


Tiny
Jpoliver
Jul 18, 2012.
OK DOC

I DON'T KNOW HOW THAT ANIMAL FITS IN

IS IT ADJUSTABLE?

I'LL SHUT UP AND HANG OFF TO THE SIDE AND LEARN FROM THE MASTER!

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 18, 2012.
That's not the switch I was thinking of with the cracked cam on the end of the cylinder. The picture looks similar to those used on the older Intrepids. Never had a problem with those. I'm trying to think of what could be solved by wedging something in there. It didn't come from the factory that way. There's no adjustment that I'm aware of.


Caradiodoc
Jul 18, 2012.

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