My 1996 town and country did not want to start. It seemed it was not completly in park and once I adjusted this it did start but I heard an odd wooshing sound like it was running high or like a fan. When I arrived home a less than 5 mile drive and turned the van off it kept trying to restart on its own. I could not get it to turn off the turnover sound continued. I was about to run and get the wrench to pull the battery cables and the fan noise quit. I then attempted to turn off the van and it worked but there was smoke running out of the front end of the van. It appeared to be close to the botterm of the radiator the smell was like smokes sausage. Any idea what I am up against? I have not attempted to restart the van. We have had some problems prevously where we had to wait for all the little bells and whistles to be ready to start the van and at times it was scarrey but it has been very reliable and just got us to and from a vacation that was 6 hours both ways with no problems. Thank you.
Sounds like the solenoid in the starter motor stuck and the starter kept on cranking while you were driving. That would surely burn the starter up in five miles. You have the little silver Nippendenso starter that is known for worn solenoid contacts causing an intermittent single loud clunk with a no-crank condition each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank". Repeated cycling of the ignition switch a few times will get it to crank but the more you ignore it, the longer it will take to crank. I put one of these starters on my '88 Grand Caravan and before that intermittent problem could develop it too stuck engaged one night but I heard the unusual sound before I drove off. Had to quickly remove the battery cable, then I just popped the solenoid cover off and used a screwdriver to pry the plunger loose. The electrical contact disc had become wedged between the two worn contacts.
Those contacts are rather easy to replace for less than 20 bucks, and a lot of hardware stores and farm supply stores have the kits, but if there was smoke coming out of your starter, replace the entire starter; don't bother trying to fix it.
You didn't say which engine you have but on the 3.0L and the 3.3 / 3.8L the starter is right behind the radiator.
September, 13, 2012 AT 2:39 AM
Thank you for the confirmation. My boyfriend/mechanic guessed Solenoid while I paniced over the phone. The engine is a 3.8L and smoke was right behind the radiator towards the bottem. I will update and ask more questions should run into trouble. Thank you for your quick response.
September, 13, 2012 AT 9:19 AM
Check your coolant level. The fans not turning off could mean the engine was overheated and the noise and smoke could mean coolant spilling onto the engine.