1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager Electrical Problems when Starting Vehicle

Tiny
MOUNTAIN123PEAK
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 PLYMOUTH VOYAGER
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
Hi,

I have a 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager and recently I have been noticing some very strange problems. Please allow me to first give a brief history of the minivan.

In 2009, I replaced the PCM and some other electrical parts at the Chrysler dealership (nobody except the dealership was able to find the problem) since my minivan would sometimes stall when braking to a stop or would stall during idle. After the repair, it didn't stall anymore. Later, in Fall 2009, one of the hoses that transported antifreeze started leaking (it was spraying antifreeze through a very small hole on the hose) when the vehicle was hot. I promptly replaced the defective hose.

After that, in Winter 2009-2010, there was a problem in which the battery terminals were going bad along with the end of the wires connecting to the battery. I got a new battery and relevant service done (i.E. To the part of the cables near the battery). It seemed like this new third battery had to be put in much earlier than it was supposed to (the defective battery did not last nearly as long as the original battery).

Now, there is an issue with the vehicle again. A few weeks ago, I started noticing some problems which I thought were minor. Each time I decelerated and came to a complete stop, I could tell that the car's electrical system partially turned off for a second. The minivan did not stall or turn off, but only, for example, the digital clock on the radio disappeared for a split second.

Today, the vehicle did not turn on, and AAA was able to jump start. I knew then that this problem of the car not turning on had to be related to the battery and the electrical system of the minivan. But I am not quite sure, since I drove the vehicle for about 25 minutes after the jump start of the battery. Just to make sure everything was fine, after parking and turning off my vehicle, I tried to turn the minivan on again. However, the same problem appeared again: it didn't start. So now I am stuck with a minivan that doesn't start - and it seems like something is wrong with the electrical system. The remote control lock/unlock/panic system does not work either. But then again, I tried experimenting with the remote control locking system, and I heard the vehicle lock itself. The vehicle then dies out again because the remote control lock/unlock key doesn't work immediately after. What do you think it could possibly be? Do you think the dealership might have put in a faulty PCM for the vehicle which as been causing all these battery and electrical problems including this problem? Do you think the heavy rain today might have exacerbated the problem so much that now the vehicle does not turn on? Also, a part of the rear light cover has been broken for the past several weeks. Do you think water getting in through the tail light might be damaging the electrical system?

Please help ASAP. I really need your advice.

Thanks!
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Monday, March 7th, 2011 AT 5:15 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
This is a good question. However, we need to start at the begining. The first thing I would have checked is the alternator and the battery. Since the vehicle was able to be jump started by AAA, that leads me to believe there isn't a problem other than a weak battery or a bad connection from the battery. As far as the PCM, I feel the correct one was used since the work was done 2 years ago. As far as the tail light, if it is filling with water in the rain, that could create a short. You may want to seal the crack or replace the lens asap. If you can, take the van to a nationally recognized parts store and have them check the alternator. That way we'll know if that is where the problem is coming from. Also, recheck the battery terminals and make sure they are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. Make sure the ground to the engine block is clean and tight too.

Let me know what you find.
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Monday, March 7th, 2011 AT 1:09 PM
Tiny
MOUNTAIN123PEAK
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Hi,

Today I went to the shop I normally go to, and not surprisingly, the mechanic said that he could not find any problem. The minivan starts now, but I know that there definitely is an electrical problem (vehicle does not start when it rains, the lights in the interior of the car sometimes don't turn on even when the door is open, the digits showing the mileage and the gear the transmission is in sometimes start to show this fading effect because the light in the instrument panel has a weak source of power, the orange lights signaling that the defroster and the rear wiper are on are blinking etc.) - A problem that is similar to the defective PCM and CAM sensor problem two years ago. My regular mechanic wasn't able to detect that - in fact mechanics in other shops could not detect it either. The dealership was able to solve that dilemma. So now I am faced with a tough decision: should I or should I not take my minivan to the dealership? If I should, should I only have them do the diagnosis and have my normal mechanic replace the parts and/or cables? Do you think there are any other potential areas/cables/devices that are probably dying out? Do you think the fact that a substantial amount of rain made the problem worse means that something concealed under the front hood of the vehicle or somewhere else perhaps underneath the van is being affected by too much moisture? Maybe fuses? Please help.

Thanks again.
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Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 AT 3:04 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I would recommend having a dealer check it. They work on all cars, but they work on Chrysler products more than others. Therefore, they are more likely to identify where the problem is coming from.

As far as the items that can be affected by moisture, it could be anything. What you could try yourself is this. In the dark, start the vehicle, open the hood, and mist water on the computer and ignition system to see if anything shorts or arcs. It is a basic test, but it works.
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Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 AT 4:01 AM
Tiny
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Hi,

I was trying to decide between going to the dealer and another seemingly reliable shop. So I decided to go to that shop since they seemed to have a good amount of knowledge and expertise about electrical problems that I was thinking only dealers could find. They checked the van, but said that there was no electrical problem as I described to them, but the reason for the van not starting and then starting after a battery boost could be due to the fact that normal maintenance procedures haven't been done on the vehicle in a while. Such procedures, according to the shop owner, include tune-up. The last time I had that done was in Fall 2008. Now I can't disagree with the mechanic in that shop (who seems to be much more of an expert than mechanic in other shops), but I am worried about whether he is saying this just to get money (and knowing but not telling me that what he suggests i.E. Tune-up, fixing secondary ignition leak, etc. May not work) or he knows for sure that this will fix the problem. I am hesitant to go to the dealer at this point because the diagnosis charge there is $190 - what if the dealer doesn't find anything, but says a tune-up is needed? Should I not go to the dealer and do the tune-up on my minivan with this shop I went to most recently?
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Thursday, March 10th, 2011 AT 4:14 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I would tell the person that you are willing to have the work done there if they guarantee it will fix the problem. What I hate is when they know that one thing is bad but tell you several things are needed to repair it. To be honest, 12volts is 12 volts. Regardless if it comes from your battery or a jump. I question a tune up. That is a "generic fix all" when shops are at a loss. Have him show you the old plugs so you can see they are bad. Also, tell him you want all the old parts back so you can inspect them. That usually scares them if the work isn't needed. Also, I agree with you. The 190.00 diagnosis is really crazy. We can't get that much for a diagnosis and a tune up combined.
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Thursday, March 10th, 2011 AT 5:50 PM
Tiny
MOUNTAIN123PEAK
  • MEMBER
Hi,

Now I am facing a new problem with the minivan after getting the other problem fixed. I went to the shop I had thought was reliable, and they were able to do a tune-up and now the car starts and runs fine, except that a "Service Engine Soon" light turns on and stays on when the minivan is being driven. So I went back to the shop, and they were able to do a diagnostic for free and told me that the EGR Assembly (which includes something with a vacuum) in it is defective. What does the EGR assembly include for Plymouth Grand Voyager vans? I know it has an EGR valve, but the mechanic mentioned something about a vacuum being part of the assembly. Do you know what the vacuum portion is called? Can I buy them separately or do they always come in a set? Is this EGR assembly different for each vehicle or type of vehicle?

Also, I asked him if it was urgent that I change this EGR assembly. He said that it can be driven 1 to 2 more weeks, especially if the temperatures don't get high here in New York, but once warmer weather sets in, engine damage will start to occur. When do you think I should change the assembly given that Winter is almost over and Spring is about to start? What are your recommendations?

Thanks.
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 6:48 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
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The EGR runs from vacuum from the engine. I'm not sure what he is talking about. It is located on the intake. I would remove it, check to see if it has a carbon build up in the egr and the intake where it mounts. As far as vacuum, make sure there is vacuum to the EGR and the valve isn't sticking.
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Friday, March 18th, 2011 AT 6:53 PM

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