2005 Dodge grand Caravan no crank no start says its in every gear and almost every light is on on the dash need help

Tiny
JOE COOK
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 3.3L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 286,345 MILES
I just recently bought a 2005 dodge grand caravan last time it had no crank no start it was a relay. I just recently replaced it and still no crank no start occasionally if I fiddle with pulling the battery terminals for a couple of minutes every time, then I will get one clank off the starter and then nothing else I can crank the motor with a socket and a rench. All electronics work except the windows and the radio. I have no clue what it is I cleaned tcm plug and still nothing even ran a new 12 volt constant wire for starter and crossing the terminals on the solenoid and starter wont turn over either. Need help and quick. I can hear fuel pump running when I turn the key
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Monday, September 5th, 2016 AT 11:04 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This is too easy, ... I hope. If you're jumping the large battery cable terminal to the smaller solenoid terminal, both on the starter, you should hear a single, rather loud clunk from the solenoid. If you do, but the starter doesn't spin, there are burned contacts inside the solenoid. This was REAL common on the little silver Nippendenso starters. So common, in fact, that you'll find repair kits in a lot of hardware stores and farm and home stores. You have to be careful though as there are two different kits. Both of them have four contacts. You use the "battery" terminal in all starters, then you use one of the other three that matches what you removed. There is no way to tell which style that second contact is until you remove the old one and look at it.

The reason there's two kits is you also get the plunger with the contact disc, and those are different. The stem on one is about 1/8" longer than the other one. There is also a third plunger with a much longer stem. That is for Nippendenso starters used on Toyotas. The contacts are the same, but if you need the plunger, you have to get that from the Toyota dealer.

The next problem is those kits list the years they are for, but you can't trust that. Both starters look identical, and since this was such a common problem, it is likely someone has already replaced it with a rebuilt starter. You have no way of knowing what year starter you have. For me it's not a problem because I sell these parts at old car show swap meets so I have all the styles on hand. What you might consider is looking for a local starter / generator rebuilder in your area, and buying just the contacts for your starter. They typically cost about three dollars each.

The battery terminal is the smaller of the four and is the same in all starters. The "Starter" contact is either centered, offset to the left, or offset to the right. You'll see the difference when you set them side by side. I have a picture of the contacts, but I need to paste it in MS Paint which is part of Windows XP, then save it as a jpeg file so I can post it here. My old laptop died so many times that I have a new one with the really miserable Windows 10. I don't know if or how to convert it to a jpeg file. Rats.

If you don't want to bother with repairing your starter, you can just buy a rebuilt one. It will have the new contacts in it already.
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Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 AT 12:36 AM
Tiny
JOE COOK
  • MEMBER
Would that explain why it is saying its in gear and the I have to pull the terminals and put them back for about an hour then I get the one single clunk and have to do everything all over again
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Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 AT 6:22 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If you have a scanner you can look at the Transmission Control Computer to see what the range position switch is reporting. The starter relay no longer has a neutral safety switch in the circuit. That worked too well for many decades. Now the Engine Computer grounds the starter relay's coil when it gets a "park" or "neutral" message from the Transmission Computer. If it's being reported that the transmission is in "reverse" or "drive", the Engine Computer won't ground the starter relay, and no current will go to the starter solenoid. You will not get the loud clunk from the solenoid, and of course the starter won't engage or spin.
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Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 AT 7:47 PM
Tiny
JOE COOK
  • MEMBER
What type of scanner would I need
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 AT 6:17 PM
Tiny
JOE COOK
  • MEMBER
And how will I bypass that so I can temporary start and drive my van around until I can get it fixed
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The easiest way to start the engine is to remove the cover from the starter relay, reinstall it that way, turn the ignition switch to the "run" position, then squeeze the movable contact on the relay. Be sure the transmission is not in "reverse" or "drive" because you'll look funny chasing after the van when the engine starts.
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 AT 8:29 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I have a Chrysler DRB2 and a DRB3 scanner for my personal vehicles but they're expensive. I got a good deal by going through the parts department at the dealership I used to work at. The DRB2 only works on Chrysler vehicles up to 1995 and you need various cartridges, depending on the model you''re working on.

The DRB3 works on 1996 and newer models, but with an extra plug-in card, it can work on all Chrysler models back to 1983. With a different card, it will do emissions-related testing on any brand of car sold in the U.S. Starting with '96 models. For that reason a lot of independent shops bought them. 2004 was the first year they were obsolete for the Dakota and Durango. They worked on the other models so it should work on your van. If I remember correctly, it still worked on some Jeep models up to 2007.

You may find one of these at an auction for a dealership or independent repair shop going out of business. There's always some on eBay too. There are a number of aftermarket scanners also available. The problem is they never do as much on a given car model as the dealer's original equipment, but what they do, they do on more brands and models than dealer-specific scanners. Genysis is a common brand. Snapon has a number of models, but they are very proud of their stuff and charge accordingly. It is also very expensive to update their equipment every year. MAC and Matco Tools have their own versions that are built by other companies. I've never used them so I don't know what they will or will not do.

I have a "Monitor 4000" too made by OTC. Chrysler's DRB2 was also made by OTC. These two scanners look almost identical, but you only need one cartridge with the Monitor 4000 to work on Chrysler, GM, and Ford products. My cartridges work up to 1995. I never looked into whether there are cartridges for newer models.

Don't be fooled by the cheaper tools. A professional scanner will cost well over a thousand dollars, and typically over $5000.00. If you find something for less than a hundred dollars, that is a simple fault code reader. There are even some that are called "scanners" because they do provide sensor readings, but scanners do WAY more things than do code readers. One problem I found with the hundred-dollars units is they take sensor readings, display three or four at a time, then take up to five seconds to update and show the next "current" readings. All you can see is if a reading is totally wrong. That is much too slow to catch an intermittent problem. If you're going to waste your money on one of these, be advised the sensor data is little more than useless, and for reading diagnostic fault codes, Chrysler makes doing that yourself much easier than any other manufacturer in the world. You simply cycle the ignition switch from "off" to "run" three times within five seconds, leave it in "run", then watch the code numbers appear in the odometer display.

Professional scanners will display from eight to a dozen sensor values on one screen, and they'll update multiple times per second. That makes them much better for finding momentary glitches in sensor signals. Even that can be too slow for some sensors, so you have to rely on the computers to detect those things that take just a few milliseconds. You'll know that by reading the diagnostic fault codes. Most scanners also have a "record" feature that allows you to record a few seconds of sensor data while on a test drive. You press the "record" button when the intermittent problem occurs, then you can play it back slowly later to see what changed. Because the data goes through the scanner's memory, the recording actually starts a couple of seconds before you pressed the button.

The other thing that sets scanners worlds apart from code readers is they're "bidirectional", meaning you get information from all of the dozens of computers on the vehicle, AND you can command them to do things so you can test various circuits and systems. For example, if you have a dead electric radiator fan, you can command the Engine Computer to cycle the fan relay on and off about once per second. While that is happening, you can take voltage readings in the circuit to narrow down the location of a break in the circuit.

Code readers only read fault codes in the Engine Computer. You need a scanner to make the Anti-lock Brake Computer open some of the valves in the hydraulic controller so you can bleed air out of it when bleeding the brakes. If you change tire size, (not recommended), you need a scanner to reprogram that information so the speedometer will read correctly. Scanners are used to change customer preferences in the Body Computer. You might want to turn on or off the speed-sensitive automatic door locks or disable the horn chirp when you lock the doors with the remote. Going way back to 1993, I need my scanner to program additional key fobs for my Dynasty. Scanners won't let you deploy an air bag, but they will read the fault codes in that computer, and display related data, like road speed, transmission gear, and brake light switch.

If you've never used a scanner before, you might check at the local auto parts stores to see if they have one you can borrow. Many of them rent or borrow tools. You can spend all afternoon playing with one to see all the things you can do. You also might do a search for "OTC", (Owattona Tool Company). They used to have a web site where you could buy a DRB3 with case and all the cables. I had to buy the plug-in cards separately, of which there are five or six. Those used to cost $440.00 each, but you wouldn't need any of them for your van. There's also an accessory kit with four pressure sensors for working on computer-controlled transmissions.
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 AT 9:20 PM

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