Electrical problem?

Tiny
SARA R
  • MEMBER
  • CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY
I just bought a 1999 Chrysler T&C (118,456) 3.8 from a friend of the family and he said that it had a slight short in the dash gauges where every ten days the gauges would go out and then come back on after about 3 or 4 minutes. Two days after we bought the van, the "small" short happened but then the car died and would only start after pressing the automatic door unlock remote several times, but then the problem progressed to it starting and then stalling immediately. Now the van will not start at all, but the radio and interior lights still come on. The dash guages don't come on at all though. We looked at the battery and cleaned all the corrosion off of the terminals, and even switched batteries but the car still won't start. The guy we bought the van from is out of town and unreachable. What kind of problem does this sound like to you?
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2007 AT 1:00 PM

18 Replies

Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
As a guess I would think there is a communication problem happening between the BCM and the pcm. Getting codes would be helpful. There is somone that has a 1997 like yours with the same problem in this forum. May want to share notes.

http://www.2carpros.com/forum/1997-dodge-grande-caravan-sport-84500-miles-vt43638.html?highlight=

From what I learned there is a fair chance of a cluster problem. Try rapping on the dash over the cluster and see if that affects it.
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2007 AT 2:44 PM
Tiny
VERBAKINT75
  • MEMBER
I have a similar problem with my 1998 T&C. In May I turned the key, and backed halfway out of the driveway when it died. I started it and pulled forward (out of the road) and it died. It then died two more times before the anti-theft device kicked in. The next day all the lights and gauges went dead on the instrument panel!

I did some internet searches, but let it drop when the problem seemed to go away. Well, it happened again yesterday, so here I am.

This time, though I found something! Check out this quote from another forum:

"My son is in a wheelchair and drives a 1999 T&C Limited that we purchased in 2003. We recently (Nov 2004) had the car converted to EMC (Electronic Mobility Controls) - they are hand controls for steering, braking, accleration, etc. Sporadically, the instrument panel gauges "die" (tach drops to zero. Gas gauge zero, temp cold and speedometer zero). If this happens when he is driving, the car will continue to operate. If the gauges do not come to life when he is starting the car, the car won't start. A similar incident happened to me when I was driving the car before the EMC conversion, so I can rule out the conversion as the source of the problem. The frequency of this happening was increasing to once or twice a week and I took the car to my local mechanic. He ran some tests on the OBC and discovered error messages of buss communication, over voltage and under voltage and he indicated that it may be the BCM. I took the car to the Chrsler dealer (happened to be the same one who sold the car to the previous owner) and he indicated that the previous owner had brought the car in for service late 2002 for the same problem but did not have it fixed as he sold it shortly after that. The dealer agreed that it sounded like the BCM and I had it replaced for $685. Three days after having the BCM replaced, my son again had a similar incident while driving. This time, all the gauges died and the speedometer pegged out at 120. Additionally, when he stopped the car and attempted to lock it with the remote, it wouldn't work but the door locking button was able to lock the doors. About half an hour later, he returned to the car, the remote openned the door, the gauges came back-to-life and the car ran normally. Does anyone have any ideas what may be happening here! I am concerned that the car will completely die while my son is driving. Appreciate your help."

and the answer:

"You will find that if you smack dash hard enough with the key on the run position the gauges will start to work and the engine will start but if you continue to try to start with the gauges not working the vehicle will go into a theft mode and not even turn over untill it decides to reset itself this can take up to a day or so so turn the key on hit tha dash till gauges come on then crank and start there is a bad connection on the back of the dash where the wires go in ! The dealers claim the have never heard of this problem but many have spent thousands to fix and never did get fixed but. THIS IS THE PROBLEM."

I hope some experts way in on this... Could all our problems be caused by faulty wiring?
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Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 AT 9:30 AM
Tiny
VERBAKINT75
  • MEMBER
Sorry, didn't see that our expert DID seem to agree with the whole "hit the dashboard" solution.

By the way, when you try to start the vehicle several times the anti-theft will cause the key to not work (radio and some lights will) for a time (not sure how long, I've heard minutes to hours to a day)

But aside from whacking the dashboard, is there any permanent fix to this problem?
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Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 AT 9:33 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
What I have found is the clusters are bad. I have heard of some being repaired at a few particular solder points, but I haven't tried that. You most likley need a cluster. Whacking the dash, repositions the bad solder point temporariliy.
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Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 AT 9:41 AM
Tiny
J98TC
  • MEMBER
I have a '98 Chrysler T&C, 103000 mi. You all have described my problem to a "T". The van starts but dies immediately - twice. Then nothing, at least I now know about the anti theft device. So check the clusters to start with.
Forgive my ignorance, but the clusters are where all the wiring comes together behind the dash? How many clusters are back there? Can the culprit cluster be isolated by identifying where the wires are coming from i.E. The guages and the ignition? Is it straightforeward to see a bad cluster?
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Friday, August 24th, 2007 AT 1:25 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
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The cluster is short for instrument cluster. This ia the assy. That contains the odometer, gas gauge, speedometer etc. Once you remove it, check for any obviuos wiring issues or connection problem which isn't likely. If nothing found replace the cluster itself.
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Friday, August 24th, 2007 AT 2:18 PM
Tiny
BILMAN892
  • MEMBER
I have been having the exact same problem with my 1998 T&C LXi for a year now. This is the first forum I have read that discussed this problem, after another failed start this morning and another "gee I don't know what the problem could be, but bring it in and we'll look at it" statement from our local Chrysler dealer, I decided to do my own research and ended up here. I went out to my van, turned the key to "on" and gave the dash a few good wacks, and just as described the light and guages came on and the vehicle started. Now my only regret is that I didn't do this research earlier. By the way we also replaced the ignition switch, battery terminals, battery and the body control module trying to solve this problem.

Thank you to all who have posted both problems and solutions you have been a great help. My local dealer really had me believing that I was the only town and country owner experiencing this problem.
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Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 AT 10:53 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
IT's a fairly common problem with them. Transmissions and a/c problems a close behind too!
Glad we could be of service!
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Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 AT 11:05 AM
Tiny
TOCONNOR
  • MEMBER
I also have a 1998 Chrysler T&C with the intermittent starting problem. Would it help any to disconnect the cluster harness, clean it, and then reseat it? Any other ideas to "fix" the problem other than bang on the dash?
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Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 AT 7:15 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
The issue with the cluster is bad solder connections on the circuit board. I have heard of them being repaired on occasion, but have never tried it. The cluster is what needs replacement. Bangin the dash is a lame way of checking it. But usually flushes it out. This may not necessarily be your stalling problem.
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Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 AT 8:06 AM
Tiny
JMOORE813
  • MEMBER
I just wanted to let everyone know that I have been having this problem for over a year. Thanks to this site, I pulled my dash and re-soldered a couple of loose connections and now my 98 T&C runs like a champ. A very big thank you to everyone here.
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Friday, October 26th, 2007 AT 9:09 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
I'm glad we could spend some our time to help you.
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Friday, October 26th, 2007 AT 11:07 AM
Tiny
DANAG1
  • MEMBER
What is and where is the body control module on 99 Plymouth Voyager? Tks!
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Friday, October 26th, 2007 AT 7:19 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
The BCM provides power and ground to a variety of systems as well as stores odometer information for the cluster.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/30961_bcm_1.jpg

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Saturday, October 27th, 2007 AT 6:18 AM
Tiny
DANAG1
  • MEMBER
Ok, Thanks! I see what I can do and if I will be able to make the car start again. Just amazing how easy can broke down and how hard is to find the problem! I will update with everything.
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Saturday, October 27th, 2007 AT 8:09 AM
Tiny
DANAG1
  • MEMBER
Well. Thanks to the people on this forum, I was able to fix my car. Here is what I did: took off the auto shut down relay ( in the box next to the battery) and after a while, I put it back. The noise disapeared, but the car still didn't start. Then, someone here( service writer) send me a picture to show me where to look for that BCM, so.I went to the car and inside, on the left side of brake pedal, I saw. Sort of box with. Fuses and relay I guessJunction box? I don't know, if someone knows, please tell me the name of that).I took all of them out, (one by one), wait few seconds and put it back. After all was done, I turn the ignition on. Dind't start at first but looked like wanted to start, so, turned off and on again and. The car started! Again, thank you very very much. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be able to do it! You are the best guys!
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Saturday, October 27th, 2007 AT 4:38 PM
Tiny
98T&C
  • MEMBER
The problem is indeed a bad solder connection in the instrument pod. And it is really fairly simple to fix even for the novice DIY'r.

When fixing mine, I made a tutorial that you can follow along.

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/mitchell1eautorepair-car-repair-manuals

Regards,
Randy
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Saturday, December 8th, 2007 AT 6:55 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
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Randy,
That was EXCELLENT!
You bet I bookmarked it!
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Sunday, December 9th, 2007 AT 7:02 AM

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