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?
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 AT 9:30 AM