The noise is supposed to be there. When it no longer occurs is when you have other problems.
Look for a loose or blown fuse for the light issue. The interior lights are controlled by the Body Computer. The advantage to adding a computer to this otherwise simple circuit is the lights will turn off after 15 minutes to avoid draining the battery. The disadvantage is that every time you add a computer, you unnecessarily complicate the circuit and add to its unreliablity. The Body Computer on '96 and newer minivans has been by far the biggest source of trouble related to adding a computer. They also are very commonly the culprit in the wiper problem you mentioned. You might want to try plugging in a used multifunction switch, (turn signal switch), on the rare chance it is defective, but 99 percent chance it will need to have the Body Computer replaced. It is bolted to the fuse box above and in front of the brake pedal.
Check those fuses too. They often become loose in their sockets and will sometimes even fall out onto your ankle. There is another fuse box under the hood.
If the sputtering is consistant, your mechanic can connect a hand-held computer, called a scanner, with a record / playback function. That can be used to record about five seconds worth of sensor data when the problem occurs. He can play that information back slowly later to look for clues to the problem. Since the data travels through the memory in the scanner, the recording actually begins a couple of seconds before the button is pressed. This is one way to find engine performance problems that don't act up long enough to set a fault code. There can be other fault codes too that don't turn on the Check Engine light. He will use the same scanner to read those codes. Low fuel pressure is real common on GM products and will cause this symptom, but it is rare on Chrysler products. The fuel pressure is not monitored by the Engine Computer and won't set any fault codes directly, so it will have to be measured with a mechanical gauge if it is suspect.
Thursday, June 17th, 2010 AT 1:24 PM