2002 Dodge Caravan 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 120000 miles
My dodge caravan 2002, has this problem of the door locks working intermittently. The driver side will never lock or unlock with the button, yet it will occasionally lock all on it's own for no reason. The passenger side works half the time. The sliders never work, bought it used so I don't know if they are supposed to or not. Any suggestions?
Someone just helped me with a similar problem on my van. I'm going to try to cut and paste his answer cuz it worked.
Common problem that had nothing to do with any other service so don't blame the mechanic.
If the problem occurs more often when you turn left, which most do, it's the sliding door. If it does it more over bumps, it's more likely to be one of the front doors.
Sliding door: The switch is a black plastic piece at the back of the door opening, half way up. Open the door all the way, then use a pliers to pop the switch out. It will only come out about an inch, then hit the door. Slide the door most of the way forward to make room to remove the switch from behind the door. Pull slowly because if the connector comes off and the wiring harness falls inside the body, you'll have to remove the seats and side trim panel to get it back out!
The switch is auto-adjusting. It is over-adjusted from slamming the door too hard one too many times. Pull the switch from the connector. Tie the harness into a knot so it won't fall inside the body. To reset the switch, you need to support the body of the switch on a hard surface with a hole in it that the push-button can slide through. A half inch diameter hole in a 2" x4" block of wood is perfect. Use a small hammer, a block of wood, or some similar object to hit the connector end of the switch. The rippled body will slide through the round mounting ring. It normally moves too hard to do this by hand. Now if you look at the push button end, you'll see it's sticking out about a half inch more from the ring than before. For a little added insurance against this happening again, I like to put a little gray Mopar RTV sealant around the ridges that are exposed now on the switch body. The gray stuff works best because it gets relatively hard compared to the black stuff. You can find this at the Dodge dealer's Parts Dept. Other types of caulk or silicone sealers should work too.
Plug the switch back into the connector and stick the switch back in the hole. You'll notice it pops in without much force. Once it's adjusted, the switch body will force the fingers on the mounting ring to expand. That's what holds it solidly in place. To adjust the switch, (now this is hard); close the door. The switch will slide through the mounting ring to its happy spot. When the RTV sealer sets up, that will help to hold it in adjustment. Slamming the door compresses the weather stripping and adjusts the switch. Then the weather stripping pushes the door back out against the latches. Slamming the door extra hard causes it to compress the weather stripping more than normal, and it pushes the switch in more than normal. Turning left causes this door to move out a little, triggering the switch.
Front doors: These are real easy. They are located on the rear of the door opening, just below the gold-colored door latch striker. They are also self adjusting, but the fix is easier. If you look closely at the push button, you will see a slightly rounded thin button and a tiny slot right under it at the end of the switch. Use a thin pick in that hole to pull the button out. It actually looks like a fat plastic nail, about an inch long. That nail slides into the switch body when it bottoms out when closing the door. That's the self-adjusting feature. To prevent this from happening again, I placed three washers under the head of the nail to act as spacers. M5 metric lock washers are the perfect size with the correct size hole. Three of them stacked up works great, and for a " professional" touch, I used black touch-up paint so the silver washer didn't stand out. When you started, the " nail head" was pushed all the way into the switch body. That's as far as it can go. With the three washers, the nail head will be sticking out about 1/4".