2003 Dodge Caravan Van won't start - multiple things alread

Tiny
MICHAELWBITTON
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 95,000 MILES
Had an issue a while back with my 03 Caravan not starting. It started out with one or two missed starts, then eventually got to the point where it won't start at all.

- My first thought was starter/solenoid, so I replaced those. (This is one of those 2-in-1 deals where the solenoid is part of the starter. I am NOT a fan.) No luck.
- Towed it in to a mechanic, he said it was the TCM and wanted 1,000.00 to do it, but gave me the information to try it myself.
- Ordered a new TCM, had it flashed with the VIN/mileage/etc, installed it today, no luck.
- Tried swapping out relays, no luck
- Checked fuses, they're all good.

A couple of odd things:

- There are two wires going to the starter on the bottom; one is in a harness and connects to the solenoid, the other just screws on to a bolt on the starter. I put a voltage tester on both of them and the one in the back has a constant 12V, while the one in the front (that connects to the solenoid) has nothing, even when the key is turned to "Crank the damn engine already!" Position.
- When I turn the key to the "On" position, all of my dash lights come on, then go off as normal. Then when I try to crank the engine over the "BRAKE (!)" Light comes on, even though my parking brake isn't engaged. This stays on for about 3 seconds, then goes off, which makes me think that it's an indicator of. Well, something.

My Google-Fu is all tapped out, as is my bank account at this point, thanks to all these shiny new parts. Any suggestions/pointers are welcome.
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Monday, July 19th, 2010 AT 10:43 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Sounds like no cranking when key is turn to starting position, is this correct?

Check and test fuse no.9 and 23 in the integrated power module if okay continue on to the starter motor relay, then the ignition switch and then last the computer.
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Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 AT 5:15 AM
Tiny
MICHAELWBITTON
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What would be the best way to check the ignition? I have tried pretty much everything up to this point.
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Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 AT 3:12 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Get a helper disconnect a sparkplug wire or 2 and ground it to the engine atleast 3/16 away from ground-have helper crank engine over-do you have a snapping blue spark?

No snapping blue spark continue to troubleshoot the ignition system-power input to the coil/coil packs, coil's resistances, distributor pick-up coil, ignition control module, cam and crank sensors and computer Note: If it doesn't apply disregard it
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Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
MICHAELWBITTON
  • MEMBER
Ras,

I do have another question - I have a Chiltons manual and it has instructions for testing the relays (something the guys at Autozone had no clue how to check for.) So I pulled all the relays and they tested as good. Further on the manual, it outlined how to check for continuity using a circuit tester, so I tried checking terminals 85 and 86 on the starter relay socket and couldn't get a reading - does this mean I have a break somewhere in the circuit, or is it normal for this particular circuit to NOT have continuity when turned off? I thought that it would at least provide SOME sort of reading regardless. FWIW, I tried all the settings on the circuit tester, since I'm not 100% sure which one would give me the information I wanted.

Sorry if these sound like basic questions - I'm a computer geek by trade, and cars are a little outside of my realm of expertise. :)

Thanks!
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Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 AT 10:11 PM

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