1998 Plymouth Voyager Possesed vehicle

Tiny
MATTSTAWICKI
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 PLYMOUTH VOYAGER
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 92,000 MILES
This Grand Voyager acts like somethings loose, there's a broken wire, or perhaps a computer problem. Eariler this week, while driving at night, the lights went out. Started to pull over to the side of the road, and the lights came back on when I stepped on the brake. The lights went out again last night. Stepping on the brake didn't help, but when I turned the light switch off and back on, the lights came back on. Today, on the way to LA, the dash lights (odometer, PRND32) would go out, and the temperature, tachometer, speedometer, and fuel gauge would cease to work. The door locks would also, err. Cycle(?). Up, down, up, down. At the same time the instruments would go on and off. They'd go off for a few seconds, then go off for a few seconds. Sometimes they'd stay off/on for 10-15 minutes. The door locks would at times seem to get stuck between lock/unlock and just vibrate. About the locks: normally, if the doors are unlocked, they automatically lock at 15mph. When stopping and starting (stop sign/light), if the doors are already locked, it does not try to lock them again. However, now the locks try to lock everytime I stop/start. I also just noticed that the interior lights turn on and off when the door is open (engine off). You can hear a clicking sound coming from a cluster of modules/fuses under the dash. When I press the door switch, the lights go off (as they should), and they stay off - no more clicking. Does anyone have any suggestions where to look?
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Friday, February 20th, 2009 AT 3:41 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
I think you need a priest. LOL

Ok, it sounds like a problem with the Body Control Module (BCM). I want you to disconnect the battery for about ten minutes and then reconnect it to see if it resets it. If it doesn't, you will need to have it done by a dealer.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Monday, February 23rd, 2009 AT 11:28 AM
Tiny
MATTSTAWICKI
  • MEMBER
Hey Joe,

Looks like my first reply to you didn't go through.
I appreciate your response.

To back up a bit, this car sat for about a year. I started it up occasionally, but had to jump it each time because the battery was dead. I recently bopught a new battery and had to take it to a 'test only' smog shop for a smog test in order to get it regestered again. This is when I found out that the computer resets itself when the battery is changed (had to drive it for a while so the computer could gather some data in order to pass the test).

Knowing this, I thought about disconnecting the battery to see if the BCM would reset itself, but wasn't sure if that would help, or cause more problems. Thanks for the confidence boost.

However, it didn't help. I still have the same problems. Add to that, it also is having trouble starting. Turn the key - Click. Sometimes 2 or 3 trys, other times, like this morning, 15-20 clicks. Not sure if this is related to the BCM, or if I also have a starter solenoid problem.

Beginning to look like that exorcism may be in order, after all:-)

Looks like I may have to take it to the dealer. I thought about changing the BCM myself, but the local Mopar parts dept tells me they cost $350 to $750, and you can't return them if that's not the problem. That could be a costly experiment. Better to let the dealer experiment, and drive away with a 30-60 day warranty.

Again, I thank you for your response.

Matt
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 AT 4:22 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Matt:
Let the dealer check the BCM. Also, the clicking is classic solenoid problem. Remove the starter and have it bench tested at the local parts store, but chances are it needs replaced. Most likely corrodes inside from sitting.

Let me know how you make out.

Joe
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Thursday, February 26th, 2009 AT 7:56 AM
Tiny
MATTSTAWICKI
  • MEMBER
Joe,

Sorry about the un-timely reply, but I wanted to wait a few days to see what would happen.

Since the BCM costs $350-$750, and a re-built starter costs $110, I decided to tackle the starter problem first.

Thinking that the parts store (NAPA) would be more interested in selling a starter, no matter what condition mine was in, I took the starter to a local garage I sometimes go to when I have a few extra bucks and don't feel like doing it myself (or don't know how/don't have the proper equipment).

The solenoid was OK, in that the gear engaged, but the motor didn't turn. He then pulled off a cover and showed me a couple of contacts that were badly worn. He said that 90% of the time the contacts were the problem. He gave me a couple of new contacts to replace, told me to clean up the copper contact disk on the armature with a wire wheel, re-install the starter and see what happened. If it worked, I owed him for the contacts. If not, he wanted the contacts back:-). No Problem.

Went back to my shop (I have a small Swiss screw machine shop), cleaned it up, installed the new contacts, put it back on the motor, and WaLa! That puppy works like a brand new starter!

Funny part is. Since then, I haven't had a single problem with the gauges, locks, or lights flickering! Absolutely no problems of any kind.

Now, the problem with the gauges/locks/lights started right after I had it smog tested. It seemed like something was loose. So I went back to the smog dude to find out where he connected his equipment, thinking that maybe something had been bumped, or wasn't re-connected properly. This guy seemed to know quite a bit about auto computers, and explained that they can be rather sensitive and that my gauge/lock/light problem could be caused by a bad ground or a short somewhere.

After I pulled the worn contacts out of the starter, and before installing the new ones, I cleaned a lot of copper dust (most of it was blackened, or burnt) out of the cavity and off of the base plate (for lack of a better description). The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the copper dust was causing an occasional short between the always hot lead from the battery and the other contact, or maybe the armature.

With full amperage from the battery, any copper dust would get instantly fried. But you would have a momentary short that may have caused the BCM to freak out, making my lights go out, gauges drop, or locks cycle. Maybe? I don't really know for sure, but it sounds good:-)

All I know is that everything has been working just fine since rebuilding that starter.

Joe, I thank you for all your advice. Money is tight, and I couldn't make a donation to this site, but if you ever need any machining done (have mostly small production machinery, but I do have a nice toolroom!), I owe you one.

Thanks again,

Matt
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 AT 12:13 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
That is great news, Matt. And don't worry. I'm glad to help, but I do appreciate the offer. We are always here if you run into trouble in the future.

Take care of yourself,

Joe
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 AT 1:28 PM

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