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Discussion Starter #1
Ok first post here, thanks for reading and any input is greatly appreciated.
Car has 93K miles, we are second owners and got it at 40K miles 8 yrs ago.
Has been a decent car but had PCM replaced about 6 yrs ago, cant remember the circumstances around that but the dealership recommended it for whatever was going on at the time.
So for what has been troubling us lately:
I believe this all started when my son (4yrs old) switched on the dome light on the dimmer switch during the daytime, we didnt notice and I believe it killed the battery causing a no start/no crank. No problem, jump it, drive around to re-charge. After that it started up OK but started having intermittent no starts.
Sometimes running it through the gears and back to park would do the trick. Sometimes not.
Died once while driving, the whole car went dead while my mother was going about 35. by the time I got there she had it started again. when I drove it home from there I noticed the instrument cluster going crazy. CEL on, alarm lt on, oil lt on, speedo and RPM needles acting erratic or just dying, then popping back on, all while driving.
Took it to my local mechanic: battery tested good, alt good, starter good, in fact it took him several days to get the car to do anything weird. I noticed pos battery cable pretty corroded. He seemed to think it was Ok. He checked CEL code and it said "PCM rewrite fault". AC compressor also acting up and sent a code. He suggested taking it to dealership as he doesn't service or diagnose the modules. Suggests that it also might be SKIM/ignition key issue, but cant be sure.
I have him replace the ignition switch as I read that an older one can sometimes cause problems so it was something easy to throw at it and eliminate from the equation.
Next I take to dealership that replaced the PCM 6 yrs ago. They tell me its bad starter. I'm not convinced but Ok go ahead replace the starter. $575.00
I go to pick up and of course it wont start for them in the lot. At least they gave me a loaner car for my trouble.
They call back a week later saying it needs new PCM, $2200. I tell them they replcaced it yrs ago for $900. "Oh, sorry that quote was wrong, it'll be $1100"
Well I wasnt ready or willing to drop another G on it, kind of thinking they are not really trying to chase down the problem, so I take the car back home.
Since then it has continued, but will almost never start on its own. Half of a crank, or no crank at all. .Have to jump it to get it started.
I noticed that the dealership spliced the pos battery cables in, they put a new clamp on but did a terrible job splicing the smaller wire on.
I finally threw a new battery at it, since it would almost always start when jumped. I thought that was going to be the silver bullet. But no, still same s*it.
One pattern I've seemed to ID is that whenever the battery has been disconnected and reconnected, it almost always starts right up. It runs and drives fine except for the instrument cluster weirdness, erratic needles, CEL light sometimes on, sometimes off. For a few days the fuel gage was completely out of wack, showing empty when I know it was at least half full.
I tried a "hard reset" last night (connecting the 2 battery cables to each other). Started fist try, drove fine, still cluster craziness though. Ran and drove, idled for 30 min, turned off, got out, locked with keyfob, unlocked, got back in, no start.
I have tried swapping starter relay, did not help.
I'm wondering if one of those "plug n play" pre-programmed PCMs for $250 (online) is worth throwing at it?
I should mention that we have the grey Sentry Keys.
I do not want to give it back to the dealership as I feel they are not interested in finding a root cause and they mis-diagnosed it once already.
I am not a car guy but the more i read and the more I mess with this it is seeming like some module (PCM) is sending a signal to kill the ignition after the car wakes back up. I have no diagnostic tools, and dont really understand how all the modules work with each other but I do have the Chrysler Service Manual and am reading it trying to understand what module does what and how to trace this back to a bad module or something else?
Could a new pre-programmed PCM be the silver bullet? I hear I would have to have them wipe it (?) for the SKIM (?) and have a locksmith program it for our keys?
Sorry for the long post just wanted to give the full story up to this point, happy to answer questions, really want to figure this out!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, thanks for reading and replying in advance!
 

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just noticing quickly while reading, your issue about the little cable attached to the battery leads

that does indeed have to do with the instrument cluster, i don't know what else it powers, but i remember i had mine lose and my entire dashboard looked dead until i secured it properly

make sure it's attached well

flickering gauges was much more common on third generation vans but does still sometimes happen to these vans for a number of reasons, people here have gone through it before and fixed it or made it better and will be able to help you
 

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Discussion Starter #3
just noticing quickly while reading, your issue about the little cable attached to the battery leads

that does indeed have to do with the instrument cluster, i don't know what else it powers, but i remember i had mine lose and my entire dashboard looked dead until i secured it properly

make sure it's attached well

flickering gauges was much more common on third generation vans but does still sometimes happen to these vans for a number of reasons, people here have gone through it before and fixed it or made it better and will be able to help you
@Baron thank you for your reply, I will make that connection better but I should note that the instrument cluster issue was occurring before the dealership hacked that spliced wire. Will post progress here, thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update:After sitting for several hours I went out and tried to start. half crank but thats it.
popped the hood and can hear clicking from the engine case that fades to nothing after about 15 secs, is this the fuel injectors? anyways, I heared clicking from the TIPM so opened it, I moved the 12V batt/ign 20 amp fuse to the other position as this has produced a start before but probably just a coincidence, but what the ****. I also wiggled that small wire that was poorly spliced around a little, but have not fixed it properly yet.
So after this meddling I went back for another try, this time I turned the key to the run position before all the way to crank and let the instrument panel do its thing, then from there went to crank and voila, it started up!
Idled for a few, killed it, cranked normally (fast, no waiting) and it started again. 5 times like that.
Still idling now.
I know I messed with too many things at once to narrow it down, but this is where we are at now.
Will fix the poorly spliced wire and clean the relay posts in the TIPM and see what that produces tomorrow.
I know I'm not out of the woods yet but 5 starts in a row is pretty good.
Thanks all
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update: After letting it sit for an hour or so it started again and I went for a drive. Same instrument cluster craziness. One thing about that: seems to be when the oil lt comes on thats when the needles die. Oil lt goes off and the needles go back to functioning.
So it ran and drove fine, even let me fill up and started up again normally after that.
Ok so in driveway, it will idle for 5 min normally but will sometimes hit rough patches where it sounds like its "missing". It even died at idle a few times, but so far it has started right back up.
I did the CEL code sequence to see what code it would throw and it was storing 7 codes:
P 1684
P 1388
P 0645
P 0403
P 1696
P 1695
P 1699
It started again after getting the codes.
Side Note: Looking at the dealer Work Order where they diagnosed a bad PCM, their words were:
"found the vehicle to start to crank then stop. tested for the cause, found there to be no response from the PCM when this happens. Tested and found there to be good powers and grounds at the PCM. Needs the PCM replaced then retested"
Someone please tell me that the pre-programmed PCM for $250 will do the trick. Has anyone had good/bad experiences with these? And if there are other concerns connected with installing a pre-programmed PCM when I have the Grey Sentry Key with the chip.
Thanks in advance for any replies!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
is it doing this?
@Baron not really, they just either die (fall to their stops) when the oil lt comes on or they are functioning normally. nothing is flashing or blinking. Alarm indicator light has been on throughout a lot of this but has not been on much today. thanks!
 

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First, ignore all the codes, as they are caused by the main problem.

Second, make an outline list of the repair history, basically something you can give to a good shop.

Third, if you paid the dealer by credit card, contest the charge for the starter and any work since the starter. Note, don't go back to this dealer.

Fourth, PCM's are very reliable, and don't normally go bad, unless your car was struck by lightning - twice.

Fifth, ask your friends who are 'car people', where they would take their car for repairs.

Sixth, maybe, just maybe a small animal has eaten some of your wires. Not kidding.
 

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Fuel Injector Wire Harness could be the cause of the PCM failure, Use the Search feature for the
Fuel Injector Wire Harness
here in the forum and you will find out all you need to know.

Since you have an early 4th gen van which has the melting issue, i would not invest any money into a PCM until having the FI harness opened up and inspected.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@marvinstockman thanks for your reply, I will ignore the codes, although its worth noting (i think) that when looked up most of them have "faulty PCM" as one of their causes.
I have an outline of the repairs done, but I dont have a mechanic I trust to send it to as of now. I will not be sending it back to that dealership.
I will try to look into the FI wiring Harness that @443k3.3 has suggested, thanks for that! Will post progress here.
 

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So going back thru what has been done to the car in the last year I remembered my local mechanic had found a damaged wire cluster (pcm wiring harness he said) and replaced it. The no start problems did not begin until maybe 4 months later. Is it possible that damaged wire harness caused pcm failure that would have taken 4 months to rear its ugly head in the form of no start/ no crank and malfunctioning instrument cluster?
I’ll post a pic in a minute.
Btw the van has started 1st try 6 times out of 7 attempts, and the one try it didn’t start I did the “leave the key in run position for a few seconds then crank” and it fired up.
Thanks to everyone who takes time to reply.
 

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that kinda looks like the Fuel Injector wire harness with the Velcro and woven cover on it, and yes the stress caused in the past on the circuits can show up now and if he did not relocate the harness away from the exhaust cross over, it could have melted again depending on proximity and quality of replacement part or repair.
 

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@443k3.3 thank you, he called it the pcm wiring harness so logic tells me that could have started some pcm trouble that is now coming up. I’ve not really done anything this weekend except try starting the car, driving it, and identifying any patterns that would point to something.
A few things about the battery I’ve noticed:
The car seems to be more likely to start after the battery has been disconnected and reconnected , most times it will crank and fire up 1st try afterward. Not every time, but it does seem to make a difference.
Or when jumped, usually first try.
After getting it started today and driving around for 15 min I noticed the negative battery cable is pretty hot to the touch, not sure if that’s normal I read if the cables are heating up there is too much resistance somewhere in the circuit. Thought it’s worth mentioning.
Also noticed when disconnecting the negative battery terminal I can hear clicking in the IMP and in the engine block, that corresponds to the little ground wire movement on the terminal.
Here are some pics, you can see that crappy splice the dealership did on the pos cable.
Thanks again everyone, will keep chasing this as best I can with limited tools and knowledge.
56411
56412
 

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Should also mention that a buddy helped me install a test light at the starter to ensure I have consistent power at starter. So when it half cranks or no cranks I can see it has power for a split second then power is cut off. Makes me think the starter is getting a signal to shut down from pcm (or bcm, SKIM?). Noticed driving it today a little rough running, almost feels like it might stall out at times.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well I know you were all on the edge of your seat about my situation, but I decided to sell the t&c. Drove it to CarMax then it wouldn’t start in the lot. They still offered $1k, I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t sign the paperwork fast enough. Had a feeling this thing was just turning into a money pit.
Thanks for everyone’s feedback here!
 
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