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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Friends,

I recently want to take my 1996 Chrysler Town and Country LXi out of PNO (planned non-operation in California) after parking it in driveway for more than 5 years. It has only about 120K miles and worked well prior to the PNO.

I did some checks before having smog check, and found that its tachometer gauge, speedometer guage, odometer LCD, transmission position LCD did not work at all. Only the temperature gauge and the fuel gauge work. All the lights in the Message Center console work properly.

Since I don't remember the exact location of the Check Engine Light on this minivan, I assume it uses the same odometer LCD (non-working) to show it. Some youtube videos for 1998 T&C shows the "Service Engine Soon" light in the Message Center, but it's definitely not in the Message Center for this 1996 Chrysler Town and Country LXi because I removed the Message Center bar to check the lights as well. Can someone please confirm the exact location where I'm supposed to see the CEL on this particular year/model? As for now, I don't see any CEL since both odometer LCD and transmission position LCD do not turn on when the key is in ON position.

Anyway, I removed the instrument cluster to add solder to the connector pins on its board, but it did not help to bring back to life the tachometer gauge, speedometer guage, odometer LCD, transmission position LCD. The Trip/Reset button push trick when turning the key to the ON position did not help anything either. There is no fault code when pulling the DTCs and the car drives very well. However, in order to pass the smog check, I need to make the CEL to turn on when the key is in ON position, and turn off after several seconds.

Two other peculiar things I also noticed about this car:

  • Its interior lights stay on even after closing all the doors
  • Key fob entry does not work.

Please give me some clues on what's wrong with this car. At the moment, I have a bad feeling there is a more serious problem with it. Its symptoms seem to indicate that the BCM unit is failing. How much to replace the BCM for this very old minivan?

Thanks a lot for all your suggestions and help.
 

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My 96 Grand Caravan has a Service Engine Soon light. The operators manual says Check Engine light...go figure. It's located on the instrument cluster directly below the gas gauge between the Door Ajar light and the Low Fuel light (gas pump symbol). First step if gauges don't work on a cluster self test is to change the instrument cluster. I'd pull one out of a junk yard. Might try Ebay. Short of that, check for corrosion, pushed pins etc at the BCM connectors. It's on the junction block under the left side dash. I haven't looked in a few years but used BCMs should be available on the web. Just send them your VIN # to get correct programming.
 

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I'd unplug/replug all connectors on major modules like the ECM, TCM and under the fuse block next to the battery. After sitting for so long, the connections probably got corroded a little and just need renewed contact to work again. Modules don't go bad from just sitting.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My 96 Grand Caravan has a Service Engine Soon light. The operators manual says Check Engine light...go figure. It's located on the instrument cluster directly below the gas gauge between the Door Ajar light and the Low Fuel light (gas pump symbol). First step if gauges don't work on a cluster self test is to change the instrument cluster. I'd pull one out of a junk yard. Might try Ebay. Short of that, check for corrosion, pushed pins etc at the BCM connectors. It's on the junction block under the left side dash. I haven't looked in a few years but used BCMs should be available on the web. Just send them your VIN # to get correct programming.
Thanks a lot RIP. I finally found the "Service Engine Soon" light at the exact location you described. I also pulled out the instrument cluster board to inspect its components more carefully and actually found some leaking capacitors thanks to a good magnifier glass and flash light. The leaks are very tiny and hidden under the capacitors instead of normally oozing out from the bottom aluminum (with the groove +). I removed the bad caps and confirmed that they are bad (infinite capacitance). I will buy some new capacitors to replace them and hope for the best. Thank you very much again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'd unplug/replug all connectors on major modules like the ECM, TCM and under the fuse block next to the battery. After sitting for so long, the connections probably got corroded a little and just need renewed contact to work again. Modules don't go bad from just sitting.
Thanks a lot Dan. I will try to unplug/replug all connectors per your instructions. Best regards.
 
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