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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!
So, my 10 year old 2012 DGC AVP, with 113,000 miles made a successful journey from Palm Springs to Las Vegas. When we arrived, pulling into the hotel valet line, the van just died. Thankfully, it started right back up again. I can't see of anything I did to cause this, it just died.

This is a part of many electrical 'gremlins', it's like an exorcism is necessary! Needless to say, I'm just nervous about the ride home. Once I get home, what do y'all advise? I've held onto links to mail-off-rebuild the TIPM after the unholy possession began. Should I just do that? Could this be a failing TIPM? The circuitboardmedic site has a rebuild for $250, while tipmrebuliders are at $567.45. Any experiences with this or others?

After replacing the radio with a CarPlay compatible head-unit, I first noted the strangeness. For awhile the A/C would not turn on, you could hear the hot/cold mixture actuator (I think) going sounding "er, er, er", then the radio wouldn't work. It seemed to 'repair' itself after a few days and haven't noticed it since. When the key had to much key chain 'weight', more gremlins would show as well.

This van really needs to last us 2 more years for us to pay it off. I'm fine to repair items that aren't major powertrain items. I'm kinda losing confidence. This van carries my little family around, and I want my wife to be confident in her whip. Yes, it's older, but my Lexus ES (same year, same miles) has no such issues. Why can't we expect reliability? I digress.
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Check codes as soon as possible. There may be a hint as to what caused it to shut down (history code). If you do it after the drive, any codes may be gone.
 

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I've been through all the gremlins with my 2014. There are likely loads and loads of codes in storage, and in my opinion you should have professional diagnosis from a properly-equipped shop before delving into parts replacement.

Over the course of about a year, I dealt with a failed TIPM, a bad PCM, and a bad alternator. My PCM was replaced under the 8/80 emissions warranty; the other parts I replaced myself. Have had no problems in almost two years since.

I originally used one of the big TIPM rebuilders (the first one you mentioned), but had no luck with their fixed part after sending it back twice. Finally got a used TIPM from a boneyard on eBay for about 100 bucks and that's been great. TIPMs are 100% plug & play...you just need the right part number.

Anyway, I'd advise you get the proper - and complete - diagnoses before moving forward.
 

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When the key had to much key chain 'weight', more gremlins would show as well.
This would be my starting point. This could indicate a worn ignition key cylinder or a failing ignition switch assembly. If the cylinder is worn the movement of the 'weight' could cause the cylinder to rotate the switch enough to move the switch from the run position enough to shut the engine off or only to move/jiggle enough to switch off the accessory contact briefly. The more weight the greater the swinging movement. I would lean toward a worn key cylinder. Dorman has a cylinder kit with tumblers so you can key the cylinder to your current key.
 

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2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT (3.8); 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan eL (3.8)
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...I would lean toward a worn key cylinder. Dorman has a cylinder kit with tumblers so you can key the cylinder to your current key.
I don't think that would work for a 5th generation van, they don't use a conventional key, they use one of these:
Car alarm Peripheral Input device Automotive lighting Mouse
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I considered if it might have been the key. Yea, it’s the following electronic keys (like Mercedes did from Daimler days:
…they use one of these:
View attachment 67846
We were going over really heavy speed bumps, so I’m wondering if that jostled something loose. My wife bought these awful keychain covers that blocked the signal occasionally and I tossed them shortly after, so I imagine a worn ignition could be a culprit.

I read a post about turning the ignition a bunch of times to remove buildup.

We were driving it around a bit yesterday and no issues. About to head home. I might have the code reader in the van, not sure. Dunno if it’ll show anything? Worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Demon is Being Exorcised (maybe)
I was able to recreate the the issue, if I go over a speed bump ‘laterally’ (turning) so the van jostles a lot, the van dies. I checked the battery cables and they’re tight, what’s the next to check?
 

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It wouldn't be the issue, but may have led to it... the mounts. Engine could be shifting and stressing wires.

Other possibilities are something loose in the TIPM or PCM. Especially if you've had a circuit failure (fuel pump relay, alternator driver) the failed component may have popped loose and bounced against something.

Whatever it is, it has to be a circuit either shorting or being cut momentarily. Check for worn or stretched wires. Run the engine and shake the harness to see if it cuts out. Slap the PCM and TIPM to see if anything rattles or causes the shutdown.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
  1. What is it about the TIPM that causes it to fail? Is it bad solder joints or?
  2. By ‘TIPM Connector’ is that the red power connection bolted to the TIPM?
  3. Checked battery, GOOD. Checked battery strap, also GOOD. Shook the PCM Wire connector (in driver side wheel well, right?-OK I opened the TIPM & shook the bigger relays/fuses. Some felt loose.
  4. Where are all the ground straps?
 

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Did you check your new radio installation? There could be a loose wire somewhere there. Since all of this started after installing the new unit, that’s where I would start. No reason chasing gremlins in the engine bay if nothing was touched there.
 

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Unlikely that anything with the radio could cause these issues. Someone would have had to do some really sketchy wiring for that to be the case.

TIPM failures are often components frying, not bad joints, though that is a possibility just not one I've heard of being an issue.

I'm sure he meant to also check the TIPM connectors on the underside. I have a customer that had a bent pin on her Pacifica that caused her to not have turn signals and would sometimes cut out her A/C. All because someone forced the connector on rather than backing off when they hit too much resistance. She had been driving like that for over 3 years and no mechanic before me could find the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes the connector to the tipm. Check for looseness, corrosion. Look for rusty frayed ground straps - one I know of is on top the passenger side motor mount.
Got it. I see the ground strap going to the motor mount. Gotta take a better look from underneath. My instinct leads me to something in the TIPM. I’ve read about the water seepage & corrosion. The gasket surrounding the top TIPM cover was off when I bought it and the front half of the fuses/relays were dusty while the back half clean.

Did you check your new radio installation?
I guess it could be anything. I’ve installed countless car stereos and I solder and heat shrink each connection. As Sienile mentions it doesn’t seem that anything going to the radio would cause this much of a ruckus to stop the entire car.

I do need to address and fix this problem as I won’t let my wife drive it until it’s fixed. I

Pardon the lateral move but I'm new to these minivans. Where are the TIPM and the PCM?
The TIPM in the 5th Gen vans is on the driver-side above the wheel well close to the firewall. Big black plastic box.
I’m pretty certain that The PCM is located here—on driver-side, behind front headlight TIPM box is just behind it.
 
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