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Discussion Starter #1
My ex-girlfriend or girlfriend whatever that is is irrelevant here anyway......... She has a 2004 Chrysler Town and country. I've been fighting with this thing for days in regards to a couple of things. The first being that it is getting incredibly bad gas mileage (like 1\4 tank for a 6 or 7 mile drive) and has a horrible issue with power. It doesn't want to get up and go. It's slow to get moving and (from a stop) feels like it's going to die. It sputters I guess is how you would describe it, but only seems to do this when going from a stop. When the van is running and in park or neutral everything seems fine. Once put into gear though, reverse or drive, it gets a bad shake that also goes away once it gets moving. In regards to this I have replaced the MAP sensor and identified the pcv valve as a possible issue. If that doesn't work I have no clue what to try next. Well that's not entirely true, I know the CAT and O2 sensor could also be causing this but they are by no means easy to get to and I'd likely start murdering people if I dug to those things for nothing.

Issue 2 is that all of the electric components of the van flicker. It's constant once the van is removed from park but doesn't do it until then. The radio sense unaffected by this though. The display flickers on it but there's no crazy possession of the volume or any other component as I've read in other forms. I replaced the alternator in regards to this but that seemed to make the flicker worse. I ran the diagnostics on the instrument cluster and it stopped the flicker. This fix us however temporary because the flicker returns once it's shit off and started again. When light returns tomorrow I'm going to take the TIPM out and check the wiring there.

From everything I've researched and read though these problems may in fact be connected??? The computer may be failing causing all of this? I'm a DIYer and have coming sense but this is all very puzzling to me. She thinks that certain people she knows that could fix it only aren't because they get satisfaction from her being stuck. Problem there is since I've been this far unable to resolve the issue she thinks I'm on their team. She has the kids and needs to be able to get around without spending a fortune in gas. Any suggestions at all are greatly appreciated.
 

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how old is your battery, and what's the voltage when off and running?

any check engine lights?

any unusual engine noises or noises coming from around the engine?

i'm not sure if the 2004 is effected by the bad injector harness, that might have been fixed by 2003, but if someone else can confirm that 2004 vans have that issue that might very well be your problem
 

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I don't have a multimeter to test voltage but the battery is a refurbish that's only like 6 months old at max. I'll start some of my own research into the injector harness as this is the first I'm hearing about that. Yes to the check engine light. It's solid most of the time but starts flashing once on the highway. Doesn't have any odd noise coming from the engine though. At least not since the alternator I've replaced. There was a ticking before I did that but it's stopped since then.
 

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flashing means that the engine is misfiring, so your problem may just be as simple as needing some new spark plugs or a distributor

with the injector harness, it was a problem on early 4th gens

the harness is too close to the exhaust and it can melt, causing it to short on itself and send the entire van going haywire and make the engine run terrible or not at all

i'd say pick up a multimeter for sure, it'll be very helpful in this situation and in the future
 

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I will absolutely be picking up a multimeter as it's come up a lot searching for answers here. As I understand it though there was recently (last few months) a tune up done. Well she was told so anyway. If have to say it was done though as the distributor cap, wires, and plugs when I remove the boots on the front three all look too be quite new.
 

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Injector harness is 2001-2004, so it could be an issue. I diagnosed/fixed one on a friend's van years ago when a shop didn't have a clue about it. It would sputter and be gutless because the injectors were firing to much (getting crossed signals because wire insulation was melted, wires touching) and flooding the engine. When you opened up the throttle all the way (WOT) it would run correctly and go! Too much fuel can damage the catalytic converter, and that is why the check engine light flashes. Run this way for too long, the injector drivers inside the computer are damaged, and then you need to get a new computer and have it programmed for your van.

You check the harness visually. The black woven covering is closed over the wires with velcro, so it can be pulled apart to check the wires inside. There are other sensors wired into the same harness, such as the TPS and MAP sensor. If melted badly enough, I can see how the engine would barely run at all. Doing a check of the engine codes can verify if the harness may be the issue, such as codes for misfire and also a TPS or MAP sensor code.

I also have a 2004, it is a T&C Limited with AWD. Best gas mileage average is 17mpg, and these days with the cold and idling I get around 13. If yours is front wheel drive and it's worse than that, you have work to do. Oh, also not a bad idea to check/clean all the grounds while you are checking the TIPM, since a major ground is under the battery tray on the side of the frame rail.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. I'm looking into all of that as soon as I have daylight again. Being under the hood like I have I don't recall there being any kind of Velcro covers on any of the wires. It's sounding more and more to me like you guys have put me on the right track. I sure hope so. It'd definitely take a load off her mind and you'd be helping me out just because she would finally know I'm actually there to help. I appreciate you, for real. Namaste
 

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… Being under the hood like I have I don't recall there being any kind of Velcro covers on any of the wires .....
The section that melts most often on that wiring harness is located underneath the power steering reservoir, and can't be examined with the reservoir in place. All you need to do is lift (but not remove) the reservoir, which will then allow you access to that section of the harness. Here's one thread which describes detaching the reservoir very well, but has more than you want to do for this job. All you need to do is remove the 2 visible reservoir bolts, and also loosen the hidden center bolt, and then just lift and prop the reservoir out of the way, while you examine the harness wiring.

 

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Here is the definitive Topic on the wiring harness. Its a bit long but worth reading.


Your comment about the rear components being difficult to get to isn't true. You just need to remove the wiper cowl, then the rear plugs, PCV, and other things (like valve cover gaskets) are easy. After the first time, it takes 15 minutes to remove the cowl.

Good luck!
 

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Depending on who did the tune-up, you might want to check what spark plugs are in there now - if you see anything other then Champion or NGK that will be a good clue to your problems (especially if you see Bosch). That obviously won't tell you how they are gapped without pulling them.

Do the "key dance" and pull the diagnostic codes. (key: lock->off->run->off->run->off->run and look at odometer readout till it says 'donE')

2004 was the transition year, so check how the injector wiring is routed - if the harness is not routed around the back next to exhaust crossover, it's not likely to be your issue.
FWIW, I've not seen any NGC vans with the harness problem and if you don't see the ECU box next to battery and IPM - you have NGC.
 

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My 2004 is NGC and the harness is still routed by the exhaust crossover. It was moved to the other side in 2005.
 

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Sounds like you have a lot of stuff going on there. If you are getting a check engine light, the FIRST thing I would do is go to a local parts store and let them read the codes for you. (Most do this now for free) That'll give you some idea of what the computer thinks is going on and your best place to start. Also, the first thing I check now when things flicker is the battery connections ( and voltage as mentioned already) Over the years, I've found it's best to clean the terminals with a brush every time you unhooked them, or you can risk a weak connection, which can make lots of things act funny.
 

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these mini vans have to have a good battery to perform right. mine was running bad, i took off the air cleaner looked in the throttle body it was covered in soot. took the thing apart cleaned it and it ran fine. sometimes it pays to look for the things most unlikely. i had horrible vibration if it werent for this forum i wouldve not checked my emergency brake. not only was it on it was rusted shut. try not to murder anyone but i know how u feel
 
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