My van won't start.

ashes007
0

Asked by ashes007 Sep 29, 2008 at 09:52 PM about the 1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1996 Chrysler T&C. I was driving it and it died while I was at a traffic light. At one time it used to turn over, but just wouldn't start. We have replaced the spark plugs and wire, checked the fuel pump, and even replaced the PCM. Now, the car won't even turn over. Any ideas on what could be wrong? Please help.

33 Answers

Adam Morgan
4,205

1st things first, charge the battery it sounds like you've been trying to start this thing for awhile now and the battery has no ummmf left, so can't really do much with it, till you charge it.... Secondly, never shotgun repairs you've spent a lot of money already and this could be something simple. Only replace what you know to be wrong. Alright with that out of the way, what is the voltage across the battery terminals? What exactly happened when it died? Did it just rev down like the key was shut off? (Reply with the answers to those two questions and then work on answering my other ones in order) Do you have spark? Have you checked fuel pressure at the rail? What did it read? Have you check engine compression on all the cylinders? If so what did they read?

20 out of 20 people think this is helpful.
Mark Thyssen
265

Some of the Dodge vans had a problem with the pcm wiring harness chaffing on the transmission. It is a large harness (about 1 1/2" diameter) and it goes right over the tranny, from front to rear. What happens is, the harness is to tight and it rubs against the transmission, shorting out fuel injector signal wires. Not sure if this was any help or if your vehicle even has this problem. Worth a try though.

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
Grinch007
580

This is exactly what I want to avoid... ashes007 spent a WHOLE bunch of money and it is still a problem. I own a 2002 Chrysler T&C 3.8L V6 w/ around 90K miles. Two weeks ago I pulled it into the garage and turned it off. I heard a noise coming from my dash, sounded as if my CD player were trying to eject a cd. Powered back up and pressed eject, nothing to eject. When I turned it off and opened the door, not only did I hear a “whirling” sound coming from the dash, but there was also a rapid clicking coming from the fuse box by the battery. I pulled the cover off the box and determined the clicking sound was coming from an ASD relay. Went and purchased a new one. After a simple replace, I again got the clicking ASD relay as soon as I turned the ignition switch. Removed the ASD relay and began my internet search. Two days later I try to start it and it was completely dead. Couldn’t even jump it, just clicked. Took the battery to an auto store who tested it; tested fine but low charge - charged it. Rule out battery. It appears I am not the only sad sack who has experienced this problem. A few days ago I called my local Dodge/Chrysler dealer and told them of my problem and was told I had a bad battery, that there wasn‘t enough amps. Fist of all, the ASD is clicking without a key even in the ignition, let alone turned to be powered up. I tell him the battery tests fine and share with him that I have seen a lot of on-line posts where people are suggesting to replace the PCM but they continue to have the same problems after replacment. The mechanic at the dealership told me it was likely not the PCM since the ASD relay is actually getting powered (or something along those lines). So today I go out with a freshly charged battery and try to get it started so I can take it to the dealership. Dead! But it did click a lot louder. Towed to dealership. The dealership calls and tells me it needs a new PCM ($730 + $285 labor + taxes = well over $1000.00). I ask if he is sure that is the problem. He proceeds to tell me that they will not know if there are other problems until they fix the PCM and run the codes to see what else pops up bad. Is this unacceptable to anyone else but me? But I am at a severe disadvantage. Replacing a fuse is about as much as I can do in the automotive field and I am completely out of my league. I don’t even know the terminology (as evident, I’m sure) where I can speak with any sort of authority. But I also don’t feel like the dealership is even trying. It just seems sloppy and lazy to me. I tried to have a conversation with this young kid this morning and I may as well have been speaking Swahili. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe the PCM is the problem? But a majority of the posts I read are where people replace their PCMs and they continue to have the problem. But they really have you, don’t they? After all, what am I going to do, fix it myself? Eat the $80 tow and the $95 inspection and have it towed back in my driveway to rot? I sure wish I were more educated/empowered to combat this awful feeling. This is not just a cathartic release… do any of you have advice as to what YOU would do (minus me going to automotive school) if you were me?

40 out of 40 people think this is helpful.
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JoEllen Shaw
340

I was having these types of problems for months, but it was my alarm that I thought was causing the issue. What it came out to be, behind the dash/speedometer, the board had cracked solders, I had to remove the entire dash and solder them back. I've had good luck with it since. No more dying and just shutting down. You may want to look at this site, it may help http://ingriddijkers.com/CaravanPics.html Good luck... I've been a month issue free, now another. I will NEVER by a CHRYSLER MINI VAN AGAIN!!

34 out of 34 people think this is helpful.
Grinch007
580

Thanks JoEllen. So, it sounds like it was a short to gound or a ground to short or... okay, it was an electrical problem. That is what I keep reading anyhow. I actaully have liked the van and have only had minor repairs. But I have a strong feeling the dealership is a bunch of morons and this situation is going to cause me to buy something besides a Chrsyler-Dodge product. I'm going to meet w/ the service director tomorrow. If he is anything like the kid who wrote up the service order... Virtually every post I have read about this particualr issue points to an electrical problem otside the PCM. Thanks again.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
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Christopher Paden
2,565

I second Mark Thyssen posts. Also I have seen the fuel injector wires short out as well as short to the engine on these vans. When the injector wires short the PCM fries out. Have the mechanic probe the wires to the fuel injectors. If the vehicle wont turn over and all you here is clicking it sounds like a bad battery, or bad battery connection. I experienced this on our '98 caravan. Clean or replace the battery terminals and install a known good battery for testing. If you are still having the same problem, check the engine harness like Mark said.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Grinch007
580

Thanks to you Christopher. You are one of several peopl;e who suggested trying a new battery. When this first happened, I immediately thought it was my battery as it is about 7 years old. But it checked out fine on the auto store test. Man, if it is the battery, I will kick myself in the arse. But I am going to go purchase a battery tomorrow and put it in the van out on teh dealership's lot. If it starts, I pay my $95 diagnostic fee and walk. If it doesn't work, i needed a new one anyhow. I will then demand the dealership * probe the wires to the fuel injectors. * check inside the IPM for corrosion issues. * check for a loose/corroded connection at the battery or where the positive connects in the PDC or the chassey ground. * check the pcm wiring harness for chaffing on the transmission. * check for a shorted and Interior Light conversion panel relay -- if that's how you say that? * check if there is a short in the relay/power distribution box. As one fella wrote: My 30 years of shade-tree mechanics coupled with my 20 years as an electrician is telling me it is a short to ground. The ASD relay powers up the PCM, which in turn supplies power to other circuits thus engaging the short and power loss cycle. I am now getting helpful hints form folks like yourself on what I should be asking the lazy dealership to do. So any additional suggestions will be added to my growing list. Thank you again. G

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
helpmewithvan
100

hey i am having a very similar issue with my 2000 t&c limited. the driver power window went bad so i went to replace it. however after replacing i am getting a rapid clicking sound coming from a relax in teh inside fuse box and the van is completely dead. i am sooo lost. no idea what to check for. if you found a solution please help me out. thank you

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
captncoin
70

dont know if ya cked the harness at the frt goin through the motor mnt also ck the harness over the coil pack at the back of engtop for the inj,tps,iac . hope it helps

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
heather12345
90

we are having the same problem we pulled to dash apart and are looking at your picutre but we cant tell what you solder the wires on our that lead to them are black and 1 green/black on the red plug this is my phone no can you please call me we cant get the van to start thanks heather 248-974-4261

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.
Charger440
130

Had similar issues mentioned thru out this post & I did something that seemed to have fixed it. - Disconnected the battery (both post), Cleaned the posts and clamps with wire tool. - I disconnected the 2 wire (red & green) going to the relay/fuse box and cleaned them as well with the wire tool & reconnected them. - Reconnected the the battery (Positive 1st then negative) & cranked the engine. It worked and all is fine so far. (go figure). Maybe it will work for you (or not) but it was easy and nothing to loose. Good luck! Gil

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
ckf2004
85

I have a 96 chrysler town and country lx and the engine died, turned over but wouldn't start, I researched and replace the flywheel sensor mounted on the transmission housing behind the engine. It has one bolt and a plug. It was awkward to fix, couldn't really see anything but easy to replace. The new sensor has a pad glued to it that rubs off when the flywheel spins and creates the perfect gap. Maybe this is your problem.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
Gotts2Go
80

My 02 T&C started having problems two months ago... That's right, this has been a two month ordeal and several hundred dollars in to it. My #3 injector was shorted open and was POURING fuel into the engine. It was so bad, fuel was coming out of the exhaust. I had to change the oil due to the fuel in the oil. So far, we've changed out the fuel injector, PCM and ASD fuse (which kept blowing after the engine was on for 5 seconds). The ASD stopped blowing after changing the first PCM out. The new PCM, however, kept sending signals to the new injector to stay open. ONE of my mechanics found the fuel injection wire were FRIED. Insulation had been melted off and there were BARE wires touching eachother. I think they shorted out the new PCM as well. In the mean time, I wanted to offe up that AFTER you change out the PCM the car is NOT going to start until the keys are programmed to the new PCM if your keys are the kind with transponders in them. I saved money by buying a PCM online from a refurb company. Also, some locksmiths can program the key. Beats towing it to the dealer and paying for the dealer to program it as well. Also, the dealer cost of the PCM is over $800 plus labor. The refurb was under $300 and works fine. Except that it got fried anyway by the shorted wires. Hmmmph! Anyway... Just wanted to say... Remember that if it doesn't start after a PCM change, it could be your keys. The grey ones need to be programmed. - Good Luck

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
PureAmateur
30

I had this exact same problem, and just cleaned the posts and clamps as Charger440 did, and it solved my problem too.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
mmiller
60

I am needing some help to find a wire connector #3 to my fuel injector wiring harness due to a huge, fat mouse that chewed the wires on that one. Any suggestions?

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Sereptia Tucker
760

I cannot get my 2001 Chrysler t&c to start. wont turn over at all. Clicks in relay box. Bought and installed new battery and new starter. Still nothing!!!

76 out of 76 people think this is helpful.
patty01
120

im having the same problrm with a 97man t&c it will crank cold, but once it warms up it dies...idk where to start...anyone that can help please call patty @like 3522993626

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
moradosky
90

I have a problem with the power turning off on my instrument panel so I drive around with the dash off and pull the instument panel to press the wire harness in the back and reconnect the power to the panel board. many sites have suggested resaudering the connections. there seem to be a lot of other vehicles with this part and problem? I’m not sure how to fix this? I urge anyone with this problem to call ODI, office of defects investigation at 1-888-327-4236 and file a complaint as I did. the instument panel costs $600-$1000 to replace this part. the replacement is the same part and has no guarentees it wont have the same problem? this is a defect and the manufacturer should fix the production of the part properly!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Lindsay Beetz
30

Guys my T & C is fuel related. I can get it started only be pushing the gas a bit. But i have to ease off the gas slowly when it's finally started. Then it will run. (not good to drive like this though). When you turn the car on... where all the dashboard lights light up, but don't actually turn it on! then you should hear a electronic noise coming from the back of the van, like a whirrrrrr... that's the fuel pump. On mine it's doing it sometimes but not all the time and this is where I think the problem is. Took it to a mechanic a few weeks ago and he replaced the alternator and water pump. No help at all :( So stuck until I further diagnose it this weekend.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Patricia Pinion Donahee
230

I have a 98 t&c it started stalled, started stalled, then wouldnt do anything! now turn the key and nothing, checked starter checked fuses (under hood and dash) checked the fuel pump by the fuel rail, took off battery cables to reset the van, I even hit the dash board as hard as i could like 20 times, and still nothing! HELP! I am a single mother with 5 kids and no way to pay a dealership to fix it. Its the ONLY vehicle we have and only one we can all fit in. any kind of help would be greatly appreciated. TY in advanced for any help supplied. Patricia

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.
moradosky
90

probably the wire harness behind the instument cluster. you have to unscrew the beauty peices to get to the plug. lean the instrument cluster forward gently press the plug harness connectors. your dash will ding when you find the rigt wire. start the van quick. once it starts it will stay started if you loose your dash.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
jourdan
180

Okay so I replaced the transmission in my 1995 chrysler town and country lxi. It started right up with the old transmission. After I installed the new one it won't start.. Any ideas why it isn't starting? Its just trying to turn over. Is it an electrical problem? Is there a switch where I have to reset electric . Please help ! Thanks :-)

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.
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Csp
230

Same problem here.. 00 T&C Limited. Driving one day,went to stop for a stop sign.. Van shut off like I had turned the key off.. Everything was still on.. Heat,DVD,lights, etc.. Started back up and drove fine... ODD?? Couple of days later, put it in R to back out. Shut off. Started up and drove fine.. Well my wife was leaving work and it shut off while stopping for a light... Sat for a few and said the gas pedal felt limp.. Said she pushed the pedal down and it started up?? Like its not getting fuel? No code for me to read or lights on.. Pretty stumped.. Any ideas?

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.
jimmyhotrodshop
50

No power, clicking relays on 1998 town & county, chrysler mini van. 12 volts at battery.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
mush0012013
40

There's a very easy test to check for dead shorts 1) remove the positive battery cable from the battery 2) take a test light and stick the pin into the battery post 3) take the wire with the clip and connect it to the positive battery cable if the test light lights bright you have dead short or something is on if it lights dim you have a small short that's draining the battery also you need a fully charged battery to do this. DO NOT HOOK UP BOTH BATTERY CABLES TO THE BATTERY BECAUSE WHAT EVER IS KILLING OR DRAINING THE BATTERIES WILL DRAIN THIS ALSO. GOOD LUCK

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
ply440
30

my 2009 chrysler has a short too. I cannot figure out what might be the problem stereo comes on and off when I press break. My van sometimes won't start because it kills the battery. I have replace battery, alternator, and still with new battery the next day it will be dead. I don't know what or where to start checking to solve the problem. I don't trust the dealership anymore! Please help!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
ply440
30

sorry misspelled brake.

Louis Caldwell
50

Most of you need a new "computer" What you can do is get one from a junk yard, install in 15 minutes and have dealer reflash computer to your vin #. cost $75 used computer, 90 to 120 to have it reflashed.Wanna check it? hold the bare end of any of the coil pack wires and turn it over, no shock usually no computer, you can try a coil pack first. Im just trying to save you a step.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
donethat
10

I have had a 2002 dodge Grand Caravan SE with the 3.3 L engine for the last 8 Years what a nightmare !!. The Van was sucking up my Life because of repair work. I too had the number 5 injector problem that could be the injector shorted, the PCM, the Injector wire harness and any number of 100 other things. If the injector can short, the harness can melt, and the PCM get fried because of this what does that say about engineering. This Injector problem was the final straw that broke the camels back. After transmission, ignition coil, fuel pump, radiator, water pump, ac pump, ac condeser, alternator, and on and on it finally hit me I am thick headed but lets face it Do Not Buy A Dodge Caravan. I Dumped the Van and will never ever buy another Chrysler Product Again!.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Lawrence Charles
0

After having a accident we replaced all parts an panels my chryler voyager 3.3. 1998 won't move even when in "n". As its auto forward or backwards cannot be move acceptt if lifted on 2 truck. Lawrence

nicolecartrouble
20

I have a 2001 t/c and for two years my diagnostic been reading pcm or module. Could not afford one so never got it. So I took my car to a mechanic to see y my air wasn't getting cold but it blows .mind u my car runs fine but it just had a lil mis shift to it .( maybe just need to change plugs and wires)so get there they check it out and car won't start back up. So had to leave my car and they said I needed a pcm its not running my air compresser so they got one try it still didn't start. Ended up going through all this for about a month ( no car)! So the ended up having to run some wires from my pcm box to make a ground to get the van back started. So it starts and ever got the air compresser to run bi hookin wires to the battery to give I guess juice to compresser to go. It worked. Years down line air stop working off the battery cable, heat n front stop blowing only back heat blowing, um had to turn heat on for frt heat to blow in the glove compartment n the fuse box .take it out the put it n when we needed heat but that finally went out so not heat n frt anymore. Radio system sometimes doesn't work at all! Find out when I reset battery it gets that back working. And yea forgot... back to heat system the frt when u control the heat it comes on but doesn't control nothing! Just u can turn the nobs .they go up and down (ttemperature)but no control nothing. Horn doesn't work, curse control doesn't work, dash lights come on when u start car but not giving and signs like engine lite on.. sun roof won't close all the way!! Vent means open and open means close! All off!! So all this being said I really need help on the next step to take or what could it be. I'm so tired of going through this .I love my van. It has not fell me but just minor things but I affaid its going give out with all these electric problems going on. My whole thing is I can't pass emissions n Illinois like this. Anybody knows anyway thing about all these things I mention or how to pass emissions? Please help!!! Single parent. Only car. Lots of driving I do and gas! Thank you so much!!! PLEASE HELP!!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
egs2265
10

This may be too late for most people on here, but I hope it may help somebody. My wife's 2000 T&C just died on her in a parking lot. I tried everything to get it started there to no avail. Called for a tow and the driver said the same as I was thinking, the fuel pump. Had it towed to my house, put it in the garage ordered a new pump and filter and hoped that will work. Nope. Went online and heard that the inst. cluster sometimes needs to be re soldered so I pulled it and touched up any soldering that looked bad, re installed the cluster and hoped that would fix it. Nope. Checked the fuses, pulled the injectors off and had my wife crank it up, the injectors sprayed gas, so I pulled the wire harness off the coil and sprayed with WD40 and that worked. So try this very inexpensive solution first and save some time and money. Hopes this helps somebody.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
maxcrawford
10

I have a 97 ctc mini van will start but dies kind of load when does start. Smells really strong of exhaust please help me

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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