2003 Town and Country with crazy problems

Asked by Dec 31, 2014 at 08:22 AM about the 2003 Chrysler Town & Country EX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I lived in Haiti last year and bought a 2003 Town and Country. Needless to say, just like
many of the cars in Haiti, it had problems. After much work we had narrowed down most
of the problems and had a lingering issue with starting the car. When cold, the van would
make a loud, rapid click. I would wait, try again and sometimes it would start. We
inspected the wiring harness and tied it off from rubbing but didn't see any defects that
would cause something like that.

I tested the battery and wasn't sure it was getting enough amps to the starter, so we
inspected the cables and they looked fine, ground was clean and tight. When I ran another
battery to the one in the car with jumper cables, it started every time with no problems,
unhooked the cables and the problem reappeared. I bought a new battery and the
problem went away for about 2 weeks then came back. Checked the amperage with a
load tester and it was still high. So, looked at the cables and they were still fine.

Bought at new starter from the states, fixed the problem for a week and then it came back.

The engine light had been on since we bought the car, pretty standard for a car in haiti
everybody's check engine light is always on, like its a special feature. Anyway, couldn't get
a code from a reader, but could from the key trick. I can't remember the codes, but they
were not related.

So we started looking at the PCM. Brought the PCM back to the states, had it repaired
(you can have this done without the car) took it back to Haiti and plugged it in. The van
started up with no problems for about a day. Now back to clicking, van shut off completely
while driving and started again.

Living in Haiti repair places are hard to find and parts are extremely expensive if you can
find them. Most of what has to be done is self-diagnostics and buying parts from the
states. So, we need some help.

My dad, who is with this van now is a mechanic and we both know our way around a car,
but this has us stumped. I think we have both stopped thinking rationally at this point and
want to set the car on fire but we are both problem solvers and want to fix it more. Just so
we can have a story to tell the grandkids. Its also a plus to have a reliable car in Haiti
because breaking down there can be a story you never want to share.

If anyone has any suggestions other than replacing the battery/starter/PCM it would be
very helpful!

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