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Caravan/Voyager Electrical Issues



  • So this car has about 175k on it. It was running great up until about 4 months ago. It sat for a couple weeks, then I went to start it and at first, it started once, ran for 3 seconds then quit. Then I'd try and start it again and it wouldn't even engage the starter. I left it alone for another month... went back... and the battery was dead.

    So today, about 4 months from the first issue, I slow charged the battery overnight, got in the van, it turned over, ran for 3 seconds and quit. Now won't engage starter again. Both times, all of the other electrical works in the car... radio, lights etc... just won't start.

  • Many years & models of Dodge vehicles experience this. It's been determined that it's either hairline fracture joints on the central connector pin group (which connects the cluster to the car through the only wire harness connected to it) on the circuit board on the back of the instrument cluster which have to be resoldered or corrosion on several of the connector sockets and matching connector terminals underneath the power distribution block next to the battery OR a combination of both (my references are from a '98 Dodge Grand Caravan so you'll have to account for any physical differences between mine and yours). Search on this site OR on the internet for repair procedures.
    Repairing these problems is not all that difficult if you're handy with a soldering iron and aren't afraid to get your hands dirty putting in a maximum of about 3 hours work for both fixes...
    Do NOT let anyone rip you off by attempting to change any of the associated major control modules - they are NOT the problem!
  • I'm not sure of the transmission that is in it. I've been trying to find out. I believe it is 3-speed. The past couple months I've noticed while on hwy, where usually would kick in overdrive between 50-55mph. It hasn't been, I can hear how loud the engine sounds. and yesterday my speedometer just stopped working for about 24 hours. It started working again last night. Wondering if it is a sensor problem, maybe a vacuum, hose. ???
  • Quick question. Im pretty sure I kno but I have a 96 plymouth voyager it turns off while driving lights flicker just before. It cranks back up for now. But have to keep gas petal slightly tapped when slowing down.
  • Hello. I purchased a '98 Dodge Grand Caravan a couple of months ago and when I did the environmental controls did not function at all, aside from the blower working if you turn it to the highest speed. Shortly after getting it the front drivers turn signal stopped working with a fast flash, which replacing the bulb did not fix.

    After trying the environmental system reset procedure (no lights at all) and reviewing a number of sites and reading many posts here, I'm thinking both issues might be related to the BCM and wanted to take it out to check the solder and possibly replace it with a junkyard module.

    However, I can't seem to get the thing out! I dismounted it from the brackets, removed the screws on the right side, and don't see any screws at all on the left side. I've tried pulling as firmly as I feel is safe without breaking it, but I can't get it loose. Is there a trick to this? Or am I missing something on the left side of it? Or am I on the wrong path with the BCM to begin with? Thanks for the help!
  • RE: removal of the BCM – That got me too! There are two screws on the left side which you appear to have removed. The third screw is oriented vertically on the left side of the fuse block at the top and is difficult to see. Once that’s removed and you have disconnected the two lower big connectors at the bottom, you’ll be able to wiggle the fuse block/BCM asys downwards and outwards slightly… You then slide the BCM downwards until it comes free.
    RE: replacement of the BCM – Replacing the BCM is a turkey shoot and may or may not address your particular problems. If you really must replace it, be VERY careful that you matchup the part number to the replacement part. The BCM stores not only your odometer reading but also your vehicle VIN numbers AND the features your van are equipped with… Getting a superior version with more features may allow the features you do have to work while a BCM from a vehicle with less features than yours will prevent your advanced features from being accessed. You may also end up with a lot more miles on your odometer than you had and if you don't have access to a diagnostic reader, you won't be able to change it.. for that matter, I haven't been able to determine just how much data in the BCM can be altered manually...
    Before swapping the BCM, take the circuit board out of the case and inspect the upper leads which make connection at the top of the fuse block (I think it’s pink). Look for white corrosion creeping along between the pins going through the connector at right angles and clean with 99% isopropyl alcohol if present. Also, there’s a notice of an intermittent 300 Ohm surface mount resistor on the underside of the circuit board. It’s marked 301 and apparently it’s the only one… Carefully remove that resistor and solder a 1/8th watt axial resistor in its place.
    This may or may not address ‘your’ issues but it is definitely an issue with these BCMs.
    RE: Turn signal issues: On the same fuse block which is attached to the BCM, about midway up is an elongated black relay which is about 3xs as wide as the regular relays… This is the DLR control relay which control the various turn signal/flasher functions.
    Unplug it from the fuse block and carefully spread the case where the lock tabs are around the bottom of the relay and lift the black cover off. Inside you’ll find 5 relays - inspect the solder joints going to the connector blades of the relay which plug into the fuse block, they’ll be hairline fractures around the base… Just resolder all the connectors using 60/40 Kester solder and problem solved..
    NOTE: since all the modules communicate via the CCD bus, you may also have a problem with your instrument cluster solder joints even though you may not have the symptoms – yet -.. We’ve posted plenty on that damned gremlin here at Edmund’s and you’ll find further info on it… Since you’re going to have part of the dash apart anyway, go the extra mile to remove the instrument cluster and resolder those dozen or so pins on the back of the instrument cluster whose solder is also fractured…
    They made a big mistake going to lead free solder. It’s basically responsible for most of these problems because the rocket scientist in the damned government didn’t understand that reduced lead and increased tin meant greater rigidity. Combine that with a vehicle which rattles teeth loose and you’re going to get fractured solder joints as has proven to be the case with most brands of cars….
    Good luck !!
  • Wow! Awesome info! It sounds like I need to avoid a replacement BCM unless I have no choice. I looked at some pictures of the BCM online and saw where it looked like another screw might go, but I was thinking it would be on the bottom, not the top! That will help a ton :)

    I think you're right and I should just pull the whole thing apart and fix all of these various issues. After trying to get the BCM out the dash displays did stop working, but when I tried to get it out again shortly before posting here the dash came back on; it sounds like it's just a matter of time before it goes for good, though.

    I was wondering if you had any ideas on the heat/AC/rear wipers/defrost sections. I did pull it out and the white in the middle of the panel seem to have some burn/scorch marks along the top on one pin, but otherwise seemed OK. I don't know if this indicated the environmental panel needs replacing, or the cable, or if there is some test I can do to find out. Any ideas? Thanks again for all of the great info!
  • mweiandmweiand Posts: 3

    I'd like to follow up to my last post half a year ago, as I have additional issues, and have taken a number of actions from the forums, but I'm still stumped.

    I did replace the Environmental Panel from the junk yard, which fixed some of the issues. It now passes one test, but fails the AC test, which I assume is because the AC has issues. I still haven't figured out the turn signal because the instrument cluster stopped working, like so many others have. I went through all of the posts and tried most of what I could find:

    I recently went to a junkyard and pulled an instrument cluster and BCM from a matching van year/model, but after installing and testing each, I was still unable to get any gauges to work. I also tried replacing the 300 ohm resistor on the original BCM, which didn't do anything.

    I've re-flowed the solder on the instrument cluster and BCM for the connectors. I've done the IOD fuse trick. I've checked that the cable under the steering column is securely attached to the frame. I've replaced the battery with a new one.

    I recently cleaned the pins on the male and female side of the instrument cluster connectors. After doing this the needles seemed to ping slightly like they were trying to work, just twitching at the bottom of the gauges, but I'll be trying the clean them again to see if that was the issue. I didn't see how I could bend the female side to make the connection closer, so if anyone can provide additional information, that would be great.

    The van is great aside from not being able to see how fast I'm going, or how much fuel I have. When I turn the key the mileage does show up, along with the reading next to it, but once I turn the key further to start the van the mileage and other reading disappear. I'm also open to any other ideas on what I can try with this thing as I feel like I'm running out of options!

    I've probably taken the BCM out about 10 times at this point, and the instrument cluster 4 times, so I'm getting good at that, at least! Thanks again for the information, it has been helpful for troubleshooting.

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