Flakey TIPM?

theappsguytheappsguy Member Posts: 1
edited July 2015 in Chrysler
About 8 weeks ago, our 2008 T&C suddenly failed to start one day. Insert FOBIK key and turn - nothing. No dash lights, no radio, no nothing. It was like the battery was disconnected. I had it towed to my repair garage. It started once for them and then never started again. They diagnosed it as a broken Totally Integrated Power Module - TIPM, the little relay box next to the batter. They replaced it and all was well until about three weeks ago.

This time, insert FOBIK key and turn. You get lights, radio, etc., but the starter relay only applies power to the starter for about a quarter second - just long enough for the engine to start to turn a bit - and then clicks out. I had it towed again, only to have the mechanic tell me, "started up just fine for me. We could not duplicate any problem." Fortunately, he only charged me for the tow, for which Allstate picked up the tab.

Since then it has repeated this problem two or three times. Once, I just raised the hood and bumped the TIPM with my fist. The car started right up. Once it just cleared up after a few hours. Today it did it again. This time it didn't even try to pulse the starter motor at all. Dash lights all came on. Radio came on. But the starter did not hit at all. Bumping with my fist did not make any difference. I pulled the starter relay and the ACC power on relay and replaced them. Unfortunately, I did not attempt a start at this point. Rather I started another test.

I had my wife switch the FOBIK key between OFF and ACC about 10 times slowly (two seconds per on/off cycle) while I held my fingers on the relay modules in the TIPM. I felt them clicking on and off. Then I asked her to cycle between ACC and RUN about 10 times or so. Again, I could feel the little relays clicking on and off. I could hear little motors or something down in the bowels of the engine compartment whir and click. Then I asked her to start the engine. It started up just fine. Then off. Then started again. Then off. Then started again.

My favorite theory: I have a sticky relay which I just need to replace.
Next favorite theory: TIPM module itself is flakey and just needs to be vibrated to straighten up. It will need to be replaced again.
Next favorite theory: ECM has a problem of some sort that gets a magic reset when you switch the key on and off repeatedly.
Next theory: Bad ECM or bad sensor of some sort, or bad communication cable to the TIPM.

Any other theories?
Any one else with this problem? And did you find a solution?


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited July 2015
    Probably has nothing to do with your issue but you're asking for theories and it strikes a cord since I got two new FOBITs today (and a wireless ignition module) thanks to a recall. Mine's an '09 Grand Caravan.

    But surely the garage would have run your VIN and checked for recalls 8 weeks ago when the TIPM was replaced.

    Just for grins, I'd check the battery connections at both ends and if your battery is older (or the original), get it load tested.
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