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Caravan/Town & Country Electrical Problems



  • Hello Dodgerdudevan,

    Since I have posted my issues I have seen numerous other people posting with the EXACT same problems. I traded in my vehicle to Carmax, which is where I purchased it from. They had ample documentation of my problem, although frankly, I don't think they believed me that it was real since it was intermittent. I had also taken it to the local Chyrsler dealer, who claimed "we've never seen this problem before". I know this this is far from the truth. My car issues got so severe that it was literally dangerous to drive. When the dash board disco got very bad, the entire electrical system would fail.

    The two people I know personally that had the exact same problem did find some temporary solutions. One, the electronics that controlled the driver seat were shorting out causing global electronic issues. The second individual had their transmission replaced. Both descriptions to the symptoms were exactly the same to my original post. Numerous people on the internet have suggested that the solder on the printed circuit board is defective, which may cause these electrical problems. I have also seen postings regarding the electronic sliding doors not functioning properly (in conjunction with other electrical issues) , I also had this problem on the driver's side passenger door.

    Since you have only had the vehicle 6 days I would seriously advise looking up the "Lemon Laws" for your state. If you can get your money back, I would. Sorry I don't have a more optimistic solution for you. You could try asking the poster of message 439 (report these issues to if they got any resolution when they appealed directly to Chrysler.
  • herky011herky011 Posts: 7
    Hello dodgerdudevan,
    I know precious little about Dodge/Chrysler vans.
    I've owned three Chrysler vehicles, a '99 Voyager, replaced the transmission; a'99 Intrepid with a 2.7 engine, replaced pretty much everything related to the engine and transmission, including the BCM and PCM alternator and starter and power steering pump reservoir. All within 3K miles. I put an'04 engine back in it.
    This '04 Chrysler T & C is my third and final Chrysler vehicle.
    The electrical system is a nightmare, in my view, because they don't use stop switches, instead relying on current surges to sense when a motor has reached full travel.
    The motors used to control blend doors(6) on this T & C air conditioning, all are identical, having a motor about the diameter of a quarter and about one inch long. This motor along with six reduction gears control the blend doors. apparently one of the motors stalled on one of the rear A/C blend door and caused the wiring to catch fire at the plug on my T& C.
    A DRBIII is essential in troubleshooting the electrical system. other scanners are not sensitive enough to detect the minute voltage surges in the Chrysler systems.
    Major components such as the control head for the three zone A/C with climate control, the BCM and PCM have to be programmed with the VIN of the particular vehicel you're working with. This is supposed to prevent theft, but I think it is just a moneymaker for the CO. The dealer ordered the wiring harness for the rear A/C on the T & C and by VIN and still got the wrong one.
    I have ten Cadillacs, Two Wind Stars an Econoline Van and a Toyota Solara that I bought with damage to the Lt. front that required replacement of the engine room wiring harness. I have had more electrical problems with the the Intrepid and this T & C than with all the other vehicles combined.

    Good Luck,
  • bamagreekbamagreek Posts: 1
    Thank you so much! You are a life saver! Did what you said and after 30 seconds my locks are working great!
  • valente2valente2 Posts: 1
    i have a 2003 town and country bought it brand new.but now i have a problem,it wont start it turns over but turns over faster than usuall.i did the "key dance" and got this code(p1388).i looked for spark and i do have spark.the van just wont start.thank you :(
  • I have a Chrysler 2008 T&C. The thing is possessed. The horn goes on and stays on, the wipers kick on and the lights kick on all by themselves. Happens when I am driving it, making it dangerous to drive. It has also happened by me just hit the unlock button on the keyfab! I saw a few similar posts but didn't see any solid fixes... Please help, dealer can't figure it out!
  • skip29skip29 Posts: 1
    I have read several of the posts. I have my T&C for 2 years. The problems started about 1 month after purchased used. At first the radio and dash lights seemed to be the only thing affected. The radio would cut out and dash lights would flicker. Returned to used car dealer and tghey found nothing. Worked fine for 3 weeks then problrm returned, but with a few extra problems. Back to the dealer. They had for 3 days, but found basically nothing. The codes that did show-up seemed to be of no consequence and all disappered after a few seconds. Everything okay for a few weeks. Problems recurred and used car dealer sent me to the Chrysler dealer. Chrysler mechanic checked electrical system and said it was a corroded ground wire connection. Things were fine for 4 to 6 weeks before recurrence. Took van to my regular mechanic as things were progressing, such as headlights going off and stalling occassionally. Basically nothing could be found, but he wanted to do extensive diagnostics, which would involve many hours of labor and possibly no solution. I did not consider this a viable option.

    Since then the problems have escalated and my solution has been to jiggle the battery cable and electrical harness. This will usually result in temporary correction of the problem for 2 to 8 weeks. If those 2 procedures do not bring relief, I strike the computer box with my hand 2 to 3 times. Call me cheap, but I will not spend a small fortune on labor that may not solve the problem. I will just have to pray that when it finally dies, I will be able to get to the side of the road and call auto salvage.

    One side note: My mechanic has a Dodge van. A few weeks ago he left a meeting and it would not start. Van had a new battery and cables. He raised the hood, hit on the computer, started the van and drove home. I have had advice from many people. Each one has a different answerfrom oxygen sensors to relay switches under dash and many others.
  • sweedsweed Posts: 1
  • kochesekochese Posts: 11
    Yes, this is 1 of many of my problems. The door ajar lite ..It happens to me too. When Im driving the ajar,auto locks & lites go crazy.. We have a 98 T & C. We found it was the side door contact not connecting. start w/ checking each door. We found it when the ajar lite came on we opened the door we though it was and if the lite stayed on then we opened the next door ect. hope this helps. P.S. We haven't fixed it yet we just keep closeing the door hard some times it works. :blush:
  • my trailer pigtail was jerked hard while towing and suddenly my instrument cluster, my tail & turn lights, back up lights, etc. all went out. AC still works, door locks and power windows and radio still work. It wasn't obvious that just one fuse was blown. Is there one relay that I might have burned out? Otherwise I'll just have to check every potential fuse-not fun in our AZ heat. The diagram inside the cover is hard to read and correlate with the list in the manual. thanks, Mike [email protected]
  • rlb1955rlb1955 Posts: 2
    edited August 2010
    Before spending a bunch of money try a system reset first. To do this all you have to do is disconnect the ground on the battery for 30 seconds. This should reset your system and all the lights and and instrument panel should come back on! A similar thing happened to me and the reset did the trick.
  • I've had my 1998 T&C for a few months with no problems. About 3 weeks ago, all the dash gauges quit working. The van still ran, but I couldn't see how fast I was going, or how much gas I had. By the time I got home, it fixed itself. It did this a couple of more times, but then at the grocery store, the van started up and after 2 seconds, it died out. Tried to start it again, but it did the same thing. After 1 more try, it wouldn't even turn over at all, but the radio still worked fine. I see a bunch of vans have the same problem, but I don't see any answers for it. I've had the ignition switch replaced a couple of days ago, and that worked fine until this afternoon when it wouldn't start again. After it sat for about an hour, it started right up so I drove it home, but now I'm afraid to take it out anywhere. Has anyone found any solution??
  • Finally found a shady spot and started checking the fuses and found one that controls the lights, instrument cluster etc. thanks for info. May need it in future.
  • I have the same problem with Dodge surging. My 98 Grand Caravan with 90k miles surges while driving or in park. I see many different Dodges have this problem. I need this problem fixed. I had a new computer installed by Dodge Dealership a few months ago. Still surging after new Map Sensor, throttle position sensor, EGR valve, Fuel Pump and fuel filter, vacuum leak, cannot remember all... Mechanics believe it is transmission related.. This is an handicap van, so I need it fixed urgent! Many have said to junk it...Cannot, I NEED it.
  • I read these replies after changing the ignition switch. I had my brother take out the control panel and re-solder the connections too. I'm hoping this is the fix, but am still afraid to take my van too far. Your story gives me hope....
  • kochesekochese Posts: 11
    Hi sissy42 i finaly found out the problem w/ this, :) I got the mechanic to go into the pass side SLIDER door and disconnect the chime warning contac..t (not the lock) just the contact that tells you your door is ajar...Problem Solved.. My contact was warn down , So he just disconnected it. :blush:
  • We have a 2007 Town & Country and it has ran fine up until this point. About 8 weeks ago I was on the highway when the check engine light came on, then the airbag light 30 seconds later, then all warning lights popped on and all guages went to zero (mph, rpms, etc.) and mileage and gear indicator disappeared all while going about 70mph on the highway. Turning it off and re starting it did nothing and then sometimes it would start and sometimes it would start then die after 10 seconds of running. We took it to the dealership and they had it for 6 weeks, drove it 200 miles and couldn't get it to replicate the issue.

    Charged us $100 bucks to find nothing wrong, then the day we picked it up, about 2 hours later the exact same thing happened to us. So the car went right back over while it was happening and left it with the dealer. They ran some tests and said they found out what it was and they had to replace something in the dashboard and then pulled it all apart and now are saying that wasn't the issue and they can't find anything wrong with it!?

    I noticed many people are having similar issues with their electrical systems and was hoping someone might have a suggestion or solution (besides telling the dealer to $@#$ off!)

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  • Ive come to the conclusion that "most" Chrysler Town & Country Vans are like a good looking woman. Easy on the eyes but usually has a mean streak, is unreliable and spends all your money.

    I hope everyone who has a T & C has an extra car and also bought an extended warrantee (after the 3 yr 36 month runs out) because you will be in the shop often. :(
  • I just got an answer to my question of 1997 town and country van starts then kills after seconds. It is the circuit board behind gauges in dash. A quick fix when it's acting up, turn the key on and give the dash a decent smack right over the top of the cluster. If the gauges come back on you know that's where the problem is. board needs to be checked for cracks in soldering.
  • there have been many posts regarding the instrument cluster going dead and the van stalling after running for a few seconds. Here are the symptoms my van was displaying-
    Service engine light on always
    instrument cluster would go go dead and occasionally work
    when starting, it starts and then stalls. repeat 3 times and the car goes completely dead.
    Let sit for awhile and van starts as normal.

    If you have had these same issues,
    DO NOT replace the starter
    DO NOT replace the ECM
    DO NOT replace the Battery

    The problem is the circuit board behind the instrument cluster. It is a $670 part through Chrysler, forget about it. If yours is like mine, you can disassemble the dashboard to gain access to the instrument cluster. Remove the circuit board(12 screws) and find a reputable electronics repair business who can solder. Another option is to look for one in a salvage yard, ~$30 bucks in my local yard.Just make sure the salvage van wasn't in a front end crash, that can crack the solder on the circuit board. Thats all it takes. By the way, you can remove the instrument cluster completely from the car and the van will run perfectly. Just be careful driving without the speedometer or fuel gauge.

    I have a 99 T&C Limited with 125K miles. 3.8L.
  • :sick: I also have a 99 Chrysler town & country limited, and I have had the same and only problem with it. I purchased it used from a couple about a year ago. It ran fine for a few months, until one day I went to start it and it cut off. It started, cut off after a couple of seconds, started again, cut off. After the third time it went completely dead. I waited a little while and it was fine again. I learned quickly if I did not let it go dead it would crank within an hour or so. If it went dead it could be a day to three days. I've had it checked out, but everytime I did noone could find anything wrong with it while it was not acting up. I really couldn't afford to leave it for however long it was to find the problem. It may not do it for several months, so I just dealt with it.
    So for the past year it has done this off and on. Sometimes the gauges would go out while I was driving it, but after a few minutes come back on. Never really more than just being a headache and not being very reliable or dependable when I have young children to drive around. Last week I went to start it and it did the same thing again after not doing it for months. I did not let it die completely. After a few hours, still did not stay started. After a day, the same thing. The next the same. After a few days, I checked it and it was completely dead. Finally, when I went to try it again it was making this clicking sound and the interior lights were blinking like it was the battery. I had it jumped and it started without a problem. The next morning it was dead again with the same clicking sound. I had it charged and it ran all day. The only thing different was my gauge was out completely now where before it would only go out when I was driving. When I started driving it, it started sputtering some and jumping. I couldn't remember how much gas was in it since it had been a week almost. I stopped and got gas and it seemed to stop some. Then this morning while I drove a couple of miles it was just not acting right. I could feel it hesitating and sputtering a little, then it just cut off on me again. I thought it was dead, but it started back. I have not drove it anymore today. Before I could at least somewhat trust driving it because if it was fine for the first time that day, it usually would be alright all day. Now, it seems as if it's getting worse. When I had to have it jumped twice, I did check my battery, starter, and alternator, and all of those were fine.

    I came across this post, with the same problems and model as my van. I cannot spend almost $1000 getting this fixed, but at least now knowing what it is, is some relief. But, now my concern is it getting worse. I am just hoping it is nothing else now. Does it still sound like the circuit board? If I bought one from a salvage yard, would I need to go to an electrical shop to replace it, or could almost any shop do that? Sorry for this being so long, but I've had so many cars and am just so frustrated that someone sold this van to me when I'm almost certain they knew what was going on. I really hope it's not anything else now.
  • You describe it sputtering and running rough and a clicking sound, I did not have those issues, nor did it stall while driving. My problem was limited to stalling upon start up and going dead after three attempts. The gauges would go dead while driving, but it never affected the way the engine ran. With that being said, I would try and remove the circuit board myself or if you do get a replacement circuit board from salvage, any repair shop could replace it. Taking the dash apart is pretty simple, there are ~15 screws to remove 4 trim pieces and then the instrument cluster. The only tricky part is getting the trim panel to release from the fasteners. Once the screws are removed, it will still have resistance to being removed, you have to go slow and apply steady pressure and it will come out. I reinstalled it in about 10 minutes.
  • I'be been having problems being able to unlock the van from the key fob so lately I don't lock it. Yesterday my daughter hit the locks from the inside then shut the door. I tried to unlock it with the fob and neither mine nor my husbands would unlock it. I assumed it was the batteries in the remote. Ater replacing them, it still would do nothing. I took the door key and unlocked the driver's door HUGE MISTAKE. The factory alarm went off. Since my remotes aren't working I couldn't turn the alarm off. After hours of trying to figure out what to do I called the local Chrysler dealer and he said I needed new remotes. What he didn't tell me what he needed the van also to program the remotes to the van! I had to have my van towed to the dealer. Still waiting on how much all of this is going to cost me. Has anyone else had this issue and what was the resolution? This is the only issue really I have had as second owner of this van. :confuse:
  • Did you ever solve your problem, my 2007 grand caravan is doing exactly the the thing, my mechanic thinks it could be the fuse box, poor connections or corrision
  • Yes it was the alternator (sp)..replaced it and it is fine..=)
  • I have a 2005 T&C which suddenly wouldn't unlock the doors electrically with the key or the lock buttons on the doors. I had just bought it used from a dealer so they fixed it by reloading the flash memory for the body control module.
  • I have a 2005 T&C which recently started and immediately shut down 3 times. I pulled the ASD (auto shut down ) relay and swapped it with the one for the wipers and it hasn't happened again. I replaced that relay with a new one from an auto parts dealer.
  • This has come up before on this list: Under the hood there is a fuse box by the battery. Open it up and pull the IOD (I think its the IOD fuse) for 30 seconds and then put it back. It will reset this system and your doors should work again. Mine stay "fixed" for either days or months at a time then does out again. Its a simple thing to do "but" if your not mechanically inclined, get someone who is to do it. It will also reset your radio, etc so you may have to reprogram that but works everytime on mine. Good luck!
  • i have a 2005 t&c touring 51,xxx miles on it my problem is that my locks stop working all together and when i shut off my car it stays running after a while it will stop all electric stays on and wont shut off i have to disconnect the battery.worked for about a month but yesterday it did the samething but this time when i hooked it back up it turned over but would not staer so i discannected it again and it started,drove home and it would not shut off again so i just disconnected it and left it.what is doing this the computer? i hope not. how do we get chrysler to do a recall before someone gets hurt or worse?
  • Somethings cooked, time to bring it into the dealer. Bring a big book with you too.
  • that is a bummer iam on disability i have a tinny tiny book to : (
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