99 Dodge Caravan starts...reluctantly.

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  #1  
Old 03-02-05, 12:59 PM
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Question 99 Dodge Caravan starts...reluctantly.

My 99 Dodge Caravan (92,500 miles, 3.3L engine) has two problems that may or may not be related. In December it started doing the following: interior lights would flicker, the door locks would lock (although they had already locked at 15mph as usual) and I would hear a "ping" sound, like the one that sounds when I'm down to 1/4 tank of gas. Sometimes these things would happen all together or sometimes by themselves. Sometimes they might happen a few times a day or I could go for a week or two without anything unusual happening. In January, my airbag light came on, lost horn and cruise control, so I had the clockspring replaced (it was a recent recall), and I was hoping that might somehow fix my other problems, but it has not. Now for the last week, I have to try 3 or 4 times to get my van to start. The battery has been checked by both my husband and the auto parts store and they both say it is not the problem. What steps do I need to take to figure out the starting problem? Any suggestions about my other problems would be appreciated too!

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-02-05, 04:08 PM
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Assuming the engine does not crank at all, you might have a bad starter or solenoid, neutral start safety switch, corrosion on battery cables, bad ignition switch, or a loose connection. Check to see you get voltage to the starter, if so tap on the starter lightly with a small hammer and then try to start it again.
The other problem sounds like a loose connection somewhere. Make sure you don't have a loose fuse.
 
  #3  
Old 03-04-05, 07:42 AM
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The van always starts, it just takes is a few tries. The battery has been checked out and there is no corrosion on it, but we're going to check out some of the other suggestions you had next.
Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 03-04-05, 02:46 PM
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" The van always starts, it just takes is a few tries."

So when it's not "starts" does it turns over but fails to run(started) ?.
Another way is does it takes longer than normal to started (like long cranking time) the engine or when it's not starts, it does not crank at all (engine not turning over) ?.

If it takes longer to starts, when does it happen most? everytime or after parked for a few hours or overnight parked?.

If it does not crank/turning over, does it makes any noise (clicking, racheting or none) and where is the noise coming from (lower or higher in engine compartment)?.

Sorry for asking lots of questions but when you have an electrical issue, more info = better result. .
 
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Old 03-04-05, 03:19 PM
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Sometimes a get just a click and nothing else. Sometimes it's a click and a turn over but fails to run. It has never an ongoing cranking that doesn't start. It either starts right up on the first try or I get a click or I get a click and a turn over that fails to start.

It does seem to have more trouble after sitting for awhile, but not always. I hadn't tried to start it in over a day and I went to try it today and it started on the first try. Several hours later and I'm back to it not starting until I tried it a few times.

We've got the starter out and are taking it to Advance Auto to have it check out. I'll let you know what we find out and thanks for helping!
 
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Old 03-04-05, 05:14 PM
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It's more likely the starter is a problem, when bench testing the starter, technician needs to put some kind of "load" to it , some time OK on bench test (w/o load) but failed to turns the engine over due to "load" applied to.
 
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Old 03-05-05, 07:19 PM
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This sounds like multiple problems, rather than a single problem. I doubt a defective starter would cause the door lock problems, the interior light flickering, and the low fuel warning bell to chime.

Door lock/interior light concern may be related, and may be related to a failing or failed microswitch in the door latch (if that is how this vehicle is set up); which could be corrosion related. Won't know without looking. Chrysler minivans are also notorious for having the door lock actuators start to go bad and just grinding away, cycling like a madman until the thermal limiter kicks in and stops the madness.

The low fuel chime could be caused by a fuel gauge sender problem; where it is giving the correct reading for the gauge, but somehow is not giving the right signal to the low fuel portion of the display (they are separate circuits on most later model Chrysler vehicles). Of course, it could just be a "door unlocked" warning chime that sounds like a low fuel chime; and could be going off because of a door lock problem.
 
  #8  
Old 03-06-05, 05:24 PM
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Thumbs up

Well the starting problem has been solved. It was the starter. Changed it out and it starts right up.

I have not have any more trouble with the lights, door locks and the "ping" sound, but it's only been 2 days, so you never know. I did go ahead and clean the contacts on all the doors to see if that would help (I read that in another post). Only time will tell! I'll be back if we continue to have these problems and can't resolve them with all the information you've already given me.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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