2005 Grand Caravan Electrical goofyness [Archive] - The Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forums

: 2005 Grand Caravan Electrical goofyness



theatremiss1
05-13-2010, 01:23 AM
He there, thanks for a great base of knowledge.

We've got a 2005 Grand Caravan 3.8L that is having these issues:

-non-start after long drive and being parked.
-hesitation/cutting out upon initial warm-up. (engine, HUD, etc)
-crazy gauges
-fluttering headlights, running lights, dashlights
-E-brake/idiot lights come on briefly with tone

Sometimes it goes away when the A/C is turned on, sometimes it is brought
on when the A/C is turned on, sometimes it correlates not at all to switch or compressor clutch engaging.

The feeling is that there is a short/loose wire somewhere, but we can't seem to find any obvious issues.

Any thoughts for our specific case? We're located in san diego in very non-climatic:rolleyes: country. lots of sunshine, not much in the way of corrosion at all anywhere on the van.

Battery terminals are tight and clean. ground wire seems tight, though I might dig more into this.

Don't have the money to throw parts at this, but have a good dealer, as well as whats left of a Certified pre-owned drivetrain warranty that might come in handy. They very honest, and apt to use the warranty if needed. (they already approved and installed a new steering rack at about 65k. $100.00 deductable was it.

theatremiss1
05-13-2010, 01:25 AM
oh, and I've searched, but y'all aren't very good at posting solutions to your problems. Seems like a funny phenomenon, as the Jeep boards I frequent are all about the fix/finish/closure of a problem solved.

thanks in advance for any help!!

naben
05-13-2010, 01:52 AM
Hello, you spoke of the battery terminals but not of the main power supply and ground terminals at your power distribution/fuse box. Open it up and check for any corrosion or loose terminals there on the + -. A start anyhow.
Good luck and welcome to the site. Some good people here that have already gone through the school of hard knocks and are willing to share what they have learned.
Good luck to ya.

n8ech
05-13-2010, 01:59 AM
My wife's 05 Grand Caravan had a possession not unlike yours, and the remedy ended up being a new ignition switch.

Not the key cylinder, but the actual switch located down low on the steering column under the dash.

Possibly the answer for you....................Don

ratsttam
05-13-2010, 11:05 AM
If you have never changed the battery, it might be time to do so. The electronics in our vans are very picky about their power (and just about EVERYTHING is controlled by one of the computers). Just because the battery holds a charge and starts the van, doesn't mean it's consistent or can put out the proper voltage to keep the computers running.

jglen490
05-13-2010, 11:36 AM
I had a battery problem with my '05 Caravan SXT. In fact the battery died. Among the prior symptoms were the wild swings with the speedometer and tach at startup.

Replaced the battery, still had the wild swings for a while, but all that has gone away. Just have the usual startup checks.

Trophyslayer
05-13-2010, 02:03 PM
I had that fluttering brake light and single chime too, and the gages dipped, radio and lights would go off, just momentarily, but it would occur just 1x each morning in the first 5mins of driving, if I warmed up the car for 15mins prior, it still did it in the first 5mins of driving

for me my fix was to disconnecting the battery over night, then reconnecting it, I guess it allow the CPU to reset properly
since then no problems in 5 months, and the battery was replaced 2months before my problems started

tcwagner1
05-13-2010, 05:22 PM
Low or weak battery seems most likely if you have not replaced the factory one, it is probably the culprit. When you say the terminals are tight, did you take them apart and clean them? They can be tight and look fine, but lead oxide looks dull grey, not bright silver. Clean them with a steel brush type cleaner and put an oxidation grease on them and see if it is any better, if you have not done so. Also, check the ground straps that connect the engine to the frame and the connection at the frame. There are braided wires that go from the frame to the engine usually at the motor mounts, make sure they are clean and not oxidized.

theatremiss1
05-13-2010, 07:30 PM
Great suggestions. thanks! I'll go check the grounds.

Might be time for a new battery.

BTW, this is a cali. car with no rust/corrosion issues. I've got the battery out and looked under the IPM (or whatever its called..fuse block) and everything is groovy...I'll wire brush the terminals to be sure.

tcwagner1
05-13-2010, 11:41 PM
Listen as someone tries to start it, and feel with your hand the terminals and you may feel the heat of a bad connection or hear is crackle, or on a pitch black night, see the spark.

moosnort
05-19-2010, 10:15 PM
I have a 2005 Grand Caravan SXT (3.8L) with very similar problems: 1) my radio would die for a few seconds – it wouldn’t reset the clock or loose my preset stations, but it acts as though it lost power 2) my dashboard indicator (PRND21) and mileage lights would slightly (and sometime violently) flicker 3) sometimes my gauges twitch in unison and my headlights noticeably pulsate 4) water temperature gauge would shoot to red hot (it wasn’t), 5) sometimes some/all my doors would either not lock/unlock as with my power windows. And then these combinations grew enough that the entire van would die for about 30-60 seconds – am I mean dead as if “someone removed the battery” kind of dead!

Pulling the IOD and BCM (Body Control Module) fuse seemed to work for a short while and I even ran a wire to a switch under my dash to reset the IOD at will. Sadly even when my gauges were jumping all over the place the IOD reset didn’t help. Pulling the battery sometimes helped but eventually I gave up on these quick fixes.

I cleaned every ground location and electrical connector, and eventually replaced the battery, the alternator, the ignition (key) switch, all the dashboard lights, the Integrated Power Module and Front Control Module (the black fuse box (IPM) that’s in the engine compartment that has the metal box on the front of it (FCM), and Body Control Module (whitish plastic unit that has 4-5 electrical connectors under the dash by the driver’s left knee). Even had the BCM’s firmware flashed but nothing seemed to fix this problems.

I eventually did two final things – one of these cured my nightmare.

FIRST) I cleaned the negative connector on the starter motor. Mine had a lot of grease and oil so I used electrical contact (spray) cleaner to clean it. I used a Q-Tip to get it as clean as possible and compressed air to make sure it was dry.

THEN) I removed the battery then took a plumber’s propane torch (used on copper tubing) and heated the living crap out of both the positive and negative battery cables where the terminals are crimped around the copper strands. I just used normal plumber’s solder and got each terminal hot enough to let that solder flow like butter down into that crimp. That’s it! I have not had any issues since! I even drove the van from Phoenix, to Kingman, to Disneyland then back to Phoenix without ANY hint of my former problems. The van was undrivable before these last fixes and I'm amazed at how well behaved the van's been. I can’t tell you what a freaking relief it is to have my van working ‘normal’ again…

Also my rear brake lense fell off too but that’s another story! Thank Heaven for eBay…

theatremiss1
05-27-2010, 12:06 PM
OK, thought i'd post an update. I pulled the battery and checked these things.

-wires under fuse panel
-connections at ECU (BCM?) in drivers fenderwell
-all fuses and relays
-ground cables on drivers framerail

Didn't find a thing...our van is in VERY good shape, having been on the west coast in dry weather all its life. All connections were found to be bright and shiny with no corrosion whatsoever. No rust on the car at all that I could find.

Having reinstalled the battery and driven it to work and back for the last week or so, I have to say that it has been competely symptom-free, save for one time when the odometer/trip meter were flickering, which may have been the A/C coming on.

I've always maintained that it seems like a fluky/loose wire thing, but the fact that no tightening/adjusting was done and that the problem has somewhat vanished, makes me think that it is, in fact, something within the computer itself.

I'm not dismissing the possibility of needing a new battery, but I'm kinda stumped..haha.

thanks so far.

Trophyslayer
05-27-2010, 01:13 PM
sounds light same issues I had posted about on the first page, after pulling the battery for awhile, then hooking it, no more issues for me, and it's been 4months now

theatremiss1
05-28-2010, 04:53 PM
sounds light same issues I had posted about on the first page, after pulling the battery for awhile, then hooking it, no more issues for me, and it's been 4months now

yeah, did that and it was trouble-free for two weeks...

...until yesterday. Then all **** broke loose. All the symptoms returned with very consistant response to throttle input.

Then while it was idling at my house after arriving, it cut out, stumbled and then regained a solid idle.

very strange, and disappointing to say the least...

thanks all, so far. Not sure what I'll do next. Checked the power connection to the alternator. nice and tight.

theatremiss1
06-02-2010, 10:12 PM
pulled my gauge cluster. no problems there.

checked power connection at starter, nothing there. checked ground connections, nothin...

I'm stumped.

any other suggestions?

It actually died at a light yesterday after driving all the way home with no other symptoms since the previous day...

Trophyslayer
06-02-2010, 11:05 PM
did you replace your battery?
if it is still original it is probably due,

theatremiss1
06-03-2010, 07:06 PM
did you replace your battery?
if it is still original it is probably due,

nope. not yet.

I asked a mechanic about that and he seemed to think that once the vehicle is started, the voltage regulator and alternator do the bulk of the work, which I think I agree with...

Once its started, the battery in his words, "is just along for the ride" getting recharged by the vehicle being run.

The only time you'd see a voltage drop at the battery would be if the system is drawing too many amps, and dipping into the batteries reserves.

Do these vans get that close to the alternators minimum output? Would a dead battery cause an INTERMITTANT problem?

I mean, I just drove home, and the van only had symptoms in the last few miles of my drive, going between 0 and 40mph, often acting normal along the way....

wacky!

thanks all!

ratsttam
06-03-2010, 08:07 PM
nope. not yet.

I asked a mechanic about that and he seemed to think that once the vehicle is started, the voltage regulator and alternator do the bulk of the work, which I think I agree with...

Once its started, the battery in his words, "is just along for the ride" getting recharged by the vehicle being run.

The only time you'd see a voltage drop at the battery would be if the system is drawing too many amps, and dipping into the batteries reserves.

Do these vans get that close to the alternators minimum output? Would a dead battery cause an INTERMITTANT problem?

I mean, I just drove home, and the van only had symptoms in the last few miles of my drive, going between 0 and 40mph, often acting normal along the way....

wacky!

thanks all!

Your mechanic is right, to a point. In most cars (especially older ones) the battery does next to nothing while running. On our beloved vans (as much as they misbehave!), the battery acts as a voltage regulator/filter for the sensitive electronics (which control just about EVERYTHING). If the battery isn't doing well, than it won't filter the noise and keep the alternator pulses from messing with the computers. The result is a van that seems "possessed" or randomly acting weird, or in extreme cases, not even run at all. A good battery is a MUST for proper operation. Many of our vans have been "fixed" by simply replacing a battery.

theatremiss1
06-03-2010, 08:13 PM
Your mechanic is right, to a point. In most cars (especially older ones) the battery does next to nothing while running. On our beloved vans (as much as they misbehave!), the battery acts as a voltage regulator/filter for the sensitive electronics (which control just about EVERYTHING). If the battery isn't doing well, than it won't filter the noise and keep the alternator pulses from messing with the computers. The result is a van that seems "possessed" or randomly acting weird, or in extreme cases, not even run at all. A good battery is a MUST for proper operation. Many of our vans have been "fixed" by simply replacing a battery.

10-4. I see.

:beerchug:

theatremiss1
07-06-2010, 02:27 PM
OK, well, I went ahead and bought a nice, new Costco battery with more than enough juice to power the van. It was running/driving well with no symptoms until Saturday afternoon/evening, when I noticed some slight flickering of the digital shift indicator. This was about a week after installing the battery.

After driving it several more times this weekend, it is absolutely back to the same status:

-stalling at lights
-flickering display
-radio on/off
-audible tone
-hvac on/off
-gauge/dash light show/dancing gauges, etc...

Very disappointing.

RIP
07-06-2010, 06:29 PM
You've disconnected the battery then changed the battery and all was well for a period of time. Might take a closer look at the battery cables or you may have a parasitic battery drain. If you haven't yet, run the engine and do a wiggle test on the cables. Have someone sit inside watching for any indications of a glitch. Listen to the engine rpm. Test the voltage drop on the system. Here's how:
http://www.aa1car.com/library/voltage_drop_testing.htm
http://www.ricksfreeautorepairadvice.com/diagnostics/checking-out-battery-drain

andyg
07-06-2010, 07:08 PM
You will have to monitor the alternator output. It sounds like the alternator may not be keeping the voltage high enough at times causing all those issues.

theatremiss1
07-07-2010, 12:07 AM
ok, thanks...

theatremiss1
07-13-2010, 01:03 PM
Okay, so the van actually died coming to a stop at a stopsign near our house yesterday, after dinner. I tried to put the blinker on, and no dice. Realized that it was completely off. haha!

It restarted just fine and motored the final 100ft or so to our driveway.

I tried to pull a code from the dash diagnostic, but none appear in the time alloted. I also pulled the IOD fuse, thinking the computer just needed to be cleared, having just changed the battery.

No effect, and continueing problems exist.

Lame.

Feels like a loose ground wire, still, to me.

Is there a well-defined roadmap available of all the ground connections on these vans? I've found a few (drivers side frame rail near coolant bottle, near engine mount on drivers side engine block, etc.

I've wiggled the power wires on the battery, starter and alternator and there i no play found so far.

theatremiss1
07-23-2010, 02:48 PM
You've disconnected the battery then changed the battery and all was well for a period of time. Might take a closer look at the battery cables or you may have a parasitic battery drain. If you haven't yet, run the engine and do a wiggle test on the cables. Have someone sit inside watching for any indications of a glitch. Listen to the engine rpm. Test the voltage drop on the system. Here's how:
http://www.aa1car.com/library/voltage_drop_testing.htm
http://www.ricksfreeautorepairadvice.com/diagnostics/checking-out-battery-drain


Did a prolonged wiggle test last night. no change.

I also removed most of the relays and fuses, and hit their contacts with some fine sandpaper, just in case the minimal corrosion present (like a very thin film/gloss) was to blame. no change.

I went ahead and pulled the battery cable, as well as the IOD fuse, in an attempt to "clear out" the system, so that my wife could drive it today.

we'll see how it does.

n8ech
07-24-2010, 12:07 AM
Theatre:

Don't overlook the ignition switch. Not the key cylinder that is on the column, but the switch assembly that is located down further on the column under the dash.

My wifes 05 was doing crazy things like yours to include flashing dash lights, at sometimes no gauges, and even having the radio come on by itself with no key in the ignition.

Ign switch was the cure.

When it does this stuff, try wiggling and gently twisting the ign key and see if you make a change.

Don

theatremiss1
07-26-2010, 11:30 AM
Ok, Don, thanks a lot!

I think someone mentioned that earlier, but I must have overlooked it. Thanks for reminding me.

Very interesting to hear that you had similar issues.

Cheers!



I

theatremiss1
08-02-2010, 03:05 PM
Gonna try to pull the ground connections and see if they need to be scuffed up a bit to remove corrosion, as I only checked them for tightness before. While I'm at it, I think that I'll go ahead and leave the battery disconnected overnight, and see if the computer just needs to be fully reset to clear its "mind".

If that doesn't work, I think we'll have to start thinking about taking it to a shop, cuz I don't think I'd feel confident diagnosing a bad alternator/etc.

87olds442
08-10-2010, 09:59 PM
Well we had a similer problem to van at work and it was dead like the battery was off but somethings like the radio and heat were still on. Seemed like BCM and PCM were totally shut down. We sent it to the dealer to have the BCM and PCM switched and there was no fix. But 10 hours later the dealer had found the problem and it was in the POWER SLIDER DOOR SHELP. Unplug BOTH of them and then test it and if the problem is gone plug in one then keep driving if it acts up its that SHELP that is BAD. That Van had the DATA WIRE shorted on the floor where it drags and with the DATA lines SHORTED nothing can comunicate THUS NO RUNNING OF TH ENGINE let me know if this is is seems to me that it is very likely to happen to someone else.

theatremiss1
08-17-2010, 09:48 AM
Well we had a similer problem to van at work and it was dead like the battery was off but somethings like the radio and heat were still on. Seemed like BCM and PCM were totally shut down. We sent it to the dealer to have the BCM and PCM switched and there was no fix. But 10 hours later the dealer had found the problem and it was in the POWER SLIDER DOOR SHELP. Unplug BOTH of them and then test it and if the problem is gone plug in one then keep driving if it acts up its that SHELP that is BAD. That Van had the DATA WIRE shorted on the floor where it drags and with the DATA lines SHORTED nothing can comunicate THUS NO RUNNING OF TH ENGINE let me know if this is is seems to me that it is very likely to happen to someone else.

ok, you got me. what is a POWER DOOR SLIDER SHELP? :D

I'll do the tests you mention, but honestly, the symptoms seem different. Never can tell, though. I'm trying to stay open-minded. :)

RIP
08-17-2010, 02:55 PM
SHELP? Don't recognise the acronym but it may be the door control module. It's bolted to the inside of the door. In any case, here's a video that shows how to get at the door wire harness, if it comes to that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705hcJqOf6U

theatremiss1
08-17-2010, 04:25 PM
Haha, I didn't recognize it either. I just went out on my break and saw the large plugs that obviously lead to a motor or controller inside the door panel.

Is that the plug (x2) that is to be disconnected, 87olds?

theatremiss1
10-06-2010, 01:23 PM
Van is fixed...

RIP
10-07-2010, 09:31 PM
Great news! What was the source of the problem and how did you fix it?

stbear007
10-08-2010, 01:05 AM
nope. not yet.

I asked a mechanic about that and he seemed to think that once the vehicle is started, the voltage regulator and alternator do the bulk of the work, which I think I agree with...

Once its started, the battery in his words, "is just along for the ride" getting recharged by the vehicle being run.

The only time you'd see a voltage drop at the battery would be if the system is drawing too many amps, and dipping into the batteries reserves.

Do these vans get that close to the alternators minimum output? Would a dead battery cause an INTERMITTANT problem?

I mean, I just drove home, and the van only had symptoms in the last few miles of my drive, going between 0 and 40mph, often acting normal along the way....

wacky!

thanks all!

Well that was the old school way in older vehicles. Now vehicles are all electrically controlled. So a bad cell or 2 in a battery will cause issues until replaced. Yes a battery could cause this so could an alternator acting up...but again with today's electrical setups it could lead to several other things also. It almost sounds like the key cylinder is worn? I will try and ask around for a better scenario that may have happened and one knows of this.

stbear007
10-08-2010, 01:15 AM
Yes actually this is a good call as well...The wire is plugged in at the bottom of the sliding door almost a foot from the front as you open the door. There is a lock tab and a push tab to release them (1 on each sliding door). See if this may help.

theatremiss1
10-08-2010, 01:09 PM
Ok, here's that stuff that we tried, that didn't seem to make a difference, as well as stuff we checked:

1. New battery
2. Pulling IOD fuse and letting the van sit overnight
3. Cleaning battery Terminals
4. Checking for frayed power door wires
5. Pulling BCM connectors and hitting them with sandpaper to clean corrosion
6. Pulling ground straps/wires and cleaning connections to clean corrosion

None of that solved our problem. Finally broke down and took it to the Dealer since we still had the remainder of our pre-owned warranty.

-They never got a a code from the computer and therefore never were able to apply the warranty or deductable
-They tried first putting a ground strap on the negative battery wire to directly to the frame...no change.
-Then then tried the same ground strap fix near the engine fan and the A/C compressor...no change.

The tech then at some point put his hand on the battery terminals and found that the positive battery terminal was hot to the touch, indicating to him a lot of built up resistance in the cable.

He pulled the main power cable, cut off the battery terminal and re-crimped, re-soldered a new battery terminal clamp.

After this latest fix, and the third time bringing the car back with the same symptoms, it has now driven about 300 miles with ABSOLUTELY no hint of the former problem.

Even when our van was not having issues, we still had a bit of flicker coming from the green, digital odometer and gear shift indicator. Not so anymore.

No stalling, no dancing gauges, nothing....rock solid. Total cost of repair? $75.00.

I think someone mentioned this earlier in this thread or in the 4th gen forum, actually. So I'd say if you have my same symptoms, feel that terminal and see if it feels hot to the touch.

Thanks everyone so much for their input.

theatremiss1
11-01-2010, 01:46 PM
OK, well about a month and around 700mi of drving later, we continue to have ZERO issues.

No flashing, stalling, or otherwise "goofy" behavior.

Nice having our van back. :)

RIP
11-01-2010, 03:17 PM
:thumb:

katoranger
11-08-2010, 03:27 PM
Thanks for all the tips. I have been battling random no starts with my van for the past 3 years. It is at random. Never happens when I am driving just my wife.:jpshakehe

New battery, charging system checked out fine. Always starts with a jump. I keep one of those jump boxes in the back.

The ignition switch or a bad cable seems like a good possibility. My wife is at wal-mart again having the battery checked. This one is now 2 years old.

If they find nothing it will be off to the dealer while we still have some warranty left. That was the best investment I ever made.

chip
01-11-2011, 11:20 PM
I have the same problem, but my mechanic and I have not found a solution yet. Replaced the battery, alternator, and fuse panel so far, still happening. If it won't start, you can reset it by disconnecting and reconnecting the ground to the battery. All connnections are tight too.