2005 Chrysler Town & Country w/ Instrument Cluster Flickering & Electrical mayhem



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Thread: 2005 Chrysler Town & Country w/ Instrument Cluster Flickering & Electrical mayhem

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    2005 Chrysler Town & Country w/ Instrument Cluster Flickering & Electrical mayhem

    Hello all! Great site for us soccer vehicle drivers. I too am suffering headaches from the 4th Gen Electrical gremlins. I have looked all over this site and found thread that discussed what seemed to be exactly what I am going through but had no resolution (like a lot of the threads here ). So here we go.

    Our van is a touring edition with a 3.8L engine and approx 77K miles

    The symptoms we suffer:

    Flickering odometer
    Flickering Gear indicator (PRND3L)
    Sweeping gauges (Speedometer, Tachometer, Fuel, and Heat)
    Radio cutting out for a quick moment and turning back on
    If the A/C and or heater is off, a quick burst of air will come out
    Headlight flickering
    ABS and Brake light on instrument Cluster will briefly come on and then turn off
    TRAC OFF indicator will turn on and off
    Driver side sliding door almost closes completely and will re-open for no reason
    Flickering interior lights
    Occasionally, engine feels like it stutters about to turn off when all this happens.
    A few times the engine has actually turned off. When that happens, the gauges will sweep all the way to max and then reset back to zero

    All of the above mentioned items typically happen all together in harmony as if they were in a 70's disco.

    What I've done so far to try to fix it:

    Replaced the battery with a brand new factory (Chrysler) battery - $180
    Replaced the IPM, Relays and fuses - $900
    Replaced the BCM, - $600
    Checked and cleaned the main ground (under the Battery tray) and instrument cluster ground (near the "B" piller on Driver side) - $150
    Load test on New Battery and Alternator - $150

    All of the fixes have been done a Chrysler Dealerships and they've spent about 3 weeks with the van (total).
    As you can see, we have almost $2K invested in the fix and still having issues.

    None of the 5 dealerships have been able to duplicate the problem. This is frustrating because it seems like I am just crying wolf to them. I have plenty of Cell phone video that I have taken of the problem as it is happening but they say it doesn't help.

    One thing I have noticed, the van will act up on me when I am at exactly 1750RPM. It doesn't matter what gear I'm in as long as I am in a forward gear. If I engage the cruise control and set it to exactly 1750RPM, the van puts on quite a show!

    OK all you experts, any thoughts?! please?! I am up to here with this thing...

    Thanks all!

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    Posted this by accident the other day (last entry). Thought I wasted my time. Maybe not. Your symptoms aren't identical but there's plenty that's similar: http://dodgeforum.com/forum/dodge-ca...gine-dies.html

    That 1750 RPM is something new to this problem. Could be a voltage spike from the alternator at that particular rpm. Could be harmonic resonance vibration effecting a connection or a chaffed wire touching structure. Could be doesn't help you much though.

    Sad to see you've dumped all those bucks into it with nothing to show for it. Sad fact is many have done the same on this problem. I try to tell everyone to go online and file a complaint with the NHTSA. They are the folks who determine if recalls are warranted if the manufacturer turns a blind eye to it. Course we all know Chrysler Corp would never do such a thing... and pigs fly! When the NHTSA get enough complaints they investigate then make a determination on a recall. No complaints - no recall.
    Last edited by RIP; 10-19-2011 at 03:32 PM.
    ******** We took the time to answer your post. Please give us some time and post the fix. You'll help hundreds. ********

    **** Follow all prescribed safety procedures before attempting any repairs. If in doubt, refer to a maintenance manual. ****

    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 208K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord / 94 Camry

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    You mentioned the posting from the other website. I am taking the liberty to copy and paste what you wrote:

    I've been cruising forums for several years and have read about this problem far too many times. 3rd generation vans had the instrument cluster solder joint issue. This problem is in the running to be the 4th generation vans big electrical headache. Unfortunately, there isn't one single fix for it but several. Some get away with a simple alternator change, some change both the alternator and the PCM. Unfortunately, for many it turns into the nightmare you're experiencing.

    In your case it can be the aforementioned damaged wire harness routed under the battery tray. Another trouble spot is that small cable leading from the positive battery connection to the IPM (fuse box). Either the crimp in the battery connection loosens up or gets corroded to the point it looses contact or the IPM connection is loose or the cable itself can corrode internally essentially braking the wire inside the insulation. One fix I read was to "piggy back" a second cable from the battery to the IPM leaving the original in place. Theory being, at least in his case, the cable wasn't big enough to carry the load. Another problem area is the IPM itself. This usually happens on earlier 4th generation vans but the IPM has an internal circuit board that can corrode and create all sorts of electrical havoc. Same for the connections on the bottom.

    One way to prove any of this, though not totally conclusive is to try a simple shake test on the cables and connections mentioned with the engine running while someone is watching inside for any changes.

    True to form for all forums, most don't complete the cycle and tell us what fixes this. Posted here is information from about half a dozen of the 2-3 dozen threads I've come across concerning this issue. Please, when you get this fixed and you will, let us know what the culprit was.

    Almost forgot. Can't count out a possible PCI data bus problem. It integrates nearly all of the electronics on the van. Problem areas are the BCM, instrument cluster and wiring. Power sliding door (yes they are on the data bus) wire harness located in a track at the bottom of each door are a known problem.

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    After reading that thread, I do have two other existing symptoms - the passenger airbag off light flickers as well and I get a warning "chime" when things are starting to get bad. I will have a the Chrysler Dealership look at the cables going to and from the battery, alternator, and IPM looked at very closely. I will also have them do a full on Voltage test on the alternator as well to see if the alternator is the issue. I will post back tomorrow with what they find at the Dealership. Thanks!

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    OK ALL, As promised. So I finally got my vehicle back this afternoon from the Chrysler dealership and they told me the problem was fixed! As I am driving the 10 miles to get home, the problems show up almost immediately and my instrument cluster looks like a 70's disco again! You ask, What did they fix?! Here's what they did:

    They showed me the several load tests they did on the battery and the alternator in different scenarios. All came back normal for the van.
    They removed the instrument cluster, checked, cleaned and tightened all the connections and put it back together.
    They inspected the ignition switch - they said it works properly.
    Looked at the Battery terminals and power from the battery to the IPM, did load testing on them as well - Came back totally normal.
    Took it for a "lengthy road test" and said to be perfect working condition.

    So I am fuming at this point, ready to junk my van. I am pretty much done with it right about this time. When I get home, I jump on this site and started writing my disgusted feedback when all of a sudden it dawned on me to re-read others posts in different threads starting with this one. RIP suggested not ruling out the door harnesses which have not been looked at. I looked this up and found some threads talking about it as well.

    So I decided to give it a try. I disconnected the driver side slider harness and took it for a test drive - problem still persisted. I reconnected it and disconnected the passenger side slider harness. I took it for a test drive - symptoms are gone! I did everything I knew thus far to recreate the problem in my van and still showed no symptoms! Could it be?! I am feeling a little gitty right now because I think I can see some light at the end of the tunnel! I am keeping it disconnected and will continue to drive it that way for a while to see if the gremlins return. I will keep you all posted!

    Thanks RIP! If this is truly the culpit I have you to thank for directing me to this area! I would have never thunk!!!

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    dun4now (11-14-2011)

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    Glad I remembered it. Here's a video on the subject. When you inspect the wire harness pay particular attention to a white wire with a violet stripe. That is the data bus feed from the BCM to the sliding door controller in the door. Sure hope you found that smoking gun.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705hcJqOf6U

    BTW - I think it was 2009s and 10s that had a safety recall for chaffed wires in these wire tracks. They were causing fires and erratic instruments and stalling. Hmmm.
    Last edited by RIP; 10-23-2011 at 01:57 AM.
    ******** We took the time to answer your post. Please give us some time and post the fix. You'll help hundreds. ********

    **** Follow all prescribed safety procedures before attempting any repairs. If in doubt, refer to a maintenance manual. ****

    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 208K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord / 94 Camry

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    Deleted double post.

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    Well, Here we are on Tuesday evening and I can report that I have logged roughly 300 miles in 3 days. I have still to replace or do something with my passenger side sliding door, but what I can report is that the Gremlins have yet to show there face! I do believe I have found the issue. Now my question was, Is it the Wiring or the Crash sensor that causes my van to spaz out?! I do have side impact curtain airbags back there and I knew that the sensor is located on the same communication wire. How I figured out it was NOT the sensor is I reconnected the wiring harness at the Pillarbetween the doors on the passenger side and disconnected the crash sensor an took her for a spin. It immediately acted up. So I did one more test to make sure I had the right piece of wiring giving me the issue. I connected the crash sensor and disconnected only the door from the harness (located on door on the inside near the bottom. No need to remove any panels as it is clearly visible if you just look at the inner bottom portion of the sliding door). Again, I took it for a spin and it eventually gave me problems. So there you have it. It is the wiring harness from the Pillar to the door and crash sensor. It should take a whopping 10 minutes to replace it and this part is commonly found at any Chrysler dealership in stock. It is a common part that is replced with great frequesncy.

    **One thing to note for whomever might read this thread thinking they might have the same issues...I have received confirmation that ALL of the communication with the BCM, to and from, is on a single wire throughout the whole van! That is what a Chrysler MASTER certified electrical technician specifically trained on on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Gen minivans said regarding this specific year (2005) mini-van. So it is indeed like finding a needle in a hay-stack when it comes to all the flickering, etc. RIP is correct that they do have the ususal suspects, but don't give up if it is not one of those mentioned early on. There are ways to test everything on the van. Don't do what I did and say, "change it anyway to rule it out". I spent over $2K needlessly on finding out that the problem I can easlly fix on my own with a $100 (on the high side) part and 10 minutes of my time.

    Good luck with your mini-van everyone! And to RIP...I owe you a beer my friend!!! Cheers!

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    06 grand caravan

    I would really like to understand.

    You said on 10/22 posting that you disconnecting wiring harness from sliding door. Van ran great. But wasn't the crash sensor still wired in which would have given you the same original problems?

    So, the crash sensor and slidding door harness are on the same line. But do they connect in 2 different locations?

    But what did you finally do? Replace a 3 feet piece of wiring or just leave off both crash sensor and door harness connections?

    Where is the actual location of the door sensor. What does it look like?

    Thanks for any info?

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    donpeyoyo - If you can find the time and have a camera can you post some pictures. I was having a hard time picturing that too. Might clarify it for everyone.

    That beer sure sounds good. Post some pics and we'll call it even.
    ******** We took the time to answer your post. Please give us some time and post the fix. You'll help hundreds. ********

    **** Follow all prescribed safety procedures before attempting any repairs. If in doubt, refer to a maintenance manual. ****

    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 208K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord / 94 Camry

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