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2001 Chrysler Town & Country Question: Intermittent starting, dash gauges/lights behave strangely

 

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mojomusic72, Carmel, IN, October 13, 2010, 06:05
 Rookie

Car wouldn't start. Battery cables looked poor, poured coke on them and jumped it. Replaced the battery for good measure. Started fine immediately after I installed battery.

Next morning, wouldn't start. Jumped it and left it running, came back out and it had stalled.

Next afternoon, cleaned cables some more. Car started up, I drove it around, BUT if I used turn signals or hazards, the dash gauges (mph, fuel, rpm, etc) would stop working and the dashboard illumination (of gauges only) would go out. If I deactivated the turn signal or hazards, the gauges, lights, would "reboot." No discernible effect on the driving or operation of the car, just that effect on the gauges.

Drove to work and back yesterday. This morning, wouldn't start. Turned over, "almost" started but died. After second attempt, nothing. Interior accessories work, headlights work, radio, clock, power seats, etc., all work.

5 Answers
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  • Answer #1

    October 13, 2010, 06:18
     Enthusiast

    You may have already tried this, but have you tried turning the key 'hard'? It sounds like a terrible idea, but when you go to turn your key, twist your hand quick, and strong. It'll feel odd, and 'click' and then it'll start.

    If it backfires, it's rather normal. Mine does every now and then when I start her.

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  • Answer #2

    Visitor, October 20, 2010, 17:44

    You computer may be going.
    On mine the car would intermittently die while going down the road at speed. I would put it neutral and then turn the key back and forth to get it to start. Have to have the computer replaced. Not sure if you can do your self, cost me $800.00 at a dealer.

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  • Medium-star Best Answer
    October 27, 2010, 17:14
     Enthusiast

    i have a 2001 T&C and had some of the same problems myself. the dash gages all went out completely. the van drove fine but the instrument cluster was dead. the solution to my problem was the small battery cable on the positive termial. When I say small cable I mean the 20 gage wire that is attached to the positive termial of the battery. this small wire is the power to the instrument cluster. If the gages are having problems, check that this wire is connected solidly.

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    Visitor, November 23, 2010, 19:10

    I cleaned corrosion off my battery terminal using baking soda and water today and experienced the same weird instrument gauge/turn signal problem a short while later. Well let me just send out a big THANK YOU to kevin_mcfall who probably just saved me a bundle in bogus repair shop charges! I read his answer, tightened up the connection on the terminal even though it seemed pretty tight to begin with, and that little half turn of the wrench was all it took to completely solve the problem. YOU ARE A GODSEND!

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    John_W77, March 11, 2013, 07:08
     Rookie

    My 2001 T&C van instrument cluster went out after I cleaned the battery terminals. I didn't connect the two events until I read these comments, and I am very thankful for everyone who has shared their experience here. After restoring the contact of the small lead on the positive battery cable, only the speedometer still did not move and the needle was way too low on the dial. I did some reading about self-diagnostics for the whole cluster and tried that and it worked. It was a little weird trying to get the diagnostics program running but I just kept trying the method and it finally worked: With the key off, press and hold the odometer trip reset button and turn the key on. Keep the button in until a message pops up in the mileage display. The rest is automatic and it all goes back to normal when its done. Thanks again for saving me repair costs and traffic fines!!

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    soygrant, June 14, 2013, 16:28
     Rookie

    Was having similar issues. Cleaned and tightened everything but no dice. Took the battery back to Walmart for testing. Only 6 months old and was shot. They replaced it 100% for free. Then the battery light came on. Took the van to O'Reilly's. They tested the electrical system and said the Alt was shot. Bought it and will have it installed in a few days. The pertinent info for this thread is loose cable connection and dirty terminals were causing the gauge fluctuation stuff. Mental note: I'm going back to another Toyota Sienna next time! :)

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  • Answer #4

    February 15, 2014, 18:56
     Rookie

    kevin_mcfall Is right
    I've ran into this issue my self and have spent over a thousand dollars replacing all these unnecessary parts {ecm,bcm,dimmer switch,turn signal switch,instrument cluster,battery}the list goes on. It got to the point I had so much money into it that I refused to let the van win. 2 dealerships later and a few alley mechanics.Everyone of them leading me on a wild goose chase.So I finally was searching google and came upon this site and tried kevin_Mcfall's idea. What do you know BINGO!!!!! I could do nothing but laugh at this point. All that BS and it came down to a little elbow grease and maybe a dollar worth of parts. Now the van runs like the day it came off the showroom floor.
    I just personally what to say Thank you Kevin you are a GODSEND in my book.
    Just clean the little wire that goes to the positive lead on the battery and whammo problem solved.
    LMFAO>
    Another Confused Mopar owner.
    Todd

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  • Answer #5

    July 31, 2014, 14:53
     Rookie

    IM NEW IN THE TOWN AND RECENTLY 2DAYS BEFORE BOUGHT A GOOD CONDITIONED 2002 T&C VAN. DURING DRIVE ALL OF A SUDDEN THE DASH WENT CRAZY LIKE ANY THING AND ALL GAUGES WERE DEAD THE MOMENT I GAVE THE TURNING SIGNAL. AFTER UNDOING THE SIGNAL LEVER EVERY THING WAS REBOOTED AND WAS NORMAL. I WAS REALLY WORRIED AND WENT TO VIRGINIA AUTO TIRE&AUTO IN SPRINGFIELDS BEING THE NEAREST WORKSHOP.I WANTED TO GET IT FIXED IN ORDER TO AVOID ANT PROBABLE TICKETS. THEY DIAGNOSED ITS R&R IPM WILL BE REPLACED AND WILL TAKE 3-4 DAYS FROM DODGE COMPANY COSTING AROUND 1700USD :( I WAS REALLY WORRIED THAT I JUST BOUGHT THE VAN AND LANDED UP IN THIS SHIT. AFTER READING THIS FORUM I OPENED THE BONNET MYSELF AND CLEANED THE BATTERYS +VE TERMINAL WITH HOT WATER AND BAKING SODA AND TIGHTENED THE LOOSE SCREW WITH ONLY HAND EVEN. SURPRISINGLY IT WORKED AND EVERY THING STARTED WORKING NORMAL :) OH GOD WERE THAT MECHANICS OF WORKSHOP INCOMPETANT OR WANTED TO MAKE MONEY FROM ME COZ IM SURE EVEN AFTER REPLACING UNLESS THEY HAD DONE THE SIMILAR THE NEW PART WOULD HAVE BEHAVED SIMILAR.
    THNX A LOT PAL FOR SAVING ME A BIG AMOUNT

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