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grand Caravan shuts off after starting.

- Dodge-Grand Caravan

Forum Post
08/11/09 12:35

grand Caravan shuts off after starting.

My 1998 Grand Caravan with a 3.8 shuts off when I start. The fuel pump has been tested, the EGR valve has been replaced. This problem happens only sometimes.
Archived Replies

This post has a total of 25 replies. The most recent 25 are shown below, you can view the complete archive here: grand Caravan shuts off after starting. archive. Your feedback, comments, opinions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

This forum post has messages dated from 08/11/09 through 09/04/11, please be sure to read all the messages. If you feel it is old or outdated, please follow up with a question or comment and someone may be able to update it, or reply with newer information if you have it.

10/29/09 14:35
k sanchez

Mine too-starts like normal-2 or 3 sec then dies. Mine is (Ithink) the power control module-the computer that runs the engine-about 700.00 from dealer but u can find online for about 400.00 already programmed.
11/04/09 12:25

Our '98 Town and Country 3.8L had the same kind of problem. After 3 attempts to start it, the engine would die & it would have to sit for hours before it would start and run. I realized that the built-in security system on this car was shutting the engine down. This was due to a faulty circuit board on the back of the instrument cluster. Dealers wanted $407 for the part plus a few hundred to install & "calibrate" it. I located a complete gauge cluster in a salvage yard & installed it myself. Total cost: $35.00! Problem was resolved, never to return.

*** NOTE*** These gauge clusters are different depending on the options installed in your vehicle and are identified by the color of the wiring harness connector on the back, so you have to find another one with the same color connector. Ours was all wheel drive, so I had to really dig to find a match (red connector.) A great resorce is CAR-PARTS.COM - it displays inventory of salvage yards across the country, and they often note the connector color.

By the way - before I resolved the issue, I foud that when our van wouldn't start I could bang on the dashboard 2 or 3 times just above the gauge cluster, it would then start and stay running. This really should have been a recall item as far as I am concerned.

Hope this helps.

11/04/09 12:29

I just wanted to add - I wasn't sure this was the problem at first, but I figured that replacing the gauge cluster would cost me less than having the dealer run diagnostics at $100 per hour.
11/16/09 18:22

most of the starts and then turn offs are due to instrument clusters connection at the plug on back of the inst. cluster. wires are cramped into tight backing causing improper connection. had this problem for over a year causing alot of frustration and alot of towing home. finally took of cluster and unplugged then plugged back in and it started, also gauges would be lost when this would occur, problem is now solved, and i am relieved.
02/03/10 23:15
Mike Steele

Thanks very much to Reply #4! After 91000 miles, our 96 Grand Caravan started to intermittently start and shut right off, with the gas gauge on E and the lower lights (RNDL12, etc.) not lighting up. I took the instrument panel off (turn it face down when you remove it from the well) and cleaned the plug prongs with a Q Tip soaked in Crystal Head Vodka (got it for Christmas, and used it as a joke). Put the cluster back in and it fired right up! Woo=Hoo!
02/09/10 13:07
Jesse Parker

Thanks to everyone for their submissions to forums like these. I just helped my co-worker fix her 97 Dodge Caravan by giving her dash a quick smack or two. I was able to make her day better and it was all thanks to you guys. Keep up the good work!!
02/16/10 17:18

I drive a 96' 3.8l AWD (here in Europe is sold with the Chrysler badge, and it's called Voyager, or Grand Voyager for the LWB version) and the same issue is troubling me from time to time, every time the solution comes disconnecting the gauge cluster; I should have never realized this, but th first time it happened a couple or three Years ago, the mechanic told me that he had to fix something inside the cluster gauges, and then I remembered what a guy very smart in engines (I think his name was Henry Ford, or so...) told, that the part that it's not in the car will not break, and so I tried to go without cluster, and it went, and it goes. I've been looking for a good working spare cluster, but I have not found it yet.

BTW for anyone who may be interested, I've pulled away the EGR valve, and the van runs very fine; as long as it starts, obviously. :)

02/25/10 17:34

Thank you so much for this forum! It's snowing and my friend came to pick up her daughter from my house after work. She went to leave and her van kept shutting off. I googled and low and behold up popped the above solution. She was blocking our car, so I couldn't have taken her home either. A few whacks, a ton of belly laughter, and she is on her way home. Thanks!
03/04/10 12:55
Debra Reidelbach

Happy to know! but pissed. Dealing with this for 8 months from all mechanics saying the wrong thing. Things that has happened, or changed: Ignition switch, starters, BSM (computer), the gauges go out, dash lights go out, dinging lights go on, including the alarm set. (But never the check enginelight. Would not start till next morning.With the key on & slapping the dash above the cluster does work.Did it this morning.

I have called chrystal saying it should be recalled. 1-800-853-1403.They will give you a ref# & badge. Good luck!

03/08/10 18:28
r. anderson

for those of you who don't have a dash connection problem, I had the same symptoms with my 3.8 town and country. They worked on it for three years. As it turned out we had a faulty fuel injector. None of the diagnostic equipment showed this. Most problems can't be fixed if they aren't computer monitored.
06/07/10 13:08

What a great site - I was stuck on the road and tried the thump on the dash and low and behohld I got my car running again. I have a 98 grand caravan AWD that continues to give me problems daily.

I may take it to the dealer to see what the repair bill will be...prrobably more than the van is worth.

I will never buy a Dodge again.

06/16/10 08:37
chris desormo

been having the intermittent start for 3 sec then quit problem for sometime. luckily never left me stranded untill recently, time for a new ride. but cant afford. tried a $35. junk computer, under the hood. seemed to solve prob. so i figured may as well fix a/c. big money later , old problem rears ugly head again. about to drive it off a cliff, but won't start, plus no cliffs around here., your website helped me chase down the " whack a dash " solution. didn't work, hurt my hand, but i did take dash apart..... when the dash cluster came loose it started right up. i'm gonna drive it with the dash cluster just floating. car looks great.a/c works great. dash cluster floats like a butterfly, starts like a car!!!!!, ps 97 town&country lxi 200, 000 miles
08/12/10 17:00

Hi, i have one dodge caravan 1997, 3.0 l. It's run good, no problem, and the engine stop imediatly. I have to put in neutral and after 3-4 time, it's start again and no problem. It's happend from higway to 100 km/h too.Thanks.
09/15/10 10:48

dash bangin worked thanks to you all and above all...GOD!!!
10/01/10 13:28

Own a 1997 DGC and this happened last week.

GREAT running car, but some electrical issues like wipers, and the gear selector lights all lit up, or none, occasionally...

Today it wouldn't stay started again, with no gear selector/indicator lights.

Read the banging dashboard...and it started right up after doing that!

Sounds as if the instrument panel has a loose connection and the safety program treats starting it as if you're using a "valet" key and it doesn't read the programming...or something, who knows...??

Thanks for this Forum thread folks!

Tim S.

Black Hills DGC '97 Owner

10/06/10 14:00

same issues as above. tried the dash hit. does the key have to be in the ignition
11/28/10 15:07

Had same problem. Hitting dashboard worked perfectly. Will now remove instrument cluster and check all connections so have permanent repair. Thank God or Google that i found this thread!!!
01/24/11 13:57

For all of those having issue with the Caravan turning off at the stop signs or when you let the accelator go while driving, I think the mistery has been solved. I purchased a 98 Grand Caravan at an auction and it came with that problem, after the driving it off the lot I experienced that issue, however if keept the foot on the gas and not let it go below 1000 RPM the car wont turn off. After hitting the forums I realize it was a big issue going on with very little feedback so I decided to see if I could come up with the issue. After finding the results I trie to re-generate the issue and I was succesful so I am very confident this is the solution.

There are two components affected, one is the MAP Sensor and the other is the EGR Switch, not the valve. The switch is the one that has hoses that go to the engine vaccum, EGR valve and an elboe to the bottom of the EGR inlet. This is the defective part. Also, I noticed that the diagram on the Haynes book might be icorrect as well as the one under the hood. The new valve has markings on it and those are the ones you should follow, otherwise the EGR will be installed on the wrong orientation and you will experience the same issue, but the computer will not pick it up and you will continue to have the issue. The other part involve is the MAP sensor. If the EGR Switch is connected back words the MAP sensor will go bad as well. Just drive to your local junk yard and take this components off, dont buy them new and save your self some money. Good Luck

03/19/11 17:22
Caravans are Fun!

Hammer on the dash trick worked as a temporary fix. This has been happening on an off for years. Few months nothing and then all of a sudden at the worst possible moment.
04/02/11 10:42
Hurvey Jones

I have a similar problem. When I sometimes go to a

Stop sign the van would die, but not always. Sometimes

Getting of the freeway and going around the

Corner it will die again. My mechanic changed the

Fuel pump located inside of the gas tank along with the filter

Attached to it. That worked for about a week and then

The same problem. I put some injecter cleaner in and

It will work ok.

Another one of my friends told me there is another fuel filter

That is being clogged up.

Also I need to have a tune up and change the distributer cap.

I am confident that once these are done I will have a great

Running van once again.

05/03/11 12:22

Every once in a while when i went to start my van all gauges would not read and van would shut off after a few seconds (like it was out of gas)After a few attempts to get it to start it would quit turning over alltogether. Banging the dash worked wonders.After replacing a few relay switches and van still not starting i decided to look it up.Thank You!BANG THE DASH!!!
05/11/11 20:16
John Beck

No need to replace the instrument cluster in most cases. Spend apx 1 hour to remove the cluster and gain access to the multi pin connector spikes which attached the board to the harness connector [which is now hanging out where the cluster originally was]. Close inspection around the basse of these connector pins will reveal hairline fractures at the base of the pin[s], usually ground returns; that's why there's so many variations on the complaint and pounding on the dash will temporarilly fix the problem... Use resin flux and ordinary 60/40 solder to rework the connection...

Reassemble and tell the ignorant shops to keep all their unnecessary parts- Daimler-Chrysler should really be on the hook for this horror show!

I believe the problem originates with the new 'lead free' solder the world is foisting on manufacturers.. It has a higher melting point but has been proven to be susceptable to micro fracturing due to flexing of the connector[s] which induces the micro fractures - and what better place than a car for that to happen, eh?

05/12/11 16:41

I have a 98 Town and Country 3.8L. I've been having the same problem with my van, shuts off after three attempts at starting it. I tried hitting the dashboard and it worked!Thanks for the idea :)

I agree that this should of been a recall item.

07/23/11 10:34
Crystal River, Florida
Thank author of this post/comment"Instrument panel fix for 1998 dodge caravan starting problems"

This really works.. There is a solder joint problem on the circuit board on the back of the instrument panel assembly, ususlly at the black ground leads in the main plug assembly. RESOLDER THEM, the issue vanishes. NO COST SOLUTION, EXCEPT FOR SOME TIME. You can inspect the joints with a magnifier to see the fine cracking around the wire joint.

The board loses its grounding, so itis then disconnected from the circuit, killing everything reliant on these connections. Banging on the dash shakes up the works, and the grounds reconnect once again. This will drive you mad, and give the garage guys a field day trying to figure it out, and charging you for the trouble.

09/04/11 15:19
Thank author of this post/comment"LOL!!!"

I was having the problem as well: starts up and shuts off...I thought the brain for the anti theft was fried, I thought this was going to be big $ fix...nope read these posts and Smacked the dash and WOW couldnt believe it!! LOL started right up! I did find the permanent solution/fix on youtube...there is a solder problem behind the instrament (gauges) panel...Thanks everyone!!
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    Archived Replies

    This post has a total of 25 replies. The most recent 25 were shown above, you can view the complete archive here: grand Caravan shuts off after starting. archive. Your feedback, comments, opinions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

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