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Chrysler Repair/'03 Grand Caravan not starting consistently


QUESTION: Hi Roland,

I have a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan, 2-WD, 3.3 engine. The past couple of days my van has stalled occasionally when trying to start. Nothing happens when I turn the key. Lights on dashboard do light up. If I wait and return later it will fire right up. I check the battery, its at 100%; I changed the starter, I also changed the ignition switch in the steering column. Problem still exist. I remove the battery cable to possibly reset, but that didn't help. Is there a lockout security code for this model or could it be something else? Could really use your help!

ANSWER: Hi John,
Try moving the gear shift lever slightly to either side of the detent position of P and N as the switch may not be making good contact in the very center of the detent.
The vehicle security system does not operate by refusing to operate the starter (unless it was still armed when you tried to start it and then you tried to start it about 5 times). It normally works by allowing the engine to start, but then killing it in 3 seconds. But after you do that 5 times then it won't start at all.
But what you describe doesn't sound like that security system is involved at all.
When it happens again, go to the power box under the hood, open it, locate the starter motor relay using the box label as your guide. Then have a helper try to start it while you observe/touch or listen for a click to occur inside the relay. That will help direct your attention to where to look next...either the circuit that operates the relay or the circuit from the operating relay to the starter motor proper... as the location of the problem.
Let me knot what you learn and we'll go from there.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

This is John again.  I tried both relays and listened for the clicks.  Both clicked, but still it didn't want to turn over.  Any other suggests?

If you mean both the starter relay in the box and the solenoid switch at the starter motor are clicking then either the starter motor is faulty (solenoid contacts/armature), or the thick red wire from the battery to the motor is not connected well (damaged) such that the motor is not getting sufficient voltage to turn over the engine. Also check the battery - clamp wires at their far ends to be sure those are tightly connected.
If you meant the starter relay and another relay other than the solenoid switch clicked, what is the other relay that clicked?

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question, briefly unavailable, or asleep overnight, so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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