I also have a 1997 Chrysler van that does the same thing. I always use the interior door locks to lock my doors. I did find the I have a short in the instrument cluster which goes to the same computer as the alarm and door locks. I have a digital read out for my odometer and gear indicator. If I turn the key on and they do not light up I must smack the top of my dash above the instrument panel until it does light up and then it will start.
JR wrote at 2009-01-28 23:21:14
The problem in my 97 T + C lxi was the same,
The answer was to re-solder the back of the instrument cluster where the main plug is connected.
Under close inspection and from what others on had posted i could see the joints cracked. i just reheated them with a little solder on the tip and reinstalled, no more problem of gauges not working or shutting off after a few seconds. it took about 1.5 hours. i could do it 2nd time in 45 mins.
T&C owner wrote at 2014-05-27 18:37:37
This is not a scientific answer, but we have a 95 t&c and sometimes the dashboard electrical goes out. But you can hit it a couple times and it restarts. I've read that they can develop a short in the wiring harness or something along those lines.
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.
Organizations Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)
Education/Credentials Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles
Awards and Honors "Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts.
Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).