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Questions and Answers

Dodge Grand Caravan No Start Problem

Q. I have a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan with a 3.3 liter engine. Automatic transmission with about 130,000 miles on it. Over the past month, this problem has happened three times. I go to start the car, and when I turn the key, to the run position, the instrument panel does not have power, the temperature gauge, fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, odometer and shift letters are not working.

Dodge Grand Caravan No Start Problem

Everything else has power, the radio, blower, mirrors, directional's, lights, ABS light, Check Engine Light, etc. When it does this, the car will not start. It will crank and start then die right out. After a couple of times of doing this, it won't even attempt to start anymore, but you can hear relays clicking up front. After waiting a while, one time it was five minutes another it was over ½-hour, I put the key back in, turn it, and everything is working again and the car starts perfectly.

I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet trying to research this, and have seen that there are a lot of others that have had this problem, but no one posts what the fix is. I have read try replacing the ignition switch, starter contacts, or the neutral safety switch.

After thinking about this, if the instrument panel is not getting any power, then that would make sense that it's not starting because it's not sensing it's in park or neutral, at least that's what I'm thinking. So any ideas as to what's happening here? Any advice you could give me would be GREATLY appreciated.

One thing I wanted to add is my Dad had me clicking the keys forward and back and one thing that he noticed was that the EATX shutdown relay and the Auto Shut Down relay were not clicking when the car wouldn't start, but were clicking when the car did start. Not sure if that helps any or not. Also, the battery is about two to three months old.

Thank you,

A. After studying the wiring diagrams, would have to say the most likely cause of the problem is the ignition switch. The neutral safety switch would not effect the instrument cluster in the manner you describe.

The same goes for the starter solenoid. So that leaves only the ignition switch or the wiring.

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