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97 Caravan starts and runs a few seconds then shuts off, security system issue?

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Old 10-27-2009, 08:37 PM
skunk38 skunk38 is offline
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Default 97 Caravan starts and runs a few seconds then shuts off, security system issue?

I have a very specific problem with my 97 Grand Caravan. When I start the van sometimes it will run for a few seconds and then just shut off as if the security system is kicking in. After restarting it several times it will finally stay running and run fine, this only happens a few time a week driving it full time. Ounce it has started it always runs fine and never dies while driving it only happens when first starting.
I can tell when it is going to happen because when I turn the key on if all the dash lights and gauges come on it will start and run fine but when I turn the key and everything comes on except the odometer lights it will start and just die after a few seconds. The funny is if I notice the odometer LEDís arenít lighting up when I turn on the key if I hit the top of the dash a few times the odometer lights will come on and it will start and run fine.
This is getting to be very annoying any ideas would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:54 PM
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The cluster maybe starting to short out. When this happen the engine may crank but won't start, that means the cluster has taken the bus system down. When that happens, remove the cluster try to start the engine, if it starts then you need a cluster. 1997 also had a ignition switch problem too. If the VTSS was a problem, you would not not be able to start the van.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:06 PM
skunk38 skunk38 is offline
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Thanks for your reply.
The engine always fires right up no problem it just dies after a few seconds and like I said this only happens one or two times a week plus once it runs past the few seconds it runs fine never dies.
Even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t the ignition switch I replaced it anyway under the advice of a mechanic (not a dealership) who trouble shot it and couldn’t find anything wrong even though he did experience the problem himself so, it now has a new ignition switch but still has the same intermittent problem.
Any other ideas?
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:34 AM
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Try removing the cluster and see how it runs.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:15 AM
skunk38 skunk38 is offline
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I will give it a try this weekend.
Thanks for the advice I will let you know.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:05 PM
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Finally got a chance to pull out the cluster today and noticed right away bad solder joints all over the boards (most of them were cracked and separating) re-solder those suckers and presto, problem gone. I haven’t fully tested it but I’m sure you were right, I’ll know for sure in a week or so.
I just didn’t think it would be that simple the way it would run for 5 seconds and die just once or twice a week I assumed it would not start at all. You’d think I’ve learned by now to ALWAYS check the simple stuff first. You know what they say when you assume well it’s true, I made an *** out of me and me this time.
Thank you so much for your advice!
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:05 PM
pgillpro pgillpro is offline
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what is the cluster? My 96 will crank but then die immediately as if its not getting gas or something?
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:58 AM
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The cluster is what house's all the gauge's. Have a scanner hooked up and find out if you have any stored codes.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:55 AM
jenson611 jenson611 is offline
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Yes the joints on the cluster board go bad all the time on our vans but for $4.00 in soldier and a hour or two its well worth the fix since how a new one is almost $200 once i read on a forum about this i pulled mine and fixed it befor i had the problum
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:12 PM
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is there a diy on how to find the cluster and remove it? is it an easy fix or should i take it to a shop?
thanks for all the tips!
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:12 PM
 
 
 
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