Question about 1999 Dodge Caravan

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Engine wont turnover

Engine starts ,then wont turnover

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If what you're trying to say is that the engine will start when you turn your ignition key to the 'start' position but then quits as soon as you allow the key to revert to the 'run' position, that's exactly how our 2000 Caravan is sometimes acting this winter (earlier, in warmer weather, the symptom was that the starter sometimes would not run in the 'start' position).

I'm still researching possibilities (since the van, while worrisome, still always eventually runs), but my current suspected culprit is deterioration of the contacts in the ignition switch (you can find references to this kind of intermittent switch behavior in Web searches, which is how I happened upon your question). I'll try to get back here later to say how things worked out for us and with more detail on how to replace the electrical portion of the switch if that's indeed the problem.

Posted on Jan 29, 2013

  • Bill Todd Feb 05, 2013

    Replacing the ignition switch indeed appears to have fixed our problem - hope it will do the same for you. Unfortunately, this page won't allow me to post another 'solution' but only a 'comment', and will not honor paragraph breaks therein, so this will be a bit more difficult to read than it otherwise would be. The switch itself is available from Autozone for $24.99, but you'll likely have to spend another few bucks to purchase a Torx T10 'tamper-resistent' bit (with a small hole in its tip to accept the pin in the screw that defeats use of a normal T10 bit) to remove it with (and you likely won't find any in stock at any store unless you're willing to buy a set of them, so unless you're in a real hurry just order one on line). First remove the two bottom screws, one side screw, and one screw on each side of the parking-brake release handle (all phillips head) that hold the padded panel over the pedals in place, then gently pull the panel out (the parking-brake release wire will pull through to provide slack) and just let it hang down below the steering column (there are one or two plastic pins that you'll need to line up when reattaching it). Remove the three phillips-head screws that hold the under-side of the shroud around the steering column to the under-side of the column, then use a flat-head screwdriver with a thin blade to pry apart the under-side and top-side halves of the shroud (there doesn't seem to be any way to press in to release the attaching fins, they just pull out and then snap back together good as new). Remove another piece at the base of the instrument cluster (one phillips-head screw on each side, plus again a couple of fins that you'll need to line up when reattaching it later). Finally, remove the two Torx T20 screws that hold an interior piece that fits on top of the column and prevents ready access to the switch itself (which sits on the left-hand side of the column). Now that the switch is more or less accessible, remove the Torx T10 tamper-resistent screw that holds it on and then press in on the plastic detents on each side of the hole that accepts the pin that runs from the lock cylinder on the right-hand side of the steering column to actuate it (the rear detent will require use of some tool that will allow you to get to it: I used a pair of electrical pliers with a 90-degree bend in their tips). The switch should then slide easily off the pin. There are 3 electrical connectors to detach, all of which have detents that you'll need to press or pry to release them. When reattaching them to the new switch the one nearest the steering column refused to slide in easily (and in the close quarters I was working in I couldn't see why), so I just forced it in enough to be sure a good electrical connection was being made and hoped that it was stuck securely enough that it wouldn't vibrate loose later. The new switch from Autozone was set in the normal 'off' position that allows the key to be removed, but you might want to look in and compare its sleeve position with the old you you're removing just in case they're different (in which case you'll need to fiddle around with your key accordingly until you find the position where the new switch slides on easily). Then, just put everything back together and you'll be good to go. It's been a few days since I did all the above, so I apologize in advance if I mis-remembered any part of it. The main problem I encountered was not knowing that those two Torx T20 screws weren't something more common: they're so deeply sunk into the part that you can't see their tops, and I spent quite a while thinking that they were phillips-head screws whose heads had been stripped.

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