Question about 2001 Chrysler Town & Country

9 Answers

Randomly, my entire instrument panel will light up and all my guages will read zero. What is happening? This has happened three or 4 times. More routinely, sometimes 1x/day, other times numerous times/day my brake and abs lights up. Are these related? The dealer can't replicate the problem. Similar posts indicate the ABS brake module is going bad. I don't want to go on another fishing expedition at the dealer. Help!

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9 Answers

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  • Master
  • 4,044 Answers

The only point all of these systems contact each other is the ECM module. If the ABS module was in fact faulting it would have to be a pretty big fault to short the ECM although this is not unheard of. Unfortunately, the cost of the ECM module is high. I would check for any exposed wires in wiring harnesses connected to the ECM module. There are several that could be damaged at the plugs. The ECM on this vehicle should be located in front of the transmission. Mounted on the frame in the engine compartment. There are 2 large gray plugs with wires there that while protected by location are subject to some damage. Usually from Transmission fluid, Other oils and possibly battery acid depending on where the battery is actually located. Check these plugs. Try resetting the ECM by disconnecting the Negetive Battery Terminal for 1 min. Double check the Wiring connectors to make sure they are securely mounted. Have the ECM tested, unfortunately that has to be done at a dealer. Your problem is most likely an intermittent short or programming fault in the ECM that is only exposed under certain conditions or combination of conditions..

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • jpytlinski Jul 06, 2010

    Other than this issue, is there any mechanical failure or other failure I should be concerned about? The dealer said there were no worries about driving it, but my wife drives our kids around daily. I need to get it checked out but also do not want to spend a small fortunate have the dealer look around. I just had it in and they couldn't replicate the problem or find anything wrong.



    Thanks.

  • James Young Jul 06, 2010

    I do not see any issue with driving it at this point. If the vehicle starts acting up as far as engine cutting out or not braking properly then I would get concerned. The fact that the dealer said it was a faulty ABS brake module but saw no problem driving the vehicle tells me they don't have any idea what the problem is and are trying to do everything but replace that ECM. This maybe because the ECM is a warranty repair and cost they don't want to eat. With the faults you are telling me about I see no problem driving the vehicle or safety concerns at this time.

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  • Master
  • 1,033 Answers

Before taking this back to the dealer, Check you battery connection. Take the terminals off and clean the post and terminals. Sometimes if you have a bad connection here it will cause your gauges and lights to go to zero, go out , etc. If this does not work have your battery and alternator tested. This can be done for free at your local Advance Auto or other auto parts store. The explanation you give seems that a bad connection is on the battery or alternator. If the alternator has a bad connection or is going bad it can cause this to happen to. Because the alternator isn't charging the battery like it should be and causing a drop in voltage which is cutting the light or gauges to zero. Good Luck.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

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  • Chrysler Master
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There is also a TSB (this is a manufacturer "tech service bulletin") about this
There are 2 things you can do, either have the dealership (sorry they are the only ones that can do this) "reflash" the BCM in it. Or replace the BCM.
BCM is the body control module computer that controls the digital dash (instrument panel).
It is located behind the left side of dash.
The Mitchell time for the dealership to flash this is .3/10ths of an hour. They probally have a flat rate charge of 1 hour.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • 1 more comment 
  • yadayada
    yadayada Jul 06, 2010

    have the Body Control Moduel replaced to cure this.

  • yadayada
    yadayada Jul 06, 2010

    If you are not a qualified automotive electronics tech please don't reject the solution, all the function's of your dash cluster are controlled by a computer processing unit, this is the BCM, in most cases a new BCM is required to correct this problem, if u do a Google of this problem u will see u are not alone with it, many other Town and Country owners (very common in the 2001 model year) have had this same exact issue. The thing is you just can't install a new BCM, it must be programmed for your vans particular component's, it come blank, this is called "flashing the memory and is a dealer only job as it requires special electronic scan tools to complete the task. You may ask my experience? I have 35 years as a factory trained dealer technician, I hold a Master electronics technician certification as well as other master certs, I DO KNOW what I am talking about here. My fix rate on this site is nearly 91%

  • yadayada
    yadayada Jul 06, 2010

    this problem is unrelated to and has nothing to do with the ABS (antilock brake system), u must have heard this wrong, it is the BCM (body control module) that caused this as i have indicated, if u still don't unbdersytand give me a call on the problem

    925-459-0571

    Emissionwiz

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  • Master
  • 10,515 Answers

Hi,

At first you should verify that the engine has a good ground and then check for +12 battery power at starter ( thick cable).
Find the starter relay in the Power Distribution Center ( near the battery), remove the relay and check if it gets power from the fuse # X.
Then you can check for the T750 circuit continuity between the relay output and the starter solenoid.

You can find the wiring diagram below :-

http://rapidshare.com/files/405356705/2008-12-23_081950_Starter.pdf

Let me know,once done.

Hope i helped you.

Thanks for using ' Fixya ' and have a nice day!!

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

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  • Chrysler Master
  • 11,800 Answers

Unfortunately a fishing expedition is all you can do when you are faced with a problem that keeps appearing and dissapearing. I don't believe it's an fault in the ABS module, it can't cause complete failure of the instrument cluster. My guess is that it is the instrument cluster shorting out the computer - there's a crack in it somewhere that opens randomly, like when you go over a bump and the body of the van flexes a little. The only way to test that is to try to replicate the problem - take out the cluster and flex it by hand.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • Azrael SRL Jul 14, 2010

    Have you reached on a conclusion? Did the new mechanics found out the cause?


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  • Master
  • 6,784 Answers

HI. You have two unrelated issues here. The first will be the erratic instrument panel. This is the result of a failed main harness. There is a short present in your main harness that connects the monitoring sensors to the main engine computer. This harness should be tested for shorts. This includes removing the instrument panel and checking the receptacles on the rear, as well, for corrosion or oxidation.

Your second issue will concern the ABS sensors(speed sensors). These are located and mounted on the wheel/axle assembly. Each sensor should be inspected for faults. I suspect that the module will be the culprit here, but have the ABS sensors checked to be sure. In most cases, the senors will have failed.


  • NOTE_ Do not allow the dealer to simply patch up the main harness. This is a common fix, but it will not correct the issue. Have them replace the entire harness if indeed there is a short discovered. Check the rear connections at the instrument panel for faults as stated above.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • 2 more comments 
  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    Wow, you didn't give that a chance at all to register.


    Good luck:)


  • jpytlinski Jul 06, 2010

    Is there any mechanical danger of continuing to drive until this is fixed?

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    I would not recommend driving this vehicle in this state for long distances. The ABS system may malfunction, thus, causing you to not stop at a safe distance during a hard brake situation. Electrical shorts will also cause fires under your hood, as well. This should be corrected, asap.

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    Concerning a mechanical breakdown:

    The braking system would be the only mechanical area of concern. The other areas of concern will be purely electrical in nature.


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  • Master
  • 3,489 Answers

This is not an uncommon event. Remove the speedometer unit and look at the electrical connector atatching to the unit. It is possible you may have to replace the unit. It would be best to leave the wires hooked up, turn the vehicle on and wiggle the harness back and forth to see if it can be duplicated. If it can, replace the speedometer unit. Let me know.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

The best thing to do is borrow the on board diagnostics scan tool (OBD II) available to use for free at your local auto parts store. This electronic tool hooks up underneath the drivers side steering wheel and it will obtain the trouble codes stored inside your vehicle computer. After you get the codes, look in the back of a Haynes repair manual and match the codes up to the codes inside that book to pinpoint the exact problem. This will save you time and money vs. replacing auto parts that you don't need to replace

http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/Discussion-d182_ds442234

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • jpytlinski Jul 06, 2010

    This has been done multiple times at 3 different mechanics, including the dealership. Each time, there is no indication of any trouble codes. No one seems to know what is causing it or able to replicate it. Although the brake light and abs light happens almost daily. Similiar problems posted on other sites seem to indicate the abs brake module.

  • Anonymous Jul 06, 2010

    The ABS is not related to the check engine light. I would say your PCM is bad and will need to be replaced

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  • Expert
  • 4,070 Answers

Hi! I suspect the PCM (powertrain control module) is faulty. Its like the cars brain and has connectivity to auto electrical supply including the power windows, locks and anything that works on current including the instrument panel. You will have to have it replaced but before you do I suggest that you try this. Open the hood and remove the battery connectors and let it sit for a day. After that, reconnect the battery connectors and see how it goes. This should reset the system somehow. Hope this helps and have a good one!

Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • 1 more comment 
  • dj_relly999
    dj_relly999 Jul 06, 2010

    Good luck!

  • dj_relly999
    dj_relly999 Jul 07, 2010

    How was it?

  • jpytlinski Jul 07, 2010

    I wasn't able to do this last night. I'll try it tonight.

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