The most comon reason for this is that the headlamp switch is starting to fail and needs to be replaced
Take the rheostat on the head lamp switch and run it from full on to full off quickly about 20 to 30 times and then see if the overhead lamps come on, on a more regular basis, if so the head lamp switch needs to be replaced
I hope that this helps you
If you need more help or information just let me know
Just to be sure, your concern is that the dome lamps in the center console on the roof do not always come on when you open the doors?
If this is the case try running the rheostat up and down fast multiple times to try and clean some of the corrosion off of the contacts inside the head lamp switch, the rheostat is part of this switch and all of the over head lamps are feed through the rheostat control, which also has a dome lamp defeat function built into it, when you turn the rheostat all the way down it will shut off all of the dome lights in the van, as this switch starts to fail it shows up as a concern with the front center dome lamps first and then move out to the others
All the way down is dome lamp defeat
In between all the way down and the first click is dome lamps on and dash lamp intensity
First click at the top is called "parade mode", this locks the dash lamps at full intensity
Last click all the way up is dome lamps on all the time
Do the front lights come on from the other doors? or is it hit or miss for all doors?
If you send me the VIN I can run an option list to see what light package your van has
The rest of the lights come on every time when any of the door open. Just the front ones dont. The VIN is 2B4GP44R1XR362264
Thank you very much for all of this help. I really appreciate it.
Thanks for the VIN
I did a search of the known issues on the Chrysler site and found this, this is a synopsis as I can not cut and paste from their site
Vehicle Issue : The overhead reading / MAP lights in the front will flicker or not come on when the door is opened, when the light is pressed the light works fine. All the other dome lights work fine. 1996-2000 NS (this is the body code designation for the minivan from 1996 to 2000) .;This is not to be confused with all the dome light being inoperative. Only the overhead reading lights will flicker.
System or Component : Dim,Erratic Operation / Fluctuates,Flickers / Flashing,Will Not Turn On;Customer Concern ;Dome / Map / Reading Lamps;Interior
Recommendation for Repair: Most likely the problem is truly the HEADLIGHT SWITCH, see section 8w-44 of the manual(this is the wiring area of the service manual,, you will notice that the reading lights are fed power from the headlight switch, usually the switch contact develops resistance and causes the flicker.