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Jerry
Jerry, Master Mechanic
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1740
Experience:  ASE Master tech, 30 years exp. troubleshooter, driveability tech
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My 97 Grand Caravan will not turn over. It has the 3.3

Customer Question

My 97 Grand Caravan will not turn over. It has the 3.3 engine. I pulled into a parking lot, shut off engine, went in store. When I got back in the car and turned the key, there was no sound from the starter. My dash lights and head lights are full and bright. The only sound I hear when I turn the key is the ticking of the relays in the Power Distribution Center.
I tried the usual, checked fuses for power and continuity and swapped them around (keeping the same amp rating) after they all tested good, swapped relays around, tried a jump start, cleaned all battery contact points as well as contacts on the PDC and starter. No change. The starter has full power on the battery connection, but the smaller brown wire on the solenoid does not light up my grounded test light when I turn the key to start position. I pulled starter and had bench tested and it was good so I re-installed ( I did check the motor by turning the crankshaft with my breaker bar while I had battery diconnected for terminal cleaning).
I pulled the steering shroud and looked for broken wires. I pulled the relay, and tested the port for terminal 85 for ground by clipping to the positive batt term and turning the key to start, which lit up the test light. I ground the test light and tested for power in port 30 and 86 with the key in start. Power at 30, but 86 is dead. If I understand this right, i believe 86 should light up at start position and if it it does not the relay wont fire. I did say that I heard clicking in the relay box, but there are several that fire upon start and I could not feel the starter relay click when touched. I tested all my relays for continuity and activity when hot, and all worked properly.
I tested the wires coming out of the ignition switch and the results were as follows : Yellow Wire- no power in any key position, Blue- hot at start and run, Black/white- Power at run, Red- Constant hot all positions or no key, Orange/black- hot at run, Pink/black- Constant hot all position and no key, the Grey/black and Black wires had no power in any position. If I am reading the wire diagrams I've seen correctly, they seem to indicate the yellow wire, which goes to the fuse junction box under the dash, should be hot at the start position. I tried replacing the ignition switch and nothing changed.
I have tried jumping the solenoid terminal on the starter using a start button, when the key was turned to start and I pressed the start button, I heard the solenoid make a loud bang that sounds like the bendix engaging and its thrusting the armature forward but doesn't sound like the start motor is turning. I found this curious as the starter had bench tested good.
I tried to find a blue/yellow wire leading to the range sensor harness but there is no wire that color in the harness. My range sensor has 9 wires entering the harness (White, purble/black, blue/black, purple, purple/white, purple/green, black/white, yellow/brown, and a green/black). I am not sure how to trace out the sensor to test if it is working and not sure if the lack of power in the yellow ignition wire is disrupting something in the fuse panel that might prevent power from getting to the sensor.
Another question involves figuring out which wire is supposed to supply port 86 for the starter relay. My wiring diagram shows the yellow ignition wire transfering power to a red/yellow wire leading to the relay after passing through PTC #10 on the interior fuse panel junction block. But the yellow and the red/yellow wire have no continuity and both have no power.
When this cropped up, I found a thread Richard had responded to that was addressing the the same issue, which is where I found the info to trace out what I have tried. My van is in the exact condition it was when this started. I turn the key, the dash lights up like normal, but the starter does nothing. I would really appreciate some assistance to get my bad girl running again. Can you help? Dale
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Good morning lets get this dodge running, have you checked the the ptc 3a fuse located in the junction block?

30 gets its power from a 40a fuse in the junction block 86 gets its power from the ignition switch in start position but goes through a 3a fuse 86 is grounded by the pcm.

If you take a bulb put one lead on 86 and other on 85 and try to start does the bulb light?

IF you take a jumper and cross 30 and 87 does starter engage. the biggest thing I run into on this is a failed pcm but lets verify

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the quick response, Reggie. I'll check these and be back in touch shortly.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

I want to prepare you, if it is not the pcm I will have to record this event because as I think about it I don't think I have ever had one not be. If we confirm that we will explore your options as to repair

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I put the jumper on 30/87 and nothing from starter. Got a little gurgle from the battery. I had previously tested the com for ground at 85 successfully but no power from 86. Are the fuses for the ptc the little wafers between what look like heat sink blades on the top of the interior fuse box?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, tested the port fort the relay for ground at 85 and power at 86.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

So you are getting the ground from the pcm but not the hot from the switch yes u need to l ocate that fuse

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't see a 3 amp fuse anywhere. I do see a series of small, thin wafers on the very top of the fuse panel . Do I pull them out similar to a fuse?
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

This fuse is located in the junction block, I am looking for a better location information

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

It is listed as behind left side of dash

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

neither alldata or Mitchell give me a picture I am now referencing Dodge service manual

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Sir I have been in contact with dodge it is not actually a fuse they call it a positive temperature coefficient, it is listed as being in the junction block

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I need to replace the whole junction block?
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

No sir why don't we bypass that wire

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

The wire is yellow coming from the switch and is yellow with a red stripe when it leaves that fuse look for those wires

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

A way to verify would be make sure the yellow wire is hot when you put key in start position and just cut and tie the yellow to yellow and red and you will have voltage at the relay.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have tested the ignition wires and the yellow wire has no power in any key position. I replaced the ignition switch and still nothing when I probe with a grounded test light.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

The yellow wire has no power okay let me look at this

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Okay here we go is the red wire coming in to switch got voltage

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Fuse 5 40a in power distribution center is source voltage

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In my original entry, I listed the results of all the wires when I tested them for power. However, I did not test any for ground. I am puzzled by the cold yellow since I replaced the ignition switch.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

I am puzzled as well I cannot recall your original results if you probe the red wire coming into the ignition switch now do you have 12 volts there

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have constant voltage in the red and the pink / black wires in all positions or key out.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Okay I went and red your post you stated red wire is hot at all times this is right, Perhaps you have a defective switch, Its straightforward the switch closes and sends voltage out yellow wire, what happens when if you used a jumper and put voltage on yellow wire

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will try that. I expected the new ignition switch would solve that. If I'm correct, when in the start position, certain circuits are opened in to general electric system to prevent voltage flow. If so, then do I need to have the key in the start position when I jump the yellow wire to protect other circuits?
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

No sir you can have it in the run position, and it should energize your relay

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

But didn't you tell me that when you jumped 30 to 87 you had no starter operation? If so we will have to check out what is going on there?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That is correct. I will try jumping yellow and see what happens. If it works I see a start button in my near future.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

We think alike

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a fusible link between the battery and starter? I jumped yellow wire and heard loud click from solenoid but nothing from the starter. I Checked my battery and it was at 12.6 volts . At the starter I only had about .34 volts. I may have the ghost of the dodge bros playing in my electric system. Who ya gonna call?
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

No sir the big wire on the starter comes straight from battery have you had thus battery tested

Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

I believe we have a voltage drop somewhere or either a dead cell in battery

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, because it has at no point been low on juice. I will get it tested tomorrow and trace out the cable. Strange that I get such a different read at opposite ends of that cable. I will let you know what I find with the battery. Reggie, you've a great help sounding out issues with me. I appreciate your patience and willingness to share your knowledge. Dale
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Sir you are most welcome, and yes that is strange, is the cable corroded at all? I have seen a couple through the years that had just corroded and broke apart inside. But a dead cell in the battery can give you that reading. As a matter of fact get another battery out of another vehicle and try it because most places cannot properly test a battery.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** my wife's in the morning.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

You mean I got to wait to in the morning? lol Okay I will be looking out for you its Saturday so I may be out riding my bike but I will be checking in

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon Reggie. I want to thank you again for all of your help! The van is running! I found a lot of corrosion in the wire going from the battery to the starter cleaned it up and it fired right up with the test switch. I'm installing a push button starter right now. I don't expect have any further problems on this particular issue. You have been a great value to me with your information and you're giving me the opportunity to sound things off. Much gratitude! Dale
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Sir people like you are why I love doing this, if you would kindly give me a positive rating, you should be proud of yourself that was not an easy repair

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You shall receive the highest rating available. Thanks and it has been a pleasure.
Expert:  Reggie Whiddon replied 1 year ago.

Sir thank you so much, please do not ever hesistate if I can help you

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