Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

2008 Dodge Grand Caravan Intermittent Starting Problem

My 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan has intermittent trouble starting. The starter has been replaced twice, and the WIN Module (and key) have been replaced. The same issue has been occuring, but never duplicates for the dealership. Their computer scan brings up no issues. The battery has been tested and is in good condition. It doesn't matter the time of day, or driving circumstances, the van will not always start. It will have one click (and I can close the windows, turn on radio) but the van will not start. The Chrysler Dodge corporate office is getting me nowhere (big surprise there) and is not standing behind their customers-and Lampe Dodge is no better-so now I'm compiling information on my own to figure out the issue (since they are at a standstill with the van). What should I do now?


  • edited September 2012
    This is puzzling, the only things I can think of that would stop a good battery from cranking a good starter, would also stop it from making a click. Where is the click coming from? Is it on the firewall or down near the starter? It is possible that it could be a bad starter relay, if this car has a starter relay.

    I would also check out the cables and connections between the battery and starter and battery to ground.
  • we have had similar issues. battery replaced several times. while under warranty dealer worked on it for a week and said they fixed it... issue with dome lights discovered and diagnosed working with Chrysler head office support.

    well its a year later, extended warranty has expired and its intermittently not starting again. it died a couple weeks ago so i charged the battery and it worked fine for an entire week. then one morning it wouldn't start, dead battery symptoms. i disconnected the battery and reconnected it and it started. today it was 8 degrees below and it started and ran fine. drove 8 km and parked it for 6 hours. it was 2 degrees above 0 and it wouldn't start.

    I cant afford to take it to the dealer again so ill put a new battery in it and take it to the dealer. time for a trade.... this is our 5th and last dodge caravan. we have owned as many honda's and have never had a failed tranny (3x), broken ac hose, defective ps hose, 4+ batteries, wont start (lost count).
  • Well, you should know it wasn't the battery or starter in the first place.
  • edited December 2012
    I guess the OP must have found the problem by now!!
  • Similar problem with mine. Just recently acquired used, 60.000 mi. Away from home, inserted key, would not start. Dealer has replaced module and new key, cost $550 plus. Wonder if this is going to be recurring repair, have had Chrysler product min vans since 1987. seems new electronics could become a real expensive problem.
  • We never resolved this issue, ended up trading in the vehicle after spending $2000 in repairs that didn't fix the problem. Very disappointed in Dodge, and will not be buying another vehicle from them.
  • edited July 2013
    My 2008 Grand Caravan (4.0l) has done the same thing since Dec 2011 @ 51k miles. I have had the starter replaced, the WIN module, keys (not for this problem) and have had it to the dealer for this same problem at least 7 times over the last 18 months and 33,000 miles. I've been through 4 batteries (batteries are NOT the problem) and have had it happen under almost every TOTALLY RANDOM circumstance. Something (electronic, I suspect) is blocking the starter from spinning. The sound it makes is that of the starter bendix kicking in but the starter doesn't spin. Hot, cold, dry, wet, engine cold, warm, daytime, dark, remote start, key start, & any other pattern or condition you can imagine has been tried. THIS IS A TOTALLY RANDOM behavior & of course the dealer says they cannot duplicate it. The one time they did get it to duplicate, they replaced the WIN module, but that didn't fix it. I've had it go as long as 3 months without a symptom & once had it do it eight times in a row in one day, only to take it to the dealer the next morning where they couldn't duplicate it, although they kept it a full week & did nothing. I have the top of the line full Chrysler warranty & they have refused to make an educated guess as to what may be the next part to try and replace. My service tech said it would either be the WIN module, keys or main computer for the van when I first took it in, but we seem to be at an impasse. I have a multiple videos of this behavior, including one of it taking 146 key turns before it started!! It's not the starter (replaced once, no change) it's not the keys (we have two & it does it with both), it's not the WIN module (replaced, no change), so figure this out Chrysler!!! My 1996 F-150 that I paid $300 buck for starts EVERY TIME I turn the key. My $40,000 Dodge Caravan gives me a crap shoot!!!
  • edited July 2013
    If you are very sure that the bendix is really engaging when this trouble happens but the starter motor doesn't spin then the trouble could only be from a few things. Either the solenoid contacts are bad, connection to starter windings is open, or the main battery lead to the solenoid is faulty. You have already replaced the starter so that should eliminate the solenoid contacts and connection to the windings. It just leaves, as Curly (City Slickers) would say, "that one thing".

    Sorry to hear your van has been a problem. We have had our '02 Town & Country since new and have little problem with it. There were a couple of electrical issues that happened while under warranty but we got those resolved. One of the problems involved replacing the wire harness for the engine. I'm very glad that was covered by warranty.
  • I have a 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan with 49.9K miles. Recently I have had an issue (twice today) starting it. I turn the key and hear a click and the ETC light comes on. I try 2 other times and the same thing. Wait one more time and it starts perfectly.
    This happened after I turned my car off for less than 10 minutes and then tried to start it again to leave. The light has never come on other than this issue.
  • edited September 2013
    If the click you are hearing is fairly loud it would seem the problem would be with the starter solenoid contacts or the main battery cable to the starter has a problem. If the click isn't coming from the solenoid then the safety switch needs to be checked.
This discussion has been closed.