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1997 Plymouth Grand Voyager - Electrical

On occasion (sometimes every couple of weeks, sometimes six months between issues) when I start the car, it immediately starts and dies. Non of the gauges move, it just starts and dies. Typically right before this happens, usually within a couple of days prior, the windshield wipers will come on for no reason, make a swipe or two, and stop. Then I know I’m going to have this problem soon. Sometimes it will be ok with about a half hour, sometimes it is a couple of days before it will start and continue to run. Otherwise it runs smoothly and no other starting issues. The ignition switch has been replaced and several relays have been replaced. No one can figure out what the issue is. When I take it to my mechanic and leave it for several days, this issue never happens. Car has 170,000 miles and is a V6 Any suggestions, or hopefully solutions. My other cars, a Sonata and a 17 year old Jag run great and no problems - at least not yet !

I have no idea what is causing the problem with your Plymouth but am amazed that you are having no problems with your 17 year old Jag.

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I would try inspecting the battery cables and connections at both ends not just the battery end. Also the ground cable between engine and chassis.

Bad grounds can make for strange feedback.

Bend the battery cables to see if you can feel brittle wires breaking inside, remove bolts and wire brush the mounting surface.

Battery cables have been replaced recently - not the source of the problem. Sometimes I can whack the steering column, with a rubber hammer, at the ignition switch and it will start and continue to run. A very strange problem which usually occurs at the worst time.

The Jag was purchased from original owner not long ago - only has 52,000 miles on it and is in pristine condition. My mechanic had maintained for the previous owner over the last ten years. It was well maintained, yet he warned me of all the things that could go wrong over a period of time. So far it has been great - hoping for the best, but warned to expect the worst. But it is a beautiful car and one I always wanted. Some things you just take your chances !

Well, if whacking the steering column gets it to start, that might have been a good thing to share. Why wouldn’t you try replacing the switch?

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All I can say is if you can hit the steering column with a hammer and you have already replaced the multi-function switch, then maybe inspect the wiring in the steering column for bare spots, etc. and also in the steering wheel itself. On my 60 Morris Minor, it would honk the horn when I had the turn signal on and making a right turn. Made pedestrians a little angry sometimes, but at any rate I pulled the steering wheel and put some black tape over where a wire was shorting against the metal. Easy fix, but then I have to ask, really why bother? Once in a while the wipers would go on on my Riviera but then stopped again. I had 500,000 on it and figured that was the least of my worries.

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Ignition switch has been replaced, several relays replaced, and computer system has been re-programmed by a Chrysler dealer.

No one seems to be able to figure out what the problem is.

Thanks for the input. Will check out the wiring in steering column as suggested… Related to this issue - sometimes I will be driving and all the gauges will stop working - no speedometer, no tach, gas gauge, temp gauge, etc. If I drive long enough they will come back up. The same thing happens when starting it and then it dies - non of the gauges move as it starts. Several times it has sat for several days and can’t be started and then I’ll try again and it starts right up and continues to run. Everything works great when it runs, which is most of the time. Fortunately I have back-up cars to use.

Failed solder joints in the instrument cluster were not uncommon in these vehicles. I believe this can cause a no-start situation in addition to the gauges not working.

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allpar.com specializes in Chrysler products and has a minivan forum. You may find model-specific help there. I have for my previous and my present minivans. Good luck.

Thanks for referral to allpar - will check it out. Appreciate the info

If you include all the things that have been done in an effort to fix your problem in the post it would save you and everyone else a lot of time.

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Then we don’t get waste everyone’s time playing the seemingly mandatory game of 20 questions.

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Attempts to solve problem have included: new ignition switch (assembly on steering column), new battery and new battery cables, replaced couple of ignition relays, re-programmed computer system by Chrysler dealership. Van will never have this issue when it is in the hands of mechanic so they never experience problem directly - working from description of problem when it does occur. Have had it towed in before, but when it arrives it starts without issue. Mechanic has kept car for days at a time and driven it as much as possible, but problem never occurs when they have it.