Crazy 1999 Dodge Caravan

My Caravan has a strange problem. It appears and disappears sporadically, with no rhyme or reason. Periodically, the dash display (temp gauge, speedometer, tach and fuel gauge) will loose power. When this happens, the ABS light comes on and the ALARM SET light comes on. The “Service Engine Soon” light is always on now. The cruise control works, but you cannot see the word “CRUISE” on the display. The directional signals work and display just fine, as does the HIGH BEAM display. The remote entry lock does not work when the dash display power fails. The door ajar alarm works, but not the display. There is light to the dash when the headlights are on, but no gauges. My Dodge dealership says they can “guess” what the problem is and charge me $2,000 to fix it – how can you fix a price on something when you don’t know what it is? There are other symptoms when the gauges disappear as well. Can anyone suggest something?

Look for a bad ground or a bad power wire to the gauge cluster.

I know many have had issues with the gauges that soldering connections on the back have fixed. Take a look at the forums in, lots of great info. The next step would be a body control module (BCM, $$!).

Not much help for you buddy and I tell you that I have the same problem with my Dodge Caravan 1996. I was hopeful to find an answer reading your comment but Yikes! We are cursed!!

With everything failing at once, it makes you think that a computer is involved. This seems to be just another possibility.

All the things that you state don’t work when this trouble happens are clues to the source of trouble. There is most likely a single point in the power delivery to those points that has a problem, a connection most likely. Using a service diagram you can trace that out and do some testing to find the trouble spot. It could be a bad terminal or relay connection possibly. A good tech doesn’t need to guess at the problem or charge you a rediculus amount of money. Find a shop that does good electrical repairs. That estimate you got would make me feel they don’t know what they are doing and they make you pay for all the extra time and parts it would take them to fix it by guesswork. I would guess a real qualified shop would be able to fix this for less than 300 dollars if the problem is just a bad wire connection.

The CEL may be a seperate issue so that may also need to be looked at after the other problem is fixed. If the problems are related, then looking at it first may be in order and save some time.

Cougar: Thanks for your suggestions on my Caravan. I’m definitely going to get it checked out. One question…what is a “CEL” that you mentioned as being a separate issue? Thanks, nancy

My 90 had the issue of gauges showing just wrong then correcting them selves. Disconnecting the battery cables for 30 minutes the computers re set helped for a lot of miles. But when the alternatior got a bad squeal i changed it an all the gauge probles gone. Go figure. The check engine light on the old vans was preset to come on after so many miles do not know if it is the case on the 1999

CEL means Check Engine Light and this comes on your dash whenever anything related to the engine components become faulty.

Like Mr. Meehan on here always says, "it’s like a little girl (or boy) sitting in class waving her/his hand wanting attention. (Or something like that)