CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Intermittent Electrical Shutdown

2002 Chrysler Voyager, 3.3L V6, 133K miles.

I’m experiencing an intermittent total electrical shutdown. Driving at any speed, electrical system cuts out - lights, radio, gauges, motor - everything shuts down for a period of 3-4 seconds, then power is restored. Transmission that has disengaged during shutdown takes a few more seconds to re-engage. This can happen 15-20 times during a 25 mile trip or not at all. Last evening a 25 mile trip to destination w/ no problems. On the return, 6-7 shutdowns in the first few miles, then nary an issue. This morning, in pulling around a block to unload some cargo, 2 cutouts. I do not have to touch the key for the restart.

I have cleaned battery terminals & connectors w/ baking soda, scrubbed them w/ battery brush, coated w/ DiElectric grease, run an auxiliary ground, had the battery load tested (good for 700 cold cranking amps), and taken to the local mechanic who spent a few hours and 3 cruises w/ an analyzer hooked up. Not to worry, no problems manifest when van was w/ mechanic. BTW, no fault codes thrown, no “Check Engine” light appearing. Ignition switch tested as OK.

Any help or experiences w/ similar problem on this vehicle greatly appreciated.

We’re Clueless in Kalamazoo

Thanks.

TBKzoo

Do you have a lot of things hanging from your key chain, this has been rumored to cause this kind of problem.

Maybe half a dozen keys and the door opener clicker. Are you saying that the weight of the chain tips the key up in the ignition switch causing the interruption? I can certainly test w/ just the key. Sounds like if this “cures” the issue, then the ignition switch will need replacement.

Thanks.

TBKzoo

Is the weight of the keys the issue?

Or something else?

Also FWIW, never a problem starting the vehicle.

Thanks.

TBKzoo

Has the check engine lamp illuminated? What ever this is it controls everything it is not uncommon for Mopars to have severe electric problems related to the relay/fuse box and also the ECM and TCM.

My advice is with engine cool and running (carefully) start moving wires around aspecialy the battery cables see if it cuts out, if it does start narrowing down the suspects.

Good Luck

Sounds like you have either an intermittent short or a bad connection somewhere. Another distinct possibility is that you need to have an exorcism performed on your van…

@ greenmonster - No ck engine lamp illuminated - ever. Absolutely whatever is happening is happening at a point that controls everything. Next step is to ck the relay/fuse box. I can move also move the wires around battery cables to ck. Thanks.

@bloody_knuckles - you bet it’s a bad connection or short somewhere. Last evening’s to & fro 25 mile run was especially bad. Not sure if the 207% humidity and soft rain had anything to with it, but seems like that would point to some sort of short. But the fact that always turns back on within a very few seconds is what is confusing.
As to the exorcism … my heart is set on a firing squad - w/ all live ammo.

Thanks for the replies. Still a head scratcher.

TBKzoo