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Non start problem with Chrysler Town & Country

My 2008 Chrysler Town & Country has, since it was 2 mos. old, had a “no-start” problem. This is not a stalling problem. It happens when the car is off and I try to turn it on. The problem is very sporadic (sometimes several times a day - I do lots of short drives - sometimes several times over the course of a few weeks, then no problems for months). When I turn the key in the ignition, all electrical components come on (dashboard lights, air, radio, etc.) but nothing happens with the engine (it does not make a sound). The dealer has replaced a computer component, the battery, the starter, the electronic keys but the problem always happens again (within a few days of it the “repair”). I usually have to turn the key 3-12 times (sometimes I take it out of the ignition, sometimes I pray!) and eventually the engine starts. Because the problem is sporadic, the dealer has not been able to replicate the problem (though they have, at times, had it for a week or more and even driven it as if it were their own, home at night, to work, to run errands). Although the car eventually starts, it is very problematic when I have to be somewhere and it takes 10 minutes (not to mention a lot of worrying) to get it started. Any ideas for what might be causing this “no-start” problem? The dealer is stumped.

After looking at some service data that covers the starting system for your vehicle all I can say is that it isn’t as simple as it used to be. I was somewhat amazed as to all the things tied into the starting system, which included tire pressure monitoring. It sounds like the dealer has done the simple things first in order to try and solve the trouble, which is a good thing to do. If I was working on this trouble I would place a test light monitor at the connection to the starter solenoid to verify if power is getting to that point when the trouble happens. If power isn’t getting to that point then there are a number of possibilities for the trouble. If no trouble codes are showing up for clues to the trouble then the wire connection between the Totally Integrated Power Module and the solenoid should be checked for a intermittent connection.

A simple switched bypass connection between power and to the starter solenoid would get the starter to work in case the normal method fails. I hate to do that kind of thing but in this case it may be required until the trouble is pinned down.

Thank you, Cougar! The big problem is that the dealer hasn’t been able to replicate the problem, but I am pretty sure they have used their testing system to identify the problem area (without success). I am saving your comments so that if the problem occurs again, I can show your suggestion to the dealership in case they have not checked these areas. Thanks!

You’re welcome for the help. Intermittent problems like this are worst to work on. The trouble never seems to happen when at the shop so only best guesses can be made as to the trouble. In this case it looks there are a lot of expensive possible trouble areas to choose from. In a lot of cases like this the real trouble turns out to be just a intermittent wire connection. Which is why the problem goes away as easily as it appears. One trick that may help solve the trouble is to simply disconnect and reconnect every connector involved in this circuit. I would not be surprised if that fixed the trouble.