Strange Problem

I have a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country with all the bells and whistles. About a year ago started with a strange problem. When you started the car these things happened: The windshield wipers would start flapping, the windows would be locked, fan on the heating system would go to full blast while the temperature would reset to 72 degrees and the automatic doors would not work. Yes! I’m serious! This is not a joke! The problem is intermittent and seems to be worse on hot days. My mechanic was lost on this and sent us to the dealer. The dealer said it was the radio/DVD system??? $1000.00 to replace. That didn’t sound right so I had them just disconnect the system to see first if it corrected the problem. NO! Hooked the system back up. Now the DVD doesn’t work and still have the problem. We have tried turning off the car and unhooking the battery. this stops it sometimes. Then we found that just resetting the the temperature would straighten it out (sometimes and temporarily). The car has been doing great for the past 6 months (fall and winter) and now started doing it again. Please help!

Has the battery been replaced. Also, are the battery clean and tight. clean and tighten all grounds on the engine and frame. I would have the alternator output checked.

A guess - doesn’t this have a ‘body control module’ (BCM) that can go out and cause various odd problems? But the dealer should have identified it, I would think.

I second the idea that all of these seemingly-unconnected symptoms could be the result of a defective BCM.

Let me jump in on that fellas. The body control module sounds like the cause of all the problems. Shame on the dealership if that is the case.

There has been tons of complaints on the TIPM that can cause your problems. It goes across all Chrysler and Dodge platforms. Of course they don’t want to recall all their cars.

What’s a TIPM?

Never mind, Google to the rescue. But it doesn’t sound like it causes the OP’s problems, and the OP’s van is older than those in the lawsuit:

A rose, by any other name…

I would have voted for the BCM too as the one box that everything is routed through. That TIPM looks like just about 8 $10 relays and a bunch of fuses. Maybe it has some logic to it but doesn’t look like it really decides anything, just routes the power.

I like the bad battery theory. ala knfenimore

Thanks all!!! Yes the battery was changed (sorry forgot that) but the engine grounds??? That sounds like the next step!

How are the battery terminals? Any corrosion or signs of poor connection? I have personally seen things go a little haywire when starting a car that has either a bad battery or poor connections. What happens is the battery voltage drops below the threshold of “consciousness” for the BCM and other electronics, and when it surges back up after starting, they wake up with their little brains scrambled. I personally had a car that liked to lose the station presets, the HVAC would go to 75 degrees with the fan full blast, and the ABS and Traction Control warning lights would illuminate when starting, all because I had a battery with a bad cell.

Is your check engine light on? You may also have codes stored referring to “loss of communication” between modules.

I’m going with a bad BCM and a defective TIPM a close second. In any event…your Chrysler dealer needs a little for class time in automotive troubleshooting. That or they were looking for a very large boat payment.

Total Intergrated Power Module.

Newer cars have several special purpose computers, all wired to work together using a sort of in-car internet. If any of those connections between the computers fail, it is like if a printer or scanner hangs up on your home computer network, there’s no telling what will happen. But it usually isn’t good. The manufacturer’s designers realized this could be a problem, and they provide a way for a dealership to check that in-car network. That’d be the first place I’d check.

If the dealership says it is the dvd-radio causing the lock-up, they could actually be right. And removing the dvd-radio might not be enough fix it. There may be something else – like reprogramming – that needs to be done, otherwise they computers will be always waiting for the now absent radio-dvd to respond to their network requests. And it is possible the only way to fix it is to replace the radio-dvd ass’y.

Along with a number of others I too think the BCM could very well be the culprit here. Before getting into that though I suggest you first make sure that the alternator isn’t generating excessive AC ripple voltage as that can cause strange things to happen with electronically controlled systems. To test this idea you could pull the fuse for the alternator so it is disabled. One thing I don’t know is, what else the fuse supplies power to. You may have to remove the small plug going to the alternator to disable it. If the trouble goes away then it would appear that that is the cause of the trouble. If it makes no difference then I suggest you try getting a used BCM or a rebuilt one to swap yours out.

Speaking of the alternator . . .

might want to make sure it’s not overcharging

I remember a car a few years ago, had very strange problems. Several modules were misbehaving

Because charging voltage was over 16V

Once I replaced the voltage regulator, all of the strange problems were gone, and stayed gone


Some manufacturers use the radio as the ‘master’ module or ‘gateway’ that all the other modules report to. I know GM does this on some of their vehicles. I don’t think Chrysler does unless it’s a recent change. I believe the BCM is the ‘master’ on your vehicle. Check for stored and pending trouble codes beginning with “U”, which are all communication/networking codes.

I am seriously considering buying another S-10 with a 4.3 engine and manual transmission and retrofitting it with a carburetor and HEI ignition. The peace of mind in knowing that I won’t be stranded with undiagnosable problems that might cost $thousands to repair and require searching for ‘obsolete’ parts makes the effort seem more worthwhile every day. More and more the late model automobiles seem to be disposable appliances.

A friend paid $2,700 for a huge refrigerator and when the freezer became frosted over no one could, or would, repair it. There is now a large space with a small refrigerator in it in the family’s ‘dream home.’ I’m so glad that I didn’t let myself get talked into one of those massive ice boxes some years ago. And it is unlikely that I will ever own a vehicle with a proximity key.