Tap the Computer, with a hammer?

I have a 96 Chrysler Town and Country, the vehicle will die and when you try to restart the vehicle nothing happens. I get out and tap the computer with a hammer, just back in the turn the key and it will start, most of the time. How can I fix this problem, I had the computer replaced once.

I’d be more inclined to suspect a poor connection to the computer (or perhaps a bad ground) than the computer itself.

Electronics techs spray liquid refrigerant on integrated circuits to see if they start working again… it shrinks the case until the internal connections are remade, pinpointing the problem.

Mechanical shock may be acting more on the wiring harness than the computer.

The first question I have to ask is what happens if you get out and do something other than tap the computer? Very often, these little tricks are just red herrings and it’s the time it takes to do them that makes the difference (or some other part of the ritual).

But assuming that tapping the computer really is what makes the difference, you need to be looking very carefully at the wiring harness(es) that goes into the computer. The computer itself should be all solid-state by '96 and so there aren’t any moving parts and so there shouldn’t really be anything to get stuck (I think-- I haven’t torn apart a computer on one of these, so there still might be a mechanical relay or two in there). But so what that leaves is that there must be something with an iffy connection that tapping makes it reconnect for a bit.

But that’s pretty unlikely. It’s almost certainly just a red herring. If I were you I’d start diagnosing the problem like any other-- start with figuring out if it’s getting spark when it won’t start.

Other than the good advice you’ve been given so far, you might also consider a faulty Automatic Shutdown Relay, or ASD, as being the problem.

The ASD is a mechanical item through which the computer and fuel pump current run and any type of relay with mechanical points is subject to erratic operation.
Maybe the jarring of the door, movement of the ignition switch and whatnot is providing a body jolt or current surge just enough to get it working again.

Another possibility is the ignition switch itself.

Tapping the computer??? Sounds like a loose wire.

While this may be working for a while…I suspect it won’t be in the near future. Sometime in the near future the car won’t start no matter what you.

What happens when “nothing happens” when you turn the key? Does the engine crank? Have you checked for spark?

Oh, I like this answer, which may help to fix MY problem (very intermittant lack of connecting power to the fuel pump after a shut down / start up). My '85 Nissan Truck may be too old to have an ASD, but because I cannot determine whether the power shut off is when turning OFF the truck, or turning it ON, it helps to know that there may be, in fact, a safety switch that engages when the mechanical gods think the car is shutting down.

The difficult part of diagnosing these types of issues is the word “intermittant.”

Thanks to all of you vehicle gurus for taking the time to answer. The fun part of reading is learning that there are thinking people still out there :)!!!

As far as I know the computer on that car is between the front seats/under the floor, so I am not sure what you are tapping. Could it be the fuse box?