Allpar Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 94 3.3L Voyager that I had not driven for about 2 months. Turned the ignition switch to on: all of the idiot lights, warnings came on as one would expect; turned the switch to start - all went dark, no cranking. Turned switch to on, now no lights/warnings.

I removed and visually inspected all of the under-dash fuse block fuses: all good. Opened the hood and YIKES! Squirrels had taken up residence. After hosing down the engine compartment to remove nest/droppings, I found one minor wire chewed through but no obvious major wiring compromise. I removed and checked all of the distribution center fuses with an ohm meter: all were good. I removed the starter relay which has four pins: 30, 85, 86, 87; there is no 87A pin. There is continuity between pins 85 and 86; there is no continuity between any of the other pins.

My dual approach is this: first, identify and replace the fuse that governs all of the idiots lights which worked before I turned the ignition switch to start from the on position (all lit up BEFORE I turned the switch to start). Once this fuse is replaced and the dashboard lights are working, then go through the electrical system to see if non-ignition-dependent systems are working (lights, radio, directionals, fan, etc.) and track down and repair broken wires.

Finally, go through the ignition circuitry and attempt to locate what appears to be a short.

Questions:
1. what fuse activates the instrument panel lights/idiot lights?
2. does the starter relay contain an internal fuse (that could have blown when I switched from on to start)?
3. do my starter relay continuity readings indicate a good or bad relay?

Any suggestions as to TSing the electronics would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Monk
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
37,864 Posts
Sounds like what happens when there is corrosion on a connection either at the battery or in the cables. The heavy load of the starter breaks the connection.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HMonk

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks but . . . had installed new battery. I also tried jump starting from my truck (engine running).

Any thoughts on the fuse/relay?

Monk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,833 Posts
You indicated that you checked the starter relay and pins 85 and 86 show continuity. With the starting system NOT engaged pins 30 and 87 have NO continuity; pins 85 and 86 should show some resistance through the relay coil. Are you sure you identified the proper relay as the starter relay? There are 4 - 5 relays mounted on a horizontal bar on the inside area of the left front fender. The one closest to the shock strut tower should be the starter relay. See this link and scroll to the diagram.

1991 Dodge Caravan Starter Relay Switch: Other Category Problem ...

Try this test. You will need a helper. Place your hand on the starter relay housing. Have a helper turn the ignition switch to the start position. Do you feel the relay coil engage? If NO then the problem is with control circuit from the ignition switch, through the control side of the starter relay and return to the PCM (powertrain control module). If YES then the problem lies with corroded contacts in the starter relay. Switch the relay with another one mounted on the horizontal bar and repeat this test. Report back with your results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Allen.

What I did was to remove the starter relay and and check for continuity/shorts with an ohm meter (as I did with all of the fuses). Checking anything in place is a no go: turning the ignition switch to on yields no power to anything; ditto turning the switch to the start position. Power is coming from my truck (engine running) with jumper cables connected directly to the Voyager battery cables - that are disconnected from the Voyager battery. I know that my truck to Voyager connection is good because when I first attempted to start the Voyager, all systems were go (turning the ignition switch to the ON position); I lost all power when I turned the ignition switch from ON to START - thus my assumption that a fuse blew in the process.

Monk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,833 Posts
The positive battery lead should go to the starter solenoid. Is there an additional wire of smaller diameter attached to the positive battery terminal that goes to the PDC (power distribution center) box close to the battery? Make sure that wire is intact.

I believe there is a fuse marked ENG in the PDC. Make sure that is good. You might unbolt the PDC, lift it up and make sure all wiring is intact and not shorted near the PDC.

Here is a link to a discussion about a 1994 Grand Caravan with a starting problem similar to yours. Maybe this will help.

Engine will not start-Blows Fuse: 1994 Dodge Grand caravan 3.0L 134K miles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks again, Allen.

There is, in fact, that additional smaller wire to the PDC. There is continuity from the positive battery terminal to the end of the cable (wire) where it attaches to the PDC terminal. I removed one of the large fuses on the lower bank of the PDC and there is continuity from the cable to one of the pins so I assume that the battery to PDC circuitry is in tact. All of the fuses within the PDC are in tact as tested with an ohm meter and that includes the two 40A "ignition system" and "ignition run only" fuses.

After further observations, I have determined that there is no power to anything, regardless of the ignition switch. For example, I turned the lights on: no lights; opened the door: no dome light. My initial conclusion was that, if there was a short, there would be one (or more) blown fuses - which was my thinking when I posted my query.

So, my refined thinking is this: the circuit is open and it does not appear to be a fuse, i.e., none of the electrical systems in the car are powered. From the negative battery terminal to the chassis ground there is continuity so I assume the negative battery cable/ground circuit is OK. IF that is the case, then my assumption would be that the circuit is open on the positive side, i.e., there is a single break in the circuit that kills the entire electrical system (again, assuming that it is not a single blown fuse).

The question is, then: where might there be an opening on the positive side that would kill the entire electrical system? If the circuit between the positive battery terminal and the solenoid is open does that kill the entire electrical system on the vehicle? Between the solenoid and the starter?

Of course, my mind is stuck on the fact that, before I turned the ignition switch from ON to START, all non-ignition systems were go. Because everything is dead after the fact, I can't help thinking of a fuse. Given that my 74 y/o bones would have to crawl under my car (in cold weather) to access the solenoid, I am hoping to exhaust all other possibilities before hand.

Bottom line question: if not a fuse, where might there be a break (I am assuming one single break in either the positive or negative side) in the electrical system after the battery (the battery/terminal connections are good) that would kill the entire electrical system. And BTW, I have not yet addressed the single 18 ga. wire break because the circuit was OK initially in spite of the break.

Thanks again,

Monk
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,703 Posts
It may not be a fuse. A sudden demand for current may have 'opened' an already poor connection.
With a test light, find out where the power from the battery cables ends.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HMonk and valiant67

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,833 Posts
I would suspect there is still more wire damage caused by rodents than is apparent. I would remove the PDC and look at all the wiring harnesses in that area. In the 1990s Chrysler used fusible links which were embedded in wiring harnesses. If a major short in a power wire occurred, the fuse link in the wire would separate and open to protect the circuit. The problem is getting accurate information as to the location of the wiring harnesses and fusible links.

I have looked at my sources online but I cannot find sufficient detail to show how 12 volt power is routed from the battery to the ignition switch and the headlamp switch and instrument panel. You can take the vehicle to an independent garage and pay a service fee for locating the open or shorted wiring. If you want to fix the problem yourself then you can use an online service, pay a fee and get a wiring diagram in that fashion. You can browse Ebay and find someone who is selling a 1994 Dodge Caravan factory service manual. A factory service manual with chapter 8 wiring diagrams would be best. At this point an accurate wiring diagram is essential to methodically find the source of this problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Allen: Thanks,

As a matter of fact, I have a 94 Voyager service manual, complete with 185 pages of schematics, fuse blocks, PDC, et al. Great winter reading! As best I could with a strong LED light and telescoping mirror,I could find no obvious violations of any of the wiring harnesses, i.e., everything is wrapped/shielded as one would expect, except the aforementioned 18 ga wires, which, based on the engine compartment diagram, apparently goes to the horn. Being an exponent of Occam's' razor, I am going to replace the battery cables ($25 total at my local AutoZone). At that point, I will, at least, know that power is getting to the PDC and solenoid. I'll post my progress.

@Imperial: Thanks.

I'm not saying no but it is hard for me to imagine a circuit being suddenly broken by energy demand through that circuit - other than a fused circuit (which breaks under the demand). But, with that in mind, as I noted, above, I'm going to replace the battery cables, which, in my mind, will eliminate a more likely source of failure due to corroded terminals/wiring and proceed from there if power is not restored.

Stay tuned.

Monk.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
37,864 Posts
As I stated above, it is not uncommon for corrosion to cause the symptoms you have seen. The corroded connection can carry the current for small demands then the connection opens when a larger draw is encountered.
Sometimes when left to sit for a while, the connection may reestablish and you can get small things like lights and radio to work again. Sometimes not.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top