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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury

Jim Grant's Tech Tips

Chrysler Town & Country, Blinking Computerized Dash

Q: At just about 100k miles the dashboard started shutting down on my Chrysler Town & Country. It seemed as if it was one thing at a time, speedometer, cruise, etc.. I took it to the dealer. They told me it was a bad board and would cost $800 to correct. He "reset" the computer and the car was working fine, but he wouldn't guarantee for how long. About 9k miles later the van was starting to act funny occasionally when driving the speed o meter would go to zero, engine power completely cut out for ~1/2 second and then be fine. Is this a computer problem? Or is it a connection to the computer?

- Carl D.

A: The first problem/condition you reported was likely due to a body computer problem. The body computer in your vehicle is known for wigging out. When this happens the dash display goes haywire. "Note; haywire & wigging out are technical terms for something not working right." When the body computer has its fit anything from the dash display to your interior lighting can be affected. Problems with a body computer can range from just a bad day to circuit failure, with a few items in between. Body computers sometime will get better after the key has been off for a while, like over night. Other times the battery has to be disconnected for a short time for the body computer to get its act back together. Over the years software updates have been needed to get the body computer back in line. Last but not least the body computer just has to be replaced. The replacement will also have the latest and greatest software update for your vehicle. You cannot go to a junkyard for a used body computer and it is unlikely an independent repair shop can help. The equipment and software required is found at the dealership. As for the engine seeming to cut out with the sudden drop of the speedometer there is the possibility that the vehicle speed sensor is failing. The engine and transmission computer need vehicle speed information. If the signal is lost the engine and transmission computer go into a panic. The body computer really doesn't care much about their problems, but without vehicle speed signal the body computer will just report 0 MPH on the display. If the signal comes back the body computer is okay with that and will display the vehicle speed again. Have a code check performed; if there is vehicle speed sensor code there is a good chance you just have a failing sensor.

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