Jim Grant's Tech Tips
97 Dodge Caravan, 2 Second Run Time
I have a ‘97 Dodge Grand Caravan with a 3.8 Liter engine. When I start the car, it starts fine, but after 2 seconds the engine cuts off. I have noticed the gauges on the instrument panel do not work. My mechanic has replaced the computer mother board, but I still have the same problem. Please help!!
If the engine is starting right up and then turning right off you may have an activated anti-theft system. Have your mechanic plug his computer scan tool into the computer and scroll down the data screen to the data display for alarm or something in that manner. Different scan tool manufacturers display this information in different ways. Once the correct data screen is displayed, crank the engine over and watch the information. If the information displayed shows a change of status, something like a no to yes or disarmed to armed, something on that line, then the anti-theft system is activated. But, there are more problems to deal with. The engine computer and the vehicle’s body computer have to know about each other when the other is replaced. The importance of this cannot be overlooked or sidestepped. If the programming procedure is not followed correctly or part of the information is wrong, the 2 computers will argue. Because your dash gauges are not working this indicates that the body computer may not be working correctly. If the body computer was down while the engine computer was being replaced, there will be a communication and programming issues.