Poor Service on 1998 Plymouth Grand Caravan
Addy's Harbor Dodge Takes ADVANTAGE OF TOURISTS DON'T GO THERE IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY MYRTLE BEACH! AFTER REPEATED ATTEMPTS FOR HELP THEY WON’T CORRECT WRONGS To: Service Manager RE: Poor Service on 1998 Plymouth Grand CaravanFrom: Brian Smith Request for compensation for unfair charges & poor quality service.I would like to review the problem in detail for you. I am a wheelchair bound quadriplegic and I purchased the van in 2000 and had it modified at great ex pence. I can't afford to replace it. I didn't have problems for a few years, then I had an intermittent problem when the whole cluster (all of the gauges) just stopped working for a while then would magically start again. It became more frequent and then stopped working altogether last June when we were on vacation in SC. I took van to Addy’s Dodge dealer, see Invoice on bottom sheet that details repairs. After diagnosis the problem again disappeared but you told us it will probably fail without a new board, my wife was afraid to risk the 600 mile drive without repair (A breakdown on 95 in wheelchair is a MAJOR problem) so we ordered the part and drove the van without problems for 3 days. Then we had it repaired when the board arrived, after paying $1300 we picked up the van and the next night, the night before we were set to drive home, the gauges all died again. We delayed leaving to take van back to you for repair & refund. While returning van to you the gauges suddenly started working. You refused any refund since everything was working and we drove home without problems. Then a few months later the problem started again & stopped several times before ST. insp. last week when mechanic had it happen to him, he said he banged top of dash & gauges came on again. They started and stopped 4 times until Sat. when they stopped and will not restart (yet). As we told you last year we feel taken advantage of since we were in a bind as tourists and had no option but to trust your advice. If I would have had internet access I would have been able to have saved the cost of the false repair for which I am still making credit card payments . I have researched this problem online for 15 minutes, here is what I found...http://www.fixya.com/cars/t1002****-instrument_panel_works_offDo a google search for "1998 voyager instrument cluster solder" and you will find an abundance of posts regarding the soldered joints on the main wiring harness connector on the back of your instrument cluster. If the behavior is at all erratic and unpredictable, or hitting the dash makes the gauges come back to life, then you are about 99.9% sure it is the solder problem. It takes about 8 minutes to remove the instrument cluster (okay maybe 15), and about 2 minutes to remove the circuit board. By examining the solder joints of the main connector with a magnifying glass, you will probably see cracked or corroded solder on them. Briefly reheat each solder joint with a soldering iron to re-flow the solder. Your erratic gauge behavior should now be history.Caravan/Voyager Electrical Issues Re: Plymouth voyager/ dodge grand caravan 97 questions Check this site for other posts on 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan electrical problems & you should find previous answers to this problem and other related intermittent dashboard electrical problems. Its caused by fractured solder joints on the connector spikes which the wiring harness plugs onto which is mounted under the dash board display cluster. Pictures on disassembly/repair procedure: http://www.flickr.com/photos/landar/show/with/347455****#5 of 6 Re: 1998 Plymouth Voyager Cluster/Lights Issue - Flashing on and off cluster... [jhah17] by 2voyagersI'm pretty sure your problem is the all to well documented instrument cluster gremlin. Very common problem, and easy to fix. Sounds like your gauges are behaving erratically, off and on without predictability. Has banging on the top of the dash ever brought them back to life? If so, then it's almost certain it is the instrument cluster problem. Here's a link that describes the solution: http://www.fixya.com/cars/t1002****-instrument_panel_works_offEssentially you just remove the instrument cluster and remove the circuit board from the back. Locate the 13 pins that are soldered in place where the main wiring harness connects. It is likely the bottom right ground pin that has a cracked solder connection....by re-melting the solder on this pin, your problems are solved. With a magnifying glass, you'll probably see a small crack around the solder on this pin. I re-melted all pins just to be sure. Google "98 voyager instrument cluster solder" and you'll find lots of posts describing the problem and this solution - some with pics. It's real easy to do. #6 of 6 Re: 1998 Plymouth Voyager Cluster/Lights Issue - Flashing on and off cluster... [2voyagers] by danielwallaceReplying to: 2voyagers (Feb 12, 2012 10:27 am)Right on the money, there! I had an intermittent problem where the whole cluster (all of the gauges) just stopped working. It became more frequent and then stopped working altogether. This morning I took it out, pulled the circuit board off and examined the solder joints on the main connector with a magnifying glass as you suggested. Viola! Several of them had hairline cracks in the solder. I re-soldered them all and stuck it back in and it works like a charm! It took all of about 30 minutes start to finish... simple job, really. #6 of 167 Re: Dodge Caravan [mopar413] by rickmThis is a known problem with Caravans/Voyagers. It's most often caused by a bad solder joint on the instrument cluster circuit board. To remove the instrument cluster, you have to remove a lot of trim pieces. Start at the bottom of the dash and remove the screws. Then remove each trim piece by pulling on it. Don't forget to remove the screws on the side of the dash that hold the vent louver in place. Once you have the trim pieces off, remove the 4 screws that hold in the cluster. Pull the cluster forward and unsnap the red power connector. Then remove the cardboard insulator from the cluster and remove the circuit board. Use a low power soldering gun to re solder all the connections from the power connector. Then reassemble. That poor connection repair cures the problem in 90% of the cases. The bad connection is why it works if you smack the dash. #33 of 167 98 Voyager Dashboard Issues SOLVED by 98voyager1MY MECHANIC FOUND AND FIXED IT! I have a 98 Plymouth Grand Voyager, Expresso purchased new. It had been doing all of the electric issues raised. Dealership where it was purchased new replaced every computer chip they could charge me for ( $600 bucks a chip no less)! Out of total disgust went to body shop mechanic who sent me to mechanic across the street from him and HE FOUND IT-FIXED IT! And to confirm that he fixed it--the repair was done late last year and I am still driving today without any issues! THE MAN IS INCREDIBLE. The problem is with the mother board for the electrical; the soldering cracked. If you let it go long enough the van starts stalling out completely and won't turn over especially in humid weather. I used to pound on the dashboard behind the steering wheel when it wouldn't turn over and sometimes that would help. I was towed 3 separate times (in the rain) because the car would not turn over but turned over the minute it was taken off the flatbed because the car had been "jiggled and tossed about"--"Sounds like the battery" "Sounds like the starter","Sounds like...." And I replaced all of it! You need to speak with this man: Dominic, owner/operator of DMC Automotive, Harbor, Pennsylvania-- He is a certified, factory-trained Mercedes repair service center. (Daimler is Mercedes). First thing Dominic said was Mercedes had a problem like this and he found it. So, I am still driving my 1998 purple Plymouth Grand Voyager today (10-9-2007http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX?14@@.f118eee/18#19 of 167 Re: 98 Grand Voyager dash quits clarification requested [bubba214] by pmack1Jun 20, 2007 (7:20 pmReplying to: bubba214 (Apr 28, 2007 2:05 pm) To you and the gentlemen you were replying to the problem is your BCM (body control module) pn#0480****AE, I am about 99% sure of this. I repair these allllll day long and the 1998 build bcm for the minivans are horrible. There is so many issues with these things it is a joke. The problem you are having is that a 330 ohm resistor (a 5 cent part) is opening intermittently (for now). Once you replace the bcm and it fixes the problem do not be surprised if in the not to distant future you have another problem. I work for one of seven reman centers for these things and we tried getting Huntsville electronics (who makes these) to scrap all current bcm's and make a new build because these are so unreliable even after remanned. You obviously know how that went over. Chrysler is only required to have a supply on parts for their vehicles for 10 years and if they can make that time they dont care about the customer. If I can help any of you in anyway feel free to contact me. I may be able to help you get a deal on your repair. #250 of 654 Re: No gauges [minvanman] by dodgenightmareHi, not sure if I am too late - I just read your post but notice it is from August 2, almost 2 weeks ago, Anyway, the first thing I would check - and this is easier than it sounds, though a little tougher than changing a fuse - is the circuit board that is housed behind your dashboard. It drives all of your instrument gauges. Good thing you have not gone to a dealer - I hope you haven't yet, because I haven't found one single one that actually knows what to do in this case. Anyway, there are some solder points on the circuit board that when they were created were soldered too cold, and over time have cracked, causing a communication breakdown. Find the spots that look like they have a crack or a crack-ring in them and re-solder the spots. It that is indeed what it is, that will fix the problem. Or, if you are not comfortable with a soldering iron, you could buy a new circuit board and install it - but the soldering iron is much cheaper, trust me - I think I paid $5.00 for mine at the local tool store - Harbor Freight - an el-cheapo one will do the job. Or pay a friend who is handy with one to do the job. I had this very same challenge for two years and tried so many different things - except spend money - until I finally figured out what it was by pure perseverance. I did the complete job -removing the board, soldering, re-installing, and putting all the dash panels back in about 15 to 20 minutes. I have also heard others who were told by a dealer or a mechanic to change this or that - from Body Control Module (computer) to relay switches, to other expensive things - some up to $3,000 later and still the problem was not resolved. I was not willing to spend that kind of money of people who were just guessing and making a mint in the process. So I was patient and ended up spending only $5.00 to resolve the challenge. Good luck, and hope it helps. #107 of 167 Re: 99 Plymouth Voyager instrument panel problem [wickjr] by samb3Sep 22, 2009 (6:15 pm) Replying to: wickjr (Mar 08, 2009 8:44 am)I have a 99 Dodge Caravan (same thing) that was doing the same thing. Just pulled the cluster out, removed the circuit board and badabing, I found a broken solder joint where the plug snaps in. Soldered it, now working great. Easy but little time consuming process. Hope this helps #113 of 167 Re: 2000 Voyager instrument cluster issues [mtnman9] by jdebbinsNov 11, 2009 (6:57 pm) Replying to: mtnman9 (Nov 02, 2009 8:05 pm)you (and all the other people with intermittent instrument panel problems) need to do one simple but time consuming operation. Remove the instrument panel. Put it face down on your kitchen table. Remove the circuit board carefully.... it pulls away snugly. Flip the circuit board over, and observe the connector where the two rows of pins are soldered. Get out your soldering iron, flux each pin, and reflow the solder. If you are smart, you will get a magnifying glass out before you re-solder, and upon inspection you should see a circular hairline correct around one or more pins... there is your intermittent. Do this and I guarantee the problem solved. #150 of 167 Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan dash instrument panel dead [eclaypool] by johnbeckNov 30, 2010 (4:50 pm)Replying to: eclaypool (Nov 29, 2010 8:17 pm) My problem has definitely been fixed !! Faults are all being caused by fractured soldering on the rear of the instrument cluster circuit board; mainly ground returns - that's why so many odd & erratic things happen. It's not a big deal removing the instrument cluster and resolder the obviouse fractures in the solder joints.... My opinion is that when everyone jumped on the 'lead free' bandwagon, the electronics industry went to a high tin type content thereby making the solder less flexible and prone to movement stress fractures.... IF you can search the site further, you should come across a final posting from me outlining the disassembly and resoldering instructions on my Dodge '98 Grand Caravan. Don't let the dealers get their hands on this problem... From the horror stories I've heard, some people have paid big bucks for the dealers to guess & unecessarily replace all sorts of modules... IF you can get partial functioning of the display cluster by thumping hard on the top of the dash, that's a good indication it's bad display cluster soldering.. Let me know if this works for you ok? Cheers John I am asking you to consider refunding some of my payment since it is obvious the problem is common and you replaced a part that has long history of how to repair at a cost much less than I was charged. Please respond via email ASAP. Sincerely,Brian SmithBSmith8592@***.com See: Attached Invoice
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