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Son's van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies #5142929 06/24/19 02:28 PM
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69GTX Offline OP
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Trying to give some ideas to my son. First the ABS warning light came on. Then the check engine and engine oil warning lights. Then they went away and everything was fine for a few
miles. Then they came back again in similar sequence. These lights are flashing, not steady. He stopped the vehicle...then it wouldn't start or even engage the starter. Just had the head lights available. A short while later he tried again and it started....warning lights were gone. This sequence repeated again. Warning Lights Flashing. Car won't start again. Didn't say if he turned it off or the car stalled out.

Sounds like an intermittent ground on the electrical system. Maybe corrosion in the battery lines/grounding. He did say one of the door panels was just removed for some work. Maybe that left an exposed wire or a strained wire that's grounding the electrical system at times....dropping the voltage and/or current.

comments? It's a 2002 Dodge Caravan.

Last edited by 69GTX; 06/24/19 02:31 PM.

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2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 50K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142933 06/24/19 02:32 PM
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mk378 Online Content
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If the starter doesn't turn (it may click, but it doesn't make that "car trying to start" sound) when you turn the key, check for bad connections at the battery.

Last edited by mk378; 06/24/19 02:32 PM.
Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142954 06/24/19 02:58 PM
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69GTX Offline OP
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I told him to check anything going to and from battery to alternator and/or grounding...especially corrosion or bare wires. He said every connection was sealed or taped. He wandered into one of the auto retail places and they all jumped on alternator failing. Which makes sense since they'd like to sell him a new alternator. Currently the car is driving around fine. I told him not to turn it off until he gets where he's going. It could also be a heat related issue stressing a weakened or aged electrical system as it's 100 deg F today where he's at.

The two times he turned the car off - it wouldn't restart right away. He had to wait a bit. Heat? And in each case he heard nothing from the starter engaging the flywheel and cranking the engine.

Last edited by 69GTX; 06/24/19 03:00 PM.

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2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 50K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142959 06/24/19 03:06 PM
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DerbyDave Offline
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Check and double check all the grounds. I had a loose negative cable on my battery a while back, the dash lights would randomly light up then the car would die. Battery and alternator tested fine. I tightened the negative cable and it has never done it again. Your situation sounds suspiciously similar.


2005 Buick Terraza
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Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142961 06/24/19 03:08 PM
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tcp71 Offline
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Battery issues can cause all kinds of crazy sensor issues. My bet is a plate in the battery is separating when hot. As it cools, connections are re-established and the van starts.If you can change the battery with another and try it, it might save the cost of buying a new one to confirm.


2016 F150 Eco: Edge 0w40
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Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142969 06/24/19 03:22 PM
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69GTX Offline OP
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Actually, he told me they had just put a new battery in the van. But checking all the connections makes sense. He did verify all the top connections were clean and tight.


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2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 50K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142977 06/24/19 03:33 PM
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mk378 Online Content
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New parts aren't necessarily good.

When it won't start you need to use a voltmeter to see where the voltage is being lost.

Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5142978 06/24/19 03:34 PM
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Chris Meutsch Offline
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Check chassis grounds on the negative side. My car was flashing dash lights, alt and battery checked out fine. Found a broken cable, fixed it, all is well.


2005 Honda CR-V EX, 280k
Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5143186 06/24/19 08:00 PM
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maverickfhs Offline
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Ground and probably alternator test. Good luck.


2006 Civic EX 209K/AT
2006 Acura TSX 199K/AT
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Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5143219 06/24/19 08:43 PM
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BozoDeClowne Offline
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Had a similar problem with an 04 with the 3.8L. Positive battery cable looked fine at the connector, but was terribly corroded at the crimp. So much so that about half of the strands had snapped. Same sort of thing - random lights and then stopping dead while driving. Every couple of years I'd have to cut a bit off the ends and install one of those "repair" cable jumpers as the cable would be too short to reach the top of the battery.


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Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: mk378] #5143223 06/24/19 08:48 PM
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bbhero Offline
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Originally Posted by mk378
New parts aren't necessarily good.

When it won't start you need to use a voltmeter to see where the voltage is being lost.



Great point ^^^^^^^^

I had a hoopty Doo brand new alternator fail within literally 10 miles... Car died on the way to my lady's family house.


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Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5143267 06/24/19 09:51 PM
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69GTX Offline OP
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Good inputs. Thanks all. Will have him closely check all those ground and battery points.


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2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 50K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Son's work van is giving multiple warning lights that come and go - vehicle dies [Re: 69GTX] #5143451 06/25/19 06:25 AM
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wag123 Offline
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Originally Posted by tcp71
Battery issues can cause all kinds of crazy sensor issues. My bet is a plate in the battery is separating when hot. As it cools, connections are re-established and the van starts.If you can change the battery with another and try it, it might save the cost of buying a new one to confirm.

Originally Posted by 69GTX
Actually, he told me they had just put a new battery in the van. But checking all the connections makes sense. He did verify all the top connections were clean and tight.
Just because the battery is "new" doesn't mean that it isn't defective. I have seen this sort of thing before. Don't dismiss this possibility.

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