We flat-tow a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan and recently had a problem with the van that turned out to be a result of the way I set up the van for towing.
On our trip to Alaska, we would go at least several days without the need to disconnect and drive the van. However, this resulted running down the battery due to the drain caused by the dash gauges, odometer and clock.
So, I had the big idea to turn the ignition key back one click. While this meant that the cigarette lighter plug would be de-activated for the Brake Buddy, I didn't think that this mattered since I have it set to activate only in panic stops. It stopped the drain on the battery since the dash gauges, odometer and clock displays were no longer draining the battery.
However, after following this procedure for some time, all of a sudden my van would mysteriously quit while driving down the highway. To make matters worse, turning the key to restart the van would result in NOTHING. After a wait of 1 - 10 minutes, the van would restart and run normally. Numerous trips to the dealer turned up no results other than a big hole in my wallet.
Then, I recognized the relationship between my change in towing procedure and this problem. Viola! Now I tow with my key in the ON position, and no more mysterious stalling problems.
I do not know if this applies to other Chrysler vehicles or any other vehicle. I understand that keeping the key in the position I was using causing an ignition module to heat up and fail. However, friends with a later model Chrysler van report that they have not experienced this problem, so perhaps Chrysler has made a change.
-Submitted by Bob Cook
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