19th Dec 2010, 18:19

I have a 1997 Chrysler Town and Country LXI 3.8 engine. One problem I am having is that the van will start and run for a second, and then shut off. Also, the gear shift indicator lights do not light up when this happens, and some of the gauges do not work. If I turn on the key and the gear shift indicators lights come on, the van will start and run fine. This problem used to happen maybe once every 2 months. Now it is happening several times a week.

28th Mar 2011, 22:04

I had the same problem and it turned out to be the pulley. There is a rubber bushing in the pulley that had worn and would allow the belt to slowly ride out of alignment and come off completely. The five times this happened to me there was always moisture present as in rain or snow. The mechanics kept changing the idler pulley and the tensioner but to no avail.

26th Apr 2011, 14:28

Get a new mechanic.

5th Jun 2011, 06:47

OK, so I have a 97 T&C also, and I love mine. My belt also had some issues with staying functioning on my van. After some research, I found that the drain for the window cal was dripping on the belt, which made it slip off. There is a tip that is supposed to allow the water to drip slowly, but of course mine was broken, so a small hose was placed on mine to redirect the water, and a coat of silicone was put on the belt to stop the squeak. This fixed mine; good luck, and I hope this helps.

23rd Aug 2011, 23:28

My daughter has a 1997 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. It stalled out today. At times the acceleration went down on its own, then would pick back up on its own as well. It did backfire a couple of times as well, then it will stall out. After it sits for a while, it will start again, but you have to really press down on the gas to get it running. Then it may run good for a few minutes, then it all starts over again. What could it possibly be?

10th Dec 2011, 14:23

For those of you with a 1997 Town & Country van that has issues where the air bag light stays on, the horn and cruise control don't work, and the left turn signal does not reset after the turn, you need to get the clock spring replaced. Called the recall division of Chrysler, as well as my local dealer, and this item has a lifetime warranty, as it is a serious safety hazard. My dealer scheduled me in right away, confirmed that there is no charge under the warranty, and the replacement takes around an hour. Hope this helps everyone with the same problem.

14th Feb 2012, 23:45

Sounds like the "clockspring" in the steering column needs to be replaced. It will turn on the air bag light, and also render the cruise control and horn inoperable.

Some Chrysler vans were recalled because of these. There was also a Technical Service Bulletin issued.

19th Feb 2012, 11:05

You could buy a replacement part for the upper body area of top front strut area; the replacement part would need to be welded in. The old front strut rusted area would need to be cut out, and the new one replaced. Most likely done by a body shop, unless you're handy..

20th Jun 2012, 10:41

For those who had this problem with their '97 T&C Chrysler. All the door switches coming up and down, annoying problem. Cleaned all the contacts, but to no avail. Any help is appreciated...

20th Jul 2012, 20:59

Hello there, I love my mini vans. What I have right now is a 97 T&C, but I have been buying Caravans and Voyagers (Caravans, 2 Voyagers and 1 Town & Country).

I know they have not so good brake systems, and transmission problems (as a matter of fact, the T&C transmission, the sensors went bad twice already), but I had the same annoying noise on my serpentine belt. I replaced the tensioner and the belt started to come off when wet. What I did; I turned the pulley that keeps the belt in place around (I took it off, turned it, and I put it back in place; that pulley was worn on the outside).

9th Feb 2013, 14:23

They make a belt kit with grooved pulleys and belt to fix this.

2nd Jun 2013, 11:29

It's your belt tensioner.

21st Dec 2013, 18:13

I have a 97 T&C, and it has good brake pedal when the engine is off, but when I start it the pedal goes to the floor. I've looked at a lot of forums, but to no avail. Help please.

29th May 2014, 16:13

Advanced Auto has a kit that will solve this problem. I replaced mine after the belt slipped off many times. This was the cure.

6th Dec 2014, 16:01

You probably don't still own your minivan, but this may help someone else; the problem with the horn and cruise control not working from the steering wheel controls is due to a poor design of the "watch spring", which is installed in the steering column and provides electrical connectivity to the steering wheel controls for cruise and horn. This is a known problem, and there was a recall so you can have it replaced for FREE by the dealer. I have had mine replaced at least 2 times for free. Try to avoid adjusting the tilt wheel, or if you have to, avoid the extreme positions or lowering it all the way and then letting it slip so that it snaps back to the extreme upper position, as I think this may be what broke mine the second time.

14th Apr 2015, 23:54

Typically the dash is the culprit. It needs to be pulled and have the back re-soldered. Slap the dash and it should run.

31st Oct 2015, 15:57

I know this is an old post, however this is a fairly common problem and others may benefit from this answer. The problem described is certainly a faulty cluster board. The board will need replacing or re-soldering. Essentially you aren't getting power to the fuel pump, so the car will start but quickly die. And the gauges won't respond, which is a giveaway that the cluster board is faulty. Also, if you turn the ignition on, you should hear the quiet rumble of the fuel pump initiating. If you hear the rumble, the fuel pump is okay. Cluster repairs can be had for about $100... or if you're handy, resolder the thing yourself.