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  #1  
Old 04-27-2010, 02:13 PM
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Exclamation SKIM, Starter, or Key Problem -- Not sure which...

I have a 2004 T&C. For about a year, the car has been having intermittent starting problems. I had the starter replaced a year ago by a non-dealership mechanic.

Last fall, it again would not start on an intermittent basis. The shop that replaced the starter did so again without doing much trouble shooting (assuming bad replacement part).

Again this spring, the car would not start on an intermittent basis. Took it to the dealership thinking the problem was in the SKIM (because the problem was intermittent). Dealership claimed that the problem was with the starter. So, I had the car towed to the non-dealer mechanic to fix under warranty. This time the non-dealer mechanic did some trouble shooting of their own. The shop traced the problem to the SKIM system in the BCM (which they could not fix). So, I had the car towed back to dealership. Now, the dealership claimed the problem was with the key. So, I bought a new key.

Car works fine for about a month, then it won't start.

So, I have car towed back to dealership. Dealership now claims that it is the starter (which has been twice replaced, but not by them). The dealership claims that they KNOW it is the starter because they took a hammer to the solenoid and it started. However, they did that the previous time I took it in. I think they don't know what they are doing.

HELP!

Does anyone have an idea on what might be going on?

Can anyone tell me all the ways that the SKIM system interfaces with and can disable the starter and all of the ways that the SKIM system can be caused to either disable or enable the starter?

I have been told that multiple failed key tries locks out the system for an indefinite period of time until the system resets. I have also read that there is some way that using the key in the door lock as opposed to using the electronic lock/unlock on the key can enable the starter. I am trying to learn as much about how the SKIM system is suppose to work to match up to what is happening with the car to troubleshoot the problem.

Also, would anyone care to comment on the hammer method of diagnosing the problems with the starter??

THANKS TO ALL WHO REPLY!!!
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2010, 03:47 PM
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Maybe you can explain does not start. You turn the key and totally nothing? As if there were no battery in the car or do you get click clicks?

Is the dealer testing to see if the starter is indeed getting a signal to start? I would say that if it was the starter and they can verify that the signal is getting there (to the solenoid) that the SKIM system is not the problem.

The fact that you have bought 2 starters that did not last very long might mean it is the problem again. You might want to buy a dealer starter and be done with it.


I have used the end of baseball bats on old VW's but never a hammer although one could it tapped lightly. Sometimes the contacts in started get corroded and whacking them with an object helps make contact. Were the replaced starters new or rebuilts? What was their guarantee?

Fixit
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2010, 04:25 PM
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"Does not start"--as in--dashboard lights and radio come on but no clicks, etc., from the starter.

Dealer's mechanic claims to have checked the contacts from the BCM before hitting the starter with the hammer--but, if he did that, why hit the starter with a hammer? Of course, this is what they told me the last time before I had the car towed to the other shop only to have that shop trace the problem to the BCM. Only upon return to the dealer was the key discovered to be the problem. It is hard to believe they have it right this time when they clearly didn't have it right before.

Of course, the diagnostic on the BCM or SKIM (which he claimed was done before resort to the hammer) could have reset whatever was initially preventing the starter from operating.

No one seems to know how the BCM and SKIM interface to either enable or disable the starter. Since the mechanic cannot explain that to me, it is hard for me to believe that he has completely ruled the BCM/SKIM out as the cause.

The starters were factory--I simply cannot believe that three of them independently went bad in the space of 10 months. If the current starter is now bad, then something is causing the starters to fail much faster than they should.
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2010, 09:55 PM
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if the skim was not allowing it not to start u would see a red dot on the dash
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2010, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsj44122 View Post
"Does not start"--as in--dashboard lights and radio come on but no clicks, etc., from the starter.

Dealer's mechanic claims to have checked the contacts from the BCM before hitting the starter with the hammer--but, if he did that, why hit the starter with a hammer?
Because this is how it works.. if he verified the signal from BCM is going to the starter, then the starter must be at fault, thus taping it to see if it then works.

I agree, you are skeptical from their previous attempts. So.. we are at this.. your mechanic says its the BCM or SKIM and your dealer says it is the starter? How about a 3rd party diagnosis?
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2010, 07:51 AM
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Just a thought, but if the problem was the key, wouldn't it still start? I thought a SKIM problem allowed the car to start, but then killed the ignition again after a few seconds and wouldn't allow the engine to rev before it did kill the engine.

Additionally, you would get a SKIM error code (as well as the red dot) - switch the ignition on and off quickly three or four times and your error codes will be displayed on the ODOmeter.

And surely, the engineers should be able to bench test the 'faulty' starter motors, or at least strip it down to see if there is a fault.

Last edited by actd; 04-28-2010 at 07:53 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2010, 10:52 AM
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It's not uncommon for starter motors to cause intermittent problems as either the brushes wear to the cummutators get high spots. A simple strip of the starter motor, replace of the brushes and dressing the commutator with some wet and dry emery paper generally does the trick.

Also check the soundness of your battery connections. If badly corroded or loose fitting they will not be able to delivery the required current to the starter motor. If full of acidic build up, clean them using bicarbonate of soda mixed in hot water. Then remove them, dry them well and then coat both the terminal and the connector with vaseline, refit and tighten up firmly.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2010, 11:05 AM
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Question Update

UPDATE/UPDATE/UPDATE

Thanks to all who have replied!!

Here is what I think I now know....

The SKIM performs a self test before reading the key at start-up. The dashboard light will light for approximately three seconds as a lamp test. Then, it will either go out (everything working), flash (key is not recognized), or remain lit (system self check error). BTW-Thanks Chrysler Tech for your response.

I am still not completely sure how the SKIM interacts with the BCM. I believe the SKIM and/or BCM has an anti-hacking feature that locks out operation (for about an hour) after several attempts to send it the wrong codes to enable operation. Presumably, this is to keep a would-be thief from beating the system by rapidly sending every possible code combination until one was recognized. Not much literature on this feature, and it does not seem to be discussed in the factory service manuals that I have seen.

So, it is possible that when the SKIM or BCM is completely locked out due to this security feature or the SKIM is failing in some other way, the BCM is inhibited from engaging the starter at all. Still not sure on this one.

As to what I saw....before the car went to the dealership, I believe that I saw the red dashboard light stay lit for more than three seconds. Wasn’t really paying close attention to it, though, since I did not understand it’s significance. If it stayed lit, then the SKIM failed its self test in some way. Still not sure why that failure would keep the car from starting as opposed to stopping a few seconds after the start. Any ideas anyone?

I recovered the car today from the dealership after their hammer test. They still contend that the problem was the starter and charged me for the tow to their shop. The car now starts without a problem--just like when they sold me the new key. Dealer mechanic claims that it is starting now but that it is only a matter of time before the solenoid settles in a way in which it is not “making contact” (and will again be inoperable). Does this sound right to anyone?

I am trying to make sense of what may be happening. I'd like to start from the assumption that the mechanic is not dishonest, just uninformed. I am wondering if some intermittent error could be locking up the SKIM or BCM only to clear when the battery is disconnected (thereby completely powering down the computers). Either that, or an error could be clearing when the dealership connects its test gear to the SKIM module (though it is not entirely clear to me that the dealership ever tested the SKIM).

Thoughts anyone???

For the moment, I plan to carry a mallet with me and wait until the problem reoccurs. If the dashboard light stays on, I will know there is a SKIM issue. If not, and the hammer solves the problem, then I guess I will have to replace the starter--again.

To those who have read and replied--again thanks.
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actd View Post
Just a thought, but if the problem was the key, wouldn't it still start? I thought a SKIM problem allowed the car to start, but then killed the ignition again after a few seconds and wouldn't allow the engine to rev before it did kill the engine.
One of the many reasons that I now think the dealership got the "key problem" wrong the last time.
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  #10  
Old 04-30-2010, 09:37 AM
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UPDATE/UPDATE/UPDATE

Well, the car started fine for two days. Then, last night, the starter screeched a little starting the car. Now, this morning, the car will not start at all (turn the key and nothing). The dashboard light does not indicate a SKIM issue, so I am inclined to believe that it really is a starter problem this time.

(Can anyone tell me what caused the starter to screech?)

So, I will let the dealership replace the starter. UGH!

But, I am still having trouble accepting that the car has burned through two supposedly new starters in the space of less than 10 months.

Is there any car systemic problem (electrical or mechanical) that can cause a starter to wear out prematurely?

Thanks again, everyone who has read and replied.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:37 AM
 
 
 
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300, atlanta, chrysler, intermittant, jeep, key, light, module, repair, reset, skim, starter, stays, system, working

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