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What could be causing my (non-)starting issues? Occasionally (once every two weeks or so) when the keys are inserted and turned to the start position, nothing happens. No noise, no dome lights dimming if they're already on, nothing. The dash lights come on, as well as any accessories (radio, blower, etc.), but nothing to indicate that it's trying to start. Sometimes I can just take the keys out, put them back in, and then it starts normally, but sometimes it will take several minutes of trying before The starter actually engages and then the engine will start right up (no whining or sputtering, just a normal start).

The battery is less than a year old. The van has about 90k miles.

It's unlike any electrical problem I've had other vehicles (alternator/battery/solenoid/starter issues) -- in those the car would either try and fail to start or wouldn't start at all because it was totally drained of battery power.

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I have the same issue with my 04 sedona. I am stuck now with it. I got it to start but stupid me shut itboff again. –  user3790 Oct 5 '13 at 16:34

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

That sounds like an immobiliser problem to me. What happens if you get out, lock, then unlock the van, then try again?

Another possible problem is a loose wire between the ignition switch and the solenoid, but in that case I'd expect it to need physical intervention before it would work again (i.e. knocking or wiggling the wire to remake contact)

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It just happened again last night. I tried your get out / lock / unlock suggestion and it worked. What kind of immobiliser problem does that point to? –  Nicholas Trandem Nov 15 '11 at 23:08

Or could be a bad ignition switch.

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There is a strong possibility there is an issue in the interior fuse box which is also the body module. There is a problem often seen with the burglar alarm relay (built into the box/module, not replaceable). This relay doesn't sound the alarm, but disables the car. Locking and unlocking the car making it work seems to confirm it. You can also try to start while knocking on the fuse box (lower left of dash) to try and confirm.

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no it is the relay switch remove it and put back in it is located on the fuse box under the hood fixed my problem hope this helps

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The following was suggested by someone else on another website and worked for me!! After being towed several times, now I just pull the relay out and plug it back in. Takes only a minute or two and I have done it about 10 times now.

When the vehicle doesn't start, I simply go to the fuse panel under the steering wheel and remove the relay labeled "alternator." I then plug it back in (a hard reset) and the car starts.

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