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Dodge Dakota Electrical Problems



  • I figured it out.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There are a number of things that could cause this, including bad connections in various wiring harness connectors.

    A somewhat common problem of intermittently blinking lights for that year Dakota is the Light Switch mounted on the instrument panel.

  • Thanks Dusty.........I suspected it could be the light switch because I couldn't find a relay or any other electrical device that controlled all the lights. I will replace the switch and see what happens.
  • I have a new alternator(the old one was still good).The battery tests good with a load. but the check engine light comes on when the battery gauge goes over 15 amps and almost hits 18. I have a mechanic getting me a used computer from a junk yard. If none is available I can get a reman for under $200. Anyone have this problem? Another dodge mechanic I know and 2 service managers all think its the computer because there is a module in there that controls the voltage.
  • Hi, just bought my teen age son a 2000 Dakota 4x4 SLT a month ago. Left turn signal blinks rapidly almost everytime he uses it to signal. The right turn signal works normally. Checked to make sure turn signal bulbs are working in front an back and they are just fine except for the fact that they also blink rapidly like the interior blinker signal does. Anyone else have this problem or have any idea what might be causing it? Thank!!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    First, on your Dakota the electrical system gauge is calibrated in volts, not amperes. So the "15" and "18" you referred to is indicated voltage.

    Eighteen volt output is about the max for a regulated system. The check engine indicator lamp is illuminating because the Electronic Voltage Regulator (EVR) electronics in the PCM is seeing an abnormal charging rate.

    The normal maximum charging rate varies according to temperature of the battery, from about 12.6 volts at 100 degrees F, to 16.0 volts at 0 degrees F.

    The fact that the alternator is charging at 18 volts indicates that the battery is taking an excessive amount of charge current. It could be caused by a battery that is not holding a charge or is starting to develop a low internal resistance.

    Electronic Voltage Regulator failures in the PCM have been amazingly rare in Chrysler vehicles in my experience. I'd more believe you have a wiring problem or a flaky alternator at the moment.

    How old is this battery and have you just started to have this problem since its turned quite cold? (I'm assuming you are living in a North American winter climate area.) I've seen batteries play tricks on good auto technicians and I have experienced a similar scenario myself on a '93 Nissan Sentra. The battery could be the problem here.

    My recommendation is to install a new or known good battery from another vehicle and see if the charging situation remains the same. If it does then you probably have a wiring problem (to the alternator), a bad alternator, and lastly, a bad PCM.

    Good luck,
  • I think I found the answer. Its the alternator that my mechanic bought from advance auto in harisburg pa. I had another shop test it and it was over 16 .it fluctuated from 13 to over 16. I could not convince my mechanic that bought it to replace it. He was afraid he would pay if advance said it was good. So I took it to advance it was charging at 16.34. That made the check engine light come on. It was the voltage regulator. It was a new alternator. Momroe was no help because although they installed the original reman alt(at a high cost) they were mad I got a new one at less than the cost of a reman. So no more monroe. They mark up 100% of all parts. Now I have to get my mech to install the 2nd new one Monday whivch he said he would. Thanks for answering. Advance is notorious for bad mechanis said he had to buy 4 to get 1 good one.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I have mentiond this in the past.... the reason that the alternators from "Adavance Auto" have a lifetime warantee is because they are CHEEEPPP. The roumer is that their rebuilt units are assembled by trained monkeys on mars and there is no quality control nor testing of the units.

    Kidding aside, The cheep rebuilding process allows the prices to be VERY low and attractive. But BEWARE! -- you are the tester of the alternator. If it fails, you have to remove it and take it back so you can have the privlidge to get another untested alternator.

    For me, the labor to replace an alternator several times just to find a good one is FAR more expensive than just installing a KNOWN GOOD alternator once.
  • i agree. i have a new one on order that ill get monday. the dealer put it in so i can get the labor paid. you see the monroe alternator only lasted two years and its out of warrenty. so i was faced with getting one at their inflated 100% mark up price. so i figured that id try advance. hope thid works. It was monroe who wanted to sell me one when i originally saw the check engine light on. Then when I got the new one, and it acted up,they said it could be the computer or a wiring problem They didn't mention it could be a bad voltage regulator. So I went to advance and they said it was a voltage regulator. But you are correct...get quality and put it in your car. Too make matters worse today, my new hyundai was hit by a ford explorer 1984. Only thing was there was no driver in the car. He left the engine running and went into a store in a shopping center. He had it in drive. It came at me . I could stop quick enough to throw it in reverse. got hit.
  • I recently purchased a dakota for my wife and the factory radio did not work properly. It would turn on and the volume would turn up or down with sound coming out of the speakers. But nothing else would happen. I couldn't change the station. So I went to walmart bout a Pioneer 6700 cd player with all the right adaptors. But after I installed it, no sound comes out of the speakers but the head unit works. I first thought it was the radio so i returned it but the new does the same thing. If anyone has any suggestions please reply. Thank You. Randall Wagler
  • Dusty you seem to know what you are talking about. Yes I live in harrisburg pa. It started when it got cold. I took the truck up to dodge yesterday. They are all confused on their original testing. They have two more tests that they will do today .Then they will tell me what they THINK is wrong. It never seemed to go up to 18 volts only 16.2. Maybe I should just run it. Or put a new battery in and a mopar alternator. I can get my money back from the new advance alternator. I never had an overcharging problem. Is it the fuel injectors? air flow sesor? map sensor. the computer is newer from a 56000 mile truck. but it did it before all these things were put in. at one time i had to replace a headlight switch. even if the lights are not on(assuming the headlights draw the most voltage) could a bad light switch be drawing current? before i put the new alternator in,the old monroe alt would make the head lights flicker as the speed of the engine would rev up. maybe the idle sensor? is there an idle sensor?
  • Hi, I have just got a 94 Dakota and the wipers will not work. I was wondering if anyone knows what fuse the wipers are or if anyone knows anything about this.
  • Im answering my own email. The dealer still cant find the problem because even though the new cimputer is sending a signal to charge at 13.8 the alt seems to be stuck in the full throttle position and sending almost 16 volts to the battery. they think the alt was so used to going full throttle that it is stuck in that position. so i got advance to send another alt to the dealer on monday so now we will have a new computer and a new alternator working together. advance has delco making their alt now. ill let everyone know how to solve this one. ant other opinions?
  • 66gt66gt Posts: 5
    1999 Dakota V6 Automatic
    This truck will run fine for a while then the "Check Gauges" light will come on. Shortly after that the oil and fuel gauge will go to their maximum limit (H and F). Sometimes, but not always, the volt meter will drop to below 8 volts while at the same the alternator starts charging at about 17 volts. The truck will sometimes start running rough caused by a rich fuel mixture (based on the black smoke it pukes out). Once the ABS/Brake lights have come on when all this happens and once the airbag lamp has come on.
    The "check guages" lamp will then turn off and the truck returns to normal.
    This has been going on for about a year and I have found no weather condition (hot/cold) or sequence of events that causes this to happen. The problem may occur right at startup or take several days to happen.
    The dealer says bad PCM. I sent the PCM to be check and repaired if need be. The PCM was determined to be operating correctly.
    Please help me before I drive this thing into a lake and give up
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    In this cold weather my '03 Dakota with the 136 ampere alternator is pretty much charging at 15-16 volts most of the time at the temperatures that Rochester, New York has had in the past month or better. Now my battery is about five years old and probably explains for some of that, but at these temperatures you're going to be over 13 volts because of the battery temperature.

    Speaking battery temperature, I don't know if they had a battery temperature sensor in the battery tray that year, but if they did and that sensor was bad or the wiring defective, you could get over or under charging.

    At the moment I would be trying a Mopar new or rebuilt alternator. I know they're more expensive. But I've had so many bad experiences with aftermarket rebuilts over the years that I just don't go that route any more.

    Best of luck,
  • Mine was similar. Its the wiring harness. Dakota are noted for that. I believe its the wiring on the computer side of the engine. Passenger side. There is a short in one of the wires. I heard about it so often it should be classified as a factory defect i believe. Dont replace anything. Have the DEALER look for the short first. Try to get a mechanic that worked on dodges and know about the wiring problem. The guy who told me is a resident in a halfway house. He found it after one of his instructors in a dodge dealersgip who had 30 years of experience could not find it. Thank god for ex offenders who read and study dodge wiring diagrams.Write me back...I bet thats wat it is.
  • 66gt66gt Posts: 5
    Thanks a lot. I'm taking it to the dealer on Monday. I will mention the short.
    I 'll post the the solution so others with he same issue can have a ray of hope.
  • PROBLEM: No marker lights, license plates lights, back-up lights, or console lights.
    I know that this sounds like an issue with the fuses or the switch, but I have already replaced the switch and the fuses are good.
    The next step in the trouble-shooting process reads "take to a professional, put out lots of dough."
    Any takers?
  • try taking it to the dealer. i suspect there is a short in the wiring harness near the computer. dakota are known for shorts that cause weid responses on the dash etc.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    What year, engine, transmission, two-wheel or four-wheel drive?

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