Electronic Gremlins - Electrical Problems That Are Driving You Crazy



  • marionbmarionb Member Posts: 1
    When I tried to start my car the other day, nothing would work. The engine would not turn at all. There was just a click and a hum. I had it towed to the nearest AAA mechanic. They said that the battery corroded the battery cable. The whole harness has to be replaced because it only comes as a unit. The project will take about a week and will cost $627. This seems to be really expensive solution to what seems to be a minor problem. I tried to see if I could buy a battery harness cheaper from the dealer. the mechanic quoted me $420 for the part and the dealer quoted $350. However the mechanic refused to work on my car with the less expensive part. Any thoughts? I bought this car new and am scheduled to make my last payment this month. I seem to have to pump $500 to $800 into it every two or three months. Has anyone had a similar problem?
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    Is it setting codes? Especially ABS brake codes? The dealer mechanics should read out codes and see what is happening.

    There is an ABS sensor in the differential housing that causes Rangers to do strange things relating to the cruise control and the overdrive light. A Ford mechanic should have seen this problem before and get it fixed directly....

    This sensor isn't hard to fix. Just remove a bolt holding it in and pull it out.
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    I know nothing about a ZX2 battery cable. But the one for a Cadillac is several hundred dollars to replace. I don't think the cable itself is as expensive as you have been quoted, but the starter is under the intake manifold. It must be loosened up and lifted to be able to remove the cable. It is also routed clear under the motor and has 1 or 2 other major connections in addition to the starter.

    Your mechanic is just screwing you, wanting the addition markup he quoted for the cable. I would expect he is not buying a Ford part (if any after market Autozone, Pepboys, etc carry the cable) and it should be cheaper than Ford's price. In any case, a mechanic gets 'wholesale' prices from Ford and aftermarket parts purchases, so he will 'make money' one the 'retail' price he puts on a ticket. This looks like he 'made up' some price to charge you, and isn't going to back down when you challenged him on the price.

    I would have my car dragged out of there to someone else. And make a complaint to AAA if he is a 'certified' shop.....
  • rebellady1964rebellady1964 Member Posts: 3
    :confuse: Hi Guys! I'm having a very weird problem with the AC/heating lights on the dashboard of my 1998 Dodge Caravan and no mechanic around here seems to know what is wrong! All the lights on my dashboard(ac, wipers, defroster, re-circulate, etc) are flashing constantly! Everything still works as far as the heat and ac but i can't tell when something's on or off because the lights are constantly flashing. The problem began the day after we jumped my daughter's car off. Turns out she had an electrical problem she had to have fixed. The day after giving her a boost, my battery light came on, my electronic speedometer went crazy, and my headlights flashed off and on while driving down the road. We cleaned the battery cable ends which fixed that problem........ then the dashboard AC lights went crazy. I had my battery and alternator tested twice by 2 different sources, both times, it tested fine. Can you tell me what is going on with my system? Thank you, Jeanne
  • ycougarzycougarz Member Posts: 4
    I have a 98 Dodge Grand Caravan whose air bag indicator light on the console would go and off while I was driving for a couple of weeks. Now it won't turn off at all and the horn and cruise control stopped working at the same time. I have checked fuses for all the above and all seem to be fine. Any advise on how to fix this problem would be greatly appreciated.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Usually it's the clockspring under the steering wheel broken. There's a recall on them. Call your local DCM dealer service dept., and have the VIN handy.
  • ycougarzycougarz Member Posts: 4
    Thanks alcan, I'll check into that.
  • inquireinquire Member Posts: 1
    I saw an old post from 2001 regarding problems in a 97 Ford explorer (below) and my 97 XLT just started showing symptoms (no power windows, no interior lights, and flashing 4wd lights). I have no problem checking the wiring or replacing the referenced relays, however, I find no reference anywhere as to the relay locations. Are these the relays in the panel located on the inside drivers side fender wall by the battery? Any additional information on this problem and or TSB would be appreciated.

    Intermittent 4x4 System, Power Windows, Rear Wipers
    Article No.
    This TSB article is being republished in its entirety to correct the Service Procedure Steps.
    A flashing 4X4 lamp and/or a intermittent or loss of:
    ^ Power windows
    ^ Interior lights
    ^ Rear wiper (if equipped)
    ^ Moon roof (if equipped)
    ^ 4x4 system (if equipped)
    may occur on some vehicles. This may be caused by an intermittent Battery Saver, Accessory Delay or One-Touch-Down Relay operation and possible chafing of vehicle wire harness.
    Repair the affected circuit, and/or replace the Battery Saver, Accessory Delay, or One-Touch-Down Relay. Refer to the Diagnostic/Service Procedure for details before replacing any components.
  • w6dwfw6dwf Member Posts: 2
    Dodge 1996 B3500 1-ton 12 passenger van
    I'm searching for an electrical connector to match an existing underdash connector. The shop manual labels this connector as "Van Conversion Provision" with no C- number. It has 4 wires: 2 fused high current wires, a control wire from the ignition switch, and a ground wire. I'd like to find a source for the mating connector.
    Thanks -- W6DWF
  • rhyno1rhyno1 Member Posts: 4
    Ok, here goes:

    Ok, my local garage is just about stumped, and before they start to replace till it's fixed, I thought that I'd try here.

    When headlights are on, when either turn signal is turned on, the front signal works correctly, but sometimes fast. However, both rear brake lights flash along with the center brake light, and the turn signal does not work.

    With either turn signal on hit the brake pedal, turn signals glow along with the center brake light.

    Headlights off, sometimes normal turn signal operation. Hit brake pedal while turn signal on. Front signal fine. Back signal stops flashing on correct side. Brake lights slowly pulse along with turn signal on the other side.

    Occasionally, with headlights on, and brake pedal depressed, turn key off but car keeps running. Not always, but at least 3 or 4 times.

    Lastly, when I have parked the car (car turned off), foot still on brake pedal, open the door, a warning buzzer goes off (like I've left the headlights on). Foot off of brake, buzzer stops.

    Other than throwing the car away and not experiencing Farfugnugen, any help??!!

    OK, another symptom. I noticed when I just got back from the store, with the brake pedal depressed, and the car off, gauges were functional, and all the indicator lights were glowing (just like if the key was in, but the car not turned on).

    Ok, a little more info.

    I noticed something else this morning. Got into the car, BEFORE I put the key in, put my foot on the brake. All of the indicator lights (trouble lights, oil, temp, engine light, etc.) glowed faintly. These are all of the same indicator lights that go on when you put the key in and turn until just before starting or starting the car.

    When I got to work and turned the car off, I then put my foot back on the brake. All of the prior indicator lights glowed again (this glowing is visible, but certainly fainter than when starting the car), and the needles for engine temp and fuel also moved to reflect current engine temp and fuel level.

    I'm sure (well, as much as I can be), that the brake pedal is somehow involved. Is there a switch that might be bad? Or a common ground through the brake pedal?

    Thanks again,

  • buffalobill23buffalobill23 Member Posts: 1
    Yeah - we just had this happen to our 98 Chrysker Town & Country. First the anti-lock brakes light, then the airbag, then all started working and then the horn and cruise quit with most of the dummy lights on. Very intermittent and completely annoying - also seemes to have a strange clicking noise under the dash like a failing flasher module or solenoid clicking even though you were not signalling.

    We took it to the local Dodge dealership and they told us this was fixed by a factory recall - I think they replaced a computer chip and we haven't had any problems since. There was absolutely no charge to us - the service was done about 4 months ago in Aberdeen, Washington (Dwayne Dewee Dodge) and we have 142,000 miles on it so warranty is long gone.

    Hope this helps.

  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 9,778
    Are these things just wear items on European cars? I've never heard of them failing before, and it's something that ought to last the life of the car, but my family has had them fail on two Volkswagens and a Volvo. The Volvo switch had a hole melted in it and looked as if someone had shot a hole through it.

    The VW's computers were smart enough to know that the car was decelerating too quickly without getting a brake signal, and illuminated the Check Engine light (the cruise control also stopped working). If it knows that much, why not just illuminate the brake lights continuously while the ignition is on once a failure has been detected? This would be much safer, as other drivers would know your brake lights aren't working properly well before you have to make a stop.
  • crackerjaxcrackerjax Member Posts: 6
    I had the same problem and the Dodge House where I lived wanted 500 dollars to fix it! I found someone on the internet who helped me out and I pass this on to you and others to save you some big money as this you can do for free. Here is what you do:
    All you need to do is start your van. Then slide your temp lever all the way to full cold. Then turn the Mode Control to the one that sends air to your face only. Then turn the 'blower switch' to all the way to full. Now go to the leftmost three buttons. Press the top one (rear wiper on constant) and the bottom one (rear wiper washer fluid). Hold these two for a few seconds. Once the lights come on solid then begin to flash, you can let go. The AC will now calibrate. You will feel the air blow out of all the different zones at different intervals and see lights come on and go off. Then after a minute or two the top button you pressed will be slowly flashing. This means it has been completed. Press the last flashing button and you are done. Turn off the van and started it back up and see now you don't have those infernal blinking lights anymore! Hope this helps! Oh, be careful with the battery, it is very touchy on Dodge Caravans and can blow out any electrical thing so it is better to take the battery out and charge it and don't charge it directly. One guy mentioned it blew his on board computer just accidently touching the wrench and grounding the battery so be careful with the battery.
  • fredleffredlef Member Posts: 1
    Thankyou so much for taking the time to write this helpful message. You just saved me a LOT of money!!! I had the same problem and sat with a mechanic for an hour while he fussed with all kinds of buttons. This all happened after my battery died and they changed it.
    Two minutes in the car with your message printed out and voila!!! Fixed !!

    I love the internet!!

  • cuellascuellas Member Posts: 1
    Accidentally put my battery will in backwards and no my power windows dont work, The only thing electrical that works is the radio, front head lights, everything else dont work. The car starts, but none of the fans work. I checked all the fuses and the relays. What else could be causing the problem?
  • jcuellasjcuellas Member Posts: 4
    Accidentally put my battery will in backwards and no my power windows dont work, The only thing electrical that works is the radio, front head lights, everything else dont work. The car starts, but none of the fans work. I checked all the fuses and the relays. What else could be causing the problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Did you pull the fuses out and look at them carefully?

    How did you check the relays exactly?

    You might also check with the dealer to see if there are in-line fuses or links you don't know about.
  • jcuellasjcuellas Member Posts: 4
    I replaced all the relays and used a meter to test the fuses. Some of them were fine but there were some that were not showing signs of a complete circuit.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Hmmm....interesting problem....sounds almost like some circuits aren't grounding or have a lot of resistance. Would it be a big hassle to unscrew the fuse box from its mounting and take a peek behind it? I can't really imagine reverse polarity frying something but.....

    Do you have a visible ground strap that grounds the engine to the frame? Is that in good shape? Do you get a good flow of volts into the battery when the car is running (simple voltmeter test across battery poles).
  • jtalbertjtalbert Member Posts: 1
    Help. Cruising down the high way when suddenly the car lurches, the speed control quits, the Tac Off light comes on, several other warnings and error messages light up. Pull car off road turn off key wait several minutes and try to restart. Car will not start. Tow to dealership. They find a blown 30 amp fuse and replace with a new one. Problem not fixed. Driving down road car lurches RPM needle quits, tac off and gear something or other message comes on........ back to dealer ...... they can not locate a short or a problem. Reset computer........ drive down the highway and it happens again......... they don't know what the problem is. Has any one else encounter a similar problem that can give me a bit of insight???
  • lprattlpratt Member Posts: 2
    Hi...I just recently went and bought an 1989 Ford Taurus car. I had to things that I thought were wrong....both E-brake cables and a bottom radiator hose...well just recently I was driving it and all of a sudden it started making this weird clicking sound. Then a very loud knocking sound followed...well water pump was shot...fixed that and replaced belts and it was then taken on a test drive and it sounded normal again. Well in return, the car was parked and shut off. Well when it was time to restart it...first it had absolutly no power to anything, no turn over....nothing. then the dash started to smoke a very thick smoke and also out of the steering wheel area....I have no idea what happend....would this be an ignition problem or electrical??? Nobody knows what is wrong with it....any advise :cry:
  • jcuellasjcuellas Member Posts: 4
    I spoke with someone from the dealership and they said that I probably fried something or that the ecm was damaged. It would cost me about $1000. This is crazy. I guess I could go and check and see if there are any fried wires or like you said any resistance problems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well obviously you fried something but I'd like the dealer to tell you so you can tell us how the ecm works the power windows.
  • jcuellasjcuellas Member Posts: 4
    I will get in contact with the dealer and ask him. So you dont think that the ecm is damaged. I take it that the ecm doesnt power the windows if I am not mistaken.
    So you think I fried something?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well unless you missed something in your diagnosis or unless there is some fusible link somewhere that we haven't found. It would possibly be fruitful for you to pop out a power window switch and by-pass it or at least test current to and from it. Then if you definitey have current to and out of the power window fuses, at least you know the problem is between the fuse and the switch.
  • marknflmarknfl Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 pathfinder that I put in the shop for a timing belt change and transmission flush. As I drove home the speedometer, tach,temp, digital odometer and cruise all stopped working. Also, my overhead compass/outside temp just stopped registering. This happens intermittently and with no apparent cause. The repair shop looked over every thing they removed and seemed to think this was a coincidence. I've checked and cleaned all connectors and searched for loose grounds, but no luck. I really don't want to pay Nissan $75 per hour so they can milk this! Any suggestions??
  • buckylaserbeambuckylaserbeam Member Posts: 1
    have a similar prob but its the rear defrost and air conditioning button that are blinking. i did try your solution and it worked so far as re-calibrating the air handler but my two lights are still blinking. any input would be appreciated!!
  • rebellady1964rebellady1964 Member Posts: 3
    Thank you so much! I will try this this avaning and hope it works. Thanks again for you info! Rebel
  • rebellady1964rebellady1964 Member Posts: 3
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! It worked just like you said and I owe you one! BIG, BIG HUGS FROM ME!!!!! ;) All is working right on my dashboard now!!!
    Thanks again,
  • abe05abe05 Member Posts: 2
    I own a 1989 Toyota Supra. Recently the two rear brake lights have not been functioning, however the high center brake light works fine. I have checked the fuses and they are all ok, also all other rear lights are functioning properly. The rear lights are 1157's so they have two filaments, the one for the brakes does not light up however the other functions fine. When I start the car and release the E-brake the console indicator turns on to indicate a rear light is out. I have replaced the bulbs and have inspected the wires, no luck. I am at my 'wits end' on this one and I'm about to drive the vehicle off a cliff, please help.
  • 97sable97sable Member Posts: 1
  • air4cemanair4ceman Member Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Saturn SL 1, the automatic shoulder belt keeps going up and down while I'm driving, I've had to unhook it to keep it out of the way. I went to a junk yard and bought a replacement seat belt control box, no help! It seems to work for about 15 minutes after the battery has been disconnected, then goes back to the same thing. Any ideas, or does anyone know where the grounds are on this vehicle that I could check out.
  • gailrinksgailrinks Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 EX V6 Coupe. I bought it brand new, it has 93,000 miles on it. Slowly but surely, all of my dash lights are going out. First it was the clock (2 yrs ago), then it was the the odometer (about 2 months ago) & now it's the climate control (a few weeks ago). I only have one left, & that's the radio. Does anybody know how to fix it? I looked in the book when the first one went out to see if it was a fuse, but I don't think it is. I also had someone who installs Lo-Jacks look at it. He tried to get the cover off the dash, but it wouldn't unstick & he didn't want to break it. Any advice would be appreciated!
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Check the 30A power locks maxi-fuse and circuit breaker 4 in the engine compartment fuse and relay box. And turn off your CAPS LOCK key.
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    Replacing those pesky little dash lights can be a huge hassle. Somehow the instrument cluster probably drops out easily for access, but without a manual or prior knowledge it's hard to say. Ditto the climate control panel if it's seperate. One piece of advice: if you are going to go to the trouble of changing them, change all of them, since those that are still working will invariably fail right after putting it back together.
  • noluckwindstnoluckwindst Member Posts: 1
    The interior lamps in my 2000 Windstar won't shut off, even when the vehicle is turned off. Is there a quick/easy fix that someone could pass along. I'm about to unscrew the white-hot bulbs..........


  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    The door switches are built into the latches, and the grease in there hardens over time and holds the switches open. Open the doors and spray the bejeepers out of the latch assemblies with WD40 or equivalent. Might take a while for the WD to work it's way in.
  • travidortravidor Member Posts: 1
    The interior lights in my 96’ Jeep Grand Cherokee won’t turn off. They stay on when I’m driving and when the car is off. They flicker when I make left turns and hit bumps. Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    See if you can pull out the little switch that dims and brightens them and clean it off with electrical cleaner spray. Or even tightening it up might help...sounds like a bad ground to me.
  • chriscrtschriscrts Member Posts: 1
    I'm having a similar problem with my 2000 Nissan Sentra. It started last summer, but stopped over the winter, I thought it might be heat related because it came back big time when the weather got hot, but now it's cool again and it's still happening. The digital odometer disappears (sometimes leaving a few black speckles), the speedometer and tachometer are usually on 0, and the temperature gauge on cold. But sometimes the gauges are stuck on something else. A couple of time the speedometer went all the way to the top (135mph)! Sometimes the temperature gauge does not seem to change. Usually (but not always) everything suddenly comes back, within a couple of minutes. One time they stayed off for maybe a couple of hours, through a couple of stops and starts. The check engine light was on for a couple of days, which may or may not be related. I took it to the dealer. They could find no reason for the engine light to be on (it was off again when they checked it). They road tested the car, and of course everything was working fine, so they could tell me nothing. $49 for nothing! It all seems totally random. I hope someone has an answer for us. There's no way I can get the car to the dealer when it's happening.
  • kjc2kjc2 Member Posts: 1
    recently my '97 grand cherokee may not respond to ignition key when in park (i turn key and nothing happens) - but if i shift to neutral it starts - any ideas out there on what may be root cause?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Mis-aligned shift linkage probably, not allowing the neutral safety switch to be engaged (disarmed) while in park but allowing it to be engaged in neutral.
  • bopherbopher Member Posts: 8
    My blinkers on my '98 Ford escort don't work anymore. at first they were just blinking really fast like the bulbs were going out or a worn fuse. But after I tracked down the relay that controls the blinkers and pulled it out none of my blinkers worked anymore. I replaced the relay with ford parts ($70) and still nothing. I have brakes, and headlights. I don't have right, left or hazards. Ford said maybe the multiswitch inside the steering colum but they want $70 to hook it up to the computer. is there anything else I can check before I take it down to be hooked up?
  • fishfarmerfishfarmer Member Posts: 1
    My front passenger side turn signal, parking light and flashers don't work. All others, driver's side front and both rear, are ok. Bulb is ok, ground is good and when power is supplied directly from battery to bulb socket connector, all work. Could it be multi-function switch, and how do I check it?
  • bluedra0nbluedra0n Member Posts: 1
    1989 saab 9000 turbo
    when drivivg or the car is running the back lights will flash three to five times and will keep on doing that what could the problem be i need some one to reply on a A.S.A.P
  • dazed10dazed10 Member Posts: 4
    My son bought a 2000 Chevy Impala, you have to turn the blinker on to start the car. When he bought it, the dealer told him that this was okay that it was a child safety feature. Put the key in the ignition, and the car wont start, turn the blinker on and it starts. Is this true, Does it make sense to any one???????????????????????????? Please help it is under warranty now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    First you have to determine if it's the brake lights or running lights that are blinking....does your 4-way flasher indicator go on when this is happening. You might remove your 4-way flasher relay and see if it goes away.
  • dazed10dazed10 Member Posts: 4
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I never heard of such a thing. Why don't you use the "browse by vehicle" feature to the left of this page, type in Impala, and ask someone in that forum who owns this car?
  • dazed10dazed10 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks, I have, just waiting for a response. Thanks again
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