Help with electrical problem

magnumv8October 22, 2006

2002 Ram, 4.7

Yesterday, I pulled into a parking lot and my dashboard lighting, gauges, horn, turn signals, hazards and wipers went completely dead. The truck continued to run perfectly fine, though. Appears to me to be an electrical problem. But I have no clue what's going on, and wouldn't know where to even begin looking.

I've had the truck for 2 years. No recent modifications have been done. After it happened, I got home and disconnected the negative from the battery. It seemed to me that maybe it was a temporary glitch and the disconnection would reset itself. I left it off for about an hour or so, and everything went back to normal.

This morning its happened again. Only this time the head and tail lights are also dead. The power windows function fine, along with the cigarette lighter and radio. The negative's been disconnected for a few hours, and no change.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.


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You'll need a circuit diagram to start chasing this one down. Look for a connection that is common to everthing that went out. I suspect an intermittent ground connection to the dash/instruments.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 3:00AM
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That probably would've been a lot cheaper. I took it to the dealership yesterday and got it back today. They said the instrument cluster's computer was fried and the entire cluster needed to be replaced. It wasn't communicating with the electronics properly. Price: $741 parts and labor. Ridiculous.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 5:26PM
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I have purchased many used parts at which connects you to hundreds of junk yards that list there parts and many at cheep prices.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 7:40PM
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The same thing happened to my ford ranger (1989) after it had sat in a lot for six months. I am a mechanic and I checked the entire system for damage. Everything looks intact but often it isn't. Test your alternator-mine was putting out 19V, it should only push 12. Also check your battery-they do go bad and the result is varying electrical output, which can wreak havoc on your vehicle's sensors, solenoids, fuses, etc.
One last thing that you should do is make sure that your system is properly grounded. Check continuity from the neg(-) battery terminal to all your frame, block and body. If your ground has been disturbed (it happens) you will see varying continuity or complete resistance in the circuit.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 1:41AM
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