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Electrical 2nd Gen Dodge Ram Electrical Problems and Questions.


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  #1  
Old 10-22-2011, 09:54 PM
kslongrider kslongrider is offline
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Default 96 Ram 3500 lights issue

This one's driving me nuts, so Thanks in advance for any help or ideas.
Coming home from Iowa a few weeks back pulling a trailer I got that hot electrical smell and the dash felt hot around the headlight switch. Got off the road and shut the lights down figuring I had a short in the trailer wiring. Found a couple of problems in the trailer wires and fixed them but when I pulled the headlight switch on I only had headlights. Checked the fuses, all were fine. I kept messing with it and I could ease the headlight switch back in, kinda in between stops and get taillights but the headlights were off. I could pull the switch all the way out and have headlights but no running lights. Figured I'd burned out the headlight switch. I drove home 225 miles with the switch inbetween stops so I had clearance lights and holding the dimmer switch back so I had headlights on high beam. Great way to give yourself hand cramps and piss other drivers off.
I replaced the switch the next day, same story. Took that switch back and exchanged it for another. Same deal. Picked up another new switch at NAPA that came with a new plug and pigtails. Put it in same story. Tried one more new switch same story. Anybody got any ideas?
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:53 PM
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Being a 96, I have very sketchy information....so without having the truck in my shop...

The headlight switch should have a Black/Yellow wire that powers the tail lights. Check to make sure this wire and it's connector at the switch is not burned bad enough to cause connection issues.
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:01 PM
kslongrider kslongrider is offline
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Thanks Brad. I replaced the switch with a new one and spliced in the new plug that came with it. I've run all the wires as far as I can see and reach them and they all seem to be intact.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:15 AM
kslongrider kslongrider is offline
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This problem is strange. The headlight switch fells like it has stops, one for lights off, one for clearance lights and one for headlights and clearance lights. The headlights come on where they should but the parking lights or clearance lights only come on inbetween the stops. It looks like it ought to be a switch issue but I can't believe I've bought 4 new switches that are bad. Anybody else run into this? I'm about to the point of cutting wires and putting in toggle switches. I've got to drive this truck out to Wyoming this weekend and pick up my 01 Cummins with a bad trannie.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:52 AM
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Need to verify a couple of things.
When the switch is in the headlight position, you have properly functioning headlights, but do you have functioning tail lights?

There are many vehicles that turn off the front markers when the head lights come on.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:39 AM
Screamintrashcan Screamintrashcan is offline
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I love these kind of problems, so I got my usually worthless for electrics Ha**** manual, and this is what I see. theres the 40 amp fuse in the distribution box under the hood, and I thought there were relays in there too, but I don't see any in the drawings, but that doesn't mean anything, as their diagrams leave much to be desired... No DRLs, I hope... wish I knew if you had instrument lights or not... I take for granted that the trailer plug is disconnected and you still have a malfunction... Brake lights work? plug pulled on trailer brake box? Onc eyou're in the power dist box, take a good long hard look at the fusible links, apparently they're in there, and visible, look for hot spots... If you have one thats cooked, I, myself would get a pigtailed fuse holder the kind that use blade fuses and put it in place of the fusible links, (I hate those things) The book doesn't say anything about which pins go where on the back of the headlight switch, just the 'multifunction' or blinker switch, and the wiper switch... Good luck!!!!!
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:29 PM
kslongrider kslongrider is offline
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Default Headlight switch issue, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brad12kx View Post
Need to verify a couple of things.
When the switch is in the headlight position, you have properly functioning headlights, but do you have functioning tail lights?

There are many vehicles that turn off the front markers when the head lights come on.
Okay, when I have the switch pulled all the way out for the headlights I have properly functioning headlights only, no other lights, tail lights, clearance lights or dash lights are on.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:37 PM
kslongrider kslongrider is offline
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Default Headlight switch issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screamintrashcan View Post
I love these kind of problems, so I got my usually worthless for electrics Ha**** manual, and this is what I see. theres the 40 amp fuse in the distribution box under the hood, and I thought there were relays in there too, but I don't see any in the drawings, but that doesn't mean anything, as their diagrams leave much to be desired... No DRLs, I hope... wish I knew if you had instrument lights or not... I take for granted that the trailer plug is disconnected and you still have a malfunction... Brake lights work? plug pulled on trailer brake box? Onc eyou're in the power dist box, take a good long hard look at the fusible links, apparently they're in there, and visible, look for hot spots... If you have one thats cooked, I, myself would get a pigtailed fuse holder the kind that use blade fuses and put it in place of the fusible links, (I hate those things) The book doesn't say anything about which pins go where on the back of the headlight switch, just the 'multifunction' or blinker switch, and the wiper switch... Good luck!!!!!
I replaced the 40 amp fuse in the distribution box right off the bat. It had been cooked. There's nothing plugged into the trailer receptacle. I will look for fusible links in that distribution box this evening.
The instrument lights come on inbetween the stops on the headlight switch just like the clearance lights do. I'll check on the brake lights. I do know the directional signals still work.

Thanks, Barry
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:26 PM
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Default

This just doesn't make sense. My first impression is the headlight switch, but you've replaced it 4 times.....and I just can't imagine how 4 of them could all be bad; with the same problem.

The front marker lights and the cab clearance lights are powered by Fuse 'F' (20A).
This fuse supplies battery power via the Pink/Red wire to connector C1-Pin2 of the light switch.
The light switch connects this power to to the Black/Yellow wire in connector C1-Pin1, either the park or headlight position.
That wire connects to a splice joint that distributes the power on the same wire color to the 2 front marker lights and the 5 cab clearance lights which have separate grounds.
Also from that splice the wire continues to another splice that distributes power to the tail lights and license plate lights.

Based on this, the problem keeps pointing at the switch, as if there was a splice issue, that the lights would not work regardless of the switch position.

Can you check for power at the light switch on the Pink/Red, then on the Black/Yellow that's right beside the Pink/Red. It should be on the Pink/Red all the time, and on teh Black/Yellow in both the headlight and park light switch positions.

This is a strange one!
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2011, 02:13 AM
Screamintrashcan Screamintrashcan is offline
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My 95 and 98 both seem to have the same light switch, I'd now pull the known good switch outta the one truck and put the questionable switch in that truck... If that works, at least thats outta the loop, You'd know it ain't the switch, for certain... Just don't put the known good switch in the messed up truck first, you might cook that headlight switch... If thats whats going on...I'm still concerned about the trailer plug, but thats another test... DUH... I must be getting tired, Yeah, you don't have both trucks available to tinker, Sorry, I am not thinking clearly, I guess... Any friends got a truck you could slave a switch into?? I can't think of anything else but ohming out the switch to look for short circuits...

Last edited by Screamintrashcan; 10-28-2011 at 02:20 AM. Reason: In addition...
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