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Electrical 3rd Gen Dodge Ram Electrical Problems and Questions.


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  #1  
Old 06-19-2013, 11:20 AM
LadyinDistress LadyinDistress is offline
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Unhappy 2002 Dodge Ram Electrical Issues

I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 4.7 V8. A couple days ago the dash lights/gadges all quit working. As well as my power locks, turn signals and brake lights. After having a mechanic friend test the fuses and reset the battery, a red light came on the dash, but it still would start and run fine. Today I went to start it and it wouldnt turn over. At all. He came back and charged the battery but the truck was having a hard time firing up and ran horribly. He even swapped the battery out with the one is his truck, same issue. I have had multiple suggestions such as - Front Control Module, the cluster with the BCM built in and even the alternator itself.
But why would the cluster affect the way the truck runs?
Anyone with experience with this issue? I would just bring it directly to dodge but that now requires me to have it towed a far distance and to fork up money I just dont have. Could use some suggestions.

Thanks so much
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:33 PM
Warlock III Warlock III is offline
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The instrument cluster acts pretty much like your brain. I'm not saying that the cluster is your issue, just clarifying somewhat.

Your brain tells your body what to do, in turn your body reacts. However, if you touch something hot (your hand for instance) sends a signal to your brain to let go.

If you have bad communication between your brain and hand (we'll say nerve damage) your brain doesn't have a clue as to what's going on, and needs signals from your body to perform properly.

Therefore, if there's a problem with the internal BCM/FCM, you can turn the key and the cluster isn't getting the required signals it needs to perform specific tasks it cant communicate back to the truck what to do.

Not exactly on point, but I think you get the general idea.

It was quite common on the older Chrysler models (Caravans/Voyagers and some Mitsubishis) than the contact points next to the plug on the back of the instrument cluster would become weak and break (severing the nerve) and they wouldn't start/run). Take a look at this thread for reference: http://www.ramforumz.com/showthread.php?t=141037
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:05 AM
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All of the problem items you listed are controlled by the instrument cluster, which is noting more then a system computer that also sports gauges and lights for you to look at.

Although it is not unlikely that it has gone bad, I DO NOT recommend replacing it until a few other common and much lower cost maintenance things have been done. I recommend these be done by a technician (even DIY tech) that is somewhat familiar and comfortable with vehicle electrical systems AND understands the importance of disconnected the battery before randomly disconnecting cable harnesses from critical system components.

2 areas that are commons areas of intermittent failure are the big multipin connectors on the back of Instrument Cluster and the bottom of the IPM (Integrated Power Module - AKA Fuse Box). The trick here is to unplug the re-connect each of these big connectors so the contacts are 'cycled' which goes a long way to restore poor connections caused by minor corrosion.

If that fails to restore operation, I would be leaning toward a defective Instrument Cluster; but will advise you to have it tested by a Dodge shop so they can hook up their test unit and confirm if the cluster is in fact defective.

Here is a link to the wiring diagram for the Instrument Cluster.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:10 PM
LadyinDistress LadyinDistress is offline
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Brad,
You are a lifesaver. That is literally the best advice and if it wasnt for this forum and nice people like you I would be financially screwed. I appreciate it more than you know!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:55 PM
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ladyindistress, i sent brad a message for you hoping he would chime in here. so glad he did. he said what i was thinking i just had no idea how to say it haha.

as a tech its difficult for us to put into words for people to understand sometimes. bear with us. glad you got some help!
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