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Electrical 2nd Gen Dodge Ram Electrical Problems and Questions.


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  #1  
Old 08-27-2011, 06:48 PM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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Default No backup lights

EDIT:

Transmission I.D. number: PK52118426 2552 6129

I'm putting this edit at the top because it contains an important update. I was able to get the back-up lights to come on by unscrewing the neutral safety switch (NSS) about one full turn. I did this after checking for continuity between the its two outside pins. With the ignition switch on and the gearshift if reverse, I had no continuity with the NSS fully inserted, but after backing it out one full turn, continuity was restored. It appears the NSS that I bought sticks into the transmission too far. Because this is a '96 truck with a replacement transmission of an unknown year, I have to wonder if a different NSS is needed. Before swapping out parts at random, can someone help me identify the model year of this transmission? The number found on the transmission is shown above.

ORIGINAL POST:

I spent several hours today trying to figure out why my son's Ram has no back-up lights. I searched the forums and learned quite a bit, but am still stumped. Here's where I'm at:

It's a '96 Dodge Ram 1500, with 5.2L engine ("Y" code in the VIN). Mileage is around 117,300, and the truck was only driven about 1,000 miles in the last 15 months, before my father-in-law gave it to my son (age 16) to drive. Sitting idle has been hard on this truck -- for instance, as soon as my son started driving it, the water pump started leaking so we replaced it earlier this week. The transmission also leaked quite a bit but I was able to stop that by tightening the pan bolts.

I should note that this is not the original transmission that came with the truck. The original one went out and dad had a used one bolted on. I suspect this replacement may be a contributing factor to our lack of back-up lights.

I started by checking the bulbs by placing 12v across them. They lit up fine. I then checked the sockets and while they were weathered, I cleaned them up and used an ohm meter to check for continuity between the socket and the connections on the back side of the socket. Zero ohms on the meter, so the sockets are OK. For kicks, I then checked for continuity between the left-side and right-side sockets, and that checked out too, for both the hot and ground connections to the bulb sockets.

I could NOT get any continuity from the sockets' black wire (ground) to the chassis ground.

I checked the fuse and it was fine, and I checked for 12v at the fuse socket and voltage was present.

Going under the truck, I pulled the electrical connector on the neutral safety switch and found one of the three prongs was missing. (see photo, and note there are only two prongs). I thought I had found the problem and went to Autozone and got a replacement. Unfortunately, I still had no voltage at the back-up light sockets after replacing the neutral safety switch.

I traced the wires from the back of the vehicle and wiggled each connections everywhere I found the back-up circuitry passing through a connector. (If I recall correctly, the hot wire for the back-up lights is a light purple, with a black stripe).

I even tried disconnecting the battery for 30 minutes after replacing the neutral safety switch, in case the PCM and/or BCM needed to re-learn after the neutral safety switch was replaced. It was a long-shot that didn't pay off.

The only thing I can think to do that I haven't done already is to check for 12 volts across the wires leading to the back-up light sockets, with the key on and the gearshift in reverse, starting under the hood and making my way back. It's possible I have 12v in the back-up lamp circuitry but there's a break in the wiring somewhere before it gets to the taillight fixtures. I also need to understand why I found no continuity between the black wire going to the lamp sockets, and the truck chassis. I should have checked for 12v across the lamp socket's hot line and the chassis.

Can you guys think of anything else to try? This is my first Dodge so don't assume anything -- if you can think of even the most simple thing to suggest, I won't be offended. Thanks in advance....

Here's a picture of the neutral safety switch with the missing 3rd prong:

http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC07994.jpg

EDIT: To test the neutral safety circuitry, I turned the key with the gearshift in Drive and the starter appropriately didn't energize.

Last edited by DadzDodge; 08-28-2011 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Additional info to add
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:56 PM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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Default Fixed!

Job complete and backup lights working fine. I decided to not try and figure out what year of transmission is on the truck and instead I put an o-ring on the threads of the NSS, to shim it out about one turn (see previous post). If anybody ever gets stumped by not having backup lights, with all the other lights on the rear still working, I can probably help troubleshoot. If so, PM me!
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Old 08-28-2011, 03:07 PM
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RedRam10 RedRam10 is offline
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Good solution, after reading the first post I was going to suggest shimming with a washer and o ring, but you beat me to it!
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:22 PM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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Default Wrap-Up, with pictures!

Thanks, RedRam10! This was one of those jobs where you just have to keep plugging away and trying things until you figure it out!

My son and I just got back from a Taco Bell run in the truck. I found no leaks from the shimmed-up Neutral Safety Switch ("NSS"), and I'll keep an eye on it to make sure it stays that way.

I snapped some pictures as I was wrapping things up.

My son's truck:
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08008.jpg

Where I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon; note the cardboard. It's actually an easy way to get under a vehicle:
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08000.jpg

New NSS installed:
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08005.jpg
(If anyone is ever curious about the manufacturer's I.D. number for the transmission, you can see it in this picture. Look for numbers stamped just below and to the left of the new NSS.

Everything is working properly out back. The bright one on the left is the back-up lamp. I've never seen a prettier glow!
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08003.jpg

Here's the old NSS, note that there are only two pins -- there are supposed to be three. The NSS is a switch that is normally closed (N.C.) and the two outside pins will show a connection ("continuity") between the pins when the button on the other side of the device is NOT pushed. Pushing the button actually OPENS the circuit. On the NSS taken from my son's truck, shown in this picture with a pin missing, the brake lights would NEVER WORK because of the missing pin.
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08007.jpg

Here are the O-rings I bought at the hardware store. I used one as a shim, as described above. That's the OLD switch shown to the left of O-rings:
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08006.jpg

Another view of the installed NSS:
http://i1230.photobucket.com/albums/...r/DSC08004.jpg

As mentioned previously, I would be glad to help anyone if the "no back-up lights" problem comes up.

Last edited by DadzDodge; 08-28-2011 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:21 PM
nwoods103 nwoods103 is offline
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i have no back up lights on my 2001 ram 5 speed. Can anyone help
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwoods103 View Post
i have no back up lights on my 2001 ram 5 speed. Can anyone help
Sounds like your reverse light switch is either out of kilter or bad.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:53 PM
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When you say 5 speed...does that mean Manual Trans??

Mine was unplugged (Manual Trans) down at the transmission. Round sensor, two prong connector, driver's side. Plugged it in and tested it for power. None. Replaced the fuse and got power. Still no lights. Checked the bulbs and viola, lights.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:21 PM
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Would this apply to a 2001 RAM 1500 with a 5.9L Automatic as well? I just bought a "new-to-me" 2001 RAM 1500 SLT Laramie 4x4 a couple of months back and noticed that the backup lights didn't work. The bulbs seem to be ok and the brake lights/tail lights work fine.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:00 PM
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Yours should be located in the NSS (neutral Safety Switch).

I'd get a test light after checking the fuses, and the bulbs. Use the test light to check for power at the bulb. I'm having a hard time finding a wiring diagram/color code. However, you should be able to trace it to the rear lights for a break.

Test the wire coming out of the NSS for power.

This one is off a Jeep, but should look substantially similar. Driver's side of the trans.



There is always the option of putting in a manual switch directly to the reverse lights.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlock III View Post
Yours should be located in the NSS (neutral Safety Switch).
Thanks. I'll check on that just as soon as I get the intake leak fixed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlock III View Post
There is always the option of putting in a manual switch directly to the reverse lights.
How exactly do you go about doing this?
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