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Old 01-09-2007
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SOLVED: Major Electrical Problem

HI. So today my lovely truck decided to give me probably the biggest electrical problem that can exist in a car. I will try to describe this as best as I can but I really dont know where to start.

With the car completly off and lights on:
Left Head Light and hazards do not work.

With the ignition in the on position (car not running)
Cluster lights work but really dim as soon as the headlights are turned on.
Hazards work but really dim the cluster.

Car on (this is where the major problems start)
Left headlight does not work
Right turn signal works fine
Left turnsignal causes hazards to come on...... eally dim the cluster.
this one is crazy..... turning on the heat turns on both headlights a little. Bigger the speed the brighter they get.




Alternator, battery and fuses all checked out fine. Someone please help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
My first choice would be the ground about halfway along the DS inner fender apron. Either the ground point itself or the wire path to it.

It supplies ground for the left headlight, left turn/running light, flasher unit, HVAC controls and some of the instrument lighting.
Turns out it was that ground. What happened is that I wired my "off road" lights and used that spot as a ground. When I took them off along with the wiring I was being lazy and just ripped the ground wire (from the lights) out which left a little gap between the head of the screw and the fender..... allowing the accessory ground wire to flop around. Unscrewing the ground bolt I was able to reproduce the problem......... So thank you all. I still <3 my truck.

Last edited by 97whitexlt; 01-10-2007 at 02:42 PM. Reason: solved the issue
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Old 01-09-2007
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oh and NO i have not done any wiring in the car. All stock except for a tach which I already removed.
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Old 01-09-2007
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wow i don't know man, thats messed up...
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Old 01-09-2007
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When did you remove the tach?

It sounds like a major bad ground to me. With that many things going wrong at once, that seems about the most likely. Either that, or start calling your truck Christine...

You say the alternator, battery and fuses "checked out fine". How were they checked and what were your readings?
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Old 01-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
When did you remove the tach?

It sounds like a major bad ground to me. With that many things going wrong at once, that seems about the most likely. Either that, or start calling your truck Christine...

You say the alternator, battery and fuses "checked out fine". How were they checked and what were your readings?
I have an alternator tester. I forget what the readings were but they were in the excellent region.

It really does sound like a ground went bad but the question is where would I even start to check the grounds. Locations of the grounds in a truck ?
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Old 01-09-2007
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Wow. The good news is the problem is most likely confined to the area of the instrument panel. I'm with Master John on this one... something is not hooked up correctly and it is finding other backwards routes to flow.
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Old 01-09-2007
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I'd start looking at the grounds between the frame and the body underneath the truck, and in the engine compartment. Look for ground lugs under the rug around the front and up under the dash.

Check the ground between the engine block and the frame or body. You'll just have to go looking for them most likely. I don't know the layout of a '97 well enough, and I don't have time at the moment to try to dig through the factory manual to look them all up.

Where have you looked so far?

How does the truck start? Normally?

Most of your problems are with lighting grounds it appears. Most of them return to the body panels directly.
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Old 01-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRanger
Wow. The good news is the problem is most likely confined to the area of the instrument panel. I'm with Master John on this one... something is not hooked up correctly and it is finding other backwards routes to flow.
could the rpm signal wire not being connected to anything cause any problems ?

as in the rom wire coming out of the cluster is just hanging there and the one coming from the engine is not connected to anything .
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Old 01-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
I'd start looking at the grounds between the frame and the body underneath the truck, and in the engine compartment. Look for ground lugs under the rug around the front and up under the dash.

Check the ground between the engine block and the frame or body. You'll just have to go looking for them most likely. I don't know the layout of a '97 well enough, and I don't have time at the moment to try to dig through the factory manual to look them all up.

Where have you looked so far?

How does the truck start? Normally?

Most of your problems are with lighting grounds it appears. Most of them return to the body panels directly.

truck starts and runs fine
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Old 01-09-2007
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So, I would say most likely it is not happening under the hood. I believe you'll find it in your dash or below it on the firewall.

There's a bunch of grounds that are supposed to ground that "ain't". I'd pull the radio and all the dash panels it's convenient to and really take a long, close look and pull at some wiring.

The heater is the anomaly -- but some of your problems could relate to the steering column for instance. Overall, it's going to be hunting for that wire or wiring in the cab that isn't getting back to ground so that "backflows" are happening as Matt said.
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Old 01-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
So, I would say most likely it is not happening under the hood. I believe you'll find it in your dash or below it on the firewall.

There's a bunch of grounds that are supposed to ground that "ain't". I'd pull the radio and all the dash panels it's convenient to and really take a long, close look and pull at some wiring.

The heater is the anomaly -- but some of your problems could relate to the steering column for instance. Overall, it's going to be hunting for that wire or wiring in the cab that isn't getting back to ground so that "backflows" are happening as Matt said.
now im so mad that its is all a blur but I am pretty sure it all started when I turn off the emergency break at the gas station today.
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Old 01-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97whitexlt
now im so mad that its is all a blur but I am pretty sure it all started when I turn off the emergency break at the gas station today.
if i remember... the fuse panel ground is in that area...
if you unbolt the fuse cluster you can pull it out about 4" and look behind it.
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Old 01-10-2007
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did you cap the RPM lead? or is it just hanging out behind the cluster? I COULD be grounding out to something under the dash as well. Id check to make sure that one particular lead isnt touching anything. I realise its just a connector, but maybe some tape over it to exculde it from your 'problem' since that is what u played with.

Also, you can have a bad alternator that reads 'good' the only way to truelly test an alternator is to LOG its readings over a period of time while both driving and idling. I had this in my mazda - alternator tested 'ok' yet was spiking voltage like crazy and burning out distributors.
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Old 01-10-2007
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My first choice would be the ground about halfway along the DS inner fender apron. Either the ground point itself or the wire path to it.

It supplies ground for the left headlight, left turn/running light, flasher unit, HVAC controls and some of the instrument lighting.
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  #15  
Old 01-10-2007
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SOLVED: see first post
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Old 01-10-2007
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Glad you got it fixed. Sometimes the most bizarre symptoms are caused by one small problem.
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