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Discussion Starter #1
For the twelve years that I've had my 1996 LE, there have been glitches in the electronics. At widely interspersed times, the rear window wiper will turn itself on, or the radiator cooling fans when the ignition is off. Twice the instrument panel went dark, fixed by switching off the ignition and back on. Once the transmission park-reverse-drive indicator showed all engaged even though it was in drive.

But the most common symptom is the door locks unlocking themselves at random times, usually about the time you've walked 30 yards from the car, and you hear the "click". I removed the door lock fuse for that one.

I've seen one video online for tracking down the door lock issue, but it involved a specialized piece of equipment for recording voltage spikes and determining from where they originated. The problems can't be recreated at will, so even if a garage had such a device, I probably couldn't get the spike to happen when it was connected.

Any ideas?
 

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Connect a multimeter in each circuit and watch for any voltage fluctuations as you tap/pound near each door lock. May not even need the meter. No luck? Disconnect each door lock actuator connector one at a time. Take a test drive between each until the locks stop popping. That will be the culprit.

Sounds like a video I posted some time ago. We would all love to have that tester.
 

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I have a friend who had a Ford van that had been hit by lightning. Didn't do much damage to the van, but from then on they had intermittent electrical gremlins like you're describing. Do you know the history of the van?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like a BCM and a PCM problem. Corrosion on the connectors is the first place I'd recommend checking.....
I pressed the tab on the cable harness connected to the PCM (next to the fuse box, driver side fender), but pulling it off, only the back of the connector is exposed, with wires going into it. How do you get access to the connector contacts? No obvious screws or tabs.
 

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If it's a door lock problem, most likely the BCM, it's behind the Fuse/Relay panel under the dash, it can develop bad solder joints and cause gremlins, check all the ground connections too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Connect a multimeter in each circuit and watch for any voltage fluctuations as you tap/pound near each door lock. May not even need the meter. No luck? Disconnect each door lock actuator connector one at a time. Take a test drive between each until the locks stop popping. That will be the culprit.

Sounds like a video I posted some time ago. We would all love to have that tester.

I'm revisiting this problem after a long time away.

How/where can I disconnect each door lock actuator? I suspect the driver-side lock, because that one will fight you when you unlock it with a key, you can actually feel its motor trying to lock it again, turning the key in your hand. The alarm will sometimes go off when unlocking that door with a key, but not other doors (woke up a camper parked next to me at 6 am this morning). I replaced that lock with one from a junkyard several years ago. If not that one, then the rear hatch door lock, which sometimes fights back in the same way.

So, to disconnect that actuator: there are two wiring harness connectors near the driver-side door hinge, is that the best place to disconnect? It's not obvious how these particular connectors come apart, I see no tabs similar to connectors on other harnesses. Once apart, I assume the wire color will match the diagram, but can individual pins be removed from the connector without a special tool?

Thanks.
 
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