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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
A few months ago the dash lights on my '97 T&C stopped working. I took the instrument cluster out (with the help of a youtube video), and checked the solder points but I couldn't find any broken solders. The 10A fuse for the gauge illumination is getting 12 volts when the lights are turned on, so there must be a bad connection somewhere after this point. I'm wondering if anyone has the wiring diagram or has experience with this problem.

All the gauges work but I lost the lights in the instrument gauge cluster, center console (radio, fan switch, etc), and the door lock/window switches.

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Fats
 

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Question, You said you tested the Fuse location when the Light switch was turned on. Did you check both sides of the fuse? Once the light is turned of the pwer is sent to the fuse. But if fuse is blown then only one side of the fuse would work. Hate to ask but if both sides of fuse wasn't checked could be bad fuse.

Next Question. have you checked your dimmer? I don't know about that model year but it could be it is in off mod on dimmer. I know feels like dumb questions but sadly I have to ask to help trouble shoot your issue.

Next if that is all been cared for, Lets try something for kicks. Take your test light or what ever your testing your system with and pick a point that is easy to access and check the wiring at the location

I would almost guess that sadly your light switch is bad. TO take it out you will have to remove the cluster bezel. Then you will have to remove the power connecter for the Headlight, and power mirrors. Then remove the screws that hold it into place. Get a new/used on and install in reverse.

Sadly they can be a spendy part. Looking at the bay I found them at range of 20 to 150 for them. Crazy being so high lol.

James
 

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Hey, I just found your forum and I am having same problem with 1997 model. My dash lights will come on sometimes and stay on then start to fade out or go out all of a sudden. It seems to me it may be a ground wire does any of you know where main ground wire is grounded on these. Is it on top of transmission or grounded direct to frame.
Thanks for any advise or help Look forward to being on this forum. I have had great luck with this van it is amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your input, WaRevo. Fortunately, the dimmer switch works.

Rondomack, I was thinking the same thing. It's probably a common ground wire. I'm hoping I can get a copy of the wiring diagram to try and figure out which wire is the ground. It seems like a relatively common problem for these vans.
 

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Fats and Rondomack - The Body Control Module (BCM) has the lamp driver circuits that power all the lighting you've listed. If you haven't yet, disconnect the negative battery cable for 5 minutes to reset the BCM.

Send me a private message and include an email address to send the diagrams to. How? Click RIP at left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quick update: Still no lights...it's impossible to drive at night! Over the last few months I've seen the instrument panel and center console (radio & HVAC) lights flicker on but never stayed on more than a few seconds. Based on that I figure I have a bad ground somewhere. I bought the Chiltons manual and all it shows me is that the instrument panel is powered/grounded to the junction block. I tested voltage for the instrument panel at the box (10 A fuse), and there is 12 volts at the fuse when I turn on the head lights switch.

Does anybody know of any common ground points to the chassis? Or any suggestions on what I should focus on?

Thanks!
 

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This probably will not help, but it is free to try, does not require a screwdriver, and takes about 1 second. Give a good rap to the top of your dashboard....the part that overhangs your instrument cluster. You want to smack it on the far right, back about 6 inches. I lose my instrument panel completely, and this works great! I know that someday I will have to fix the broken sauter link, but I may seize my engine before that day comes. It probably will not work for your issue, but it is worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks fredandrana. I've heard of that method working in cars where the gauges stopped working but my gauges are fine, it's just the lighting behind the gauges isn't turning on when I turn my headlights on.
 

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As "RIP" has stated in his post all the lamp drivers for these circuits are in the Body Control Module. Worst case is that the BCM may be pooched however you have stated that once in a while the lights reappear suggesting an intermittent connection that is more open than closed. You could disconnect your battery and have a look at the connector to the BCM and give it a good spray with Electronics cleaner. It may be that you still have a fracture in the ground pin on your instrument cluster. Some of the fractures elude people because they're often not visible to the naked eye. It is best to resolder the instrument cluster connector for that reason. The Body Control module ground pin connections hook up to ground at the Instrument Panel ground block. So I'd start with resoldering the Instrument cluster connector which usually involves the Ground pin trace on the circuit board. If you are not blowing fuses that is probably a good sign and also a good indication of an open circuit as opposed to a short. Given that the problem is systemic to almost everything on that circuit as you indicate in your post
 

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I vote for BCM also. Here is a video on how to replace it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-eBWXp7k5M

For the BCM, you can find them on Ebay or at a salvage yard.
I have an extra one I didn't use, from a 1997 Caravan, might work for you. The part numbers are: BCM P4686670 Fuse Box: P4707983 T-BQJ301630879 As long as the part numbers are the same you're good, unfortunately, you can't see the part numbers until you remove it (doh!).
I bought 2 off ebay for the same model/year and one of them ended up matching part numbers. For $40-$80 a chance, it was worth it to me.
If you want the one I have, I'll send it to you, you pay the shipping.

In the mean time, you CAN drive at night, here is how you do it: Either use your current smartphone, or get a old Andriod phone that someone has in a drawer. Download the "DigiHUD Speedometer" app from Google Play. The App is free. The old phone does NOT need to have a subscription, just connect it to your Wifi to download the app. The app does not need a wifi or cellular signal to work. Mount the phone with velcro on your dash so you can see it (and velcro so you can remove it when parked). The app gives you speed, distance traveled, and a compass all on the screen. It uses the GPS signal to get the info. Works awesome. Can also be used as a Heads-up display shining off the windshield, but I didn't do that. Before I fixed my speedo by replacing the BCM, that is what I used.
 
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Sorry...posted prematurely
...you may want to look at one of the junction block connectors that houses the orange wires. These are the lamp drivers and all the black wires on that block are ground. Have a look there and see if anything is loose or corroded. Otherwise there is probably a ground loose somewhere in there or your BCM is toast. Hope you find your problem.
 

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If you have no trouble codes to report and you're just going to take your best shot then if you decide to replace your BCM you'll have to have it programmed with your current mileage and have your Vehicle ID number at hand to make sure it is the correct part for a vehicle with your options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys for all the info. I was thinking I should take the instrument panel out again and test the ground pin in the connector. Do you know where the "left cowl panel" ground is? According to the manual, that is where the lights are grounded to. It could be the BCM but I'm thinking it's just an open circuit somewhere...I'll contact you know if I decide to buy the BCM.

Anyhow, I guess I need to take the dash apart again.

Thanks again for your posts!
 

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I've read that you disconnected the battery as RIP suggested but you might want to pull the "Ignition off draw" (IOD) fuse module just in case it's corroded. I was wondering if your intermittent wipers are working?
 
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