Mechanics

DODGE VAN IGNITION SWITCH PROBLEM

2002 Dodge Van • 81,000 miles

When I change the setting on the tilt wheel we sometimes lose the radio, power windows, and door locks. This also happens sometimes when you hit a bump or pot hole. If you jiggle the tilt wheel up and down it will all come back on. I assumed one of the wires in the steering column harness is broken or breaking. I opened up the dash and removed the wrap from around the harness. If I turn the ignition and radio on I can make radio go off and on by moving the wires in the harness by the slightest amount. I am unable to isolate which wire is causing the problem because I can't move just one wire with my fat fingers. Can you tell which wire is the culprit by color? Am I even on the right track? The problem is getting worse by the day.

Thanks
Andy
Avatar
Fortuna2
November 14, 2012.




First go right to the ignition switch and check the electrical connector for signs of two terminals overheating and the plastic around them melted. The ignition switch is below the tilt mechanism so the wires should not break from flexing. By the way, this is a full-size rear-wheel-drive "B" van, right?

Caradiodoc
Nov 14, 2012.
First: yes this is a full size van
second: I checked the ignition switch connector and wires for burning/melting and they look OK. These are the wires that make the radio quit when I touch them. The wires going up to the turn signal switch seem OK, I can move them all around
If it's not a broken wire is the ignition switch bad?

Tiny
Fortuna2
Nov 14, 2012.
It's possible, but I left the dealership in '99 and there was a lot of trouble with a different style of switch up until then.

I don't have a service manual for your van so what I'd suggest is going right on the wires at the switch with a test light or voltmeter. If you find two where the voltage drops out when you wiggle the wires, one of them has a break in it. Look for the connector at the base of the column and measure the voltages there too. If you find voltage at the base but not at the switch, that wire has a break.

If you find the voltage goes away on only one wire, it's due to an arced contact inside the switch. With the switch turned off, find the wires that have voltage. There will typically be two or three. Close the doors when you check so the circuit that powers the halo light is turned off, if that is still used. That will give you one less wire with voltage to confuse the issue. Now you know the feed wires, and those will be larger gauge wires. Use a stretched out paper clip to jump a feed wire to the one with the voltage dropping out. When that brings the dead circuits back to life you will have proved the switch is the culprit.

If the voltage doesn't drop out on any terminal at the switch, measure on all the wires at the connector under the dash. The voltage has to be getting lost on one of them after it leaves the switch.

Caradiodoc
Nov 14, 2012.
I got it!
I'm not as young and nimble as I used to be, so rather than stand on my head doing all that testing I just went down to Autozone and picked up a new switch for $26.00 plus tax.
I figured is was worth that to eliminate the possibility of a bad switch. I popped it in and my broken wire healed itself. IT'S A MIRACLE ! Then I just had to spend a 2 hours re taping the harness and putting the entire dash back together, Wish I would have talked to you before I convinced myself I had a broken wire. Thanks for your help.
We will talk again I'm sure, (before I tear something all apart)

Andy
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Tiny
Fortuna2
Nov 15, 2012.
All right; one in a row! Happy to hear it's solved.

Caradiodoc
Nov 15, 2012.

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