Mechanics

ELECTRICAL NIGHTMARE

2002 Dodge Dakota

Hi all, I'm a big fan of the site and the 2 car pros but this is this first time I've needed some real HELP. I've got a 2002 Dodge Dakota Ex. Cab 4x4, 4.7L, Auto, 90K miles.
Just 2 days ago, the electrical system suddenly began really going nuts. It was on the way home, no rain or other " odd" conditions. The headlights, dashlights, interior dome / map lights all started intermittently cutting out then back on. Sometimes a few quick " blips" and other times a couple of seconds. The horn even sounded for a fraction of a second. I shut it off till the next day and couldn't duplicate. So, tonight I drove it awhile and after about 30 mins of driving, it started up again. Same symptoms but this time, I noticed the wipers even moved when the pulsing occured. Not much, just what the motor could turn in a fractionof a second. Again, I got home and shut it off. I set the alarm via the key FOB and it not only set with headlights flashing and horn sounding, it even made a few more horn blasts and light flashes after it's regular routine. I'm completely baffled. Electricals never been my strong suit but when this happens, I'm completely lost. I'm not driving it (unless for service) because I don't want to risk frying something critical / expensive. Any / All help would be appreciated. I don't want to influence anyone's opinion, but to me, it sure seemslike it has something to do with the Security system. I even locked the doors without using the FOB. Didn't want to arm the alarm in case it starts flipping out in the middle of the night.
Lastly.I put in a new Driver side headlight about 2 weeks ago but it was pretty straight-forward.
Thanks in advance,
Shorting out in Seattle (Scott Hyder)

After receiving the 1st Posted Reply, I thought I'd clarify. Maybe my description of the symptoms was not very detailed? Most of the electrical system cuts off / on so rapidly it's almost as if a high power ground were being tapped against something that would short it out. It's nothing to do with the system not getting power or sufficient power. It's just intermittent. When it cuts out, the radio, odometer and gear selector displays are NOT affected. Just ALL exterior lighting (whatever is turned on), dash lights, dome & map lights (if they are left on). After farting with it again, it started " flipping out" again but after about 10 mins, the dash lights went off completely but the nothing else went off. When this happened, I attempted to turn the headlights off while the motor was still running, and I could NOT turn the headlights off until I shut the motor off. Usually, you can shut them off when driving.

As usual, I appreciate any ideas but the amount of voltage supplies is not an issue. Just that power is breaking up intermittently.
Avatar
2hyders
November 9, 2007.



Check the alternator under load
It sounds to me charging system not keeping up with the use demand causing the battery to run low

Good luck

BMRFIXIT
Nov 9, 2007.
Central Control Timer
had it replaced 2 months ago. Everything including headlights and dash lights blinking on and off

Tiny
Jamiemaurer
May 5, 2009.