98 Caravan electrical issue

  • 1 POST
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • 130,000 MILES

I have a 98 dodge caravan that my wife was driving and she says the stereo, fan and blinkers quit working for awhile. She shut the van down and restarted and says they were working again. Also many of the instrument lights (wiper, fan vent, ac light) blink constantly. Any suggestions-Thanks Rian

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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 6:35 PM

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All of those things have the ignition switch in common and are on the same circuit. This causes a problem more often on vehicles where drivers use the heater fan on the highest speed a lot. Besides the switch, you must check the terminals in the connector. Typically two of them will be overheated and will cause resistance and overheating of the new switch terminals and contacts. Those terminals can be cut out of the connector body and replaced individually with generic crimp-on terminals, but solder them too for a better connection. Also cut off about 4" of wire and splice in a new section of the same diameter. The overheated wire will be hardened and impossible to solder to.

The blinking lights on the heater control panel means the computer lost its calibration from the battery being disconnected or run dead. For '97 models the calibration procedure can be extremely frustrating. For '98 it should be easier to pass. I'd have to look up the procedure, but for '96 and '97 it involves pressing two of the six buttons at the same time with the engine running to provide vacuum. The computer will run the mode doors through their ranges and take various sensor readings. Two other buttons are pressed at the same time to start the "cool down" calibration procedure. The engine and heater must be hot and the AC system must work. As soon as the buttons are pressed, the temperature control is moved from full hot to full cold. The computer wants to see an 80 degree temperature drop in 20 seconds.

When you press the pairs of buttons their lights will flash alternately. When a test passes, one of those lights will flash by itself until you push that button again.


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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 8:17 PM

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