Battery drain

Tiny
JEFFZKY
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 DODGE RAM
  • 2.0L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
Hi, my truck has a battery draining problem. if fuse 51 is not unplugged overnight, i risk the chance of my battery being drained in the morning.

Next, had it to Dodge dealership, after technician going through it, determined that the instrument cluster is bad and needs replaced. an expensive $950.00 retail.

I opted out for a used one for $200.00. However, I have changed it over to this one and still have the battery drain problem of 1.0 amp on fuse 51 when i check. it is at a proper range of 0.11 amps when fuse 51 unfused.

Whats the likelihood of having two failed clusters now in row?

So to take step farther. On back of instrument panel when changing it had three connections on back for cluster one (white 26 way), cluster two (grey 16 way) and cluster three (grey 26 way).

After testing both clusters (original and used one), plugging in just various connections. I have determined when I keep cluster three (grey 26 way) unplugged from back of instrument panel, on both of the clusters. the draw on fuse 51 is proper (not the 1 amp draw)..

Does this mean for sure that both instrument panel clusters are bad altogether or maybe an element that cluster three (grey 26 way) controls may be draining and be the problem. Or is it the instrument panel responsible for turning off all power to those elements when turning off vehicle?

Also, one of the elements listed for cluster three connection on this website: http://www.justanswer.com/dodge/7wjkk-dodge-ram-1500-need-wiring-diagram-instrument.html is a horn switch sense. And i currently have a horn problem. it works yes, but i have to keep the horn fuse unplugged in the fuse panel or the horn will constantly honk a continuous honk. Could this be related to the instrument cluster three problem?

I just find it extra hard to believe that i have now tried two instrument clusters and this cluster three (on back of instrument cluster) is the issue with both? Any help or suggestions? I am getting tired of having to unplug fuse 51 every night. :(

Thank you:)
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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 AT 3:45 PM

27 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Since the problem goes away when you do not plug the one in, it sounds like there is an internal short in the cluster. However, there could also be a short in the wiring harness to the cluster. By plugging it in, you may be completing a circuit that is shorted. Have you checked the wiring itself? As far as the horn, I doubt that the two are related since they are on different circuits.
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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 AT 5:08 PM
Tiny
JEFFZKY
  • MEMBER
Lets say there is a short in the wiring harness, would this leave for the chance of one of the elements on cluster three connection, having a short itself and not working properly (like door ajar sensors, etc.) Or more so a rip in one of the wires. I have inspected what I can see of the wires, and they seem fine. Is there a good way to check for shorts by testing the actual connector for higher readings? So I assume unless the cluster has an internal short (both clusters that I now have) but the possibility remains that the cluster does not shut everything off, and can have a drain from an element connected to the cluster three? Why would Dodge dealership say it was for sure the cluster, without regarding the fact of poor wires plugged into it. Did they not test wires/connectors or do they know it does not matter? Probably wanted me to buy there pricey cluster and have it installed to only tell me that to make fully work, had to buy more stuff and then not tell me that cluster was okay anyways?
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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 AT 7:37 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I cannot be sure how they checked and determined the cluster as the problem. However, since the electrical draw occurs when you plug in that portion, either there is an internal short in the cluster or upon making the connection, there is a draw from another portion of the then completed circuit.
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Friday, October 24th, 2014 AT 5:13 AM
Tiny
JEFFZKY
  • MEMBER
Okay. I just spent today going and getting a third new instrument cluster panel to try in order to hopefully rule it out as problem. And the same thing. Battery draw still on that cluster three connector. So I now totally feel it cannot be the cluster (even though dodge dealership says this) and now feel it must be one of the components that run up that particular wire harness? What is my best way to figure out? Any way to check the connector end for battery draws with multi-meter or anything? How do I find the drain at this point?
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Friday, October 24th, 2014 AT 10:22 AM
Tiny
MRPKBOYLE
  • MEMBER
Hello. Did you every figure this out? I am having the same issue. Horn too.
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Friday, September 4th, 2015 AT 6:58 AM
Tiny
MYNAMEAGAIN
  • MEMBER
Hi, I am having the exact same problem. Any fixes? I finally got the horn to stop blowing by replacing the front control module. (FCM) But I still have the parasitic draw on the battery. Please reply with any ideas.
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Sunday, January 17th, 2016 AT 4:01 PM
Tiny
MYNAMEAGAIN
  • MEMBER
I forgot to mention that the battery draw is going through fuse 51, which is the instrument cluster and radio fuse. I completely disconnected the cluster and the radio and the draw was still there. If I remove fuse 51, the draw goes from 1.07amps to 0.07amps, which is okay, I think.
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Sunday, January 17th, 2016 AT 4:04 PM
Tiny
JOEZDAD
  • MEMBER
I have the same problem with my 2004 Ram 2500 diesel. Horn constant on and a 1.2 amp draw from the cluster. Unplugging the center plug from the cluster does stop the draw. Tried a used cluster with no success. The horn does relay through the cluster though. I have unplugged all wiring on and around the column but still have the draw so not the button itself. Has anyone found a fix for this yet?
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Thursday, February 4th, 2016 AT 12:10 PM
Tiny
MYNAMEAGAIN
  • MEMBER
Fuse 51 should have a certain amount of draw on it all the time. It is the IOD fuse. I had the same problem, horn blowing all the time, etc. Different shops wanted to change cluster, radio, etc, none worked. Finally one dealer recommended changing the front control module at $600.00 plus cost. I found a used one $39.00 and installed it myself. Now the horn does not blow except when I need it to, and the draw on fuse 51 has been reduced to about 1 amp. I found a used truck just like mine for sale at a dealer, and they let me check the draw on that trucks fuse 51, and it was 1 amp too, so I think it is normal.
But there is a procedure to use to replace the ECM - front control module. Disconnect battery, then remove the bad ECM, then replace the horn fuse and fuse 51, then install the new ECM, then bolt every thing down so it is grounded, then re-connect the battery. Worked for me.
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Friday, February 5th, 2016 AT 6:48 AM
Tiny
JOEZDAD
  • MEMBER
You should not have 1 amp of draw. That will drain your battery enough that you cannot start the truck within two days. Something under 50 milliamps should be normal. Are you sure it was 1 amp? Keep in mind that I disconnected the FCM and still had the draw and disconnecting connector three stopped the horn.
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Sunday, February 7th, 2016 AT 11:39 AM
Tiny
STEVE STAVISKY
  • MEMBER
In case anybody still wants the answer and or comes across this thread looking for answers, I can confirm that this draw is caused by a faulty horn switch. The switch is located in the skin that covers the airbag. I disassembled my steering column and disconnected the horn switch connector, and now have no draw, and my batteries do not discharge. I have also been able to put the fuse for the horn back in its slot, and now hear the chirp when using the fob to lock the doors. Apparently, even when that fuse is pulled and the horn is disabled, if the horn switch is continually depressed, the ECM? PCM? Still sends a current to that circuit, which drains the battery in short order, and this can be alleviated also by pulling 51. I now still have no horn like before, but a new, working skin is like $350.00, and I just do not care enough about a horn.
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Monday, August 1st, 2016 AT 4:38 PM
Tiny
JIMMY WOODWARD
  • MEMBER
Steve,
I am having the same issue. When you say that you disconnected the horn switch, are you referring to the plug that goes from the clock spring into the back of the airbag assembly?
Thanks!
Jimmy
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Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 AT 8:33 AM
Tiny
STEVE STAVISKY
  • MEMBER
Jimmy, there is a third connector coming from around the front of the airbag assembly. At 2:57 of this video, the narrator shows you which one.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xo0KPN9OBDE
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Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 AT 3:29 PM
Tiny
SOFTBALLKERT
  • MEMBER
Hey guys! Has anybody found a fix for this? I have the exact same issue as the original post, same year 2004 Ram 2500. Horn constant on and a gauge cluster draw of 1.07amps. I have tried everything. Help!
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Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 AT 6:02 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hi,

I have found the wiring diagram so we can unplug and remove some items to figure out what is going on. I do not see anyone coming back with a conclusion so lets get this fixed.

Here is a wiring diagram and fuse box ID. It says there is a horn relay but I do not see it. If you can unplug the horn wiring and then have someone listen for with relay clicks when you plug it back in we can find it.

Please let us know what happens.

Cheers, Ken
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Thursday, August 10th, 2017 AT 9:25 AM
Tiny
JEFFZKY
  • MEMBER
Hi all people that have responded. I originally posted this issue three years ago and am surprised with all that have been contributing and continue to but yet still a 100% solution has not been arrived to yet. Now as for it goes for me, I do not own the vehicle anymore so cannot do any further testing. However, what I did do to bypass for the remaining length of time I owned it was that I ran a wire to fuse panel and attached a switch inside the truck to turn on/off fuse 51 manually when I was finished using truck for the day. It was okay as long as I did not forget to flick the switch but sure beat lifting the hood every evening and pulling out the fuse and then doing the same come next morning. Also, the remote door locks would not work when switch was off (on same fuse) so I had to key myself in the next time using truck. Best of luck to all!
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Thursday, August 10th, 2017 AT 10:24 AM
Tiny
JIMMY WOODWARD
  • MEMBER
Hey everyone. Here is what fixed my problem. It appears that the actual horn pad was the issue. I removed the airbag, and disconnected the horn wire from the back of the airbag. Did this a few months ago. Installed fuse 51 and no battery drain since. Only problem is I do not have a horn. I am on the lookout now for a decent priced airbag assembly or a compete steering wheel assembly. The horn pad cannot be replaced easily at all.
Jimmy
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Saturday, August 12th, 2017 AT 5:49 PM
Tiny
TRUCKER 76
  • MEMBER
Hi all.
2005 Dodge 3500, Cummins - 1.7 amp parasitic draw on the battery. Opening circuit 51 would solve the problem as above. In my case leaving the amp meter in line for a period of time ( a twenty one count to be precise) and the draw would go from 1.7 amps to.020. After some local, and online searches, I believe the computer modules talk to each other and finally unload the draw. Hoping this may be of value to others.
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Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 AT 1:36 PM
Tiny
JIMMY WOODWARD
  • MEMBER
To follow up after determining that the actual horn pad was the culprit, I found a used horn pad/airbag assembly for a good price, took out the old one (de-charging the system of course), installed new assembly, connected, and no problems. No battery draw and horn works.
Jimmy
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Monday, February 19th, 2018 AT 10:38 AM
Tiny
STEVE STAVISKY
  • MEMBER
As I posted above some months ago, It is the horn pad that causes this drain. The horn pad/airbag skin can be replaced, but they are approximately $400.00 from Mopar, and unreliable to be purchased used. Please read all the comments above before posting, the answer is indeed contained above. In one of my comments there is a link to a video that shows how to remove/replace the skin, and it also shows you how to disconnect the horn switch connector if you just want to stop the drain and don't want to spend the money for a new horn pad.
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Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 AT 11:08 PM

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