Brake Lights don't work but rear running lights work (same bulb)

Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 3.3L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 265,000 MILES
I just bought a used 2002 Dodge Caravan Sport. It is in pretty good shape but needs a few things, most of which I know how to do. Just these small things I don't.
I noticed my break lights didn't work (3 lights top middle and two sides), checked the fuse and it was blown so I replaced it. It was hard to see but I thought they were working, the top light was at least. I checked them again at night and the top was working, the bottom was not. Just running the basic running lights, but did not do anything when the break was pressed. I opened it up and only found it used two bulbs, both is great working order. I did though however notice where the previous owner had spliced into the cable to add lights for a trailer hitch. So I'm thinking that is the problem, I got some 18 gauge wire and plan to remove the extra wire for the trailer hitch I don't use and put the wires back together. So my question is could this be the problem why two out of 3 lights are not working, and secondly what is the basics for re attaching these wires after I remove the added spliced wires. They are spliced with black tape! Could this be something else?
After I take care of this, I will surely have more questions. I do not have know what to donate, I don't have much. This van is taking a lot of my money. I do not mind paying a little if that is okay.
Thank you for your time,
Josh Woods
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Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 AT 8:54 PM

15 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
There are 4 relays in left rear quarter panel check those first pic only shows three because of space. When you put wires back together use solder and shrink tube to protect it then if you can buy some conduit use that and cover ends with tape because if you live in northern climate snow will accumalte there. Also tie up with wire ties to frame if you can. Second pic shows color of wire that deals with brake lights. Also to check relays go to our how to repair site-electrical- how to check a relay to see if they are any good or working. You should use 14 or 16 gauge wire not 18 it' s to small to carry the load. See pics.
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Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 AT 6:27 AM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
I inspected the wires to the trailer tow lights, all seemed to be working great. I did that this morning, since I have checked every fuse that I have, changed the brake light switch, even changed the bulbs. The top middle light comes on but the bottom to do not. I am at my wit's end with this.
Any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Josh
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Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 AT 4:01 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
If you didn't check the relays in the last reply I sent it could be those or a ground to the relays they have to operate in order for your brake lights to work. I see no mention of it in your reply. Also you will h ave to check your multi function switch as if that is bad your t/s or brake lights will not work. Also this is controlled by body module so a pro will h ave to scan it to see if module is bad or a poor connection like the harness isn't in all the way. It's under the lh side of dash so make sure it has a good connection prior to getting it scanned
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Thursday, November 5th, 2015 AT 6:03 AM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
I discovered the windshield washer switch in my turn signal switch is broken. So I tested the signal again and it has some issues. So I hope I'm right about this, ordered a new turn signal switch. I know it and the brakes are all on the same circuit. So hope that is going to fix it. The part will be here Tuesday. I'll post a reply as to what happened.
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Thursday, November 5th, 2015 AT 9:37 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
If not then it's probably your body module as all t/s brake lights go through that, a pro scanning it will tell quickly
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Friday, November 6th, 2015 AT 6:37 AM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
So I changed the blinker switch, no change to the lights. So I did a pro scan as Hmac300 suggested. It showed my right front ABS sensor was damaged. So I ordered and just replaced that this afternoon, still no change. The running lights still work, the third brake light works but when the brakes are applied the bottom two still don't light up. I'm getting really close to being beyond what I can do on my own.
I needed to reset the IOD, so I am in the process of that now. Taking out the fuse, removing the neg cable from the battery and waiting. As my sliding doors won't lock automatically. So in some weird hope, that the reset might fix the lights. Yet, I doubt it. I am at a complete lost, I have no idea how to do the wiring. What else have I missed that I may be able to fix. Hopefully I won't have to buy anymore parts. I'm down to 12 before the inspection is due and I'm lost. Thanks in advance for any help. Had a friend mention something about the circuit board?
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Sunday, November 15th, 2015 AT 12:19 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
From your replies your STILL haven't checked the relays like I said. That was in my very first reply if the relays are bad you arent' going to have rear lights the pic is in the first reply and even shows where they are located. You can go to our how to repair site and look under electrical and how to check a relay.
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Sunday, November 15th, 2015 AT 1:49 PM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
Okay so I got to ask the stupid question. How to access behind the left rear quarter panel?
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Sunday, November 15th, 2015 AT 2:36 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Instructions are from a 2005 but they don't have any for 2002 so yours should be similar. No pics in this.
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Sunday, November 15th, 2015 AT 3:35 PM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
So this is where I am at. I've opened up the left rear quarter panel. Still haven't reach any relays but I'm still digging. This is new for me I've never went threw the quarter panel to find relays, so I'm learning as I go here.
I did however notice this wire in the pic. It is taped with black tape to the wires around it. It has a plug for a harness but so far can't find a harness that is missing anything.
So not sure if that may be the problem, I still can't find the relays.
Thanks!
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Monday, November 16th, 2015 AT 12:10 PM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
Could this be in the BCM under the dash?
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Monday, November 16th, 2015 AT 12:16 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Yes it cold be the bcm but if no power going to relays they won't work either.
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Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 AT 5:36 AM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
So first, I discovered my test light bulb was burnt out. Changed that and got a lot of answers but still not brake lights. I got three mechanics stumped plus me. Everything from the BCM to all that is behind the left rear quarter panel all the way in to the tail light plug has power and works fine.
Now the actual tail lights still only up the running, blinker, and parking lights. Still no brake lights. I'm not sure if I should replace the plug or the tail lights them selves since they have wiring side the plastic that I cannot reach.

I read someone talking about an extra ding when you first start the vehicle could mean bad tail light plugs. I thought it did that for my ABS sensor, but it's fixed and still does it. Also I cannot find the correct wiring diagram to install a new plug. No idea what to do next.

Any ideas would be really appreciated!

Thanks!
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Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 AT 6:05 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
A good ground on your test light and see if power is going to the socket for the brake lights and other lights. See pic for color of wires to check the wht/brn is for stop lights on left side and right side is org. Also relays are in lh quarter panel for these ut if yo have power to brake light wire they should be ok. These could be above wheel well so a panel will need to be removed to access them.
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Monday, November 23rd, 2015 AT 7:28 AM
Tiny
JOWOODS1999
  • MEMBER
New Tail lights solved the problem!
Picked them up today and that fixed it. I'm assuming the last owner for some reason or another put on the wrong ones. Because the ones on there had 4 prongs for the plug and the OEM were 5. I changed to a 5 prong lamp and they are working perfectly!
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Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 AT 7:48 PM

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