1989 Dodge Caravan Mysterious Weird Electrical Issue!

Tiny
SPIKER222
  • MEMBER
  • 1989 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
Back from town today, I pulled up to the curb, attached the steering wheel to brake pedal lock while letting engine run a bit for the turbo's sake, I look at my instrument cluster and notice the temp gauge instantly peg to the top? None of the others move. I immediately remove pedal lock, and push down on steering wheel and gauge drops back to normal, release it and temp gauge reads at very top again. Weird!
I try another test, push down on the brake pedal.
Each time I push & release gauge reading jumps up & down. Really weird! At this point I adjusted the tilt steering to lowest setting to 'maybe' my only guess, to take pressure off pinching wires. I lightly reattach the steering pedal lock. Now I'm scared a wire or wires are grounding out somewhere so too nervous to drive Van now!

Additional details that may be related. Noticed rad fan not turning on, no codes I pulled the connection from the temp sensor and it comes on and then afterward gives me code 22 for low/high voltage. I forgot that code would disappear after so many starts and so went and shelled out $59 @ Napa for new coolant temp sensor, picked up a new fan relay as I have heard many times these commonly fail. 50/50 mix, bleed system, added new rad cap too. Still no fan coming on ever! Gauge would climb to 3/4s then drop but fan just never comes on.

Now with this newly discovered wacky gauge issue, I can't really trust the gauge reading at all!
I hope a pro here knows, & can tell me why pressure on steering column or brake pedal would cause temp gauge to jump to top. And, could this be related to why fan never comes on!
Many thanks in advance!
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Thursday, April 8th, 2010 AT 6:18 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
Could you tell me if all the exterior lighting, including the brak lights are ok? And are all the fuses ok? Also there are a bunch of link wires near the battery, heading toward the strut into the pass. Compartment. Are any of these fusible link wires burned? Your going to need a 6-12 volt test light. And test them to make sure they are all ok first thing. Thanks. I can tell your concerned. We didn't see many turbo Caravans but plenty of temp. Gauge problems. When you get weird problems like this it's sometimes a filament or fuse that is out.
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Thursday, April 8th, 2010 AT 8:47 PM
Tiny
SPIKER222
  • MEMBER
All the exterior lights, signals, headlights, brake lights are OK! I have a test light, not sure how to test the fusible links with it? I did pull lightly on them and they don't seem to stretch and no visible burn marks. Is it OK to pierce a tiny hole to make a connection on fusible links to check with a test light? Thanks
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Thursday, April 8th, 2010 AT 9:48 PM
Tiny
CH112063
  • MEMBER
Good, they are just a piece of wire made to open(burn) when carrying too many amps. The point is made for this and won't hurt the larger wires and never the fuse links. They won't look bad, the best way to test is sharpen your probe, probe before the link wire to get a light on your tester, and after the link to see if it still lights. If you pull on one that is bad it breaks easily. Use an in-line plastic fuse holder to repair, they are obsolete anyway for this application but no larger then a yellow 20 amp fuse(this makes it easier to fix. If they are all good and there are orange, white, gray, and yellow or blacks somettimes go from there to the fuses inside. You do understand your on an electrical journey trying to find a spot where the stream is blocked. Don't be afraid to move things around to try and duplicate any loose connection, ok sir.
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Saturday, April 10th, 2010 AT 6:42 PM

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