1992 Dodge Caravan dashboard gauges

Tiny
MADISONJIMMY
  • MEMBER
  • 1992 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 184,761 MILES
I don't want to mislead anyone. This is my first time asking a question on this site or any other, so I don't know what is normally done or normally acceptable. I have no money to pay anyone now. I might be able to pay someone $5 after I get paid Friday, but I'm not in a good position financially right now or I'd offer more. I realize that will affect my responses, but I don't have alot of options.

Four nights ago, I drove somewhere about 5 miles from home, stayed there an hour, and when I came out to leave, the dashboards lights were out and the gauges (speedometer, odometer, temp, fuel), didn't work. The intermittent wipers only work when on "constant slow" & constant fast". None of the intermittant steps work. Turn signals both work, but it no longer "dings" when I leave the turn signal on too long, like it used to. Both ceiling-mounted reading lights work & dome light works. If I turn on the headlights, the headlights work, but the radio station digital display dims to almost (though not totally) off. Radio works. I replaced the 10amp fuse labeled "Gauges" in the fuse panel, located lower left of the steering column, and nothing changed. I currently can't tell how much gas I have left, nor how many miles I've driven.
Any ideas? Any help would be much appreciated.
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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 AT 2:44 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sorry for the delay in replying.

Hi Madisonjimmy, Randy here. Don't worry about the donation. Think of it as a tip, not a requirement. You wont get a reply if people don't know the answer or, like many people, you don't supply details. Things like "Won't start. What's wrong" won't get a response. Also, people who didn't bother to make any tests or observations, and people who are just looking for backup to lodge a complaint aren't likely to get any help. You provided lots of details, (thank you), but you can only expect a generic reply to get you started because these things seem to be unrelated. However, ... You're in luck.

I repaired a lot of vehicles for this isssue when I worked at the dealership. The Body Computer likely has locked up due to a voltage spike. To reset it, just remove the negative battery cable for half a minute, then reconnect it. When things come back to life, there are two things to do. First, replace the Body Computer with one modified to not be affected by voltage spikes. Sorry I don't remember the part number, but just about any computer in the salvage yards will already be that upgraded part. Next, look in the fuse box by your left knee. There are up to a dozen small black relays in there, about an inch square. Replace any of them that have a part number that ends in "1001". This was a service bulletin that only applied to '92 models.

Those relays came from the supplier without sufficient spike damping built in. In paticular, power window and power lock relays are operated by the Body Computer. Between the relays with proper spike suppression, and a computer not affected by spikes, the problem should not occur again. Most of the vehicles I worked on for this had a history of the computer locking up every 5,000 miles. It's hard to believe this is the first time this has happened on your van based on the high mileage. If removing the battery cable doesn't help, the Body Computer may have just failed. First check all the fuses in the dash and under the hood. The Body Computer is located just to the right of the steering column. You must remove the knee blocker panel under the column, then unbolt the computer and slide it out toward the column.

One more thing to look for if it applies. On my '95 Caravan, there is a wire going up the left hood hinge arm to the under-hood light. When that wire was mispositioned, it rubbed through on the sharp edge of the inner fender causing the air bag fuse to blow. That fuse is in the box next to the hood hinge. I don't know if the '92 models had that same fuse box, but the symptoms were the same as you described.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, February 26th, 2010 AT 6:23 AM
Tiny
MADISONJIMMY
  • MEMBER
Randy, You are awesome! Your suggestion worked, just like you said it would. I am very impressed. I've only had the vehicle for 6 months so it hadn't happened to me before. Thank you so very much for your help. Equally impressive is the idea that the website was of genuine help. No come-on. No games. Just an honest effort by someone to help a stranger. That is so cool. I know it's not much but I'm more than happy to pay you the $5. How do I get it to you?
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Monday, March 1st, 2010 AT 9:00 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Someplace on these pages you'll see a "donate" button, but the donation is between you and the owners of the web site. They share with us later, and we appreciate it as a "thank you", not a requirement. Most of us are more interested fixing veeehikles.

What did you do to solve the problem? Did you find any of the relays I mentioned? If so, somehow your van got overlooked in the past and you should consider keeping an eye out for an updated body computer in the salvage yards. I went through 11 Pull-A-Part yards between Indiana and Georgia. They are all very clean and very well organized. Parts are very inexpensive there too. Any module, as I recall, is around 18 bucks.

Thanks for your confidence in us.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 7:43 AM
Tiny
MADISONJIMMY
  • MEMBER
Thank you again, Randy. As it turns out, your answer came on my 60th birthday last Friday. Thanks for the nice birthday present. I just paid the $5.00. Again, sorry it couldn't be more.
All I did so far was disconnect and reconnect the cable. I'll look around for those relays this weekend. I don't really have an extra $18 right now anyhow, so I'll just have to wait. When I'm able, I'll try those "Pull-A-Part" yards you mentioned. Thanks for the lead. Just so you know. You taking the time to help me made me smile for days! Thanx alot.
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 6:57 PM
Tiny
2CARPROS LINSEY
  • MEMBER
We appreciate your donation and look forward to helping you in the future, Thank you.
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 AT 1:26 PM

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