2001 Dodge Van Power Windows, Radio, Flashers cut out.

Tiny
RAMVANNER
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 DODGE VAN
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 147,500 MILES
When driving along and hitting a bump in the road, not always - but sometimes, this causes the radio to go off, the power windows to not function and the directional signals to not work either. After about 20 seconds, the radio comes back on. But at this point, merely trying to raise or lower the power windows causes the radio to go out again along with the flashers remaning inoperative. After waiting again for about 20 seconds to a minute, everything generally resets and works fine as if nothing ever went wrong.

Recently however, this problem is arising more frequently and when hitting smaller bumps than before. On several occasions the items only reset if I turn off the ignition and restart the engine. When the reset is done by turning off the ignition and restarting, the reset is immediate. There is no waiting as mentioned before.
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Thursday, September 9th, 2010 AT 3:58 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi RamVanner. Welcome to the forum. There are two ways to approach this. As a professional, I want to know for sure I found the break in the circuit before I replace parts so I would connect a test light or inexpensive digital voltmeter to a point midway through the circuit, then watch what happens to the reading when the problem acts up on a test drive. Moving the probe to different places will narrow down the location of the break.

A common suspect is burned / overheated contacts in the ignition switch. You might also find the connector's plastic body is partially melted and the terminals are discolored and overheated. I can describe how I repair that problem but defective switches and terminals don't usually cause a problem over bumps although it is possible. They are more likely to cause a problem when a lot of current is drawn, such as when turning the heater fan on a higher speed.

If you want to troubleshoot this yourself, the ignition switch connector is the best place to start. I can research the colors of the wires you should take measurements on.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, September 9th, 2010 AT 4:17 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I only have a '99 service manual for vans, but by that year, it appears they changed the style of ignition switch so you're going to know more about it than I will. The radio and signal flasher are on the "Run / Accessory" circuit. The cigarette lighter is on that circuit too so you should find it inoperative at the same time as the radio. The power windows, along with the anti-lock brake controller, ac / heater controls, rear window defogger, rear heater, and air bag controller are on a different circuit leaving the switch. If these two circuits go dead at different times, that would point to burned switch contacts, but there are two totally separate switches physically linked together. If both circuits always go dead at the same time, that would point to something they have in common, and that's the common feed wire. That magic wire is a 12 gauge, pink with a black stripe. Current leaves fuse 12, a 40 amp under the hood. The feed to that fuse is the same as that which feeds a different 40 amp fuse for the starter relay through a different part of the ignition switch, so we know the circuit is good to that point.

From the fuse, current goes directly to the ignition switch, (that pink / black wire). There is only one connector shown in between, presumably the bulkhead connector which probably isn't really bolted to the firewall. They've moved them inboard on cars back in the mid '90s. That connector would be a good place to poke a test probe to monitor the circuit for loss of voltage. If you have to go on further to the ignition switch, pull out the tilt lever, then there are two screws in the bottom half of the steering column cover. It unsnaps from the upper half of the cover. I think that's as far as you have to go to access the switch wires.

That will give you three test points to start from; the switch, the fuse, and the bulkhead connector in between. To find fuse 12, you'll see two rows of maxi-fuses under the hood. One row is exactly in the center of the box. Start counting from the large bolted-in 140 amp fuse. Next to it is fuse number 16. The fifth fuse away from the 140 amp is the one you want. Depending on the style of fuse, you might be able to pop a clear cover off to allow you to connect a clip lead to it and your probe. If you find the voltage disappears at that fuse, suspect a loose rivet on the buss bar underneath that all of the fuses in that row are attached to. I've read about that a few times but have never run into that myself. I suspect a loose rivet can be shined up and soldered to solve a problem there.

As a suggestion, you might consider leaving the radio on, (I prefer AM talk radio), while you're poking around the test points. That will provide a clue if it quits when you disturb something.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, September 10th, 2010 AT 4:56 AM

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