Turn signals work intermittently?

Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 3.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 68,000 MILES
I have the van listed above as a winter beater and this year it has decided to cause some issues with the electrical; essentially my turn signals work sporadically at their own whim and will, they will activate and work for maybe 5-6 "blinks" and then turn off and not work again. They can then go out from anywhere between 5 minutes to 2 hours before working again.

The multifunction switch also controls my wipers and my washer fluid and during the time that the turn signal doesn't work these all still work fine and same with the hazard button; when hazards are active the signal light will flash despite the turn signal not working.

I've replaced the multifunction switch, the bulbs, checked all fuses, and yes even topped up blinker fluid. Nothing is working. This leads me to believe I have a faulty ground somewhere, but I don't know if that is me grasping at straws or if anyone has any other ideas, the clock spring is relatively new as well.

If it is a ground where do you begin to even look!

Please help!
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Friday, December 2nd, 2022 AT 5:02 PM

14 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

It sounds like the combination flasher is going bad. The idea that it works and then doesn't with a delay in restarting leads me to think it is overheating.

As far as grounds are concerned, they are at different locations. I wouldn't think all would fail at the same time. So, the flasher is my first suspect.

If you look below, I attached the directions for replacing the flasher.

Let me know if this helps.

Take care,

Joe

See pic below.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, December 3rd, 2022 AT 11:00 PM
Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
I will definitely give that a shot! I haven't been able to locate a part number for that though, the one's I locate look to be for a bigger relay and parts range from $170-$250 CAD. Any suggestions for a part number?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, December 4th, 2022 AT 11:21 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Wow! The OEM part is showing much less. If you look below, I attached the parts and labor for the replacement of the unit.

The part number has been highlighted.

Let me know how things turn out for you.

Take care,

Joe

See pic below.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, December 4th, 2022 AT 9:47 PM
Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
Part comes Friday and I will update then; just realized today some other things that may possibly assist in determining what's wrong:
- Horn no longer works (unknown when this started or if related)
- When the signals are working, the DRL are on
- When the signals are not working, it somehow turns off the DRL
- Nothing has to actually take place for the signals to go from working to not, I can be driving along a flat road and it'll change

There have been on few occasions the signals seem to have a "flutter" where I can hear a "tick" sound coming from beneath the steering wheel (could be the area of the relay), this at times can be a super fast rapid tick and then it'll stop working or start working again.

Last, I found this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2fwzaO2WOc), I was wondering if this relay is a different possible cause if the new one doesn't fix it.

The part number ordered is: 4686094 (EFL15 Flasher)
The other part number shows as: (EFL88 Relay)

Any thoughts on this?

Thank you for all the assistance so far!
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 AT 12:53 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

The horn does add new thoughts to the equation. As far as the fast flash you experience, that is usually an indicator that there is a failed bulb.

Have you checked connections under the dash from the steering column? Also, when the horn doesn't work, does the airbag lamp turn on as well?

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 AT 3:55 PM
Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
The flash isn’t the same as the typical failed bulb flash, it’s about 10 times faster than that (sounds like it’s on rapid fire) and lasts for maybe 2 seconds before stopping and the lights stop working as well.

I have yet to check connections under the dash from the steering column, I wasn’t sure where to necessarily start for those.

The airbag lamp is not illuminated at all, and the horn isn’t working whatsoever, not even sporadically which has me thinking it might be a separate issue, but you guys are the experts for that reason, lol.

Thank you again for the continued input!
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 AT 4:01 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
By chance, could you video tape the flash you mentioned above? I would be interested in seeing what happens.

Let me know.

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 AT 7:56 PM
Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
I will do my best to get one! It’s such a sporadic and unpredictable thing, sometimes the turn signals just stop and others they do this flutter and kick out.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 AT 8:16 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Sounds like a plan. By the way, has the part (flasher) come yet? I have high hopes that will fix the issue.

Let me know.

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 8th, 2022 AT 6:39 PM
Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
So, the part came today, unfortunately it’s the wrong one. The spot that it looks like it fits into isn’t a single width of relay, it’s a very wide double relay. That being said I ordered a EFL88 which is the direct replacement for that area and hopefully get that soon and can advise then.

When the signals are on, I can feel the tick going through that relay so hopefully this fixes it! Otherwise, I’m going to have a hay day pulling at wires.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 9th, 2022 AT 3:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi guys. These symptoms reminded me of finding this problem on three or four of these vans at the dealership. The problem was caused by the excessive weight of the flasher pulling it down out of its socket. Simply pushing it back into place solved the problem temporarily, but the better fix was to tie it in place with a nylon tie strap.

That's my contribution for today.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Friday, December 9th, 2022 AT 3:51 PM
Tiny
STEALTHK15
  • MEMBER
So Caradiodoc, you've absolutely nailed the solution here; the relay just seems to have excessive weight and a bit of wiggle. When the turn signals go out, I can push that up or down and manipulate it and they will kick back in. I've tried to locate a replacement relay in hopes that it'll simply suffice. This has proven to be a nightmare as most relays only come in as 1/2 of the double wide relay, I'm sure there is probably a way to tear this thing apart and insert the other half but I'm not going to attempt that.

The EFL88 part showed as being the double wide and arrived and wasn't so I think I finally found the right one on Rock Auto; my relay when I took it out lists the part# 4686190 so that's the one I have placed an order for.

The horn still doesn't work; I checked the fuse, and it was blown, put a new fuse in and it blew right away again. Guessing there is a bad ground somewhere but it's snowing and wet and cold in Canada right now so until I can get the van inside and put it up on a lift, I don't feel like laying in the snow to pull back the wheel well to look for the horn, lol.

Thanks for all the help, guys! Updates to come.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2022 AT 2:12 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Thank you for the update, and excellent job Caradiodoc! That one went right over me. LOL I assumed the relay was just failing. Regardless, I'm glad to know you found the issue.

Take care of yourself,

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2022 AT 6:21 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I only know a few things, and that flasher was one of them.

For the horn, grounds are not the issue. A broken ground would stop a circuit from working, but due to insufficient or no current flow. You have an issue of too much current flow.

When you say the fuse blows instantly, do you mean as soon as you plug it in, or when the horn button is pressed? If it doesn't blow until you press the button, a shorted horn is the best suspect. They're under the driver's side headlamp housing. The fastest way to identify this is to unplug both horns, replace the fuse, then verify the horn relay clicks when you press the horn switch. If it does, everything else in that circuit has to be working. Now plug in one horn and try it. If the fuse blows, that's the one that's shorted. There's a "Lo" or a "Hi" molded on it to denote its tone.

If the one horn works, it will sound sick by itself, but you should be able to tell if it's the low or high note. Replacement horns were rather expensive, so the people in my parts department started stocking universal replacement horns for about one third the cost. They came with multiple mounting brackets and hardware. You can also find used horns at a salvage yard, but they did have a pretty high failure rate in the mid '90s. Keep in mind a used one might develop the same problem.

If we need to dig deeper, Joe is going to have you start a new question, and he can help you solve this there. We like to keep the topics in separate questions to make them easier to categorize for others' research. If I see it, I'll wait in case you need more of my wondrous advice.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 16th, 2022 AT 3:35 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Sponsored links