Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid

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Some work was done on our Dodge Intrepid which required pulling the dash.
Later we started experiencing a strange problem where the power to the
dash, the A/C, and even the power windows would go completely off.  The
engine usually would keep going.  If the car was off to begin with, then
it would act as if the key was not being turned to start the engine.

Also, the brake lights would sometimes stay on after turning off the
engine and power.  We had the brake light switch replaced but that didn't
fix the problem, so I am guessing these two electrical problems are
related.

Anyone familiar enough with this car to have any ideas on how to fix it?
--
Michael Cecil
http://home.roadrunner.com/~macecil /
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
Michael Cecil wrote:
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Let me guess: A.C. evaporator sprung a leak?

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There are some things you definitely should check: Visually check the
battery and its terminals for corrosion.  The battery is buried in the
passenger side wheel well, and a minor PITA to get to.  You can go in by
removing the passenger side front wheel and removing the cover from the
front of the wheel well, *or* raise the hood and go in from the top by
removing the air filter box.  It is very common for the terminals to
become seriously corroded on these cars, and when that happens, the type
of intermittent problems you are having occur.

If you do find a lot of battery acid corrosion and you need advice on
how to deal with that, post back.  But also, sometimes the cables can be
eaten up by that corrosion, and simply cleaning it up may not be enough
- some cable repair or replacement may be needed.

ANOTHER POSSIBILITY: The positive jump post (*not* the battery posts -
the jump post next to the air filter box) passes power to the starter
and (with one exception) *all* other electrical power to the car thru
clamped connections at that post.  Make sure the nuts are tight on that
post.  (The one exception is the connection between the battery and the
alternator - that is a direct connection.)  Before you put a wrench on
the nuts on the positive jump post, disconnect the negative jump post
(located on the passenger side strut tower) - that effectively
disconnects the battery from the car - other wise you are at huge risk
of the wrench touching nearby grounded metal at the same time it is on
the positive battery voltage, which would make huge sparks and cause
possible damage or injury.

ANOTHER POSSIBILITY: Tighten the *negative* jump post.  If you did the
positive jump post, then you should have disconnected the negative one
already - just make sure you re-attach it good and tight when you're
done with the positive jump post.

I have a feeling one of those 3 things is your problem - they are all
three common problems on these cars.  *IF* they don't fix it, then you
will be down to a schematic-level troubleshooting process with a
multimeter.  You would need the factory (not aftermarket) schematics for
that.  There is an on-line source for those, but we'll deal with that
when/if you get to the point of needing them.  Do *not* rely on an
aftermarket service manual (like the auto parts stores sell) for your
schematics - they are junk.

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The brake light switch is adjustable - the switch is simply out of
adjustment.  The plunger has a changeable length to make it adjustable.
  Here's what you do to adjust it:
With the car turned off, get under neath the steering column and push
down on the brake pedal with one hand - not hard - it should be enough
to move the pedal down an inch or so - while holding it down like that,
pull outward on the plunger so that the plunger extend - you will hear
and feel some definite clicks as it extends - pull it out until it
pretty much meets the brake pedal arm.  *THEN* - slowly - release the
brake pedal.  You're done.  What that does is adjusts the plunger to the
proper length by pushing it back in the right amount of clicks - it's
now auto-adjusted.  Brake light should work properly.

If you adjust it and it soon gets out of adjustment again, then the
switch needs replacing again (that would mean that the detents that hold
the plunger at the proper length are worn out and it shortens its length
more than the proper amount).

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I own two 2nd gen Concordes, and know them pretty well.  :)


--
Bill Putney
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
Bill Putney wrote:
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I owned a first-gen Eagle Vision for many years and 260,000 miles. Lots
of similarities. The last problem we had with the Eagle before selling
it was a bad ignition switch. The symptoms were that the gauges and HVAC
would shut down, frequently followed a few minutes later by the engine
shutting down. Sometimes the car just wouldn't start, but cycling the
key back to "off" then trying again would get 'er going. I replaced the
ignition switch and all seemed perfect again, although we sold the car a
few weeks later and I haven't talked to the new owner much since.

I'm not saying your problem is the ignition switch itself, but it could
be a loose connector in the wiring harness. It sounds like the car is
just losing power to the Body Controller module at times, so that gives
you a place to start looking. Also make sure the ground connection for
the Body Controller wiring harness is firmly attached (located atop the
"tunnel" near the center of the dash on the first-gens, not sure where
it is on the 2nd-gens).

Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
under the hood right side near core support is a battery lug and there is a
battery power wire there ( 10 gauge)that has a fusable link in it that
prvides power to the systems you posted about that would be the first thing
i would check then the battery connections then i would double check the
connectors that plug into the back of the junction bos that is on the left
side of the dash and is attached to the fuse panel  they made have not fully
seated a connector there when the dash went back in
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
man of machines wrote:
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B.S.  The fusible link is the direct connection between the alternator
and the battery.

--
Bill Putney
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
there is a 10 gauge wire on the positive battery cable lug (red cover)
bolted to the core sopport it has a fusable link that might be corrioded or
blown if memory serves me right that does power up the stuff you posted does
not work
then i would check the battery and it's connections
then i would check the connectors behind the fuse panel that is also the bcm
resting place  that might have been left loose or not plugged in
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
man of machines wrote:
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Ignore that - it is total B.S.

--
Bill Putney
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
bill give me your address so i can come over and cut that wire and watch you
wonder why shit qiut working on your car
cock
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Re: Strange electrical problem with 2001 Dodge Intrepid
The fusible link that you mentioned (the only one on the 2nd gen LH
cars) is the direct connection between the battery and the alternator.
It does *not* provide power from the battery to any particular loads -
or to *any* loads for that matter.  If it goes away, the battery does
not charge, period, and would not relate back to the particular symptoms
posted in the OP.

sucker :)

--
Bill Putney
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