I have a beat-up 1991 Dodge B150 van with 240,000 miles on it. The
left turn directional recently stopped working. When I switch it on,
the indicator on the dash-board just stays on, the light on the front
of the van stays on, and the light on the rear of the van doesn't come
on at all. The right signal works fine. The lights are my biggest
concern on this van as a burned-out light seems to be the quickest way
to get pulled over (especially at 2:00 a.m. on the way home from a
it is common. the system is designed to work with a fixed amount of
resistance. with one bulb out the resistance is not enough and the flasher
won't work. On the other hand, if you had a trailer hooked up without one
of the trailer light adapters, the flasher would blink twice as fast due to
too much resistance.
Replace the bad bulb and you will be fine.
Thanks for all the advice, but I think I need a bit more! I stopped by
the auto parts store on the way home from work today and got some
bulbs. I get home and go to switch out the bulb and I find a bulb in
there with an orange wire sticking out of the bulb's metal casing. I
took a picture of it and here is a link to it.
The other end of the wire was just hanging there, not plugged into
anything. Anyhow, I put the replacement bulb in and the blinker still
won't blink. The bulb lights when I turn the headlights on, but goes
out when I step on the brake or when I turn the blinker on in either
direction. Any idea what the heck this crazy bulb is? I must need
another one like it.
Someone has rigged the taillight for towing a U-Haul. You can get rid of
that, and get a regular bulb that is the right one. The parts store should
be able to look up the right bulb.
Usually when a tail light works like that, the ground wire is not making a
connection. Make sure that you have a good ground connection, and the right
bulb, and you should be OK.
Just to add a little to this... The second paragraph above is accurate.
You have almost certainly have a bad ground... I'm going to take a little
bit of a different path with my suggestion, however.
Looking at your picture, I can't tell what type of bulb this is (number, and
if it's a single or dual filament), however I'm betting that MAYBE, the
original bulb isn't bad, but just lost it's ground. What it appears to me
is that this orange wire is actually acting as the ground wire for the bulb.
(Is the wire soldered to the outer metal casing of the bulb??) This was
probably added because the normal ground to the socket was bad, and this was
a quick & cheap way of correcting the problem, though not the best way...
Do you have some sort of multi-meter that you can use to check for
continuity between the bulb socket and ground? This would probably be a
good test to perform. Easiest way to test, if your not sure what to check
would be to put a bulb into the socket, and then check for continuity
between the metal casing of the bulb, and a ground source (bare metal on the
Another check, if no meter and the wire is soldered to the outer metal case
of the bulb, put the bulb back in, and hook that wire up to some grounding
point on the vehicle and see if it works that way...
Going to conclude for now... Will give further advice once questions are
answered and testing is done...
WOW! Thanks for this detailed reply. I will check it out later and
reply. By the way, I have no multimeter or anything like that. I'm
about to the point of calling my next-door neighbor (an
elevator/escalator repairman and shade-tree mechanic extraordinaire,
though I'm reluctant to do that as he has fixed this particular van
several times (helped me mount a spare tire holder on the back, gave me
advice on tranny fluid, offered to caulk the roof to fix a small leak,
fixed the battery connectors, and one or two other small jobs). I hate
to go to the well too often, but I might just have to!
Forgive the top-post, but there is a lot of quoted material in this
post (to give it context). Last week I replaced the rear blinker bulb
as suggested and the blinker still would not work. I would turn the
blinker on and the indicator on the dashboard would stay on, and the
front blinker would come on and stay on, and the rear blinker would not
turn on at all. Well, I went out to the van (the van is named Julio,
by the way) yesterday and it wouldn't start at all. No lights, no
nothing. No juice at all. I assumed that maybe a grounding problem
with this blinker had somehow caused the battery to be drained. Is
that even possible?
Anyhow, I pulled our minivan into the driveway and jumped Julio, he
started right up. I let it run for 20 minutes or so, and then took it
on a short drive. While on the drive, I noticed that the blinker was
working properly! I don't know how or why, I'm just glad it's working
as I have a gig Saturday night and don't wanna give the police the
slightest reason to pull me over. (In this area (north metro Atlanta),
a van like this would likely be driven by a Latino painting crew (Julio
even has a rusty ladder rack on top...it's about all that holds the
roof on) and the cops love the pick on the Latinos).
Thanks again for the advice!
Julio, like most illegals in this country, sounds like it may have issues
with power. You can check for a power drain by making sure everything is
turned off. Disconnect one of the battery connectors and slightly touch it
to the battery post. Watch for sparks. If Julio has a computer for his
system then it will spark slightly. If there is no computer then you should
not see/hear any sparks. If you know how to use a DVM (digital volt meter)
you can set it up for AMPs and put the probes between one of the battery
cables and the battery. This will tell you how much current is being
drained. Polarity is essential when doing this.
Earlier indications were that the bulb was bad. The socket may have issues
as well. Clean it if required. Check it is OK in all respects. But for
God sake - teach the damn thing English and get it a Visa. We don't speak
their native language for a reason. There are way too many illegals in this
country trying to change it to fit their needs - which are many or they
wouldn't be here in the first place.
Yes, Julio has power/battery issues galore. For example, Julio will
generally start up, but once I turn him off, he will not start again
for about 30 minutes. I have to start Julio up at least once a week to
keep the battery from dying. The radio works intermittently. There is
no rhyme or reason as to why.
Luckily I only use Julio for hauling band equipment, so he only gets
used on weekends, usually for trips within 30 minutes of home. As a
result, I don't have much incentive to get these issues addressed. The
gas milage is terrible on Julio, about 10 mpg when loaded, slightly
better when not loaded.
Thanks again for the advice I've gotten from the group.
P.S. Julio is named after the guy I bought him from (it cost $850 when
I bought it three years ago, I had to put a new catalytic converter on
it to get it to pass emissions tests, and a few other minor repairs and
new tires, but he has paid for himself many times over since then.) I
should post a pic of this heap. I washed it over the weekend for the
first time ever, and I applied some of those bullet-hole stickers on
all sides. I cannot explain why those things make me laugh.
What you just stated about letting it sit then it will restart, is beginning
to sound more and more like an alternator problem.
If you start the engine, then disconnect the negative battery cable, will
the engine die? If so, replace the alternator. If it stays running then
that's not the problem. That is a simple test and will tell you a lot.
I love old Dodge vans. I bought an '85 short wheelbase Dodge slant 6 van
about 5 years ago for $300. The battery was dead. But the guy seemed to
have taken good care of it. Oil was somewhat clean. He needed it out of
his apt. parking lot asap. I put a new battery in it and drove it away.
Got it home and tuned it up. It ran great and always started. I cleaned
it out real well and put down some carpet and built a bed in the back. It
was just a short wheelbase white cargo van. I took the ugly, broken
plastic Kmart special huncaps off and painted the rims white and installed
some nice little original Dodge baby hubcaps. I used it a couple of years
camping and hauling stuff for myself and friends. Sold it a couple of
years later for $1000.
Okay, I did my "start Julio so he won't die" routine today. Then I
popped the hood and disconnected the negative battery cable. He didn't
die. Is that good news or bad news? I was kinda hoping it was
something as simple as the alternator.
Thanks again for all the guidance!
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