Another beat-up Dodge van question

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 gig).
Thanks...
Mike
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Replace the bulb...??

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FeMaster wrote:

I plan to try that solution this weekend. I'm hoping it's that simple. I thought there might be more involved since the front blinker doesn't blink, just comes on and stays on.
Thanks...
Mike
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That is a common thing to happen.
You probably are going to wish you had thought and tried that, before posting, and looking foolish, huh? <g>
--
Jim in NC


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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.

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Abby Normal wrote:

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.
http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/6373/hpim2823ii8.jpg
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.
Thanks again!
Mike
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wrote in message

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.
--
Jim in NC


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wrote in message

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 vehicle.)
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...
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FeMaster wrote:

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!
Mike
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Go down and get a multimeter. A cheap one will do, and can be bought for less than 10 bucks.
--
Jim in NC


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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!
Mike
Morgans wrote:

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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.

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Abby Normal wrote:

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.
Mike
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.
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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.

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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.
-
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Abby Normal wrote:

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!
Mike

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That proved the alternator is good. I would next check tightness on the starter cables, battery cables, etc. Something i sgetting hot and losing connection.

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