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Dodge Intrepid Power Windows & A/C

Q. Here's just a little background. I am a widow with two young children. My Dad went and helped me buy this nice looking 1997 Dodge Intrepid last year about this time. We took it for a test drive and it drove really nice so I decided to go ahead and buy it. A few months later we started having trouble with the back electric windows.

Dodge Intrepid Power Windows & A/C

I took it back to where I bought it right after the three month warranty ran out and they replaced the two back window motors. That cost me about $350.00! Later on in the summer as it got hotter I started having trouble with the windows not going up and down and at the same time the vent/air condition does not work and the airbag light stays on. However, the radio works.

Now this doesn't do this all the time just when it gets to a certain unknown temperature like hot. In the winter time its fine. Anyway, my Dad called the Dodge garage here in Zanesville, OH and they told him basically that he was crazy that this couldn't be happening that one thing didn't have to do with the other. He explained to them that yes it really was happening.

So they told him to have me bring it over to the garage when it happens so they can check it out but the thing is I never know when its going to happen and usually when it does I'm on my way somewhere else. Now sometimes when I get to where I'm going (smothering to death on the way) and when I come back out and start it again it will be okay the windows will go down and the vent will work and the airbag light goes off. Sometimes not.

Also sometimes I slam the door or start the motor two or three times and everything will work but a lot of time it doesn't. It's getting hotter here now and now its happening more frequently. I'm not making this up although I think the mechanics at the garage my Dad called thinks we are I think.

What can we do on our own to fix things or can we? Please help! I hope you can understand this mass of confusion. Thank you very much for your help and your time!!

A. Once upon a time there was an Engineer at Chrysler who thought that there were too many control modules in their cars. They were reliable and they worked well, there was just too many of them. Then he decided to design one big control module to control everything. He designed it to control the heating and A/C, power windows, and the airbag system, among many other things.

So they spec'ed it out and choose the lowest bidder to make them. The lowest bidder, wanting to increase his profit margin, used the cheapest materials and components he could find. He made, oh I don't know, 4 or 5 million of these which Chrysler bought.

This device is called the Body Control Module (BCM). The only problem is, they don't work for long. So people like you have multiple problems and no one can logically explain.

Can the BCM cause both problems? Yes, indeed it can. I have seen a few fail like this. But I'm not going to tell you to replace it. The best way to determine if the BCM is the problem is to have your Chrysler Dealer hook up their DRB scan tool and test it. This will confirm the BCM as the problem. Of course if everything is working right at the time, the test will be inconclusive.

When it's cool out and everything is working fine, we can try and duplicate the conditions and see if we can get it to fail. (Incident Simulation Testing)

Expose the BCM and with a hair dryer, heat it up. You might want to use a thermometer to be sure you don't heat it up above 200°. If the problems start up again, you've confirmed the bad BCM.

Dodge Intrepid Power Windows & A/C
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© 2003 Vincent T. Ciulla

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