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Dodge Grand Caravan Light Problems

Q. Hi Vince, I have used and enjoyed your web-site. I have a problem with a van we just bought from a friend for $5000.00. The price seemed right but this problem is beyond my abilities.

  • 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
  • 3.3 liter V-6
  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,500 miles

Dodge Grand Caravan Light Problems

Problem #1: The illumination lights will not work on the speedometer, rpm, fuel or battery gauges for night driving. The dimmer switch will adjust the lights for the mileage and gear selection, so the dimmer switch seems to work fine.

Problem#2: The back-up lights don't go on in reverse.

Everything else works great. I have checked the back-up light bulbs and they are fine. I have not pulled out the instrument cluster yet, I would like to hear from you first. On this model car their is no fuses for either the back-up lights or the illumination lights. Also, with this 4-speed transmission their is no Neutral/Back-up Light switch, it is incorporated into the Transaxle range sensor.

I unplugged the IOD Fuse to re-set the BCM. I also disconnected the negative cable from the battery for 15 minutes hoping that the BCM would reset itself and that these two issues would be resolved. The problems did not go away.

Do you have any suggestions that I might try. I keep thinking that this is a BCM problem. I found a service that will repair the BCM at Directauto.com for $145.00 and this way I won't lose the low mileage. Any guidance would be most helpful

Thank You,
Jeff

A. My Mentor once told me, "The more they complicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain". Well this is just what Chrysler did when they came up with the Body Control Module (BCM). They took a simple, tried and true system and made it so complicated that when you flush the toilet in your house, it knocks out something in your vehicle.

It's possible you have a problem with the Transmission Range Sensor (TRS). The TRS communicates Shift Lever Position (SLP) to the Transmission Control Module (TCM) as a combination of open and closed switches. Each shift lever position has an assigned combination of switch states (open/closed) that the TCM receives from four sense circuits. The TCM interprets this information and determines the appropriate transaxle gear position and shift schedule.

Since there are four switches, there are 16 possible combinations of open and closed switches. If any one of these switches are bad, it will cause the TCM to go into Fail Safe mode and allows reasonably normal transmission operation.

Assuming the TRS and TCM are good, then you probably do have a bad BCM. To be 100% sure, it would be best to have a Chrysler Dealer scan the system, pull out the DTCs and see where, exactly, the problem is.

Five years ago it would have taken 15 minutes to find a problem with the reverse lights. Today it takes an hour. Ain't progress wonderful?

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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