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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-31-2006, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Intermittent Electrical Issue?

So recently my 2000 Intrepid (2.7l) has been having some issues.

Started out with an occasional go out to car, turn the key "Click!" no start, turn key off, turn it again, starts right up strong as ever, runs fine... Recently in the past 2 weeks, my dashlights, odometer, dome lights, and pretty much everything in the car electrical will start flickering rapidly, and will then go away as quick as it came on. Something I noticed while it was flickering, a higher pitched noise coming from the engine compartment that is variable with RPM, sounds a lot like turbo whine, or a highpitched whine that changes with RPM. When its not flickering, there is no whine. The other day while driving it started to flicker and the car actually died twice while crusing down the highway. It died, then came back a second later, I didnt have to turn the key to restart it happened too fast. After driving down the road some more the battery light came on.

The car was fine after that for a few days, no more flickering, battery light was off etc... Then this last weekend the lights were flickering again, and this time when I stopped at a store the car was dead as a doornail when I tried to restart it. Dash lights and relays were buzzing like when a battery has just enough juice to light things, but not enough to keep it going. I had to have someone Jump start me to get it going, and it would not stay running w/o keeping high RPM's for about 10 min. It died a few times while getting it home and had to jump it each time.

When the flickering first started, I went through and checked all the cables and connectors all were tight and secure... Cleaned the battery contacts (they were corroded, but not horrible, I've seen much worse in my jeeps) Now once I got it home after dying completely it ran fine, shut off and restarted just fine and has run the rest of the weekend w/o issue, no more flickering either. This morning heading to work, got in, and "Click" turn off, then started fine, no flickering...

I've gone in and had them test the battery, said it was ok. Tested the alternator, they said it was ok. I'm thinking it may be an intermittent short in either the battery (like a dry reversed cell) or the Voltage regulator on the alternator.

I'm wondering if anyone else has some input.

Sorry for the Longwinded post.

Jason
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-31-2006, 12:15 PM
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whos they? How old is your battery? Invest and get yourself an optima. Thats prolly what it is. Also there is a light dim/bright switch, make sure its down, because it can move slighly by itself and dim/bright your lights.
Good luck
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-31-2006, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLASK02
whos they? How old is your battery? Invest and get yourself an optima. Thats prolly what it is. Also there is a light dim/bright switch, make sure its down, because it can move slighly by itself and dim/bright your lights.
Good luck
They is a reputable shop near me.

The dim switch is not the issue. While it was blinking, I've moved it and to no change. The entire electrical in the car is being shorted hence the dome lights blinking, ODO flipping from trip back to Overall milege, aftermarket radio blinking etc..

I will replace the battery with a quality battery when the time comes, I'm not willing to just toss money at the problem w/o know what it is hence my question. $120 is a bit steep as a diagnostic tool.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-31-2006, 02:47 PM
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I had both problems you described (intermittent starting and blinking interior lights) a couple of times. In my case, the starting issue was due to corroded terminals on the battery. Since you already cleaned those, you might check the electrical connections going to the starter. Something might have gotten corroded in there. Also, you might try rolling the dimmer switch for your interior lights back and forth a few times. My lights were flickering and it was due to some corrosion having built up on the switch. Rolled it back and forth a few times and the problem went away.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-31-2006, 04:50 PM
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Flickering Lights too..

I also have had that same problem with my 02 Intrepid's lights flickering on and off. Now I have not had the engine noise in addition to that but I do get very nervous when I turn on my headlights and the dashboard lights/gauges start to flicker but it never lasts long and it does not happen all the time. And you say it's just corrosion on the dimmer switch? I hope so because I don't need any more probs from this thing.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 05:27 PM
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I justed started having this problem a few months ago. It started out as the dash lights all going out along with the headlights...Then coming back on seconds later. That progressed into the interior dome lights flashing on and off. That is where the problem stayed until last week...Then it wouldn't start for me...After trying several times I turned on the headlights to see if they dim a lot when I tried to start it, It cranked right up?! That happened twice...So I decided to remove the battery, inspect the terminals and cables, dry voltage etc. Then I put it back in the car...It was fine for a little while and last night while driving I got the flashing lights etc with everything electrical going dead for a few seconds while driving. Then it came back to life. I pulled into a parking lot to check it out and when I applied the brakes to put it in park everything shut down completely...After restarting it I drove it home with flickering interior lights.

Right now I'm going outside to change for amp draw on all the circuits...If anybody else has some input it would be appreciated...I can swap batteries for troubleshooting from one car to another but I don't have cash to blow on a new one until I prove that is the issue. I will check back perodically for input. Thanks in advance and sorry for Hijacking this thread but it's the same issue.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonjones
$120 is a bit steep as a diagnostic tool.
$120 for a nice optima is steep I know, but remember they have replacement warranties, what my local ADAP store does is they let me replace it every 3 years, so I get a new one for the rest of my life every 3 years. Nothing wrong with a $120 life investment for a good battery.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 05:53 PM
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Check the negative terminal from battery to ground?

Last edited by Memorex88; 08-02-2006 at 06:20 PM.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 07:11 PM
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what would everyone say is the deal with the starting point of his original post? I have had that a few times where I turn the key and nothing happens, I mean NOTHING. No radio, no dash lights, no door chime, notta...I then turn the key back to off position and turn to start again, and wham! Starts just like normal and runs perfectly...I haven't had the flickering problem as of yet, but not looking forward to it, either. I DID get a new battery last week to hopefully fix the problem of the starting thingee..I checked the starter for a bad tooth and found nothing wrong with it so I figured its the battery. I had the flickering problem in my last vechicle, my S-10 and it was traced to my new hid bulbs. I replaced the stockers with some aftermarket ones and they were overloading the circuit and as soon as I put the stockers back in ot test, it never happened again...so, JasonJones, do u have aftermarket lighting? Perhaps check that out???????
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 07:16 PM
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How about a bad ignition switch?
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 07:16 PM
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All the cables have been checked from the battery to there respected post terminals where you jump them.

I just went out to test for draw...When I check with Ignition off for Amp draw I get zero. But If I test it for voltage draw across the negative post I show .3vdc and when I connect the post it goes to zero which is good, but the terminal sparks and the horn honks when connected it. So in theory I figured the .3vdc was all stuff that should be IOD (radio memory, odometer etc). so I pulled the IOD fuse and waited for the system to drain (about 3mins) and checked for draw again and it was gone.

This tells me none of my other systems have a draw and it is isolated to the IOD system/Body control module somewhere.

Does anybody have any idea why I didn't get a good AMP reading when I tried this but did show voltage draw? I started high on my meter with 20amp, then I went to mA and still didn't see anything.

I don't think in my case it's the ignition switch because the car does funny things otherwise beside trying to start it...i.e. the lights, the horn, FULL power loss.

Also does anybody know what components on the BCM I can pull fuses and relays to isolate this more. Do our BCM's have bad grounds or anything out of the ordinary I should look for.

Thanks

PS I am eye balling the optima battery anyways because I got a '99 with the original battery (only 65k on the car though).

Last edited by Mopar; 08-02-2006 at 07:19 PM. Reason: added more to end of post
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-03-2006, 11:30 PM
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OK so I pulled up some old threads here about the light flickering...some said the headlight switch, other said the junction post for + terminal is loose. So tonight I went out to check the posts and they all looked nice and tight the way I remembered. Then I just looked around the engine bay underneath stuff to look for loose ground cables etc...Didn't find anything. Car had been sitting about 4hrs since used last.

I got in and started it up, usually I have my dash knob on the second from the top (brightest but not always on). I turned it to always on with the dome lights to see if I could find anything.

While running the engine, A/C, headlights, and stereo I saw flickering in the dome lights...slight but still there. I play with the adjuster knob and checked it again. Still there. Then I played with the headlight switch (i got a 300m one) I pulled out the knob (for fogs, I don't have any though so no ciruit here) after pulling it out I turned the knob to parking and pulled and push the knob a little and went back to auto...WHAM FULL POWER LOSS. NO lights anywhere at ALL, no stereo, no Engine NOTHING! I left the key in the RUN position and opened my door to pull the fuse panel open. Messed with the headlight switch again but nothing happened so I put it back where it was.

I needed a multi-meter to read voltage so I left everything alone and ran inside...Of course I got my meter and walked back towards the car and just as I pass the trunk lid, the damn horn honks, lights flash and the power comes back up and the dome lights and dash are back to life. The car fired right up and I couldn't not duplicate the situation for another 45mins! I gave up after that because the car was up to tempature and I messed with everything to get it to do it. This time the dome lights didn't have the slight flicker anymore so I figured I wasn't going to happen.

I call it a night tonight. This is the 3rd time this week now! This isn't just a little flashing lights issue for me anymore, the engine is actually shutting down from this! I am going to read the wiring diagrams and try to find something in common with the following: Headlight switch, A/C, Stereo, Dash lights, Dome lights, Headlights themself, and somehow the engine. There has to be a common ground or something that is getting shorted out. Either that or a bad relay somewhere that resets itself after "X" amount of time without power (maybe the reason why it seems to reset itself and it fires up again).

Does anybody know if the BCM is required to run the engine?

Sorry so long but this is getting to my head! I gotta figure this out.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-05-2006, 06:10 PM
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Update:
Well it shut off on me on the way to work today...Then started again 5mins later like nothing happened. Then at work after I shut it off it did it again and stayed dead from 8am till 2pm when I went out to check it...I pulled all the fuses one by one looking to find one that was pulling the draw...I had .5volts on the battery! All the fuses out still .5 so I put the fuses in one by one and nothing...No power going to the car anywhere...So I did a volt test again and still had .5 so I checked for a better contact and all of the sudden the horn honked, lights are on and battery is back to life at 12.69??? The car fired right up like nothing was wrong.

I can sort of tell when the car is going to shut off now...If the interior lights are switched on or if you look at the mileage on the cluster you and see a slight flicker...Shortly later it shuts down. When it comes back to life the flicker is gone with the wind?! Weird

I swapped batteries with my father in-law and I'm taking it for a spin in a little while to see what it does. I will go up to the auto store and have them load test it for me with a different battery. Will post results later.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-17-2006, 11:54 AM
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Well when I swapped batteries last week and brought it up to get load tested they said the battery I swapped in was too weak for an acurate test. The battery swapped in was out of a '99 Caravan same class battery (never had any issues in the Caravan).

Well I ran this battery for about a week and it was great. I was getting my hopes up about buying an Optima. Then yesterday it wouldn't start again...Just random, I was in a parking garage in the shade and when I came back about 1hr later it wouldn't turn over...Had the dead battery click thing going on. I had my meter with me and checked it. 11.5vdc at the remote posts. So I left it connected and pulled the fuses out of the engine bay. The only one that seemed to draw was the Stop Lamps fuse, funny thing is when I plugged it back in the horn honked.

I finally got a jump and was able to kick the A/C cause my kids were in the car with me...I drove home and tested batt while running and output was 13.7vdc which doesn't seem like much to me.

I shut it off and it wouldn't start again, I pulled the batt cable for the night to give it a rest. In the A.M. today I checked voltage before hooking it up. It was 11.5 and cranked up with hesitation but started. Again I have 13.7vdc for output (that's with a/c on). Shut it off and try to start again and it wouldn't. Now I have 10.9vdc so I started pulling fuses inside the car to check for a draw. None make much of a difference besides the #19 fuse for the interior lights (the raised fuse on the block). Again when hooking it back up the horn honks.

I took it a step further and reached under the dash and unhooked the BCM plugs and plugged them back in one by one. That didn't do anything...Now I'm at a loss. I am going to read the FSM about the specs for charging output...Then I might invest in a + battery cable later today.

Any input in the mean time? Can somebody go pull the #19 fuse(inside), and the stop lamp fuse (under the hood) and see if your horn honks when plugging it back in please?

Thanks
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-17-2006, 12:44 PM
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It has always been the case for me when I disconnected either battery "jump" post connection and then re-connected, the horn will 'beep'.
That fuse is about the same thing, electrically..
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