96 caravan electrical issues

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#1
I have this van that seems to have electrical issues. Sometimes it seems like the headlight switch doesn't work. The headlights stay on always and you can't turn them off. They do eventually seem to go off on their own, but I am not sure why they always stay on. Also, they occasionally will come on when the van is not being driven. Just randomly. The other thing that happens is that the beeper that tells you that your lights are on or that your keys are still in the ignition etc. is always on when the door is open, even when the ignition is off and the key is out. My first instinct tells me that the headlight switch has gone bad and that is why the beeper constantly thinks that the lights are on, but I am looking for others opinions. It is a 96 caravan with 150K on it. There is no remote start or any additions of any kind. It is stock.

In addition to the above problems, the blinkers are intermittent along with the fuel gauge and the low fuel beeper. It is a crap shoot each time you drive it as to whether or not the blinkers are going to function. The fuel gauge will be showing the proper level and then all of a sudden it will go all the way one way or the other. I forget which. Could a faulty ignition switch cause any of the above problems? Or maybe it is all somehow connected to the headlight switch?? I only have priced the headlight switch ($98) at my local parts store. I don't really want to start throwing parts at it with out knowing that I will do some good.

Any help would be great. Thanks
 
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#2
before going to the shotgun apporach

easy cheap first-
I not sure is there a headlight sensor - automatic headlights?
Remove the IOD fuse- no explaniation.
Swap the head light relay,
check the BCM for codes. I know easier said than done.
 
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#3
I have not had the van long enough to know if the headlights are automatic and I am pretty convinced they haven't been working right since I got it.

You have used a few abbreviations that I am not familiar with. The IOD Fuse?
I should be able to find the headlight relay, but the BCM I am not familiar with. Is that just like scanning for diagnostic trouble codes? I appreciate the help.
Thanks,
Eric
 
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#4
IOD = igniton off draw, keeps the "memories' alive
BCM = body control module - yet anothe "computer' controls lights etc.
relay is in the PDC

just some easy cheap 'hail marys' before tearing into system
 
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#5
The more research I do, the more I think I have a bad bcm. It seems that all the items that are giving us problems go through it. Headlights, fuel gauge, blinkers, etc. Is there any way to check the bcm? It something that is just has to be replaced or at the least taken out to check??
Thanks
Eric
 
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#8
I pulled out that little fuse and looked at it a minute and put it back in. It didn't really seem to change things that I could tell. Do I have to leave it out for a long time for it to reset everything? I was surprised to see it was only a 10amp fuse I thought it would be bigger.

Thanks
Eric
 

billr

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#9
One minute may not be long enough. Leave it out for 1/2 hr to be sure; easy to do, right? And check the fuse for continuity while it is out, of course.
 
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#12
The fuse (iod) is good. I first thought that pulling the fuse didn't do anything, but my wife told me yesterday evening that everything is now working as it should. I want to watch it for a day or two and see if it is just a fluke or if things are actually good again. When I was out there locating and pulling the fuse, the headlights were actually on at the time and even when I pulled the fuse they didn't go off and they remained on for awhile and then went off. Anyway, I will see how it does today.
Thanks
Eric
 

jay

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#13
The 96 caravans had a lot of electrical grimlins caused by a defective/poorly designed power distribution box, located on the drivers side of the engine compartment. When I was in local CC auto program 10 years ago, one of the evening instructors (Chrysler mastertech) mentioned this as being a bug in the 96 caravans that he saw often.