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Toyota not responsible for crash

by Steven Haninger / April 1, 2011 8:50 PM PDT

Since there's so much conversation about Toyota and other manufacturer's quality issues, I'll post this.

Toyota vehicle not guilty

I thought this was interesting in that I'm having another issue with my 2008 Dodge Caravan which causes the following problems:

Alarm chime sounds
Wipers turn on suddenly
Instrument panel warning lights all turn on
All gauges go to zero
Turn signals cease to function
Headlights flash on and off
Engine and tranny operate normally


After picking up the car this week in which a coolant leak was addressed as well as two safety recalls, my car has begun to act strangely. This mostly happens upon first starting or when parking the car but has happened at freeway speed. What this means when on the highway is that I have no idea how fast I am going, I'm flashing my headlights (and maybe taillights) and I cannot properly signal to pull over or exit. I don't know if my brake lights work either. In any event, I took the car back to the dealer and got a call later that the find no stored codes nor can the duplicate the problem. I suppose this will mean I'll need to pick up the car and wait until the frequency of this occurrence increases....or until I have or cause an accident, whichever comes first.

As a sidebar, while at the dealership another customer was complaining about her car's DVD system. It was malfunctioning and causing stress because her kids were complaining. Good grief, lady...maybe you could just have a conversation with them.

Don't you just love all this new technology? Happy

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Don't you just love all this new technology?
by JP Bill / April 1, 2011 10:46 PM PDT
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LOL
by James Denison / April 2, 2011 12:56 AM PDT

There's a few this past year or so I wish that happened to. Karma

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circuit board for instrument cluster. Loose connector.
by James Denison / April 2, 2011 12:55 AM PDT

Corroded connector. Sounds like it has a short or some failing component (resistor, transistor, etc) on it. Check fuses though, sometimes they can break but still touch when cool, making things work OK, then separate at the break when warmer, making things not work. I hate intermittent electrical problems. Can't you get someone to check your brake lights for you, or back into a parking space in front of plate glass window and check them yourself while in the car?

Engine codes are pretty much just that, codes related to engine stuff, not instrument cluster.

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I wish those ideas were practical
by Steven Haninger / April 2, 2011 6:00 AM PDT

So far this has only happened once in my driveway and that was the first occurrence. I'd figured it to be some sort of door being opened or a safety alert. I get the wipers and flashing if I start the engine and exit the car to scrape my windows on a winter's day. I know the wipers have tossed snow onto the driver's door switches. What a stupid thing to have a car do just as a warning. Since it's a company car, there isn't much I can do on my own. So far I've been able to get out of this by opening and closing doors or restarting the car a number of times. When the car was in for service, the recalls performed were for electrical or potential electrical issues. Since this has only happened since being at the dealer, I asked them to revisit the areas they had been working around. But the only way to get the car to do this is take it out and it may not happen for several hours. These mechanics don't have the ability to troubleshoot this way.

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RE: get out of this by opening and closing doors
by JP Bill / April 2, 2011 6:33 AM PDT
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Actually, I've googled the problem and have
by Steven Haninger / April 2, 2011 10:43 AM PDT

come up with stuff like this so I'm not alone. I'm suspecting the driver's door because the repair order said they'd fixed several broken wires on the inside of it. This wasn't anything I requested. It was in for a coolant leak and an always on air bag warning light (part of a recall) as well as another recall for sliding door wiring problems. The wipers and flashing lights are nothing I've had happen so there must have been a reason they took the door apart. I have to think that maybe the technician who worked on the car had this problem occur. I'd had problems with the door lock switch but the key remote worked fine. I have wondered if water got into the switches as, when I'd open the door and snow was on the windshield, the wipers would come on and toss a load on top of them. Strangely, when I was experiencing this problem in my driveway and would open the driver side door, the lights instrument cluster would return to normal and the wipers would shut off...until I closed the door and then they'd start acting up again. I think it's related to the door and possible in whatever harness passes through to the door frame inside that rubber boot..or whatever it's called. These are the days I want my old VW Beetle back. Happy

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wiper grommets
by James Denison / April 2, 2011 11:08 AM PDT

Check the grommets at the base of the wipers, see if they are broken, popped out, or gone. On some vehicles if the grommets are broken they allow water to get behind the firewall into sensitive electrical areas. A grommet is what's used where a moving shaft comes through a wall, sort of a seal. If the wipers are making any clunk sound, that would further indicate a grommet problem.

Your clues are wipers, door, water intrusion, diverse electrical problems. Diverse electrical problems caused by water intrusion, especially if it comes up mostly during wet weather times, would indicate a fuse block or firewall connector box.

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Had a similar problem at night with
by drpruner / April 2, 2011 6:18 AM PDT

my old 1992 Dynasty. Finally had to take apart the dash and remove just about everything, to find that the circuit board had been improperly wavesoldered at manufacturing. Took about 15 years to act up.

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After working on these Infernal Machines..........
by Tony Holmes / April 2, 2011 8:53 AM PDT

my entire adult life,I have a few conclusions:

After initial "burn in",all electrical components should function normally for many thousands of miles.Barring of course,the intervention of idiots with their repairs.

I used to hate getting electrical nightmares like that but have grown to love them Happy

If I get a car like that,I assume it's not the car's fault and look for "other reasons" not caused by the vehicle itself.

#1 cause....Varmints!! Mice,rats or those little b*stard chipmunks.A thorough visual inspection of the underhood area is a must!!!!!Trust me,those little Fk'rs will get under intake plenums and devour engine harnesses,they will chew the crap out of a harness.Your eyes are the #1 tool!

After repair of a "varmint car",I advise a customer to either use "moth balls" placed in various places(which the smell of will make you sick when the heater's fresh air intake sucks it in)or my prefered method of using "peppermint oil" purchased at a health food store and soaked into cottonballs placed underhood(it smells nice).

#2 cause...water intrusion!!

I had a Landcruiser with similar but not exact problems,I traced it to the main fuse block in the driver's side kick panel which contains all the fuses.Water had "wicked" down the harness and into the main fuse block,corroding and turning terminals green with mold.

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what was the conclusion?
by James Denison / May 18, 2011 10:08 PM PDT

or resolution?

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For my Dodge?
by Steven Haninger / May 19, 2011 1:17 AM PDT

Of course the dealer never gives away much in the way of details. They replaced the ignition switch and something called the WCM. I can't find anything about a WCM. I believe the ignition included some wiring harness related to the driver's side door and other electrical systems. They said they could not reproduce the problem though I could do so within an hour of driving almost every time. They said that, according to my company fleet, this has happened in several vehicles of this model and the WCM fixes it. I've not had that problem since but I can tell that others are cropping up. I believe I'm hearing some wheel bearing noise again and the tranny has some odd shift points now and then. It's at 86000 and no service has been done to the sealed transmission other than the two times it decided to leak on my driveway due to some pressure valve failure or some such. So far, no sudden acceleration problem so that means it's still a quality made vehicle I guess. Wink

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BCM or PCM
by James Denison / May 19, 2011 2:06 AM PDT
In reply to: For my Dodge?

Body Control Module or Power Control Module.

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Clearly marked as WCM twice on the invoice
by Steven Haninger / May 19, 2011 2:34 AM PDT
In reply to: BCM or PCM

They'd also replaced the ORC module (Occupant Restraint, I believe) for the air bag warning light that was constantly on. They thought it was the air bag but it turned out to be the ORC. I believe that's the module that could be damaged by the HVAC system dripping into it. There was a recall to replace some grommet for that one. This was done at the same time. They'd also listed repairs to several damaged wires in the driver side door but this was prior to the lights flashing/wipers wiping issue. They would not tell me what led them to pull the door apart but I suspect they'd seen some of the problems I saw after it was in the shop for the other two recalls. What the WCM is, I don't know. Maybe Tony knows but it did seem to involve reprogramming my wireless ignition key. That's another story as they did this without alerting me that any other keys I had would no longer work. I had to go back and get my spare reprogrammed when I found this out. Nice communications here. Unfortunately, most of the Chrysler dealers in my area have pulled up stakes and gone so I'm stuck with these folks for now. At least I've learned where not to shop for an automobile when the next need comes.

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Boy am I stupid....thanks
by Steven Haninger / May 19, 2011 2:51 AM PDT

They mentioned ignition switch and reprogramming the wireless key. I should have figured that out. Acronym overload these days.

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