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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 21436
Experience:  ASE Master & Advanced level certified, Chrysler Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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These may be unrelated brake light problems on my T&C '94

Customer Question

These may be unrelated brake light problems on my T&C '94 minivan
1. Today the brake lights stuck on. After reading here, I found loose foam and plastic in the brake pedal area. I removed it and the brake lights now work normally. Perhaps the foam had prevented complete plunger travel.
2. We have towed a trailer a few times and the brake lights stayed on after a while. Could the extra circuit load have caused BCM or other problems?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  Juan Crespo replied 5 months ago.

Hi there.

Removing the foam allowed the pedal to travel upwards and release the stop light switch.

The center-mounted stop light works directly off the stop light switch; the other two brake lamps go through the BCM. So, since those circuits draw a lot of current and are not designed to stay on, the extra load could have indeed damaged the BCM.

Best Regards.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Since the brake lights are working normally after my fix, I have no reason to believe that the BCM was damaged. So far, I have not really learned anything new.The light duty trailer has minimal lights and I have seen no requirement that says I cannot connect to the car's system for use with a trailer. What do you recommend and what does Chrysler say about this?
Expert:  Juan Crespo replied 5 months ago.

I'm sorry for my confusion; in reading your paragraph #2, I understood you had previously had problems with the BCM and wanted to know if the stop lights being stuck on could have contributed to those problems. As it turns out to be, that's not what you were asking at all.

There a no set specifications for the amount of lights you can connect to your van. Chrysler's concerns to that respect are that the added electrical load doesn't exceed the overall charge rating (which depends on your battery and alternator output capacity).

As for the loads going through the BCM, Chrysler designed these components to be able to handle the optional trailer package, so that wouldn't be a concern for normal use.

The BCM is comprised of several interconnected circuit boards, therefor there is no chance of yours having been weakened or compromised by the brake lights being stuck on. If that were the case, then it would have ceased to function at that time.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
As with any troubleshooting, I'm following the "Zero-th Law": Never assume anything!1. I know there was a problem with the brake lights (all of them) sticking on when we used the trailer. The brake lights eventually went off after we stopped driving.2. I know that the brake lights stuck on today (no trailer attached).3. I know that the sticking brake light problem went away after I removed the loose foam and rubber in the area of the brake pedal/switch.4. I know that the car was not originally equipped with the towing package and that I purchased an aftermarket towing assembly (2" receiver), professionally installed, including the electrical connections. I used it for a large bike rack for many years. I have used a trailer with it just a handful of times starting two years ago when I first saw a problem with the brake light sticking on.A. I do not know if the problem will return when driving without a trailer, but I think not, now that the stray foam and rubber has been removed.B. What is allowed for brake, turn signal/tail lights, and license plate light current loads from the BCM without the towing package?C. Is brake light sticking on a known symptom of problems with the BCM?D. What would you do?
Expert:  Juan Crespo replied 5 months ago.

I don't see the connection between a trailer and its lights and a piece of foam not allowing the brake pedal to release the stop light switch.

Brake light sticking is not a known Chrysler problem, BCM or otherwise.

Chrysler has not released the allowed Wattage for the load or the maximum Amperage the BCM is capable of handling - all they imply is that the BCM is designed to handle your average trailer lights.

I would keep an eye on things as I normally do and try to enjoy my van and trailer.

Best Regards.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Rule #1 of Troubleshooting (less important than the Zeroth Rule!): What changed?The light sticking problem first occurred when the trailer was attached. The second time it happened was also with the trailer attached.There was no sticking the rest of the time until today.If the center brake light is powered directly through the brake pedal switch (as mentioned on your website), not the BCM, might it be that the trailer brake lights were incorrectly wired from the center brake light circuit? That might heat the pedal switch and somehow cause it to stick, especially if there was already foam/rubber interfering. It just seems too big a coincidence.
Expert:  Juan Crespo replied 5 months ago.

I thought we had established the brake pedal was getting hung up by some foam and that clearing the foam had taken care of that.

Not understanding what it is you seek, I can't see how I can be of any help. I'll opt out so others may try. please do not reply until another expert responds or the site will cycle this back to me.

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 5 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

Do you still need help?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
please review the transcript.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 5 months ago.

What is the issue you're currently trying to diagnose?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have just completed another test with the trailer attached.1. At first, it worked normally... turn signals, brake lights, tail lights.2. After about 15 minutes of testing, the brake lights stayed on. This persisted even after I disconnected the trailer, shut off the ignition, removed the key, closed the car, etc.3. I checked the status after a few minutes of driving and the brake lights were still on full time (trailer still disconnected).4. After about 10-15 minutes of driving, the brake lights returned to normal operation. Still normal after 45 minutes of driving.What do you suggest I do next?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 5 months ago.

If you unplug the brake switch connector do the lights go off?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Success, though reasons muddied...Before doing another test, I did cycle the brake switch connector. Perhaps one of the pins needed that.I made another discovery. The trailer's light assemblies were not making very good contact with the trailer chassis. The chassis is the path for the ground return. When there is poor or no ground contact, there is a path between the brake and the tail light positive terminals via the bulb filaments. Possibly the BCM sensed that in some way. I fixed the ground problem.Probably re-plugging the brake switch connector was what fixed the problem.A real-world trip with the trailer attached showed the lights worked correctly and there was no more brake light sticking.No guarantee that the problem won't come back, but I'll call it a success for now at least, and move on!Thanks for your reassurances that it probably was not a BCM problem and that continued troubleshooting was worth the effort!- Charlie
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 5 months ago.

I'm glad you got it fixed!

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