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Daniel
Daniel, Dodge Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 5064
Experience:  Dodge technician
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2005 Dodge Ram 3500 SLT: door lock..intermittently..I troubleshoot it

Customer Question

The left rear electric door lock on my 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 SLT w Cummins Diesel has stopped working. It worked intermittently for a while, now has stopped working completely. How do I troubleshoot it? e.g. what colour are the door lock wires? I've had the door apart, but cannot figure out which wires are the ones for the door lock.

I read something somewhere about the locks being "multiplexed". I know what that means when referring to digital communications, but does it mean something different when speaking in automotive language?

In another older vehicle, the same problem was caused by a broken wire between the door and the pillar. There is a connector there in the Dodge that I can't get apart to test. Any suggestion there?

If its as simple as checking for 12volts on a certain wire I can do that if I can pull the connector apart. If it is multiplexed, e.g. not a dc signal, what do I do?

After rambling through all that, a step-by-step troubleshooting list would be helpful, including how to change the actuator (?) if I need to.

Thanks,
Neale
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.

Daniel :

Welcome to JA. Working on a fast accurate answer. Your valuable time is important to me. Clicking on Accept is the right thing for my family and I.

Daniel :

Multi plexed wiring is when the switch uses very low voltage in a specified amount and sends a signal to the module and the module reads the switch and delivers command to door locks.

Customer:

I was afraid of that :)

Daniel :

the power distribution center then sends 12 volts to componant.

Daniel :

You probably just have a bad door lock actuator.

Customer:

so there is a module in the door that decodes the signal, which means I"ll have a tough time telling if the signal is being sent properly?

Customer:

$$$ for actuator?

Daniel :

Its funnt how they think it will be better though.,

Daniel :

Let me check for you real quick

Daniel :

funny. seems like they have doubled the wiring instead of simplifying it.

Customer:

easy to check with 12 volts somehow? how to remove actuator?

Daniel :

It shows only a half hour to change so after door panel comes out it will only have a couple of bolts.

Customer:

that's promising - if the book says half an hour, that means if you've done it once you can do it in ten minutes?

Customer:

or, in my case, three hours...

Daniel :

Its a deale item but its not giving me a price. but its shouldnt be to bad. under 100

Daniel :

Lol sounds like me.

Daniel :

Nah it may take a bit longer but after the first one you could do the second twice as fast only you have all that knowledge now and no where to put it lol

Customer:

I had a Jetta, dealer said 2.5 hours to change power steering pump, it took me 7. The next time (i did it 4 times!), it took me 30 minutes. So, I always assume the book is for the first time a real mechanic does it.

Daniel :

yes

Daniel :

was it the 1.8

Daniel :

or diesel.

Customer:

1.8. lemon since new

Daniel :

LOL I love my jetta but come to think of it it was probably becuase we spent so much time to gether. and not driving but working on it. lol

Customer:

so the actuator will actually have +12v and gnd terminal on it, no decoding electronics in it. therefore, I should be able to test it before buying a new one? If I knew the right colour code on the wires, I could test it before removing?

Daniel :

Let me get you a wiring diagram in case its a loose connection

Daniel :

it wont have the multi plex wiring to it that just goes to pdbox

Customer:

I loved my Jetta for driving, (it was 1990), but 10 years of ownership (slow learner), I had put $14k of repairs into it, not including normal wear things like belts and tires. The car was $17k new.

Customer:

the pdbox is under the dash? engine compartment?

Daniel :

Click here.

Customer:

so according to that the demultiplexer is on the instrument panel? (!)

Daniel :

no the integrated power module just another name for it.

Daniel :

its also called the pdc power distribution center.

Customer:

and the wiring is light green and tan/orange. that should be fairly easy to check. If its the pdc, where actually is that, do you know?

Daniel :

it gets fun. some vehicles have 3 of them all called one of the names we have said and there really isnt any reason or ryme to why one goes to where and why.

Customer:

or that's the fuse panel..

Daniel :

Thank God for wiring diagrams

Daniel :

its a module/fuse panel

Customer:

Yes, one vehicle also said where all the connectors were located (I think it was my '94 Dodge minivan) in the schematics.

Customer:

Thanks for your help.

Daniel :

Your very welcome. Nice working with you.

Daniel :

let me know if you need anything else.

Daniel :

I am hoping the best case scenario for you.

Customer:

I'm good. If I accept and have a follow up is that an issue?

Daniel :

No I will show you a link. Copy and paste it somewhere. http://www.justanswer.com/dodge/5k0h5-dodge-ram-3500-slt-left-rear-electric-door-lock.html I will also send it to you after accept so you question will be open for a bit longer

Daniel :

just dont answer until needed

Customer:

k, thanks!

Daniel :

Your welocme

Daniel, Dodge Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 5064
Experience: Dodge technician
Daniel and 11 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
http://www.justanswer.com/dodge/5k0h5-dodge-ram-3500-slt-left-rear-electric-door-lock.html
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, Daniel,
I finally got to working on the door today - took the latch out. Some interesting findings: even though the wiring diagram showed two wires into the actuator, there are four. The tan/orange, and light green appear to have a steady 12 volts on them, pushing the lock switch doesn't change that. The other two wires (I already forgot their colours!) don't have any voltage when the lock switch is activated (using a standard dc meter, didn't see any blips). When I hooked the door latch up to 12 v to the other two wires, (the ones not in the diagram), it appeared to actuate the locking mechanisme, e.g. lock with one polarity, unlock with the other polarity.

I also now have the manual for the truck in pdf form (free-seems legit!). It has the same diagram you sent me.

So: any idea why four wires? Why 12v steady (ignition key out) on two? Does the fact that the lock seems to activate on the other contacts mean all is ok, and I have a wiring problem (or instrument cluster sending unit)? Any other testing suggestions?

I could test the wiring on the body side of the door pillar, but haven't figured out how to disconnect the connector, and now unsure which wires I should be monitoring.

Hope you can help,
Neale
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
I say test the drivers master switch for voltage to that door. It all goes through there.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I'll try that - can you explain why four wires, and why its the two contacts not on the diagram that seem to do the actuation?
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
It could be a split year.
let me check
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
Click here for another diagram .
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Another diagram, same two wires going into latch, though. I just had a look again, the other two wires (with a dim flashlight) are light green / black, and a purple one if that helps. I'm heading off to bed; if you could come up with something in the next day or two, that would be helpful. Probably won't get a chance to work on it until next weekend again. Would the VIN number help you?
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
No I dont go off of vin. give me a reminder a day before you get started.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
ok, will talk later in the week then.
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
Ok Good.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, Daniel, just a reminder to see if you can find out why the four wires into the door latch, and their purpose / wiring diagram?

thanks,
Neale
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Neal Just got on I will work on that now. I believe it wont be very hard as I will pull the switch up and and view the connector diagram
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
Click here. as it looks like its an option to power window.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, Daniel, the link is to an interesting routing diagram, but its for a front door, and doesn't show the four wires to the door latch. Is it possible you don't have a wiring diagram showing the four wires?
Expert:  Daniel replied 3 years ago.
Ok the switch should have to into and two out to lock actuator or module. check wire to door lock and to switch equaling 4. Click here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Daniel is polite and trying to be helpful, but I don't think we're on the same wavelength. I am looking for a schematic that shows the four wires into the left rear door latch, and what they do, or how to test the actuator, and the last two times have received a wire routing diagram of the front right passenger door. If no-one on justanswer has the appropriate schematic or knows how to troubleshoot the door, just say so and I'll move on.
Expert:  Don Knight replied 3 years ago.
Good morning new expert here.The wires for the left rear door lock actuator are as follows light green for lock and tan/orange for unlock.I dont see the other two wires that you mentioned but all the circuits go through the instrument cluster.If you have a test light try checking the light green wire when you press the drivers switch to the lock position and then check the tan/orange wire for power when you press the unlock switch.If you have power on both wires then the actuator is defective.The actuator is part of the door latch assembly.The part number is 55276795AC and list for $77.75 at the dealer.The time to R&R the latch assembly is about .8 of an hour.Please let me know if you need more assistance,Don
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry to be so hard on you guys, doesn't sound like I'll get a schematic including all four wires. The Light Green and Tan/Orange wire, when disconnected from the latch, have 12V on them full time, regardless of whether the lock switch is activated or not. I removed the latch from the door; when I hook up 12V to the other two terminals the lock activates, and when I reverse the polarity, the locking mechanism switches back. So I know the actuator works, but is it supposed to work this way or is there something wrong with it? Is it really supposed to activate on those two terminals or not, and why is it necessary to have 12V there full time on the other two terminals? Moving the switch on the driver's door that is supposed to lock the truck doesn't change anything on any of the four wires going to the latch, which says that perhaps the latch/actuator isn't the problem, but it could be a) the wiring, b) the instrument cluster. Not liketly to be the switch on the driver door because it activates all of the other locks appropriately. If I could get the connector in the door pillar disconnected, I could check the signal there. If its bad there, it has to be a problem with the instrument cluster.

So, thank you all for trying. Next step is to try the pillar connector again; if I can't get at that I could open up the other back door to see what signals are on the latch connector there.

I'll accept your response to this to draw it to a close.

Neale
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi all. I have the problem solved - it was broken wires in between the door and the B pillar. Both of tan/orange and the light green were completely broken apart, and the two speaker wires were on their last legs too. I butt-crimped them all back together, which makes for a crowded sleeve, so we'll see how long they go now until they break again.

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