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Ron
Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 35062
Experience:  ASE Certs
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2003 Dodge Durango: Tried everything suggested and neither

Customer Question

Tried everything suggested and neither brake light works on 2003 Dodge Durango SXT.  I changed all bulbs, the brake switch, the stop light relay, the multi-function switch, fuses and the drivers side top tail light socket. All other lights are working just no brake lights.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a professional here at Just Answer. I have noticed that your question was not getting a response and thought I would see if you still need help with this.I apologize for the delay and I hope I can still assist you with this here.

Take you 12 volt test light and or volt meter and at the new break light switch check the voltage at the switch connector on the White/Tan wire with the brake pedal depressed, should be battery voltage. If no power is present, check the Pink/Dark Blue wire for battery voltage from fuse #5 a 20 amp fuse in the Power Distribution Center. Check this and post back with the results and we can work from there.

I have enclose the wiring diagram for reference in the link below.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/104923897/Break%20circuit%20Jun%208.pdf
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ron

Will follow your instructions tonight when I get home. I will be using a test light. So, to ensure I do this right, with the brake switch connected, clip the tester to un-painted metal on vehicle, place the test rod into the specified wire, and depress brake. I should get a light, correct?

You can tell I am no expert...!!

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Yes, find a good ground for you test light and depress the break pedal. If you have power in and out the light should light. Check it tonight and let me know, Im here tomorrow as well.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ron,

Trying hard to not be a pest, I just to verify I understand. I'll be checking both wires at the switch, correct? Not checking Pink/Dark Blue in engine compartment, correct?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Yes power in and out and your not being a pest at all. Your checking both wire for now at the break switch.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Got it! Wish me luck...

Is there a possibility of a quick fix (something I could do tonight) for this type of issue? I'm trying to decide on car rental for tomorrow or not.. .

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
It would be hard to say until I get the results of your testing. Hopefully it will just be a fuse.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Very good. Thanks for the quick responses.

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Your very welcome, Im here when you ready.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ron

The tester lights when I insert into the white/tan wire and it stays lit when I depress the brake pedal. The testor doesn't light up when I insert into the pink/dark blue wire.

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.

The white /tan wire is power out of the break switch going back to the rear lamps, if you have power out of it with the break switch depressed then the switch circuit is fine, that means you have an open in the circuit from the switch back to the lights. See the diagram in the link below. Does your third break light work?

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/104923897/Break%20light%20Jun%208.pdf

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, the third brake light does not work either.

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
The power to the rear breaks including the thrd light come out of the break switch on the white/tan wire so if you have power out of the switch on this wire you have to have a wiring and or connection problem from there to the back.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok, what's the next step to fix the problem?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Your going to need to trace the white/tan wire back to the rear . Look at the wiring diagrams and check all the connections shown going back to the rear.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Is this something I could/should do or should I take it in to the dealer. What would they charge approximately to fix this problem?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
If you have not done this type of circuit tracing before then you may be better off to take it in, in most cases depending on how long it takes to find the problem you would likely be looking at least a couple of hours in labor to trace it down. Maybe less but there is no way of know till they get in there.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm willing to give it a try before tapping out and taking it to the dealer. Is it best to start with the plug connections at the tail light assemblies? Would a short/break at any light cause all three to fail?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Yes I would start in the rear and work my way forward.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Would a short or break at any one brake light connection cause all 3 to fail?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
I would suspect it would have to be in the main fed wire if none of the breaks lights are working. Tracing this kind of open can be a real pain in the rear.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ron

So last night I changed out all bulb recepticles in the right rear driver side light assembly, and checked the white/tan wire at all three brake light locations, to include all segments of the high center light, and all had power running to them. I again checked the wiring at the brake light switch, and the white/tan wire had power with and without brake pedal depressed. I did NOT get a response from the pink/dark blue wire with or without the brake pedal depressed. Again, I have already changed out the #5 20 amp "ST LAMP" fuse.

Although I have changed the brake switch twice, could it be a bad switch and would it be worth exchanging the existing for a third new switch?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
It is sure possible ist bad but I find it hard to believe two could be bad. If you have power to the switch and power out the switch should work, are you sure the wiring crimp at the switch is allowing a connection out of the switch on the wires, do you have the same voltage if you check the wire a few inches from the switch on the wires if you probe them?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Have not been using a voltmeter, just a test light (I think I can find my voltmeter if need be.) Thankfully I left the lower dash cover off in case I needed to go to the switch again...

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
A 12 volt test light will work as well.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I will test the wires at the switch again tonight. Any other suggestions or ideas as to the source of the problem or at this point are you stumped too...?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
With out being there and not able to do the hands on testing my self then I do not have an other suggestions, if you have power in and out of the switch you should have power to the rear lamps . If not then something is open and or being overlooked.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The dealer told me to check the ground.

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Yes I would agree, you need power and ground for the light to work.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ron

If I'm reading the schematic correctly I have identified splice S311, located in the rear cargo area, as the 1 common ground wire connection for all 3 brake lights after the brake switch. Can you tell me how to gain access that area? I have no idea how to get those interior cargo area panels off.

Thanks

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Which panel are you trying to remove?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Driver side, interior cargo area panel. Search for "Hello Brad, I have a 2003 Durango and I am" on justanswer and you see a picture/schematic within the conversation that shows the S311 location.

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
The ground is G306 and it is behind the left rear quarter trim panel. I do not have removal steps but in most cases the simply snap on.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ron

I couldn't access C306 but I did get a good ground circuit reading with the test light at both lower tail light assembly connections and the at brake light switch.

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
Okay then you are not dealing with a ground issue and that goes back to the the loss of signal to the rear break lamps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have the flasher module might be the issue. Your thoughts?

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
If the turn signals and flashers are working its not likely. The flasher module only controls the turn signals and 4 way flashers.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Something under the hood? The power block? I'm very frustrated and just starting to guess again...

Expert:  Ron replied 1 year ago.
I would not think its under hood if you have the break light signal coming out of the switch, Its likely an open in the harness in between if your sure you have a good ground.