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Scott, Driveability expert
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1190
Experience:  Dodge,Chrysler,Jeep Master Tech since 92.ASE Master since 1990.Currently Dealer employed.
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1997 Dodge Dakota: air bag light..speedo..tach..ignition switch no joy

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My 1997 Dodge Dakota has a problem with the air bag light randomly coming on and then going off. To make matters worse all the instruments (ie: speedo, tach and gas gauge) go on and off randomly like the air bag light Dealer replaced ignition switch no joy now says it is the air bag computer. Any suggestions?

I would suggest a second opinion - beside me. My name isXXXXX for asking your question.

The dealer should be able to give you the name of the code that is being set. Ask them. You have already followed their advice and now have a new ignition switch - but the same problem. Its not out on line to ask about their reasoning behind the switch replacement. The air bag system stores all its own fault codes until erased. If the light comes on - a fault should be stored.

The ignition switches do fail- and those are the exact symptoms that you described. The switches fail due to heavy current flow and a poor connection between the switch and the wires that connect to the switch. This happens most often with the blower turned on. They may have not properly inspected the wires that plug into the switch. and overlooked a burnt terminal in the ign. sw. connector. Another area to have inspected is the ground wire from the the same circuits.

A air bag computer has no direct connection to the speedo ,tach, ect.. - --- except the connector at the cluster. This condition could be caused by poor connection at cluster.

Also the ignition switch failure also causes the blower motor and radio to stop working.

Feel free to reply , I expect you will have more questions . Thanks Scott.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Scott, I found your answer beneficial.I didn't have any problems with the radio or the blower motor when the instruments stop working. They claimed that they checked all the grounds.The connector at the cluster you were referring to is the instrument cluster connector? They believe that replacing the air bag computer will fix both the air bag light and the instrument problem. Any other thoughts? I'll ask them for the codes on the air bag computer. Customer
Hello, yes I was refering to the cluster connector. We have seen poor conections at the cluster connections. . Get the codes . Have to leave for a while . Scott.

Sorry . I had long distant call.

I cant remember when an air bag module caused the cluster to lose the fuel gauge . If the "buss" line - communication line goes down - all the modules on the line can record a fault . If the cluster has a buss fault only- Then its the connector to the cluster.

Please - feel free to reply. I wont be able to reply until tomorrow. Scott

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Scott, I talked to the dealer and the service adviser said that the technician said that the codes indicated three problems, The first error code is: sensor shorted. The second error code is: no cad buss communication. The third error is: no cluster. All the connectors and wires that you mention were checked.If this does indicate a bad air bag computer what do you reccomend.? I can buy a used one from a recycler for $75, have my old one reprogrammed for $50 plus shipping or pay $530 for a new one.They (dealer) say that if a new computer doesn't fix the problem that they will apply the cost of the acm to further worik.Any advice that you can give will be greatly appreciated. Can the truck be driven without the acm hooked up?

Hello, Just came home . You can drive the truck with out the acm. In fact I would unplug the ACM and drive the truck to see if the problems goes away. If the acm is shorting out the can buss . The problem will not be present when the acm is unplugged.

I would unplug the module - The air bags will not deploy if you are in a accident.

If the problem goes away- plug the module back in and see if it returns. By doing that you are proving that the acm is causing the problem.

Since I work in a dealership. We dont install used ACM's from a different car. Just be carefull - if the module came from a wreck- the module could be stuck on- and cause the bags to deploy. We have used the same acm after a car has had them deploy. We just leave the bags unplugged and scan the module before connection of the bags. And I have tested many ACM modules for the small body shops around the area.

If the module is causing the buss communication problems . then no programming will fix a hardware problem. Hope this helps . if you need more info. please reply.

Scott and other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Scott. Many thanks for the advice. I talked to the dealer today and they confirmed that they unnplugged the ACM. The gauges worked and then they plugged it back in and the gauges stopped working. Looks like my only decision is to buy a new ACM. Your advice about using a used one or reprogramming my old one is spot on.You have helped me alot. Its nice to get unblassed advice. I will highly recommend your advice on Just Answer Dodge. SincerelyCustomer