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Thomas, Dodge Mechanic
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1543
Experience:  Mechanic with 15 years exp.
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98 Dodge caravan: instrument cluster..the driver side dash

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I have a 98 Dodge caravan whose instrument cluster is going in and out at random times. I have tried replacing it with a used one from the junkyard, as well as soldering connections that people on the internet thought might be bad, I have checked all the fuses under the driver side dash and in the engine compartment, and all the connectors I could access. It won't pass emissions because of this. I have also tried replacing the TCM, and tried getting a used PCM, but so far no luck from the junkyard. There is only about 1 Volt on the wire that connects from the instrument cluster to the BCM (Body Control Module). I wonder if this is the problem, and if that wire is output from the BCM into the instrument cluster, or output from the instrument cluster into the BCM. In the first case, what would happen if I just shorted it to a 12V wire, then cut off the part going to the BCM. In the second case, what would happen if I shorted it to 12V and cut off the part going to the instrument cluster

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Please let me know if you want me to clarify anything.
Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome, does your cluster go completely out when you have this happen? Also you said you fail emissions because of this, does it set a diagnostic trouble code?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thomas, the cluster goes completely out, but sometimes one of the gauges might still work. There is an instrument cluster diagnostic code P1698 having to do with the instrument cluster. Isn't it a problem that the red/white wire coming from the BCM into the instrument panel is only 1V?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I cut the wire coming from the BCM (red/white) and hooked it to the fuse positive wire (pink). So the BCM output is now hanging loose and the two hot inputs to the cluster are now shorted together. It seems to work so far. I'd like to revise my question: Will this fix work to reset the error code, and what possible problems could it cause? Also, why is the red/white wire coming from the BCM instead of being shorted to the pink wire (fused B+)? In the circuit diagram it says the red/white wire is ign(off/run/start), which I don't know what it means. And another thing I didn't mention previously because I didn't think it was related is that at random times a beeping will commence and then just as randomly stop.
Sorry I just god a break I am looking into it farther now..
Ok I think you did right by putting power to the wire that you did and I don't think there would be a problem from it the other option would be replacement of the BCM. But i don't think that will be nessary. And were it talks about off/run/start it means it should have 12v in the run and start position. The beeping noise I am not sure why it is doing that or if it's related it could be.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, but why is it necessary to have a BCM input into the instrument cluster if it is just the same as the other wire?
I don't know why they did it like that, to make it more expensive i guess... Put according to the books all it needs is it's 12v to do the job..
Thomas, Dodge Mechanic
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1543
Experience: Mechanic with 15 years exp.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hey Thomas, my problem is still not fixed. The instrument panel worked
for a while, then stopped working. I tried another instrument cluster
and it still didn't work. I measured the voltage between the CCD+ and
ground and the CCD- and ground and they were both oscilating about 0.5
volts on a DC setting so I thought maybe the PCM was bad (Shouldn't it
oscilate about 2.5 volts?), but replacing the PCM didn't help. Is it
possible that all 3 instrument clusters were bad or went bad (they
were all used, not new when I got them)? If so are there specific components I
need to fix on them?
Did you ever replace the BCM?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No. Recall that I initially bypassed the wire coming from the BCM into the instrument cluster. I actually reconnected that wire because it seems to work now. Do you have any idea if a reading of around 0.5V on a DC meter is normal between the CCD wires?

The normal reading should be 5 volts. Is your problem still exactly the same?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Are you sure? Digital voltages are typically highest at 5 V and they go back and forth between 0 and 5, so a DC meter should average that to something around 2.5. It looks to me like having that input from the BCM hooked up directly to 12V fried something--it was steady for a while, then flickering, then dead. Any idea what got fried, in case I can replace it instead of the whole cluster?
According to my book it should be 0 to 5 volts. I know of nothing you could replace in the cluster it's serviced as a assembly.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So how do I tell if the problem is with the PCM or the cluster? Perhaps the rebuilt PCM I got is no good? If it's closer to 0 than 5, maybe there is something wrong with the PCM?

It could be a bad PCM, it the reman pcm 's seem to be hit or miss.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I tested a working van, and the voltage between CCD+ or CCD- and ground is 2.5 on a DC meter. In mine or the remanufactured one it is 0.2 to 0.5
Well seems like the manual is wrong on that account, so you have a bad instrument cluster it seems.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, this is with the instrument cluster off, just whats coming out of the PCM!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, this is with the instrument cluster off, just whats coming out of the PCM!
I'm sorry I miss read your info. So the reman PCM is bad or you are losing voltage in the connector or wiring. But you have check your wiring didn't you? So has to be a bad PCM.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yup, that is what I think too. But how likely is it that the reman PCM was bad? I called the company and they said they do not check it in a car to make sure the instrument cluster works. Maybe I´ll try a different company and ask before I buy this time. The company I got the PCM from will reimburse me 80%. A new PCM is about $600. I might also check the junkyard at pull-a-part, but the PCMs go really fast. If I could find someone who be willing to let me plug the PCM in and then reimburse me if it doesnt work, that would be ideal. I also looked at the inside of the PCM, it is filled with some kind of gel, otherwise I could check for bad discrete components like diodes and transistors.
Thanks for your support.
I think I would try a used 1 also. If pull apart does you no good you can go to to look for a used one.