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Chris (aka-Moose)
Chris (aka-Moose), Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 48360
Experience:  16 years of experience
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I have a question about troubleshooting a parasitic draw

Customer Question

Hi, I have a question about troubleshooting a parasitic draw problem with my 99 Dodge Caravan. I have hooked up a multimeter to measure current draw in line with my battery negative cable and terminal post. I measure between 250 and 350 milliamps current.
I have removed fuses and relays one at a time and I have found that removing either the ignition switch fuse or the accessory relay causes the current draw to drop to 100mA. A few other points of data which may or may not be helpful: * The measured current
after disconnecting the ignition switch measures 130mA * I have the interior lights turned off. When I turn them on in what I believe is door-open mode (one click past always-off), they seem to stay on even after leaving all doors closed for 15 minutes. I
have inspected the door jamb switches and don't see any obvious problems there. * The headlight switch on the dashboard turns on the ***** *****ghts but not the low beams. I have a toggle switch controlling the low beams under the car. * When I start the car,
I hear a clicking sound coming from the passenger side dashboard. It seems to click a half dozen times over 3 seconds just after startup. * The car has an after-market radio. I removed the radio and the draw was the same as before. * I have already begun troubleshooting
this problem with a mechanic at
That thread contains additional information about the problem. The mechanic I worked with suggested I install a new ignition switch, which I did, but it has not changed any measured values.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry for the delay in getting a response to you. Sometimes we get alot of customers and just can not keep up. Sometimes you just have to wait for the correct tech to login.
Do you even still need help. Sometimes customers seek help elsewhere or figure it out on their own before we get to each and everyone.
I am sure I can help a lot or a little at least something if you give me a chance and work with me. I am going to get an answer to you regardless if you reply or not sooner or later.
If your concern is urgent reply and let me know and if you have anything more you think will help me, to help you, let me know. I work on here normally 3pm-3am central.
Thanks Chris
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Chris, Yes I do still need help.You and I were actually working together on this problem last month, but for some reason the "more Q&A time" offer wasn't working on the website. Just to catch you up, I tried replacing the ignition switch like you suggested but it didn't change any of the measured values. Do you have any other suggestions?Thanks
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
At the ignition switch while plugged in with the fuse in place. Back probe all the wires. You should only see battery voltage on the pink, red, and pink black wires. Let me know if any other wires have power. Open the file below if needed.
You want a excellent 5 star answer & I would like to be rated the same for providing it. Consider I don't know your skill level & I can't see, smell, hear, or touch the vehicle. It may take a few back and forth replies. Try your best to respond with good detail so I can do the same. I normally log in at 3pm and work late. A rating is required. Your rating me, what I type. I am not an employee of this website, nor have control over the fees or the time it took to get a response. If you rate negative or not at all you still paid, but I get nothing. I want you pleased with me and my efforts, so let me know if your experience here has come up short.
Thanks Chris
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Chris, I'll try backprobing tonight.I tried the extended q/a time offer the last time I worked with you and it didn't do anything. I think there may be a bug in the website programming.
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Moose, I backprobed the wires on the main ignition switch plug and I saw battery voltage on the red, pink, and black/white wires. I think this is what you said I should find (I'm guessing the black/pink faded to black/white).Thanks
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
These tests indicate the ignition switch is not powering anything with the key off, which make no sense as to why there is a draw on the ignition fuse. When you unplug the ignition switch the draw goes away, correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have measured the current draw with the ignition switch disconnected and it was significantly lower, about 130mA if I recall correctly. I will measure it again tomorrow just to confirm.I have an idea about why the voltage measurements I took while backprobing tonight didn't indicate a problem. I had to remove the ignition switch from the steering column in order to reach the plug and backprobe the wires. Maybe removing the switch from the steering column changed the current draw of the ignition switch. I'll try measuring current draw before and after removing the switch and see if the position of the switch has an effect on the current draw.Do you know of a way to backprobe the ignition switch plug while it is still attached to the steering column?
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
There is not an easy way honestly. Now knowing it was removed could be the ticket something wrong the tumbler partially pushing on the ignition switch in the off position.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I measured the current draw again under several scenarios.With the ignition fuse removed: 130mA
With the ignition fuse in place and ignition switch connected to steering column: 430mA
With the ignition fuse in place and ignition switch disconnected from steering column: 430mAI also backprobed the plug to the ignition switch again and got the same results as from last night.Is it possible that a problem in the body control module could be causing the parasitic drain? I have a different problem with the van where the headlights don't turn on and a local garage wanted to replace the BCM to see if that would make the headlight problem go away.
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
I am out of ideas as to why the ignition fuse is draining the power but no circuits are being powered by the switch that should not be. I would need to be in person to figure this one out. Would you like to try another tech?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If you think another tech might have an idea, I would like to hear it. I don't know how to refer this question to a different tech on the site.
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 2 years ago.
I can opt out and that will allow all experts to see all of this, though I can not answer for them on if they will want to help or not. Best of luck
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand, thank you for your help Moose.