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George H.
George H., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 18664
Experience:  ASE Master Tech 15+ Years
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I have a 1997 Ford Ranger with a 4 cyl. 2.3 liter engine.

Customer Question

I have a 1997 Ford Ranger with a 4 cyl. 2.3 liter engine. With the negative battery cable disconnected a test light connected between the cable and post (in series) shined brightly. This is with engine off and key out. A miltimeter on amp scale showed
o.24 amps. I have always been told that parasitic drain should not exceed 50 miliamps or 0.050 volts. This is obviously about 5 times too much. I found if I disconnected fuse #13, rated at 50A, in the underhood fuse panel the drain would go to zero. According
to the wiring diagram this fuse supplies several fuses on the interior fuse panel: #s1,5,9,13,17,21,25,29 and nothing else. I put the 50 amp fuse back in and pulled these interior fuses one by one but the drain persisted despite this. It seems the drain is
on an unfused line. Can you help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello I will help you with your question,

That is a huge draw (about 2 light bulbs worth).

You have a wiring diagram and can see the 50 amp IP fuse panel #13 fuse feeds those fuses that you listed and you pulled all 8 fuses but got no change in the draw?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that's correct
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

So you would have to think there is a short from the 50 amp fuse to other circuits maybe at the back of the fuse block? It is set up in the corner and critters like to get in there and chew the wiring, can you use a mirror and a light or remove the box and see if you can spot any damage?

The other alternative is to pull the other fuses and puth them back in until the draw comes back.

As I say this is about 2 light bulbs worth, I use an infra red camera to look for sources of heat. With that much current flowing it does generate quite a bit so you might feel for warm parts.

Let me know what you find so I can help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the 50 amp fuse is in the under hood fuse panel not the instrument panel.
can you give me a few days to check out your suggestion and I will get back to you?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, the panel is in the back corner of the engine compartment and either remove the panel and pull it up the few inches the harness will allow or use a mirror to look under it for corrosion and damage with a good flashlight.

You can also try removing the alternator cable (careful not to touch anything with it while it is off) and see if the draw changes or remove the other fuses in the panel and see if there is any corrosion inside the panel or if the draw will drop. Somewhere there has to be a cross connection from the 50 amp circuit that runs inside to the fuse block and other components where the draw is.

If there is aftermarket components installed those are suspect, they may have tapped directly into the feed wire to those 8 fuses bypassing them.

Let me know what you find and how I can help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can we break off now and I will reconnect later?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I close the website and reconnect in a few days?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

All you need to do is log back into the site and you should be able to see this thread and post to it.

We can even continue with followup questions on this thread after you rate my service.

I am here most of the time so just let me know how I can help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, thanks, ***** ***** later
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

No need to reply til you have a chance to check it out.

Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
George, I took the bottom piece off the fuse panel after first removing the holder bracket. Then I was able to turn it upside and see the wires. I giggled and giggled the wires trying to make the short go away and sprayed electronic cleaner up in the area but there was no change. I have already removed all the other fuses in this panel but the only one to stop the draw is the 50A #13 in the back. I also shook the wiring bundle but no good. any suggestions?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do not have any after market gadjets in this truck.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Follow the tan/black wire out of the fuse block and if you can't find any damage you need to get a little destructive and cut the wire. Double check that the 50 amp fuse makes the draw go away (doors closed ignition off) and if it still does then cut the wire and see if the draw is still there. If it is the problem is internal to the fuse block. Leave yourself enough wire so they can be spliced back together when you have found the draw.

Your diagram is correct the only thing that fuse feeds is those 8 fuses through the tan/black wire.

The wire does run through C136 so you need check there first for corrosion

It is the bulkhead connectors under the fuse block, follow the tan/black wire to it and open the connector so you can look for corrosion.

Let me know how I can help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok, thanks
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know what you find

Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Something I neglected to mention earlier: when I ohmed out the -bat post to the ground cable the amps started out at about 0.7 amps then quickly droped to 0.25 amps. Cutting the Tan/black wire ended the drain so I took the bulkhead connection apart and located the pin hole for the tan\black line. I got the same capacitor response stabilizing at about 0.24 amps. Can a capacitor leak and have capacitance at the same time? It looks like the problem is beyond the bulkhead.
My diagram doesn't show any caps anywhere on this circuit.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Actually I ohmed between the pin hole and ground and got a capacitor like response on the meter.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

I never use ohm when doing measurements in a vehicle. All the circuits are wired in parallel so unless you remove both ends of the wire you are testing you can't be sure of the result. Voltage drop testing is faster and more accurate the only drawback is you MUST have current flowing in the circuit for the readings to be accurate.

If cutting the wire dropped the draw does disconnecting the connector do the same thing? If it does you are inside and looking at the wiring from the bulkhead connector to the fuses. Somewhere you have to have a spot of corrosion or a cross connection. Keep double checking that you still have the draw present as you test, if you now find one of the fuses will drop the draw you are onto that circuit.

Let me know what I can do to help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yesterday I reconnected things under the hood. Then with the test light burning I took out all the all the eight fuses fed by #13 in the eng compartment fuse panel. The light was connected to the neg terminal and the neg cable.That made the light go out, no more drain. When I put them all back and the light stayed off until I put fuse #29 back in. I heard a brief chime when I put this fuse in. Then the light stayed on even after I pulled #29 out again. Also this morning I started the truck with all fuses in but I couldn't move the transmission stick out of park. With the engine off the stick was movable again. Any ideas?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The problem now seems to be ahead of the fuse panels.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

That is odd you would have the draw after putting #29 back in and pulling it again. Did you have the other seven out at that time or were they installed?

A testlight is not a good indication of a drain, the amp meter gives you a better idea of what is going on. You can still have a 100 mA drawn and the light would be off.

29 runs the radio and cd changer if you had one. Try disconnecting the radio and see if you have the same results. Is this the factory radio?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
wherewould I disconnect the battery
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
where woul I disconnect the radio, sorry
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

You would pull the radio out and unplug it at the back

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

The radio face has a pair of holes at each end, you insert the radio removal tools (any parts store for about $5) and pull them towards the center of the radio and slide it out of the dash.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I thought the radio was disconnected when the key was out.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

No, there is a constant power and an ignition power, the constant keeps the radio and the presets in memory then the ignition runs the radio. I know you said there was no aftermarket components installed but it is a favorite place to pick up power for aftermarket installers.

Let me know what you find. Getting consistent results will help you get to the bottom of this

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I pulled out the radio and disconnected it. Drain persisted at 0.24A. Then I disconnected the chime box.
That made the drain go away. I reconnected the radio and the drain didn't come back. So it looks like the problem is in the lines going away from the chimer or else the chimer itself has a problem.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I still had a slight drain of 0.040A with the chimer out but that is probably OK.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Sounds like you found it then. finding a part to replace it with might be harder. Do you have a part number on it? Google that number if you do. I think you will find no new stock available but you might find a used on on ebay.

Please let me know how I can help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do we know thw problem is beyond the chimer and in the wires that go out from it?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

The GEM module is known to fail internally (Chime module). It does control other functions but if everything seems to be working properly it is the chime module that is not turning off cleanly still allowing current to flow.

Did you get the number off it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'll check that out this morning, thanks
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

OK, These are getting hard to find but if I can have the number off it I will see what I can do. The module will require setup after installation but it does not need to be done right away. A good independent shop should have the ability to do that and will charge between 1/2 - 1 hour labor to do so.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I got it out. the numbers are; F77B-14B205-DA. Also there is a number up at the right top: 970326
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would a junk yard be a good place to get one?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

It is the F number that you need to find.

Looks like you are in luck they are all over ebay for $35 - $85. Pick a seller with great feedback and I would order from them. Amazon has no stock for sale.

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

If you can find one in a local yard for a reasonable price that is an option so if there is a problem with it you have a local contact.

Try car-part.com to see what is listed in your area and match the number exactly. You want "computer" "not engine" as the search term.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's great. What is this set up involve? Also can I drive the truck with the chimer out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also do I need a 1997 or would another year be ok?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

You can try it with it out, I think it is just a matter of setting it up with any options you have and that the truck will run with the new one plugged in but not configured. I would have to see what options are available when the tool is connected to know for sure.

The part number will be for a 1997, I believe that is your only option.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know of this truck having any options. I bought it second hand. What would an option be?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Intermittent wipers for one, I would have to see the list once the tool is connected to the truck to be sure.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will look around at the junk dealers here. We have lots of them. I'm close to Houston TX.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

You should be able to find something on Car-part.com then. Better than running all over the place asking.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. I ordered a replacement from Ebay. They had a picture and it looked exactly like mine. It had the same number on the box and was for a 1997. They say it will arrive by Friday or earlier next week. I will hook it up and test it before I bolt it back to the compartment. I'll let you know then.
Thanks
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Great, let me know what I can do to help

Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I put the replacement module in today and I still have the same problem: 0.23A drain. any suggestions?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

If you unplug the module the drain is gone?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
just like before.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

You are testing with the doors closed?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Let me check the diagrams to see what else it could be, might just be the module you got has the same issue as your old one. Back in five minutes.

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Do you have a remote keyfob?

Is the dome lamp and map light hot after you have the doors closed for a few minutes? Can you just pull the bulbs out of those?

The GEM only runs a couple of things, map light, dome light and if you have remote it has a connection to that module.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I never had a remote for this truck. Are you sure a 1997 even had a remote? Also the where would the map light be? I never used it.
In any case let me go back out there and see if the drain continued and check a few more things out.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Some of them did, I thought with the 2.3 yours would be the base unit and did not have the remote anti theft module so it should not be connected to the module you replaced.

Do the lights go out after a short time when you exit the vehicle or do they go out as soon as the door is closed?

Map light would be center top of the roof if you have one.

Do you have a connector view of the module? I want to be sure we are looking at the same diagrams.

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Click here for diagram

Compare that to your module connector and let me know if it matches

Thanks

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

If that matches you might try unplugging the wiper switch and see if that affects the draw. It is a huge drain though, more like a lightbulb than a corroded switch connection.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I ran the engine for a few minutes then let it sit f or about 20 minutes. Then I checked the drain with the neg cable detached, as always, and I got 0.20 A. That's the lowest it's ever been. I will check after another 15 min. with the bat connected. Are these times reasonable?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

You have power locks?

Do the inside lights fade out or turn right off when you shut the door?

Can you pull the wiper switch connector if it still has too much drain after 5 minutes with the key out and the door closed?

You are disconnecting the negative cable then installing the ampmeter and letting it sit? It should be as quiet as it gets after 5 minutes for this computer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't have power locks. the passenger cabin light does not come on with a new bulb. i will unhook the wiper switch but where is it?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

The wiper switch is part of the multifunction switch on the steering column where the turn switch is. The rectangular connector.

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

The other cabin lights operate normally

/

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
to my knowledge I have no other cabin lights. Just the instrument lights. how do I get access to this switch?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

To access the multi switch pull the screws out of the bottom of the steering column shroud and squeeze the sides so the bottom comes off. You can unplug the retangular wiper switch connector then check the draw again.

You should have a cabin light on both the passenger and the driver's side and the dome light that you can control from the dash switch and it should come on when you open the door and off with the door closed if you have the switch on the light set to the door position.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only light I have in the cabin is at the upper back over the center, which doesn't work. I have the Po' Boys version of the truck I think.
I unplugged the wiper switch but that did no good. Still 0.23A.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

The light in the center is the dome light, can you pull the bulb out of that or unplug it?

The last place will be the lighting relay, I did think you had the base model without all the add ons, so we should be down to the last items that might be causing the drain.

Beyond that the module's job is to control the lights and wipers so unplugging the wiper motor would take everything out of the circuit and only leave the module and the wiring from the module to the components.

Let me know if you need help with locations or how to remove them from the circuit.

Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
please tell me where these modules and such are
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

The module is what you replaced, the light is your dome light, the wiper motor is under the hood on the firewall, I will post directions to that and the lighting relay in a few minutes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
how to remove
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I already tried disconnecting the windshield washer motor but no improvement
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

One at a time watching the drain pull the wiper relays from the box under the hood then get to the lighting relay in the center dash and pull that and if you see a RAP relay next to it pull that. Let m eknow if you see a change in the draw.

Click here for locations

Let me know what happens

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately no results. Ipulled the relays under the hood to no effect. Then I found the interior lamp relay under the glove box door and pulled it with no results. This relay had the number FOAB-149193-AB. That's enough for one day. I'll contact you again tomorrow.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
14B not 149
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

OK, if you have disconnected everything the module feeds then either there is a wiring cross connection between the module and the components or the module is still the issue. Unplugging it drops the draw to near 0 at once?

That would leave looking for corrosion in any connectors between the module and what it controls, you do not have a dead short and it is the module's job to shut off when you turn the key off and that is not happening. You have a current leak not a dead short.

Let me know when you get back to this

Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When the module is disconnected the drop to 0 is very rapid. After referring to my diagram, it looks like the door ajar switches are good suspects. The diagram shows no connectors between the chimer and the door ajar mechanisms. Also to get to them it looks like the trim panels must be removed.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

There should not be any drain from the door switches, you can check them but they are just ground inputs to the module not powered.

use your meter to see if they open and close when you probe from the module connector. Simple resistance check with the module disconnected.

Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

You say the dome light does not work?

I would be checking why that is, the module has direct control over the power to that light.

What happens when you have the module plugged in but you remove the lighting relay? Any change?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
removal of the lighting relay produces no results with the module plugged in. same drain. Can you provide a dome light schematic?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

If there is no change then no reason to go chasing the dome lamp, leave that for later.

Does the connector view I posted above match what you are seeing at the module?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it has 18 pins arranged as in the diagram.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will do the resistance check on each pin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
None of the pins on the module showed grounded.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As a recap: when both connectors are connected to the module there is the 0.23A drain. If either of the connectors are disconnected the drain goes away. This makes me tink the "new" module has the same problem as the old one. We have tested the wiper system and the cabin lights, and disconnection has no effect. I tried it with the washer pump disconnected-no good. I have about decided to give up and leave on the charger when not in use.
However I do see just now that one of the pins goes to the washer pump relay. Can you tell me where it is? I will go and look for it.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

I agree that the "new" module seems to have the same problem. It is the module's job to turn off when it senses that the key is off and removed from the ignition with the doors closed and it is not doing that.

It is so common for these to fail and sometimes you can get a good one used but it seems this is not the case here. You can try car-part.com to see if there are any local to you, the search would be for computer not engine.

I am sorry it has been such an ordeal but I do believe the problem is in the module.

The washer relay is in relay box #2, click here for diagram and location

Please let me know how I can help

Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I found the pump fuse box but taking it out did no good. Let me think about things overnight. There is an auto electric shop up the road and I may give them a call. They have done some good work for me in the past. I'll get back with you tomorrow.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

OK, please let me know if there is some way I can help

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I talked to Dave at the autoelectric shop up the road. He said it could be lots of things but he would be glad to take a look. He has done good work for me in the past. I have decided to postpone the matter till after the holiday season. I'll take the truck in early January.
So I guess it's time to conclude this question and give you a rating so you can get your money. You've been very helpfull. Or, if you wish, we can leave things open till after I send it to the shop.
Let me know.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

No problem on time, I would be interested in knowing what you find. You can always post back to this question even after rating.

Please let me know how I can help you with this

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, I'll touch base again inJanuary
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

I will watch for your post.

Thank you