Question about Dodge Caravan

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1998 Dod. caravan 3.8 Dit.. instrument cluster works sometime, most of time doesnt work (completely blank) no gas gauge, speedometer, nothing works. What could be problem. email adams5832@comcast.net

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  • adams5832 Sep 02, 2010

    I tried hitting top of dash nothing happen, R u sure its a bad connection.Whats the BCM, how do u check that. What if I went to auto wreckers and got another cluster, would that solve problem.

  • adams5832 Sep 02, 2010

    What is BCM and how can ,u test it. When tap ontop of dash, instuuments donot work,

  • adams5832 Sep 02, 2010

    do u have picture of BCM or location.

  • adams5832 Sep 02, 2010

    What happen to other commits u send me , I need those.

  • adams5832 Sep 02, 2010

    I want to replace the BCM ,Can I get R & R for that , since that is most likely the problem. Thank U.

  • adams5832 Sep 02, 2010

    thank u 4 your help.

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3 Answers

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  • Dodge Master
  • 17,970 Answers

There's a couple of things:

1) Check the battery (not just the voltage, have it load tested if there is even a shred of doubt). Low battery is an EXTREMELY common cause for host of "behavioral" problems in these vans.

2) Pull the IOD fuse for 20-30 seconds, then reinsert. I've heard this can sometimes fix the issue. Also heard it points to potential battery problems, but not certain.

3) The infamous bad solder joints on the instrument panel. Typically, the symptoms are the vehicle periodically refuses to start, but striking the instrument panel with your hand can get it to go (for awhile anyway). If striking the instrument panel has any noticeable effects on the behavior, I would tend to guess that's your problem.

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Posted on Sep 02, 2010

  • ZJ Limited
    ZJ Limited Sep 02, 2010


    You should find the BCM behind the left side dash, it is above the fuse box.

    Hope this helps.


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  • Dodge Master
  • 6,826 Answers

Instrument Cluster (this procedure will tell how to remove and replace the cluster, but it may be just a loose connection at the harness). Removal & Installation With Electronic Transmission Gear Indicator To Remove:

  1. Disconnect and isolate the negative battery cable. Allow 2 minutes for the air bag power reserve to discharge.
  2. Remove the lower steering column cover.
  3. Remove the over steering column bezel mounting screw.
  4. Remove the clips attaching the over steering column bezel to the cluster bezel.
  5. If equipped with traction control, disconnect the connector and then remove the over steering column bezel from the vehicle, otherwise just remove the bezel.
  6. Remove the left end cover and then remove the screw at the left side of the cluster bezel.
  7. Remove the instrument cluster bezel mounting screws from each side of the steering column.
  8. Detach the clip securing the bezel to the instrument panel at the right vent louver.
  9. Disconnect the wiring and remove the instrument cluster bezel.
  10. Remove the instrument cluster mounting screws.
  11. Rotate the top of the cluster toward you and disconnect the wiring.
  12. Remove the instrument cluster from the dash.
To Install:
  1. Connect the harness connector to the instrument cluster and install the cluster into the opening in the dash.
  2. Install the instrument cluster mounting screws.
  3. Install the instrument cluster bezel.
  4. Install the left end cover.
  5. Install the over steering column bezel.
  6. Install the lower steering column cover.
  7. Connect the battery negative cable.
With Mechanical Transmission Gear Indicator To Remove:
  1. Disconnect and isolate the negative battery cable. Allow 2 minutes for the air bag power reserve to discharge.
  2. Remove the lower steering column cover.
  3. Remove the knee blocker reinforcement.
  4. Disconnect the gear indicator cable from the shift lever.
  5. Remove the clip holding the cable to the mounting bracket.
  6. Remove the lower steering column cover.
  7. Remove the over steering column bezel mounting screw.
  8. Remove the clips attaching the over steering column bezel to the cluster bezel.
  9. If equipped with traction control, disconnect the connector and then remove the over steering column bezel from the vehicle, otherwise just remove the bezel.
  10. Remove the left end cover and then remove the screw at the left side of the cluster bezel.
  11. Remove the instrument cluster bezel mounting screws from each side of the steering column.
  12. Detach the clip securing the bezel to the instrument panel at the right vent louver.
  13. Disconnect the wiring and remove the instrument cluster bezel.
  14. Remove the four instrument cluster mounting screws.
  15. Rotate the top of the cluster toward yourself and disconnect the harness connector.
  16. Remove the instrument cluster making sure not to damage the indicator cable and guide tube.
To Install:
  1. Make sure the indicator cable operates smoothly.
  2. Guide the indicator cable and tube through the instrument panel opening.
  3. Connect the harness connector to the instrument cluster and install the cluster into the opening in the dash.
  4. Install the instrument cluster mounting screws.
  5. Position cluster bezel into place and install the mounting screws.
  6. Install the clip that holds the cable to the bracket. The cable and guide tube should bow towards the right side of the vehicle.
  7. Connect the indicator cable to the shift lever.
  8. Engage the parking brake and position the shift lever in neutral.
  9. Rotate the indicator thumbwheel to position the indicator in the center of the N slot on the instrument cluster mask.
  10. Verify the adjustment by moving the shift lever through each gear range. Move the selector back to N and readjust as needed.
  11. Install the knee blocker panel.
  12. Install the lower steering column cover.
  13. Connect the battery negative cable.
1998 Dod. caravan 3.8 Dit.. - prev.gif next.gif

Posted on Sep 02, 2010

  • Duane Wong
    Duane Wong Sep 02, 2010

    I don't have a picture of the BCM or Body Control Module, but one might be able to get it at Alldata.com since they have more data than my online resource that I have available. They are based on Chilton or Haynes Manuals but one has to pay more for the service.



    Or, one can go out to buy the service manual for the vehicle, hard copy.

  • Duane Wong
    Duane Wong Sep 02, 2010

    You could get another cluster to see if that would solve the problem, but with so many parts involved it's hard to say whether that will be the final solution. It's a process of elimination, I suppose.

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  • Master
  • 2,272 Answers

The most common reason for this sort of problem is a cold solder joint connection between the socket for the instrument cluster (on the back side of it) and the circuit board to which it is attached. Try rapping on the top of the dash, just above the cluster to see if that indeed causes it to come on or go off. If that were the case, then you need to remove the cluster and examine the connections between the plug socket and the circuit board and try to reheat each solder joint with a soldering pencil. The BCM needs to be checked.Remove the dash and check the loose connections under the instrument cluster,If anything got short or loose then that wire has to be reconnected or replaced, the BCM is as stated under the driver side instrument panel behind fuse box. Thanks. Keep updated for any more query. You can rate this solution and show your appreciation

Posted on Sep 02, 2010

  • raj somaiya
    raj somaiya Sep 02, 2010

    BCM(Body Control Module).
    The Body Control Module (BCM) controls all the systems that are not functioning, or functioning improperly. Since the chances of all these systems having a malfunction at the same time are miniscule, the BCM is most likely brain dead. If the problem is in the Instrument Cluster itself, the Instrument Cluster can be reprogrammed before any other diagnostics are performed.
    Your Dodge Dealer can best confirm the bad BCM. His scan tool can interface with the BCM and all its functions can be checked independently.
    There is nothing wrong with used parts from a junkyard. Just make sure the BCM you buy is exactly the same part number as the one you have in your vehicle. You probably won't get any kind of warranty with it since electronics are not generally warranted.
    Thanks for keeping updated with your query.


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