December 19, 2009
by: jovial_cynic

Back in June of 2009, I solved the Dodge transmission problem after a bit of research and wrenching. From the comments on that post, it looks like a lot of Caravan owners found that post useful, and as a result, I've committed to posting any Caravan repairs that I do.

On the way down to California, I noticed that my minivan's left tail-light was out. I figured that the problem was likely a blown bulb. However, the lights came on when we hit the brakes and when the turn-signals were used, so that ruled out the bulb. Driving around with a single tail-light out wouldn't be a big deal, except that were were pulling a little trailer behind the van, and the wiring on the trailer apparently depended on the left tail-light. Ie., with no left tail-light, we didn't have any trailer lights. Driving through the night with no lights on the trailer didn't sound like a safe way to go, and since I didn't have the tools handy to do the repairs, we ended up driving through the night with the hazard lights flashing.

Because the problem was electrical in nature, I figured that picking up a repair manual for the minivan was probably a good idea. A few weekends later (after my wife got pulled over for the tail-light), I picked up a Haynes repair manual and tackled the problem.

I was originally confused about the problem, because it didn't cross my mind that the lights would be on separate fuses. I assumed incorrectly that they should have been on a single circuit, so I thought that the problem was a bad connection or failed ground. This is why it's handy to have a repair manual with a good wiring diagram.

After flipping through several diagrams, I found the one on exterior lighting, and zeroed in on the left-light assembly.

I followed the brown/yellow (BRN/YEL) wire up to the fuses and was surprised to see the wire meet a 15a fuse. Just to confirm, I followed the right-light assembly and saw that it met up with a separate 15a fuse.

According to the diagram, this fuse was located in the "junction box" which is the fuse panel below the steering column. Removing the cover was a matter of turning a plastic screw and pulling the clear plate, after which I looked for the 15a fuses. As it turns out, there's only two of them - one labeled "RT PARK" and one labeled "LT PARK."

As expected, the "LT PARK" fuse was blown. Fortunately, I had an extra fuse available which fully solved the problem.

Near as I can figure, if the trailer lights draw everything from the left circuit, I should probably consider throwing a 20a fuse in there instead of the 15a fuse. The trailer hookup was an after-market add-on, and the original 15a fuse didn't account for an additional set of lights. Now, overfusing isn't generally a good idea (it can overheat your wires), but I believe that the 20a and 15a circuits in the van use the same size wiring, so I shouldn't have any concerns about the ability for the wires to handle the additional current.

Anyhow, problem solved. The tail-lights are working just fine now.


Chony said:
This is great! I tell you, YOU are a GREAT handy man; What a blessing!!!

December 21, 2009

jovial_cynic said:
Thanks mom. :) Look forward to having you over for Christmas!
December 21, 2009

The Conservative Manifesto said:

Just stopping by to wish you and your family a blessed first Christmas in Cali. I pray all is well.

December 23, 2009

jovial_cynic said:

Thanks! Have a merry Christmas yourself, bro.

December 23, 2009

Dave Sherrill said:
Thanks man, I installed a trailer wiring harness for my friend today. The diagram for the taillight wiring was perfect. Thanks again
May 19, 2012

Brandon Richardson said:
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have been trying to figure out what is wrong with my van'l tail light for months. I finally took it to a mechanic and was told it needed a new assembly and that it would cost $125!! I told him to fly a kite, and bought one on ebay for around $20 and replaced it. Well, of course that didn't fix it. So I was in the process of splicing a wire over from the right tail light to the left, when I stumbled across your site looking for a wiring diagram. And wouldn't you know it, you solved my problem for FREE! I had checked the other fuse box, but didn't even know this one was there! I'm so grateful for people like you posting stuff like this. Thanks so much!!
July 12, 2012

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