One of my great Grandsons acquired a beater, 2001, Dodge Ram 1500
pick-up to use while away at university.
He brought it over for help with electrical issues; blower didn't
work, wipers didn't work, one headlight was much brighter than the
My first reaction was, there must be one or more bad grounds. I
tested the theory by using a beefy set of jumper cables to securely
ground several of the malfunctioning devices and, the problems went
We then set out to find where the circuits were grounded. After 15
minutes, we located a bundle of 13 wires, connected to a steel
grounding stud, under the battery and spot welded to the wheel well
What a ridiculous approach to electrical design, 13 wires of varying
sizes crimped into one connector and not even soldered. The wires
were not protected with heat shrink tubing or even with some kind of
insulating electrical putty. With the bundle of wires under the
battery, what engineer couldn't foresee battery related corrosives
affecting the wires and connections... geez.
When we tried to loosen the nut holding the ring terminal to the stud,
the stud itself crumbled and came off the fixing point. Seven of the
ground wires were visibly broken. After cutting the terminal off and
stripping the wires, we discovered at least half of the wires were
compromised six inches under the insulation.
We dealt with this by cutting all the wires back to good copper,
solder pigtailing each wire with fresh wire that was covered with a
silicone insulation, inserting the pigtails into new, high quality
ring terminals (2 - 3 per terminal) and, instead of crimping we
soldered all the connections. We identified three good solid bolts
going into the engine that we could use as ground connecting points.
All connections are now protected with heat shrink tubing and we put
some duct sealing putty on the new ground bolts and ring terminals.
After a number of hours of work, everything in the vehicle works
great. I came away very disappointed with how the Chrysler engineers
designed the electrical system in the vehicle. I am not one to
purchase American designed or manufactured vehicles anymore, and this
experience reinforces that decision.