Dodge RAM 1500 electrical issues

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 other, etc.
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 away.
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 fender.
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 7/23/2017 7:58 AM, Stormin' Norman wrote:

Engine by Mopar. Electrical by Lucas. Are you sure it was a Dodge? Sounds like something you'd find on a Jaguar.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yup, Chrysler. In fact, I just remembered I owned a 1961 Plymouth Valiant when I was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point. I was leaving the base one afternoon in 1962 when the engine compartment started smoking and just as I approached the front gate, it burst into flames. An electrical fire.
I suppose there are a percentage of electrical problems with all makes and models, but Chrysler sticks in my mind as being below average, from an electrical perspective.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My son's wife-to-be had a '90's Chrysler - a Stratus if I remember right. He was driving it one day when it went up in flames due to a power steering hose coming loose. Burnt to the ground before the fire engines showed up. She got a recall notice a couple weeks later for that "problem."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:45:19 -0500, Vic Smith

Wow! Did the flammable hydraulic fluid ignite when it came in contact with the exhaust manifold?
That sucks, I hope no one was injured.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yep.

He was driving alone on a main thoroughfare. He's a mechanic, so only his pride was injured that he was caught driving a Chrysler.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 10:07:25 -0500, Vic Smith

At least he was not injured. I hope they negotiated a generous settlement with Chrysler, they deserved it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 7/23/2017 10:45 AM, Vic Smith wrote:

So then they fixed it under the recall?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No, the car was burned up. The village towed the hulk to a boneyard where it sat for 2 days at 75 bucks a day before my son learned about those charges and produced the title. I believe Chrysler paid the boneyard fees. Big deal. The car was 9 or 10 years old. He would have had to prove it was a manufacturer defect to get a little bit more, and he just wanted to forget his wife-to-be once owned a Chrysler.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:45:19 -0500, Vic Smith

Over the decades, chrysler has actually been in the "above average" class as far as electrical systems, while Ford has been slightly below. On my last 4 Fords, virtually all the problems I have had have been electrical in nature, and the vast majority related to electrical connections.On my last 3 Chryslers products I do not remember a single electrical issue. These vehicles span from 1985 to 2003. Most of these vehicles went over 200,000km and over 10 years (some up to 21 years). Compared to years ago, even with the electrical systems being much more complex today, the number and severity of electrical problems is down significantly from back in the sixties to eighties - and particularly when the switch to aluminum chassis wiring was attempted back in the late eighties. I remember many hours spent tracing down electrical faults and splicing wiring harnesses - and repairing MANY burned wiring harnesses in the early years of being in the trade. Doesn't seem to be anywhere neer the problems on a percentage basis today.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Nope. Good old Cherman engineering coutesy of Daimler Chrysler. Now that the Italians have their fingers in the soup coutesy of FCA, we will see if things iprove slightly or get much worse. The only electrical systems worse than lucas and Bosch are Magnetti Marelli and Ducellier.(oh - and those with all the strange cryllic charachters in the name)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 07/23/2017 07:58 AM, Stormin' Norman wrote:

A good quality battery with proper maintenance and a properly functioning charging system does not leak acid.
Maybe some numbnutz owner/mechanic installed a cheap battery and overfilled/overcharged it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:37:23 -0400, Jack Legg

A. Where did I state the battery leaked? B. All lead acid batteries outgas, those gases are corrosive.
No sir, this was extremely poor design coupled with very poor materials and manufacturing. The trifecta that demolished American automotive dominance.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:37:23 -0400, Jack Legg

Regardless, putting all the grounds, or any connections, under the battery has proven time and again to be a TERRIBLE idea when it comes to electrical reliability. Many wiring harness problems over the years have been traced to issues of corrosion around the battery.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.