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Discussion Starter #1
Under 20F my wait to start light rotates on and off about once per second. Eventually it will stop and go through the normal warming cycle. Plugging in the block heater helps, but it's about 7F and I've been waiting over an hour for it stop, even after being plugged in all night. I replaced the grid heater about a month ago, but that had no effect. I've uploaded a video...
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Any suggestions?
 

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None of your gauges moved... I can't see your fuel gauge in the video, but i'm pretty sure that my battery meter moves when i turn the key... Maybe something came unplugged when you were working down there?
 

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Have you checked the solenoid switch on the passenger battery? Mine went out and the wts light would come on but the heater wasn't working, never flashed like that but it sound like it's kicking on and off.:confused013:

Oh yeah any codes?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Kstephatos: The lights and gauges are different when it decides to do this, but I haven't watched close enough to know exactly what's different. Most of the time the clicking will end and the normal warm-up takes over. If it takes more than a few minutes, the parking brake and ABS light will remain on after start until I drive a few feet. It only happens when it's cold, if something is loose wouldn't it do it all the time? This was happening before I replaced the grid heater so if something is loose, it's been that way for a while and probably not in that wiring.
I've attached a video with the entire panel and starting before turning the key.

Cumminscrb: I'm not familiar with the solenoid switch, but I'll go have a look. The dealership did pull a code when I brought it in for the grid heater replacement, but they brushed it off and I can't remember it. It's sounded like something electrical.
 

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Watching that vid there is something more to it than the solenoid switch, non of your gauges moved. Have you tried the key on/off thing to check for codes?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I didn't know about the key trick. I Googled it and tried it, but wasn't able to get any codes. I don't know if I didn't do it right or the truck's didn't recognize the input due to the system not working right. It starts correctly when it's not cold so something triggers this issue around 20-25 degrees...
Just talked to the dealership and they reminded me what the code was. It had to to with ECM. Possibly checking the ECM ground? Is this something I can do?
 

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Did you cycle the key on-off-on-off-on and leave it on ? The codes should show in the odometer, if there aren't any, a bunch of horizontal bars will flash then say done.

How about your batteries are they good? check grounds on battery? Strange problem I haven't seen this before honestly.

What year truck?any mods? you should fill out a signature may help to see whats been done to the truck. I'm not too great with electrical stuff I'm sure someone will chime in who knows more.
 

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Just talked to the dealership and they reminded me what the code was. It had to to with ECM. Possibly checking the ECM ground? Is this something I can do?
Yeah you could, the ECM is grounded to the engine block on the drivers side, tighten it up may not help anything but worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, I'll go see if I can find it. I did do the key thing, but didn't get any feedback. I'll try it again when I look for the ECM ground. I'm working on the signature, but for now I have a 2004 RAM 3500 with about 125000 miles. It has been modified, but I bought it used so I'm not sure about everything that's been done. It has a different intake, suspension, exhaust, and transmission. I've posted some photos here: Flickr: Jimbo7203's Photostream
Thanks again for taking the time to look into this and for the suggestions.
 

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I know that your gauges are supposed to move for sure when you turn the key... I just went out and checked mine when I saw that video and they definitely moved... I really feel like you have an electric problem somwhere when they replaced heater maybe something didnt plug all the way and finally came out? Cold does funny things.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for checking, Kstephatos. I agree there's something electrically wrong. It seems like the truck triggers flashing when it senses that it's cold. Is there a thermostat somewhere that tells the truck to do something different around 20 degrees? My problem yesterday was the outlet in the garage had tripped and cut power to my block heater. I reset it and got power to the block heater and the truck has started. Once it's started for the day, it will start the rest of the day no matter how cold it is or if the heater is plugged in.
 

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You can use this site to learn about the electrical systems on these trucks. Sounds like you're having a problem with the can-bus network not telling the gauges what to do. The wts light is flashing because there is a problem with that system. Probably one of the relays for the heater is nfg. www.dodge.com/bodybuilder/year.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #13
rgaskell, thanks for the link. Still reading up on it, but a few of the things I read about the can bus had to do with aftermarket radios, which I have. Could this radio, or in improper install be part of the problem.
Due to warming weather and power to my block warmer, the truck is running and starting normal. I was able to pull the code P 2509 off the key trick, which I think is ECM/PCM power intermittent.
 

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Go through your battery termanial connections. Clean them and make sure they are tight. Also check the ecm's grouning strap. It's right beside the module and is run to the engine block. Does the radio work? You might have to dig into the dash to see what kind of bypass module they installed. That might be giving you your problem.
 

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:agree2: Definitely check the batteries and grounds. If I had to guess I'd say bad battery, I believe that's the code that pops up, you can hear the relay for the grid heater clicking on and off in the vid. Could be because it's trying to draw so much voltage for the heater the batteries can't keep up and it makes everything go crazy. When you plug the truck in usually the heater doesn't cycle so you have enough juice for starting.

Makes sense to me anyway.:confused013:

That's why I hate all the electrical crap on newer vehicles, when something goes wrong it's a PIA to figure out the problem.
 

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I'd bet a half-eaten bologna sandwich that one or both batteries are going south. The colder it gets, the lower an automotive battery's energy. Throw in a high current draw like the grid heater, and it is entirely possible that the instrument cluster is not seeing the proper voltage that it needs to function on cold mornings.

My other car (non-Dodge) has a VDO instrument cluster, and the tach needle sits at zero for about 5 seconds when starting on a cold morning with a weak battery. It seems like 10.8 volts is the magic threshold for being under-voltage with the car's instrument cluster, and it will exhibit all kinds of strange behavior similar to what you're seeing if the voltage is below that threshold.....
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the inputs. When I first saw this last year I replaced both batteries, so they're both just over a year old. And it did it when they were both brand new. That's when I had the block heater installed and limped it through last winter. I was hoping to get through this one the same way, but it's just too cold and I'm sick of having to have it plugged in any time it goes below 25. Is there a reason the voltage would be reduced from the battery to the grid heater?
As for the radio, it works fine, even when the grid heater is cycling. I installed it, but don't know what kind of bypass module (if any) was used. I think it just plugged in and worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It's that time of year again. It was 27 this morning and the wait to start flashed at me for about 5 seconds before deciding to stay on go through the normal cycle. When it gets below 20 in a few weeks it'll just flash till the battery is dead.
I'm ready to start taking shots in the dark at this. I think I've narrowed it down to a non-battery electrical issue. Probably not the batteries or the grid heater. What's the next best chance to solve the problem? The manifold heater relay? The thermal switch? Something between the batteries and the relay?
 
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