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Discussion Starter #1
There have been a dozen or more posts over the years on a parasitic power draw that kills the battery. I have yet to find one that has been solved. I have the same issue. I am drawing .75 miliamps when the car is off, and has rested. i traced the circuit, and found that on the IOD fuse, if i disconnected the instrument cluster, that removed the parasitic draw. I did the self test on the cluster and it says its fine. So it is either one of 3 things, a bad instrument cluster, which is available used for about 50 dollars, or the body control module, which costs about 400 dollars programmed from a shop on line, or a short circuit. if the instrument cluster is disconnected, the power draw drops from .75 to .04 miliamps. with everything connected and ready to drive, the meter will sit at .75 for about 30 seconds, then drop to .04 for about a second, then go right back to .75. this cycle never stops so long as the instrument panel is connected. once the instrument panel is disconnected, the draw drops to .04 and stays there. something keeps waking up the circuit. has anyone ever solved this without going to the dealer and paying a large amount for a car worth a small amount ? what is the correct parasitic draw for a 2001 caravan that does not kill the battery after sitting for a few days ? thanks for any suggestions.
 

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Interesting and your findings are meaningful for sure.

I wondering if some of the items that go to default positions, after shut down, are having trouble getting there. I'm thinking flaps to the HVAC system for example. Any easy way to isolate those?
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I unplugged the radio early on and it made no difference with the draw, so that was ruled out. the instrument cluster alone stops the draw when unplugged. Also ruled out the turn signal stalk. The following circuits are in the instrument cluster: panel lamps, right and left turn signal light on dash, low oil pressure and malfunction indicator lamp. high beam indicator. parking brake switch, instrument cluster wake up, ground, and finally the big kahuna, THE PCI bus. I ruled out pretty much all of those but the PCI bus, which is a complicated circuit that travels from the body control module. It is impossible for the average person to determine what goes on with that PCI circuit. I did order a used instrument cluster and will replace mine when it gets here in a week. I give it a 10 percent chance of success, but that was an inexpensive item compared to the body control module. it was easy in the old days, isolate a circuit and track it down. Now with the PCI bus running here and there, only God knows what is going on with that. Im sure the dealer could figure it out, but I have seen prices anywhere from $650 dollars to $1800 dollars that people have quoted in their cases. And I have not seen a new instrument cluster for sale, only used ones. Such is the life of a 19 year old vehicle. but hey, no rust and only 77 thousand miles so worth a try. The HVAC circuit is not affiliated with the body control module circuit 4, which mainly runs instrument cluster, turn signal, ignition, and radio.
 

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OP, there's a body control module, which is cheap. And there's a powertrain control module which is more expensive and must be linked to your VIN.

Also, do you have any aftermarket stuff on the car?

Until you find your problem can you put in a switch to isolate the instrument cluster?
 

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How about checking under the IPM for corrosion. A moist corrosion in just the wrong spot, may allow drain on the system.

Year:, 2001- Make: Dodge Caravan - Model?

Look at, release, and inspect the IPM (under hood fuse box) it has some clips that can be released so it may be inspected underneath. IPM = Integrated Power Module... basically a fuse box with multiple connectors that all the wire looms connect to.
There are reports of corrosion, broken wires, and connector pins that become loose in their plugs and back out causing open or intermittent connection. You may unlock and remove the various plug connections for inspection (they can only be reinstalled in one order, so no need to label anything. (I'd take pictures along the way so I know how the wire looms are 'layered' so they can be reinstalled neat and compact)

Please return here and let us know what you find and how you finally repair your minivan. How frustrating it can be to search the archives and to find someone with the same exact faults... but they didn't return to let everyone know what was the cure. Aarrgg!

And Welcome to the Mopar Minivan Garage!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Also, are you working from a wiring diagram?
I disconnected the radio, not an issue. I am working from a factory manual and wiring diagram for my information. I am going to see if the new but previously used cluster makes a difference. If it doesnt, I will investigate the IPM box. This van has lived in the southwest its entire life and has not seen much moisture. But I will check that out if the newer cluster fails to fix the issue. I will also be looking for shorted wires if the new cluster doesnt do the trick. This has got to be a common problem at the dealer. Many people have posted with the exact same current draw 76ma that i mentioned. I saw only two that fixed it, one radio issue, one body control module issue. As mentioned previously, a flashed body control module from an online supplier is running about 350 bucks. I just saw those on this website, and did not see on my previous google searches. cheap instrument cluster is the first try. Thank you.
 

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OP, if you use the car a few times a week, 76 ma shouldn't be a problem, as the normal usage is 40 to 50 ma.

After sitting overnight, what voltage does your battery have, as it should be around 12.5 or so. Try this on another vehicle, as meters can be flaky.

How old is your battery?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OP, if you use the car a few times a week, 76 ma shouldn't be a problem, as the normal usage is 40 to 50 ma.

After sitting overnight, what voltage does your battery have, as it should be around 12.5 or so. Try this on another vehicle, as meters can be flaky.

How old is your battery?
[/QUOTE]
OP, if you use the car a few times a week, 76 ma shouldn't be a problem, as the normal usage is 40 to 50 ma.

After sitting overnight, what voltage does your battery have, as it should be around 12.5 or so. Try this on another vehicle, as meters can be flaky.

How old is your battery?
I had a problem with the battery going dead which lead me to this discovery. ( parasitic drain) Figured that battery was old so bought a new one from Costco . The new battery died within a few days of not driving the van. Checked charging voltage, it was charging when the vehicle ran, so not an alternator issue. I agree with you that if the van was a daily driver it would not be an issue. But i drive this vehicle only every few days so it is an issue. will update after part arrives at end of week. Thank you.
 

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This reply is to original post (didn't read through everything else, so take it for what it is)

What OP is seeing with the cluster is completely normal - the cluster has a vacuum tube display for odometer and gear selection readout, this display has a heater circuit that needs to be energized to work. If you look closely at the display in the dark / dusk you'll be able to discern thin orange glowing horizontal lines - the heaters.

What is happening is that BCM is powering down the cluster heaters after ~30 sec delay and then waking it back up.

The most likely suspect would be power sliding doors (if your van is equipped) - try disconnecting the harnesses for both doors at the 'B' pillar and see if that stops the cycling...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This reply is to original post (didn't read through everything else, so take it for what it is)

What OP is seeing with the cluster is completely normal - the cluster has a vacuum tube display for odometer and gear selection readout, this display has a heater circuit that needs to be energized to work. If you look closely at the display in the dark / dusk you'll be able to discern thin orange glowing horizontal lines - the heaters.

What is happening is that BCM is powering down the cluster heaters after ~30 sec delay and then waking it back up.

The most likely suspect would be power sliding doors (if your van is equipped) - try disconnecting the harnesses for both doors at the 'B' pillar and see if that stops the cycling...
That is very interesting information. the heater you mention would pull about that amount of power. I have a mid line dash with bulbs for illumination at night and I pulled all of those just in case one was sucking power. Made no difference. but that is not what you are discussing. anytime a door is opened the odometer comes on in these vans. I do not have power sliding doors, but will disconnect all the doors and see if that makes a difference. the only thing I dont understand is why the heaters would come on, but not the display. if i was seeing the display coming on with the doors closed it would be so obvious, but that doesnt happen. Thank you for mentioning this. I will check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This reply is to original post (didn't read through everything else, so take it for what it is)

What OP is seeing with the cluster is completely normal - the cluster has a vacuum tube display for odometer and gear selection readout, this display has a heater circuit that needs to be energized to work. If you look closely at the display in the dark / dusk you'll be able to discern thin orange glowing horizontal lines - the heaters.

What is happening is that BCM is powering down the cluster heaters after ~30 sec delay and then waking it back up.

The most likely suspect would be power sliding doors (if your van is equipped) - try disconnecting the harnesses for both doors at the 'B' pillar and see if that stops the cycling...
After reading your post and doing some reading, I am wondering if a diode has gone bad in the instrument cluster. A bad diode would create the cycling behavior and constant rewaking of the instrument cluster. (I think ) Any thoughts ?
 

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OP, I would check your meter on another car, as 75 ma won't kill your battery in a couple of days. Remember, the normal draw of 40 to 50 ma won't drain a battery good battery.

I'm not saying your battery isn't going dead, but 75 ma isn't doing it. What is your charging voltage when car is running, and what does battery read in the morning before you start the car.
 

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the only thing I dont understand is why the heaters would come on, but not the display. if i was seeing the display coming on with the doors closed it would be so obvious, but that doesnt happen.
James, it's a "strategy" for extending the life of cathodes and anodes in the vacuum tube and at the same time giving you the instant / almost instant odometer display - it does not cycle heaters every time a door is shut or opened (fewer cycles, longer life)

Grab a magnifying glass and verify if the heaters are the cause - they are visible (though it could be something else, this just fits your description to a T).

RE: diode going bad,
I don't know that there is a diode in the cluster and why would one go bad...
Luckily you have a cluster on order so you can test that theory.
I think BCM is controlling the cluster, but who knows - I don't have any internal schematics.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OP, I would check your meter on another car, as 75 ma won't kill your battery in a couple of days. Remember, the normal draw of 40 to 50 ma won't drain a battery good battery.

I'm not saying your battery isn't going dead, but 75 ma isn't doing it. What is your charging voltage when car is running, and what does battery read in the morning before you start the car.
I have used a variety of meters. the 75ma draw will kill the battery after maybe a week ? the instrument cluster is the center of attention presently. on GM vehicles, there is an electronic timer on the cluster circuit board that turns off the instrument panel after 20 seconds. I assume dodge uses something similiar. the timer keeps restarting for reasons unknown, bad electonic timer ? bad diode ? to be determined. thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
James, it's a "strategy" for extending the life of cathodes and anodes in the vacuum tube and at the same time giving you the instant / almost instant odometer display - it does not cycle heaters every time a door is shut or opened (fewer cycles, longer life)

Grab a magnifying glass and verify if the heaters are the cause - they are visible (though it could be something else, this just fits your description to a T).

RE: diode going bad,
I don't know that there is a diode in the cluster and why would one go bad...
Luckily you have a cluster on order so you can test that theory.
I think BCM is controlling the cluster, but who knows - I don't have any internal schematics.
here is a schematic of the instrument cluster. there are diodes, but dont know if they are the culprit.
im not asking you to trouble shoot this, but just pointing out that there appears to be several diodes in the the panel.

 

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here is a schematic of the instrument cluster...

That schematic if for a 2002-04 Mazda.
 

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Yup, that's not a Chrysler diagram.

Before anything else, simply sit in the driver's seat with ignition off and observe the odometer readout heaters once all the doors are closed - does it go off after ~30 sec and wake up a second later?

Before digging into the cluster, I'd verify that BCM is operating correctly (not sending wake up signal)...
"VERIFY CONTINUITY OF WAKE UP CIRCUIT FROM BCM TO MIC. CIRCUIT SHALL BE LOW WHENEVER BCM IS AWAKE."
This will also allow you to test if there's an internal cluster timer or BCM is the only control.

The wire is pin 12 of the cluster connector and connector 4, pin 5 at BCM (VT/BR, 22ga).

More than likely BCM is sensing a 'wake up' event (door trigger or pci message) and powering on the cluster to get it 'ready'.
Sliders have the "chain of death" - the flexible wire harness that flexes every time the door is operated and thus are prone to failure.
 
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