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Discussion Starter #1
In an attempt to help out my brother, he has a 2000 Olds minivan. His wife says sometimes when using the turn signals, both dash indicators flash. She also says the other night, she had no tailights/brakelights. Today, all works fine. Brother had to fly to China on Saturday (AM) and left this in my lap. I am not a wiring wizard but, from past posts, it sounded like a grounding problem to me. Am I on the right track? I took this approach and found nothing except.....the plug in at the right rear tailight appears to have melted slightly. In playing with the plug, it has 5 or six conections and when I press it into the female plug, all is well. When I release the pressure, the symptoms reappear. THe one pin that appears slightly melted is the black (ground) wire pin. Is it possible that this pin and socket have been "arcing" over the past few years and created enough heat to melt? Are the rear lights on this van run in series? When I pull the plug from the right rear, nothing works. Am I missing anything?
 

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You probably found it. A bad connection makes a resistor and resistors disipate power as heat. That would explain the melting. If grounds are broken, all kinds of weird things can happen as current finds a path wherever it can.
 

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Give the man a 95 for his lab problem. He'll repair it and get back to us with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
PROBLEM SOLVED! Brother is back from China. It is now his problem. Not really. We checked both rear lights and the weather pack plugs are both showing some meltdown at the ground electrode. This is a odd setup. Brother is going to take the parts to the Olds dealer to see if they have any suggestions. The problems are definately due to the ground/plug melt issue. Why is our question.
 

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This works almost every time. Raise the hood, remove the radiator cap and hold at arms length(when engine is cold of course), have a friend back van out, then drive NEW van under cap and re-install cap. If new van already has radiator cap, throw the one in your hand away.............problem solved.
:D
Sorry, I could not help myself.
 

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My 1989 GMC truck had the same problem with rear lightbulb receptacles melting and going to ground, and my brother had an astro van ( Jetsons anyone?) that had the hot lead to the starter slightly going to ground, just enough to drain. Heck i figured it would just burn up at that amperage but it was just a subtle thing, and very hard to find...and enough to drain the Batt.

Rob
 

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In re-reading your post, codi, maybe I can suggest another thought.

You see a black wire melted at the plug. There are, at least, five filaments, two tails, two stops, and a reverse. With brake power applied, (tails are out), stops are on, rev gear is selected, you have three heavyweight bulbs lit, a fair amount of current flowing.

There is a single wire supplying each filament, but, a single wire for return for ALL three bulbs. Hence, the current flow is alittle heavy for this one wire which is the same AWG as supply. The connector pin for this ground gets warm, expands, causes corrosion, now becomes a resistor, current flows generates more heat, eventually would burn up and open.

It will be interesting to read what the problem is/was after others have looked and investigated the challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Your point is well taken Everett. I have this mental picture of you scanning a mall lot for Vans and peaking inside their tailight system to see what is there. You may very well be right since both sides are showing a slight melt of the plastic. Hann't talked to little Bro for a few days, I will pass this onto him. Hell, he couldn't fix my dryer, why hurry.
 
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