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Discussion Starter #1
So, I think I have a good one for you. I tried searching this forum and others, and while I came up with similar things nothing that was applicable enough to use.

I have a 2002 Taurus that is having some major electrical issues. There are basically three ways it has manifested itself thus far:

1) Faking a bad alternator. The battery will go down like an alternator is out, losing all auxiliary power. If you pull over and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, it will start and run normally, perhaps for months. The first time it did this I replaced the alternator, the second I had it bench tested and was fine, since then I've just waited and driven it.

2) The car will sometimes not shut off if the headlights are on. Meaning, I can turn it off, remove the keys and it's still purring, not sputtering or anything. When I switch off the headlights, it dies.

3) I had a misfire a while back, fixed a cracked plug and everything was good but I never cleared the code. I've since noticed that when I turn the headlights on, the check engine light goes off. Upon investigation, when I roll the dimmer down the check engine light will brighten up, like the radio, etc. lights are pulling power off the dash.

The headlights are the one common culprit, but with it being cold I haven't had a chance to do great investigation. I'm an electrical engineer so I have a pretty good handle on those systems and troubleshooting, but I don't have much automotive experience so I don't know what all components are tied into what. I have someone getting me a schematic, but until then thought someone here might now where to start.
 

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I always think of bad grounds when you get the odd one system effects another at random. There was just a post on here that reminded me of something like this but I cannot find it tonight.
 

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+1 on grounds. pull the battery, clean the grounds and check the cables. And while you are at it get the battery tested. Sometimes a bad battery can cause all sorts of weird stuff. I have seen it happen. My mom was convinced her 97 was haunted for a few months until the battery went out. It would ding randomly, courtesy lamps would stay on. Fun stuff.
 

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Still could not find it but seems to me his was a bad ground LF fender.
 

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Can we have all the trouble codes? Since you're an EE you should really get an ELM327 and modify it so you can use FORscan.

Definitely sounds like grounds, otherwise I would guess you have some shorts between wires going to the instrument cluster. I've seen that before where the CEL or high beam lights were shorting to the backlight wire. You have to take the cluster out and see.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Error Codes

Thanks for the help guys. Sorry for not posting back sooner, but I wanted to have something to tell you. I checked the grounds I could find under the hood, no trouble there. I pulled the instrument cluster, thinking I would find the ground for it and others (per the wiring diagram, there is a common ground for the cluster, headlights, and a few other things). No luck finding that one, I'm assuming it's down by your feet (?), any idea where I can track that one down at?

Something else odd that I need to look into, I mentioned sometimes the car won't die if the headlights are on. Looking for a way to kill it, I started at the fuse box under the hood. I noticed if I rap on that with the keys out and headlights on, it will die. Of course, that might not signal anything so I tried it with the key still on and it doesn't die. Wiring diagram for that fuse box looks like a few of the fuses may be tied together coming from a master fuse? Has anyone had problems/needed to replace this because of an internal short or something.

Also, I bought an ELM327 scanner and ran it with FORscan. below are all the codes in their entirety. Sorry for the length but I didn't want to leave out anything you might find important. Most of it seemed obviously tied to the voltage dropping.

===DTC P0304-C===
Code: P0304 - Future emission related code. No action is required.

Status:
- Confirmed - mailfunction is confirmed

Module: On Board Diagnostic II

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected.

Ignition System

Fuel System

This DTC may be caused by :

Blocked kinked or crushed fuel lines

Fuel contaminated

Evaporative emission control system malfunction

EGR system fault.

Base engine fault

Check for any other codes that may cause a misfire.

===END DTC P0304-C===

===DTC P0316-C===
Code: P0316 - Misfire Detected on Startup (First 1000 revolutions).

Status:
- Confirmed - mailfunction is confirmed

Module: On Board Diagnostic II

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Misfire Detected on Startup (First 1000 revolutions).

This DTC may be caused by :

Ignition System

Fuel System

Low Fuel Warning

Blocked kinked or crushed fuel lines

Fuel contaminated

Evaporative emission control system malfunction

EGR system fault.

Base engine fault

Check for any other codes that may cause a misfire.

===END DTC P0316-C===

===DTC P1779===
Code: P1779 - TCIL circuit out of Self-Test range

Module: Powertrain Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

TCIL circuit out of Self-Test range

This DTC may be caused by :

Open circuit.

Short circuit

Possible causes are:

TCIL

Harness wiring

Transmission Control Module

Suspect Internal Transmission Component(s).

Inspect connectors for signs of damage, water ingress, corrosion, etc.

Refer to the workshop manual for further diagnosis and repair.

===END DTC P1779===

===DTC P0304===
Code: P0304 - Future emission related code. No action is required.

Module: Powertrain Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected.

Ignition System

Fuel System

This DTC may be caused by :

Blocked kinked or crushed fuel lines

Fuel contaminated

Evaporative emission control system malfunction

EGR system fault.

Base engine fault

Check for any other codes that may cause a misfire.

===END DTC P0304===

===DTC P0316===
Code: P0316 - Misfire Detected on Startup (First 1000 revolutions).

Module: Powertrain Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Misfire Detected on Startup (First 1000 revolutions).

This DTC may be caused by :

Ignition System

Fuel System

Low Fuel Warning

Blocked kinked or crushed fuel lines

Fuel contaminated

Evaporative emission control system malfunction

EGR system fault.

Base engine fault

Check for any other codes that may cause a misfire.

===END DTC P0316===

===DTC B1342===
Code: B1342 - ECU internal fault

Module: Restraint Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

ECU internal fault

Possible causes are:

RAM / ROM circuit failure.

Trip Reset Switch Failure

===END DTC B1342===

===DTC B1921===
Code: B1921 - Air Bag Diagnostic Monitor Ground Circuit Open

Module: Restraint Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Air Bag Diagnostic Monitor Ground Circuit Open

Refer to the workshop manual for further diagnosis and repair.

===END DTC B1921===

===DTC B2293===
Code: B2293 - Restraint System - Airbag Fault
Note: This DTC may have additional diagnostic information available (Fault PIDs). Refer to DataLogger, Systems, Restraint Systems to view these Fault PIDs.

Module: Restraint Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Restraint System - Airbag Fault

Please refer to the Shop Manual for further instructions.

Note: This DTC may have additional diagnostic information available (fault PIDs). Refer to the pinpoint test if available or DataLogger, Systems, Restraint Systems to view these fault PIDs.

===END DTC B2293===

===DTC B1352===
Code: B1352 - Ignition key in circuit fault

Module: Generic Electronic Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Ignition key in circuit fault

===END DTC B1352===

===DTC B1448===
Code: B1448 - Windshield Wiper Park to Park time Incorrect

Module: Generic Electronic Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Windshield Wiper Park to Park time Incorrect

===END DTC B1448===

===DTC B1318===
Code: B1318 - Battery voltage Low

Module: Generic Electronic Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Battery Voltage Low

This DTC may be caused by :

Check fuses.

Power supply to fuse

Discharged or faulty battery.

Check the condition of the battery.

Check the battery charging system.

Check the connector for damage or contamination.

Check the connectors and wiring harness for damage or contamination.

Check the wiring and the appropriate fuse.

High resistance in wiring

Additional Information

The ABS lamp should be illuminated.

The ESP lamp should be illuminated.

There will be an ESP malfunction warning displayed on the driver information text panel.

===END DTC B1318===

===DTC B1318===
Code: B1318 - Battery voltage Low

Module: Anti-Lock Brake / Traction Control Module

Diagnostic Trouble Code details

Battery Voltage Low

This DTC may be caused by :

Check fuses.

Power supply to fuse

Discharged or faulty battery.

Check the condition of the battery.

Check the battery charging system.

Check the connector for damage or contamination.

Check the connectors and wiring harness for damage or contamination.

Check the wiring and the appropriate fuse.

High resistance in wiring

Additional Information

The ABS lamp should be illuminated.

The ESP lamp should be illuminated.

There will be an ESP malfunction warning displayed on the driver information text panel.

===END DTC B1318===
 

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Wow, your car is sick! This one is not going to be easy because I think you have more than one thing going on. Is there any history of wire damage by rodents, fire, or aftermarket installers?

Tapping on the fuse box to make the engine shut off makes me think you might have a sticking PCM power relay. Try replacing that one to see if that fixes it. Otherwise we know you have some sort of connection issue in that location.

Next is the battery. You need a complete set of tests on it. Measure resting voltage (car sitting for 3 hours), voltage with the engine running, and voltage under load (high beams, blower on high, rear defrost). If you can bring it to a shop and have it properly load tested, great. Make sure they actually put a load on it, not just a voltage measurement.

Since you have RCM codes, I would start with that. RCM uses ground G201. Diagram: http://www.revbase.com/BBBMotor/Wd/DownloadPdf?id=73338

I'll update later with more info.
 

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This shows G200 and G201 location. The view is through the firewall from the backside of the dash, so they are located near the lower left corner of the glove box (may have to remove it to see them).

Grounds.gif

You may have to take them off and sand all mating surfaces to get them clean and tight. Ask me if you need more diagrams or information.
 
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