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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an 02 dakota SLT 4.7 that I bought a few months ago. And everything I have my headlights on and try to switch my highbeams on all the lights, inside and out go black and my theft light comes on and starts flashing. When I got the truck it had no lower front bumper on it so I don't know if someone was m e swing with the wiring before me. Does anyone have any idea on what could be causing this or how I could troubleshoot this problem?
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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It sounds like a Central Timer Module (same as BCM in other vehicles) issue. Among other things, it controls exterior light features, interior light features, and the Vehicle Theft Security System. It's located behind the kick panel to the left of the driver's feet. I got a used one off eBay about 8 years ago, and it is still working fine. I see that you can buy one from RockAuto (look under BCM) for $200 plus a $200 core charge, but it's a Dorman. I'd take my chances on a used one (they normally give a 90 day warranty, or more). They start around $80 on eBay. Make sure the part number is exactly the same, except for the two letters at the end. There was a base model and a high-line model. As your Dakota has the security system, you'll need the high line model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It sounds like a Central Timer Module (same as BCM in other vehicles) issue. Among other things, it controls exterior light features, interior light features, and the Vehicle Theft Security System. It's located behind the kick panel to the left of the driver's feet. I got a used one off eBay about 8 years ago, and it is still working fine. I see that you can buy one from RockAuto (look under BCM) for $200 plus a $200 core charge, but it's a Dorman. I'd take my chances on a used one (they normally give a 90 day warranty, or more). They start around $80 on eBay. Make sure the part number is exactly the same, except for the two letters at the end. There was a base model and a high-line model. As your Dakota has the security system, you'll need the high line model.
Ok I'll look into that. Is there a way of testing it before buying to confirm its bad?
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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There is a section in the Factory Service Manual for testing of the CTM, but it primarily regards checking for proper voltage getting to the unit through the vehicle's electrical system. Quoting from the FSM (italics added):

"The hard wired inputs to and outputs from the Central Timer Module (CTM) may be diagnosed and tested using conventional diagnostic tools and methods. Refer to the appropriate wiring information. The wiring information includes wiring diagrams, proper wire and connector repair procedures, further details on wire harness routing and retention, as well as pin-out and location views for the various wire harness connectors, splices and grounds. However, conventional diagnostic methods may not prove conclusive in the diagnosis of the CTM. In order to obtain conclusive testing of the CTM, the Programmable Communications Interface (PCI) data bus network and all of the electronic modules that provide inputs to or receive outputs from the CTM must also be checked. The most reliable, efficient, and accurate means to diagnose the CTM, the PCI data bus network, and the electronic modules that provide inputs to or receive outputs from the CTM requires the use of a DRBIII scan tool."

So, unless you have a DRBIII scan tool, or an equivalent capable diagnostic tool, and the specific instructions for testing the various systems that the CTM controls, there is no way to confirm conclusively whether the CTM is working properly or not. Or, you can bring it to a dealer and have them troubleshoot it for you.

Based on the symptoms you describe, and my own experience, it is probably the CTM that is at fault. (On my Dakota, the symptoms were that, intermittently, all of the exterior lights and the instrument panel lights would go out and remain out for two to five seconds, then come back on. It made no difference whether I had hi beams or low beams selected. I have the base model, so no security system light.)
 
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