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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just switched my 01 dakota over to a flatbed due to rusted out box. Robbed some trailer taillights of an old trailer I had that were two wire. I have running lights and turn signals, but no brake lights at all. Left one was working, but now nothing. The lights ate grounded to the bracket, with is bolted to the metal frame, not the wood bed. I know on the stock lights. The stop/tail/turn is a 3 wire socket. Would all three wires need to be hooked up again?
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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On the stock three wire socket, one wire is for the ground. On your replacement sockets, apparently the ground is through the mounting bolts. However, the other two wires on the stock socket are for turn signal and for running light. The brake lights are integrated with the turn signals through the combination flasher, so there is no separate wire for the brake lights.

First, is the high level brake light on the back of the cab working? If so, your brake switch is good. If not, you need to check the switch.

Second, take the colored lenses off the replacement light fixtures, and observe the two filaments closely. When you turn only the running lights on, only the dimmer filament should burn. When you activate only the turn signal, only the brighter filament should burn. With both running lights on and turn signal activated, the dimmer filament should burn steady and the brighter filament should flash on and off. If, with the running lights on and the turn signal activated, you see the dimmer element going off and on and the brighter filament not working at all, you have a bad ground.

Do these checks, and let us know what you see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Checked the brake light switch, replaced it and still no brake lights. Three wires coming from the truck, again have turn signals and running lights figured out. Believe the third wire is for ground? I have trailer lights on the flatbed, which are 2 wire lights and self grounding through the bracket, hence why I have other lights. Will try replacing brake light fuse next.
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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So the filaments in your rear lamps are working properly according to the testing I suggested in my earlier post? Again, the brake lights have no separate feed to the rear lights -- they are integrated with the turn signals.
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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Three wires from the truck for each taillamp fixture are: Left - dark green/red for turn signal, black/yellow for tail lamp, black for ground. Right - brown/red for turn signal, black/yellow for tail lamp, black for ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Right, I get that much. And have the tail lights and signals working. But remember I'm using trailer lights for my rear lights (which are two wire and self grounding to bracket). Truck has a flatbed on it. Now have replaced the fuse for brake lights and the drivers one is on constant.
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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I'm out of suggestions, other than to get a wiring diagram and trace the wires. The FSM says to get the factory diagnotic tool to troubleshoot the system.

The brake switch feeds into the combination flasher, as does the turn signal and hazard light switch. That device is supposed to interpret all the inputs and send power to the turn signal lamps (bright filament) as required for turn signal and brake application.

The combination flasher is pricey ($115 at local auto parts stores, and starting at $50 from RockAuto). It has 14 pins and is located to the left of the steering column and above the DTC plugin. You have to remove the lower panel below the steering wheel to get to it. I just verified my '03 Dakota has one, and in that location.

RockAuto doesn't list it in Dakotas, but does in Durangos. This unit was used from 2001-2005 in these models. I obviously don't know if this is the problem, but it's a possibility.

Factory part number for the combination flasher is 56049114AB.
 

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2003 Dakota Sport, club cab, 3.9L V6, 5 speed manual
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I just checked eBay, and there are three used parts dealers listing used units for $15 - $20. Might be worth that for troubleshooting - certainly cheaper than $50+, and if it doesn't fix the problem, you're not out that much.
 
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