1998 Dodge Ram 1500
From day one my reverse lights did not work. I had power where I should have power, and the bulbs were good, so that left the PRNDL Switch, also called the "Neutral Safety Switch". Since I installed utility lights on top of my rear bumper with a toggle switch, I did not miss having the lights come on automatically when I put the truck in reverse. I would just flip the toggle switch on when reversing. Not only that, but the stock reverse lights really don't light up very much, especially compared to the utility lights. I had bought the new switch about a week after I bought the 98 Dodge. Looking at where it was, with not much room to work wit hthe front driveshaft in the way, I just lived with flipping on the toggle switch. Until one day my truck would not crank. I tried jiggling the shifter with no luck, but after a few attempts, the truck started. I figured it was the PRNDL Switch, and since I have it I was not that concerned other than knowing I had to replace it ASAP or risk getting stuck somewhere. So on a Sunday, I got my Pig Mat, drain pan, creeper, flashlight, and new switch, and slid under to have a look. I could not really see the connector because of the front driveshaft, but I could feel it to disconnect it, and I did. I had a couple of sockets and one fit. I had used the new switch to determine the size I needed before going under. It was a deep socket, but not quite deep enough, but I felt I had a good chance of getting it out. It was tight enough that I had to put a cheater pipe on the ratchet, and it came loose with a little effort. BEFORE I went under, I removed the trans dipstick, and plugged the tube in hopes it would prevent fluid from gushing out all over me when I removed the switch. I got a little gush, not too bad, it did run down my arm past my glove, and into the drain pan. I put the new switch in as fast as possible to reduce the amount of fluid loss and mess. I plugged the electrical connector back in, put my tools away, washed up, and then went to start my truck and see my reverse lights work for the first time. NOTHING. It would not crank. This is strange. I went and tested the old switch, and to my surprise, it was good? I thought maybe it was not threaded in enough to make good contact, or one the new one was slightly shorter than the old one? So I got my tools, and I was going to try and snug it a little, or remove it and put the old one back in, and then find the real problem. When I unplgged the elecrical connector, this time I immediately saw the real problem.
When it comes to wiring, seeing green is NOT good. The two outside wires control the reverse lights, and the center one provides ground for the ignition.
Just moving the wires at the back of the connector it was clear the center completely rotted off, and the one wire was hanging on by a thread.
I cut the connector off at the back of the plug to leave as much wire as I could, because I was going to have to keep stripping back wire until I found good copper, and there was not much room to work. I got the old pins out of the cavities, and I had new pins here, with new seals, so I just had to crimp them on to some short pieces of wire to make my own pigtail. Due to the lack of working space, I crimped on some uninsulated butt splice connectors, and slipped a piece of heat shrink onto each of the 3 wires. Now I would just have to strip and cut back on the truck until I found good copper. To my surprise, I only went back about 2" on each wire to find good copper. Flat on my back I was able to get two hands up in there to strip and crimp the connector on. I only burned myself once with the heat gun trying to snake it out from on top of the front driveshaft.
Here is the PRNDL Switch. When removing the old one, make sure the rubber gasket comes out with it.
Here is the PRNDL Switch connector end.
I ordered the Mopar Neutral Safety Switch from JC Whitney. Clicking on the part will take you to the JC Whitney site. They have a few to choose from:
JC Whitney is always offering discounts and deals. That is why I have shopped there for over 30 years. These offers below expire July 2, 2018.
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