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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I found my 2003 TJ had a dead battery. After jumping it, I discovered that the interior lights would not shut off. More than a month ago, I inadvertently left the Jeep door open while working on it in the garage. When I saw it the next morning, I was happily surprised to see that the battery was intact and that the Jeep had shut the lights off after 20 minutes to save the battery, just as the owners manual says it will.

In trying to trace the issue, I have done the following:

1) checked the multifunction switch was actually turned off, it was

2) removed and disconnected the multifunction switch to see if it was the issue, it wasn't

3) tested the door switches, by removing fuse #4 behind the glove box, the lights still didn't go out.

4) pulled fuse #26 in the power distribution box (engine bay) the all accessories fuse, they went out.

5) I even unwired a winch that I had installed direct to the battery last weekend and that did nothing too.

6) reset the computer by disconnecting the positive terminal of the battery, held it to ground for a minute, reinstalled the terminal, turned ignition on without starting the engine, turned headlights on and then off. Nothing, the lights remain on.

Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
if the lights stay on after you remove fuse #4, someone bypassed the OEM wiring for some reason

Ok, where would I start to look for that kludge?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Could the computer have been shorted out itself?

When the winch was being installed, we grounded out the positive terminal with a 1/2 inch wrench tightening the positive terminal. There was a quick arc but everything seemed fine after that. Didn't notice any issues until 5 days later when the battery was dead and the lights on after jumping it.
 

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no computer logic used to turn on the interior lights.

LPT: always disconnect the negative cable first and install it last. that will eliminate the chance of a short while working with the positive cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
no computer logic used to turn on the interior lights.

LPT: always disconnect the negative cable first and install it last. that will eliminate the chance of a short while working with the positive cable.
So what is used to allow the lights to stay on for 20-30 seconds after existing before fading out?

What about the fact that the lights are supposed to go out after 20 minutes if you leave them open/door open?

Are these items dealt with by the computer or a relay of some type?
 

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I believe that is all controlled via the multi-function switch.

not to be insulting, but the dash light illumination switch isnt turned all the way up and into the final position, right? that will call for the dome lights.

fuse 4 should eliminate the ground signal from the door switch. could be a short or a bad switch causing the dome lights to remain on.

fuse 25 in the PDC should power the dome lights, underhood lamp, and radio memory.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I believe that is all controlled via the multi-function switch.

not to be insulting, but the dash light illumination switch isn't turned all the way up and into the final position, right? that will call for the dome lights.

fuse 4 should eliminate the ground signal from the door switch. could be a short or a bad switch causing the dome lights to remain on.

fuse 25 in the PDC should power the dome lights, underhood lamp, and radio memory.
No offense taken, I've done more bone head things besides a switch setting, but unfortunately I've had it in every conceivable position and it was the first thing I checked.

As for the multifunction switch, I actually disconnected it and removed it yesterday, I would have thought that if it was the switch, that removing it from the circuit would have allowed the lights to go out. No?

I have removed both door switches and tried testing them, they appear good, but I'm going to replace them. The confusing thing about them is that on the female wiring harness side, only two of the three contacts have a wire and contact, yet the switch has three contacts and can be inserted in multiple orientations.

I examined the fuse block and the wiring from the passenger side door switch back to the wiring harness near the glove box fuse block, there is no apparent short and the wires are wrapped with electrical tape all the way to the wiring harness. There is no visible change to the Fuse #4 and it would be unusual for this Jeep to have any change like that made. it was a two owner Jeep that had zero mod's to it that I have found.

Fuse # 26 in the PDC titled "Accessories" is the one I have to pull to get the lights to go out. But my aftermarket radio continues to work and it is plugged into the factory wiring harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just eliminated both door switches and the multifunction switch, by disconnecting its harness too. The lights stayed on through out. I also removed the panel under the steering column and the side piece, even took the speaker out to trace the wire from the drivers door switch. These two wires are only about 6-8 inches long and then disappear into a wiring bundle that is over an inch round. No obvious signs of fraying or a short. On the passenger side, they are wrapped in what looks like the original electric tape all the way up until they too enter a smaller bundle of wires.
 

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You mentioned that the lights are fading? My 97 doesn't have a fader, not sure about later models.

If that is not a stock function, then clearly the PO installed a fader controller somewhere on the circuits and bypassed everything.

I think the only way of finding it is to get the whole wiring diagram and follow it throug the dash. Most likely the bypass is done somewhere in the dash (behind the knee plate, stereo or glove box). Make sure to disconnect the battery and airbags before so you don't get any nasty surprises.
 

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You mentioned that the lights are fading? My 97 doesn't have a fader, not sure about later models.

If that is not a stock function, then clearly the PO installed a fader controller somewhere on the circuits and bypassed everything.

I think the only way of finding it is to get the whole wiring diagram and follow it throug the dash. Most likely the bypass is done somewhere in the dash (behind the knee plate, stereo or glove box). Make sure to disconnect the battery and airbags before so you don't get any nasty surprises.
My 05 Rubicon dome lights fade to off with doors on (fuse in) or doors off (fuse out). No modification or aftermarket fader. I believe 03-06 would all have the same feature from the factory.

Doors on (fuse in): Lights come on when the door opens and fad to off when the doors close.
Doors of (fuse out): Lights stay on a few seconds after the ignition gets turned off, then fade to off.

Could the ignition switch possibly be worn enough to stay on, even though you turn it back to what you think is the off position and can remove the key? Just a theory...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My 05 Rubicon dome lights fade to off with doors on (fuse in) or doors off (fuse out). No modification or aftermarket fader. I believe 03-06 would all have the same feature from the factory.

Doors on (fuse in): Lights come on when the door opens and fad to off when the doors close.
Doors of (fuse out): Lights stay on a few seconds after the ignition gets turned off, then fade to off.

Could the ignition switch possibly be worn enough to stay on, even though you turn it back to what you think is the off position and can remove the key? Just a theory...
I am certain that this Jeep has no aftermarket light fader, it was 100% stock (other than the radio) in every way. Like the 05, I'm pretty certain that the 03 came stock that way.

The issue I'm having in my mind is that only a small number of things changed between the lights working properly and the dead battery.

1. I installed a winch directly to the battery with no switches in between.

2. I accidentally arced my wrench between the positive battery terminal while installing the winch.

3. I installed an aftermarket hard top.

4. Two weeks earlier, I pulled the aftermarket radio and installed a new one using the same factory harness connector.

The idea that in the time from light working to dead battery that a wire stripped and grounded out is hard to believe. Possible yes, likely no.

I've tried to eliminate things in the wiring diagram path for the courtesy lights. I removed the door switches, without the switches the lights should go out. I removed the multifunction switch, if it was shorting out, disconnecting it should allow the lights to go out. If I'm wrong in these assumptions, please tell me.

Last night while reviewing the wiring diagrams, I too looked at the ignition switch and wondered it it could be the problem.

The only other issue in my mind is the darn computer (ECM) if it somehow got fried or confused by the arc from the positive terminal to ground.

As a result, I have two questions for the wisdom of the group. First, can I disconnect the ignition switch connectors to eliminate it from the light issue? Will taking it out of the circuit potentially allow the lights to go out if it is the problem?

Second, can anyone definitely tell me that the ECM is involved in the light timing issue (delay and fade on exit, as well as battery saver 20 minute function)?
 

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If you are still stumped after any new ideas that surface...
You could always install a master on/off rocker or toggle switch on the dash, center console or on the soundbar to cut power to the interior lights. At least you could control on/off. Cheaper than new ECM, if everything else is behaving.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have now disconnected the #4 fuse from the glove box block, removed and disconnected the multifunction switch and disconnected the connector to the ignition switch and you guessed it, the lights remain on.


The lights do not go out after the 20-30 minutes that the owners manual states that it will to save the battery. Incidentally, as I previously mentioned, I accidentally left a door open a few months ago while working on the TJ late one nite in the garage, the next morning the lights were out, but the battery was perfectly normal and it started right up.


Can I disconnect the PCM to see if the lights go out? What is the safe procedure for disconnecting the PCM?
 

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The reason the lights are staying on is you have a grounding wire (ground side of the circuit) shorted to ground. The normal grounding path is through the cluster which has the delaying/fading timer circuit, not the PCM. If the wire is shorted to ground the cluster no longer can time out the lights. If you unplug the cluster & one of the tan or tan/yellow (depending which side) wires at the door switch & check it for continuity to ground I think you will see that wire is grounded which it should not be. Only the cluster should be able to ground that wire.

As you can see from the diagram in the FSM the ground side wiring goes to various places making tracing/finding the short more challenging. So where might it most likely be? Since you mentioned you have recently installed a hardtop you might start there. One of the grounding wires runs under the driver’s door & up the roll bar to the dome lights. Did the new top have a dome light? If yes, did you happen to either disturb the roll bar padding or tap into the dome lights to wire that light?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
The reason the lights are staying on is you have a grounding wire (ground side of the circuit) shorted to ground. The normal grounding path is through the cluster which has the delaying/fading timer circuit, not the PCM. If the wire is shorted to ground the cluster no longer can time out the lights. If you unplug the cluster & one of the tan or tan/yellow (depending which side) wires at the door switch & check it for continuity to ground I think you will see that wire is grounded which it should not be. Only the cluster should be able to ground that wire.

As you can see from the diagram in the FSM the ground side wiring goes to various places making tracing/finding the short more challenging. So where might it most likely be? Since you mentioned you have recently installed a hardtop you might start there. One of the grounding wires runs under the driver’s door & up the roll bar to the dome lights. Did the new top have a dome light? If yes, did you happen to either disturb the roll bar padding or tap into the dome lights to wire that light?

Situation Report - I do not show any continuity from the instrument panel connector (C2) to ground from either the tan wire or the tan/yellow

But I do show continuity from the tan wire at the drivers door switch connector to ground, but not from the passenger side tan/yellow to ground.


UPDATE
There seems to be a path to ground from the tan wire at the drivers door and there is continuity from that wire to the same color wire on the C2 connector, but the wire at the connector doesn't show a path to ground. I am confused.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Disregard my previous report, I still had the ground wire connected to the battery. I ahve now re-tested with the battery ground disconnected as the instructions suggest.

On the drivers side I have a tan and a yellow/black wire. On the passenger side I have tan/yellow and a yellow/black. The C2 connector from the instrument panel has both the tan and tan/yellow wires in the connector.

Testing reveals this:
The yellow/black wire on each side have continuity between each other and each shows a path to ground.

The passenger side tan/yellow shows continuity to the same color in the C2 connector and no path to ground.

The drivers side tan shows continuity to the same color in the C2 connector and no path to ground

The C2 connector for the tan and tan/yellow does not show a path to ground.

So, I am going cross-eyed, what does this tell me so far? That the problem isn't in the dash???
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As you can see from the diagram in the FSM the ground side wiring goes to various places making tracing/finding the short more challenging. So where might it most likely be? Since you mentioned you have recently installed a hardtop you might start there. One of the grounding wires runs under the driver’s door & up the roll bar to the dome lights. Did the new top have a dome light? If yes, did you happen to either disturb the roll bar padding or tap into the dome lights to wire that light?

The new hard top had no electrical connections (no light, wiper, or defroster)


I did install new roll bar covers and did route the wires for the sound bar lights on the roll bar. Now I am cursing, since the only way to look at that wire and the connections to the sound bar means taking the top off, which is not a one man job.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
As an aside, when I was five or six i had a metal pedal car that my Aunt bought for me (it was a 55 Bel Air). While my Dad was at work, I decided I needed to work on it like he did on his car. When he came home from work he found me on the side of the house, away from my Mom, with the hood piece removed, the steering wheel off, the wheels off, and the pedals off. He did not yell at me but did lecture me about taking better care of my toys. He then proceeded to re-install everything, with me handing him parts and tools. When were done, he had a handful of screws, nuts, washers that I couldn't remember where they went and he couldn't figure it out either. He told me to take it for a test drive, which was successful, so Dad said "I guess we don't really need these" and put them with his tools.

As I look at my dash torn apart, speakers out, glove box and fuse box disconnected, radio removed, instrument panel removed, etc. and a pile of screws, I'm beginning to have that deja vu feeling all over again........
 
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