Dome lights won't turn off. What am i missing? -
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-14-2007, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Dome lights won't turn off. What am i missing?

1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0L

All the interior lights are acting as if one of the doors are open. The thing is that this is a come-and-go issue, meaning I can park the car overnight (with no problems) and in the middle of the night the dome lights will turn on at random and kill the battery. They also used to turn on/off at random while driving (i can hear the relay click each time)

I temporarily fixed the problem problem by pulling the fuse for a few weeks. Now when I put it back in the lights will stay on no matter what. I checked the relays and switched them around but the lights will still stay on. All of the fuses are good too.

After searching i found it could be the door sensors, I fiddled with those and disconnected each one, yet the dome lights stayed on still. I couldn't find the hatch sensor though... where is that located?

So I checked fuses, relays, and door sensors. What else could I be missing?

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post #2 of 26 Old 08-14-2007, 07:04 PM
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THere is that slide witch to the lefto or right of the steering wheel...i think it's on the left. But when it is slid all the way to one side the lights will stay on forever. I bumped it with my knee getting in and I drove all the way home with all the lights on and I couldn't' figure why. It might not be the problem but it's worth a try.

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post #3 of 26 Old 08-15-2007, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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bump to the top
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-15-2007, 06:56 PM
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I had the same problem except the interior lights were always on. I finally routed a separate pair of wires from the drivers door switch to the hot wire on the dome light. I then removed the rest of the interior bulbs so only the drivers door controlled the dome light.
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post #5 of 26 Old 08-15-2007, 07:20 PM
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laredo or limited? if you have the digital VIC? Does it show any doors open?

96 has a body control module which controls the lamps according to the switches.. Mabye a bad bcm..

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post #6 of 26 Old 08-16-2007, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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its a laredo without any digital VIC. i tried unplugging the switches without any luck... unless i should try all at once?

i couldn't find the one for the hatch... where is that one?
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-16-2007, 10:41 AM
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The hatch one is behind the panel, I belive the hatch will just set off that back cargo area light not anything up front.

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post #8 of 26 Old 08-17-2007, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Well the problem is that all of the lights are on including the front/rear/hatch dome lights, and also floor lights (the ones up front)

Any other ideas guys?
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post #9 of 26 Old 08-17-2007, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by micifus
I belive the hatch will just set off that back cargo area light not anything up front.
Mine sets them all off or I can push on the rear lens so none of them come on when I open the hatch.

02 Dakota Quad Cab 4.7 5 spd

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post #10 of 26 Old 10-22-2007, 03:10 PM
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I'm having the smae problem, was this ever resolved??
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post #11 of 26 Old 10-22-2007, 04:26 PM
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Check the door and hatch switches and the dash switch. My experience says that one of the door switchs located on the body post below latch has gone bad. It's a double plunger affair. If it has been hit and the centre is pushed in too far it will not contact the door to disconnect the circuit. Pull the center gently out, then close the door. It will find the correct possition.
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post #12 of 26 Old 10-22-2007, 08:29 PM
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Please forgive the length. I don't seem to be able to explain anything briefly :-)

Seems like it might be a problem in a relay or the current return from a lamp or, it could be a problem in the BCM.
I'm assuming that you don't have a door or hatch open indication on your VIC when this happens. If you do have an indication then it would be a door or hatch switch.

EDIT: I didn't notice that you said you don't have a VIC until after I posted this and I didn't notice you said it was on constantly now. That actually makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot - John

It's going to be tough to troubleshoot since it's intermittent. The odd part is that it comes on by itself when it's not moving, otherwise I'd say a wire is coming into contact with a ground somewhere intermittently due to movement or vibration. That would make sense while you were moving but I can't figure how that would happen when it's parked.

Check the part below about swapping/removing the Courtesy Light Relay first.

I'll describe what I found with my "constantly on" 98 LTD lights. Might not solve your problem but I notice a few other people responded that they had the same problem as mine - Lights were constantly on but there was no indication on the VIC of anything being open so I doubted mine was a door or hatch switch.

FYI - on my 98 the door switches control the VIC and the lights. On my 93 the door switches control the lights but not the VIC open indication. There must be a switch on the door latch for the VIC on the 93 but I'm pretty sure the 96 works like the 98.

IF you can work on it at a time the lights are on when they shouldn't be, you're golden. Otherwise it's going to be tough. In the meantime I'd pull the right front door switch and disconnect it. That way that door being open won't mess up your testing when you're working at the fuse/junction box area. Tie a string to the wires or something so you don't lose them inside the pillar.
Maybe a good idea to pull the kick panel that covers the fusebox too so you can get to the area quick when the problem shows up.

Back to my 98.
I had a good Mitchell interior lighting diagram a friend printed from a CD. I have Chiltons and Haynes manuals but their wiring diagrams aren't very helpful or accurate.

For testing I had a nice mini volt/ohm/continuity tester that gave an audible tone when it sensed continuity. Very helpful but if you don't have one, try hooking up a regular test light backwards. (Attach it to a live 12V source to probe for grounds instead of the attaching it to a ground to look for power)

First, I took off the kick panel under the right side of the dash where my fusebox is. There are a few similar relays so I swapped them to confirm it wasn't a bad relay. It wasn't. I could hear the relay clicking when it timed out but the lights stayed on.

Tried a few more things - The dead giveaway was when I pulled the CLR (Courtesy Light Relay) out and the lights stayed on.
The various courtesy and dome light current return wires are bussed together at the junction box. The relay provides a path to ground for those wires when the BCM closes the contacts by providing a ground to the control side of the relay.

There should have been no way for the wires to ground with the relay out.

My diagram showed "Hot at all times" Pink wires going out to the lights and Yellow returns coming back to the junction box (back of the fuse block)
I removed the bulbs at the various dome lights. With the relay being out that should theoretically have isolated those wires from any power or ground.
The next step was to start removing the individual Yellow current return wires from the back of the junction box one at a time and checking for the ground after each one was removed.
I eventually found the wire from the "cargo lamp" over the rear hatch was the wire with the ground. I reinstalled everything else and checked the operation of the door switches, CLR and light timeout etc. Everything was fine but this left the cargo lamp constantly lit because that wire still had it's own ground somewhere between the light and the fusebox.

My only solution was to remove and tape off that wire at the connector and the cargo lamp. The cargo light didn't work but the rest of the lights operate as intended. I could have traced the wire and found the ground but that would have involved removing a lot of interior trim. That will have to wait for another time.

The other wire that could affect it would be the Brown/Light Green wire from the BCM to the control side of the CLR. If that was grounded it would produce the same results but the lights would go out when the CLR was pulled.

Other than that I'd start looking at the BCM or it's inputs.

Also as an FYI - if you think it might be the rear hatch switch, the easiest way to get to the wiring is to take off the trim panel at the top of the hatch. That's where the connectors are. Unscrew two phillips screws on the right side connector, gently lift it up and pull it out.
Disconnect the right six wire connector. If that's the problem the light should go out.


Happiness is clear in the cab and 150 over 150.

Last edited by Aceladriver; 10-22-2007 at 08:40 PM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 10-23-2007, 04:08 AM
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Do you have the full-size spare? On my 98, the full size spare actually contacts the rear hatch slightly. I have to SLAM the rear hatch while pressing down specifically on the driver's side of the hatch to get it to completely engage, and turn off the lights.

My need to do so is caused by the use of the Q-Form sub box, which is only supposed to work with the space saver sparee tire. I hate doughnuts, so I make my full size spare fit.

Yours may be competely different.

Since your will just pop on when not moving, I would be willing to bet that it's one of your door sensors adjusted incorrrectly. Atmosphere pressure changes may increses/decrease the relative pressure inside the GC, causing one of the door triggers to fire.

Jeepless for now, probably not for long

98 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9
98 Grand Cherokee Laredo
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post #14 of 26 Old 10-23-2007, 09:07 AM
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Not having a VIC makes troubleshooting it a bunch harder. If he had one and it showed a door open then you know it's a door or hatch switch.

Questions - is there ANY kind of door open indication on the non-VIC Laredos? A little light by the gauges or anything?
Do ZJs without a VIC still have a BCM that controls everything? I only know my two Limiteds - 93 & 98. I haven't had that much experience with others.
Does it have an alarm? If it did and it's not going off that would point to a wire problem rather than a door or hatch switch.

Like I said in the post above - if the lights are on but there is no door open indication it's most likely a wire going to ground somewhere (a current return from the dome lights or the relay control wire), a bad relay or possibly a problem with the BCM or it's inputs.
He said he already swapped the relays around so it looks like it's a switch or a grounded wire.

Read the part in my reply above about just taking the top section of the hatch interior panel off to unplug the connector that controls the interior lighting going on when the hatch opens.

I just did a fixed glass to flip glass conversion on my 93 and I can tell you that taking the little top section off and disconnecting that connector would be a TON easier than removing the whole hatch panel.
It's not that the removal is a complex operation, it's just time consuming and a pain if you start breaking the push pins. Plus once you get inside there is that water excluder/sound deadener rubber sheet that is a PITA to get off.
If you need to take it off remember that there are two hidden screws in the panel carpeting near the bottom corners.

After all that you'd have this to deal with:
There are two "Hatch Open Limit Switches" that control the lights. One for the glass, one for the hatch.
The HOLS for the glass is right where the glass latches and is easy to get to once the whole panel is removed
The HOLS for the hatch itself is way down in the bottom of the hatch behind the sheetmetal where you can't see it and is a pretty big PITA to disconnect.If you do the connector at the top of the hatch and you still have the lights on, you know it isn't in the hatch and that eliminates having to get into the hatch at all.

The original post is two months old. For all we know he may have fixed this long ago :-)

BTW Hiram - Nice dancer!

Happiness is clear in the cab and 150 over 150.
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post #15 of 26 Old 10-24-2007, 06:48 AM
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Don't forget to check the switch for the rear glass. Mine was going bad and it was causing the all the lights to flicker on and off, and the eventually always on. A real easy test to find out if it is the that switch is the next time the lights are stuck on try to run you rear wiper. If the wiper dosen't work then it is the switch for the glass hatch, because it wont allow the wiper to run when it thinks the glass is open.
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