I just recently bought a 2001 Jeep Wrangler (TJ) and have had no previous experience with Jeeps, but am willing to fix this problem myself (if possible)...
Basically, my windshield wipers come on at random times (sometimes even constantly) when my headlights are turned on and/or I use my turn signals...if anyone knows what could be the problem here, please let me know!
Well the lights are on the left stalk and the wipers on the right stalk. When you actually open the steering column and take it apart the switch assemblies separate and have two different harnesses so your guess of short seems right. Maybe open the steering column and unscrew the switch assemblies and hold them so they are not in contact with each other in anyway but are still connected to the wiring harnesses. Turn things on and see if it happens then. If it doesn't the short is there in the steering column somewhere where the assemblies fit together. If it still happens the short is somewhere behind the dash where the wire harnesses come together.
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Clean up the ground point just behind the left headlamp on the rear of the grill and your problem will vanish. You may also find before you do that, that the horn triggers the wiper. They all share a common ground with the windscreen washer pump. The ground is bad and the current is flowing the wrong way through the washer pump (which is why it doesn't spray water) and going to the wiper multifunction switch where it is triggering the wiper.
Okay, I found the ground wire (behind my left headlight) and you were right about my horn triggering the wipers as well...how would you suggest that I clean the ground? Do I need to clean it with something acidic (Baking Soda mixture or Coke? Or do I need a special type of cleaner?...I also have engine degreaser I was thinking about using...but the connection looks pretty clean
I also took apart my steering column and checked out the wires in there, but nothing looked out of the ordinary, besides the two stalks' wiring coming together behind the column and being taped together...
I also noticed a random metal ribbon with a washer attached to the end that is not attached to anything...there's one dangling behind the motor, and one under the steering column that isn't attached...I don't know if this is a ground as well and may need to be attached to something...
Thank you for your responses and hopefully I can figure this annoying problem out!
Personally I'd probably use a small wire brush to clean the terminals at the ground. It's possible your terminals are all OK as they are feeding through the wiper circuit and it is the screw not grounding on the body. A new screw might do the trick, even one very slightly thicker, as it might cut into the sheet metal a touch to find a better ground.
The only common point the wiper shares with the circuits that affect it is at that ground so don't worry about the wiring behind the dash.
The ground strap dangling behind the motor is probably the hood ground.
The one behind the steering column is the ground strap for the stock radio which bolts to the case. Most aftermarket radios have a ground wire to the connector so the ground strap often gets left to just dangle behind the dash. Can't find a picture to show the location of that one.
Thank you Jonny Jeep for the detailed explanation, it worked perfectly! I now have ZERO problems with my horn/lights/turn signals triggering my wipers...weird how something so simple can affect so much!
Okay...so apparently I haven't fixed the problem...it rained the other day, and I tried using my wipers, but they wouldn't work...come to find out, I never actually re-connected the harness of the right stalk when I was looking through the steering column...
So I reconnected it, and I'm back to the same old problem..it's sooooo annoying...I even connected the ground wire to another screw, but no luck...
Is there a special/certain way to connect a ground wire to the car's body? Or any other ideas to help solve this problem?
you are connecting the wire that is also taped to the left headlight harness? I know in my case, after I updated to HID lights, since I wasnt using that headlight harness anymore, I disconnected the ground from the grill so that I could tape up the wire and hide it. I just retapped the grill and screwed in the ground again.
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Right now, my ground wire is connected to the horizontal steel bar (directly behind the lights) running parallel to my bumper, but that bar is coated in a thick black paint...maybe the paint is interfering with the metal on metal connection? Or do you recommend that I connect it to my grill?
I'm certain that's it's that ground location causing the problem. Any paint or rust at the ground point will cause issues.
Instead of removing the fuse leaving you without wipers unplug the wiper washer motor connector instead. That will should the wipers working normally but without the washer. With the washer pump disconnected it should prevent the other circuits triggering the wipers. It would be safer to drive like that till the ground issue can be resolved.
I've posted some pictures of my wires/ground connections from under my hood...I found another ground connection that contains two black wires (similar to the ground wire behind my driver's side headlight)...I posted a picture of that too...but it has a loose ribbon ground coming from that same screw...
Hopefully this helps out...I'm in the process of finding a new screw (bigger in diameter) to put into the old Ground spot...