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Old 03-02-2019, 11:00 AM   #1
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Default 03 manual vue, dashboard/inside lights flickering

I have a 2003 VUE, 2.2L, manual, and 4 cyl. Last year, I replaced the starter, the catalytic, alternator and last, the transmission.
I just can't afford to get another car with unknown issues so I keep patching this 15 yr old! Got it for $15 thou, new, but probably spent over twice that in repairs since!
I really love the interior with no blind spots and the exterior!
When the alternator went, my dashboard lights went on and off, steering (which is electric) would fail while driving and car would not accelerate. The alternator replacement seemed to fix this. Except, the first day I drove it, the lights flashed on and off and then did not happen again. I figured the computer was resetting or something?
Lights flashing happened again months later while driving over 70. But not always. Now, when driving one night for over 30 minutes or so, the dashboard went crazy blinking, inside lights blinked, check engine lt came on and stayed on. I panicked completely fearing it would stall. Did not seem to lose power or headlights but the steering went for a while.
After the car was off for about an hour, it started fine, steering fine, check engine lt still on.
It does not happen when driving to/from work (less than 30 min drive) which is why I don't know how long the problem has gone on.
I had the check engine light checked and codes said "lost communication with bcm". Drove fine next day and engine lt went off by itself.
My mechanic needs to hire a freelance guy who does electric diagnostics and charge $150 just to see where the communication problem is. I guess he checks the wiring connection?
If it was a short, why will it happen only when car running over 30 min? if it is a ground issue, again why act up after some time of driving and not right away?
Should I bypass the diagnostics and go straight to buying a bcm to replace current one? Or, could it be something simple? I just want this car to last until I retire this year without too much extra fixing! Help!
The guy that worked on the car with the alternator prob. left a couple of things unhooked, (button horn cable and coolant receptacle hose) so I am wondering if they might have left something off after the transmission replacement and I did not know because I drive less than 30 min at a time most days.
I have had the wrench light on for years and the security lt came on over a yr ago. It does not seem to affect anything else.
As of today, it has not happened in a while which only confuses things more. It also appears that the odometer might have stopped working, maybe after the last event. Ugh! could be ECM, I read. I just would like a more clear idea of where to go, rather than have mechanics explore the problem by replacing related parts until they get to the problem one. Kind of expensive, it seems for a 15 yrs old body. Any good guesses? I have a no frills car, no power locks, windows, etc. Simple car.
Thanks, loyal vue people!
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:43 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 03 manual vue, dashboard/inside lights flickering

Short version.

After alternator replacement with passage of time, the flickering interior lights returned, electric steering goes away and comes back, odometer doesn't count up, wrench light and intermittent check engine light.

At the least, search threads within the Vue forums for clues. There may be several different problems or less with one common issue - wiring connections. The body control module runs most of the electronics except engine, airbags and abs/tc. Those have their own modules but all communicate to the bcm when error codes are generated so the bcm can pass them thru the OBD II connector port. I'm no expert on Vue issues but an initial guess may be two areas - the bcm connectors to all modules and main power wiring.

Main power wiring; both battery cables, red positive from battery to starter with a branch to the engine fuse panel, black negative cable from battery to chassis and chassis to engine block (two main grounds). Be absolutely sure main power wiring are clean, free of corrosion and secured. Measure voltages, 12.5v before engine running, around 14.5v engine running. There are issues with Vue replacement alternators not up to spec and causing problems. Threads here discuss it. Other possible issues, before concluding bcm failure, are connection terminals possibly corroded from water intrusion, creating intermittent flaky connections resulting in erratic symptoms. Disconnecting wire harnesses to inspect for corrosion and cleaning may reveal water intrusion into connections. Water stains inside your Vue is a clue. Removing panels for access to connections is a major task. Search threads for info about it. far2grumpy is the resident expert on Vues.
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bcm, ecm, lose wire

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