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Thread: '97 Explorer interior light randomly goes on & off

  1. #1
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    '97 Explorer interior light randomly goes on & off

    On my '97 Ford Explorer the interior light keeps coming on & going off. It only does it if the vehicle off & it doesn't matter whether the key is in the ignition or not. It randomly comes on by itself & after a few minutes will go back off. It sometimes won't do it at all, at other times, it will do it 5 or 6 times in a row. The interior light functions like it should other than that. Any ideas as to what would cause it?
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  2. #2
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Is it the same light that comes on when you open the door?

    If so maybe the switch in the door jam is on the fritz.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    yeah, its the same lights (front & rear) that also works with the door jam switch. I kind of wonder if its not with the door jam switch as if it was, I think it would do it while the vehicle is in the on position as well.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  4. #4
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Not sure what you mean. If you have the light switch on, the light works right? If you have it off, it stays off right? If you put it in the auto mode, or whatever its called that's when you get the problem?

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    There is no switch like your talking about on it. Like many newer vehicles, the interior lights is always in "auto" position & the only way to turn it to the "always on" position is to rotate the instrument cluster dial to the all the way up position; and there is no way to turn the lights to an "always off" position. The lights work like they should, the only problem is them coming on & off by themselve at random if the vehicle is turned off. If the vehicle is running, the lights stay off like they should.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  6. #6
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    I dunno then, you got me! There has to be a switch somewhere that is energizing the circuit.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    There is no switch like your talking about on it. Like many newer vehicles, the interior lights is always in "auto" position & the only way to turn it to the "always on" position is to rotate the instrument cluster dial to the all the way up position; and there is no way to turn the lights to an "always off" position. The lights work like they should, the only problem is them coming on & off by themselve at random if the vehicle is turned off. If the vehicle is running, the lights stay off like they should.

    Yes, but what causes the interior light to come on when the door is opened (as it ought to/should be able to do)?

    I agree with Dom; there is probably a bad switch someplace (inone of the doors or the tailgate) and the fix should be easy.

  8. #8
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    On my '97 Ford Explorer the interior light keeps coming on & going off. It only does it if the vehicle off & it doesn't matter whether the key is in the ignition or not. It randomly comes on by itself & after a few minutes will go back off. It sometimes won't do it at all, at other times, it will do it 5 or 6 times in a row. The interior light functions like it should other than that. Any ideas as to what would cause it?
    If one side of your interior light is permanently 'live' then it sounds as though there is an intermittent 'earth' connection. Maybe just a stray whisker of wire or possibly an intermittent connection in an associated circuit that is using your interior light as a secondary earth loop. Alternatively it could be the reverse of that hypothesis and you could have a bulb that has a permanent grounded side and is receiving an intermittent 'live' connection. You could try removing the bulb and checking with a meter, or another bulb on a wire, between the hot side and the chassis. If the bulb flashes then you have an intermittent 'live' situation, if it only flashes when connected across the interior light contacts then you have an intermittent (unwanted) earth connection on the chassis side of the interior light socket. FWIW.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  9. #9
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    On my '97 Ford Explorer the interior light keeps coming on & going off. It only does it if the vehicle off & it doesn't matter whether the key is in the ignition or not. It randomly comes on by itself & after a few minutes will go back off. It sometimes won't do it at all, at other times, it will do it 5 or 6 times in a row. The interior light functions like it should other than that. Any ideas as to what would cause it?
    If it's like my 1999 Ford Mustang, it's an easy fix. It's more of a mechanical problem than electrical. Spray a bunch of WD-40 in the latches with the door open. The door switch is in the latch and can force the switch to stick in the same position when the door is closed as if when open. It's not the switch that's flaky, it just cannot move as far as it should be able to.

    A 15 second fix. Now go fix it before you tear the door apart for nothing!

    -Don- Reno, NV

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    If it's like my 1999 Ford Mustang, it's an easy fix. It's more of a mechanical problem than electrical. Spray a bunch of WD-40 in the latches with the door open. The door switch is in the latch and can force the switch to stick in the same position when the door is closed as if when open. It's not the switch that's flaky, it just cannot move as far as it should be able to.

    A 15 second fix. Now go fix it before you tear the door apart for nothing!

    -Don- Reno, NV
    That sounds right! I bet his Explorer uses virtually the same door latch/switch, too.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    I will check that out with the WD-40 & try that option. If that does not take care of the problem, is there a way to test the door pin or door ajar switches to see if one of them is acting up, for I can either confirm it is one & which one it is, or to rule it out as a possibility?
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  12. #12
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    I checked out my doors & sure enough, there is no visible door pin switch anywhere, so it must be in the latch like it was that Mustang of Don's. I sprayed WD-40 in the latch & well coated it in all 4 doors & the rear hatch. Hopefully that will take care of the problem, but I guess only time will tell.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  13. #13
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    I've been looking on All Data and I can't find an image of the darn door jamb switch. Have you looked in the elbow/hinge section of the door? I am not familiar with Fords, so I am not sure of the exact location. There is one there for sure though. If you know that Mustangs have it on the latch then the Explorer might too. Both are Fords, would be cheaper for them to use the same style switch on multiple vehicle models.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  14. #14
    DonTom
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    I've been looking on All Data and I can't find an image of the darn door jamb switch. Have you looked in the elbow/hinge section of the door? I am not familiar with Fords, so I am not sure of the exact location. There is one there for sure though. If you know that Mustangs have it on the latch then the Explorer might too. Both are Fords, would be cheaper for them to use the same style switch on multiple vehicle models.
    I doubt if you will find it anywhere other than in the Ford factory service manuals, which I own, but are at my other home. Don't waste your time trying to find it in the vehicle.

    But I will bet if he sprayed the WD40 everywhere in all the door latches, it will do the trick. It worked for me and has held up now for about a year. BTW, I mentioned it in this section last year or so when I had the problem.

    -Don- SSF, CA

  15. #15
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    so far so good, with no problems. hopefully that did the trick. thanks to all for their responses, especially you DonTom.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


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