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Joined: Feb 14 2018
Posts: 7

Hi Newbie here but desperate for some tips on fixing my 1999 P38.

When it rains, after about 5 minutes I lose both tail lights at the same time and then one fog light on the drivers side (i have to use the fogs to get home!). The indicators work and the brake lights work however I sometimes get the trailer dashboard light on when the indicator is on. I have no problems in the dry.

To date I have replaced the tail light bulbs and cleaned all the connections in the bulb holders. My mate, who has some electrical ability checked all the connections with a meter and found no problems. I presume I am looking for water ingress somewhere?

It may be unrelated but occasionally I get the ride height warning beep and light but it goes off almost immediately and once, the car started locking and unlocking the doors of its own accord.

Just wondered if anyone had experienced the same problem. I have searched numerous forums but had no success.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Caros

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Joined: Dec 29 2015
Posts: 673

I guess the first thing to do would be to grab a copy of RAVE and start looking at the diagram for the tail lights.

They're controlled by the BECM, which will also give you warnings if the bulbs are out. You can ring out the wiring from the BECM to the lamp cluster to make sure there's no bad connections, or a poor earth. If the BECM is actually faulty then @Martyuk is yer man ;-)

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Joined: Feb 14 2018
Posts: 7

Thanks Gordon, I will take a look at Rave and get the drivers seat up to check out the BECM

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Joined: Nov 27 2017
Posts: 207

I am no expert with P38's I am learning, but how old is your battery. It might start the car and take charge but I have heard of wierd electrical gremlins being fixed by installation of a new battery.

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Joined: Feb 14 2018
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Hi the battery is about 4 years old. I'll see if it's pushing out 12v ..

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Joined: Mar 26 2016
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Not far off the mark there, Rcutler ................... a poor battery can cause all kinds of problems on a 38!! Problems you wouldn't associate with the battery.

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Joined: Nov 27 2017
Posts: 207

Rcutler wrote:

I am no expert with P38's I am learning, but how old is your battery. It might start the car and take charge but I have heard of wierd electrical gremlins being fixed by installation of a new battery.

I have heard that they can even push out ok voltages but not be stable and upset the BECM. If Its 4 years old I would put £90 down and order one online. This was recommended to me however I went with Halfords as the car wouldn't start when I was out.

https://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/hankook-mf31-1000.html

While you are there check that your alternator is running ok. It should be putting out around 13-14v when the engine is running.

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Joined: Feb 14 2018
Posts: 7

Thanks for all the suggestions, off out now to try and solve it .... again.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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The mention of the EAS light going out intermittently made me think it could be the multiway connector behind the LH footwell kick panel as the wiring for that goes through there. However, having had a look at the ETM in RAVE, it seems that the rear lights are fed directly from the BeCM without even a connector between the two. If the seat is coming out, have a look at the connections to the BeCM, but the rear lights come off different connectors for left and right. That could point to the one common thing, the BeCM.......

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Just had another look at RAVE and the other common point on the rear lights is the connections to the trailer socket. Behind the RH rear light you should find a pair of white 8 way connectors which join a second set of wires from the BeCM to the trailer socket. Try unplugging that pair and see if that makes any difference.

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Joined: Feb 14 2018
Posts: 7

Well now very cold and wet but a quick update.

Battery is 12v and alternator pushing 14v.

I now only have one fog light working - passenger side.

Stripped the rear panel off the tailgate and pulled the bulb holders out of the drivers rear. Cleaned up the drivers side bulb holder for the fog and reversing light and then had all the lights on .... for a while. Spent an hour jiggling connections and swapping bulbs, locked the doors somehow once and had the EAS beep.

Going to try Gilbert's suggestion at the weekend but I'm starting to think BECM clean plus a new battery just to make sure. If that doesn't work I'll put it into the garage (gulp!).

Once again I appreciate all the help.

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Joined: Nov 27 2017
Posts: 207

Carlos2 wrote:

Going to try Gilbert's suggestion at the weekend but I'm starting to think BECM clean plus a new battery just to make sure. If that doesn't work I'll put it into the garage (gulp!).

Once again I appreciate all the help.

I would be careful putting it into a garage as many don't really know what they are doing either. Get as much advise as you can from on here before you do anything like take it to a garage. Someone on here does replacement BECM's and sends them out with the kit to sync it to your car and keys. You just then return them.

Someone will be along soon to advise.

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I'm of the opinion that you have more than one fault. The EAS beep and light going out is caused by a poor connection between the EAS ECU under the passenger seat and the light display on the dash. That goes through the connector in the LH footwell. The dancing locks is caused by iffy microswitches in one of the front door latches, the one that isn't locking itself usually. The rear lights does sound to be moisture related but if it was in the BeCM, the power board is on the top, the logic board is at the bottom so if you have water getting to the BeCM it would have died by now as the logic board drowned. I still think you are looking at water getting into the trailer socket and shorting things out there. Disconnecting the white plugs will disconnect the feed to the trailer socket and isolate that.

For the other faults, the footwell connectors can be removed and the wires soldered and heat shrinked. They are only needed when the car is assembled at the factory so aren't needed once it's put together. There's a similar one in the RH footwell that also suffers from damp so it's worth doing them both.

As for the door locks, Marty does exchange refurbished latches at a very favourable price.

+1 on avoiding a garage if at all possible. Most don't understand electrics, particularly on a P38, and all you'll do is end up spending money for someone to tell you they can't fix the problem (or that you need a new BeCM and wiring loom).

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
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Carlos2 wrote:

Well now very cold and wet but a quick update.

Battery is 12v and alternator pushing 14v.

I now only have one fog light working - passenger side.

Stripped the rear panel off the tailgate and pulled the bulb holders out of the drivers rear. Cleaned up the drivers side bulb holder for the fog and reversing light and then had all the lights on .... for a while. Spent an hour jiggling connections and swapping bulbs, locked the doors somehow once and had the EAS beep.

Going to try Gilbert's suggestion at the weekend but I'm starting to think BECM clean plus a new battery just to make sure. If that doesn't work I'll put it into the garage (gulp!).

Once again I appreciate all the help.

Gilbert's suggestion makes a lot of sense to me - I'd have a look at the towing socket if I were you as well (I would guess the plugs he mentions will remove it from the circuit anyway?). the 7 pin ones if thats what you have got aren't particularly brilliant at weather resistance, and you might find its been replaced with a cheap one thats begun to rot away inside. Be prepared for the screws to be rusted solid if you want to take it apart, but have a look inside at the pins first by flipping the cover open. If its all green and nasty there then thats likely the source of the problems.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
Posts: 1063

As mentioned - door locks doing their own thing is usually an iffy microswitch,

Light issues... Yes, could be the BECM - but is does seem odd that it works sometimes, and then starts giving problems just when it starts raining.

That being said, if the BECM has moisture in it, then it could just be a power board issue. The logic board is actually covered in a (somewhat) protective lacquer, whereas the power board has nothing - and it isn't uncommon for me to find a bit of surface corrosion on ones that I work on. Sometimes a few shots of electrical cleaner, and a scrub from an old toothbrush is enough to clean it up.

That being said, if there was moisture/corrosion in the BECM then I'd be expecting there to be other issues, but it would be easy enough to check by popping the lid off the BECM and having a look at the board.

I still think it's a connection issue somewhere, rather than a BECM fault - but it's not impossible!

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Joined: Sep 14 2016
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Another vote for an odd connection issue or three or more.

Over two years of struggling with initially random self turning off of my drivers side tail light eventually evolving to always after about 5 minutes running ended when I dropped the left hand front wheel into a hidden pot hole at about 30 mph. Avoiding a smart car with a suicide wish on a 1 1/2 track road! Heck of a bang, everything well shook up and tail light problem fixed. Guess the gremlin fell off.

Clive

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Joined: Feb 14 2018
Posts: 7

Success!!!!!

Thanks Gilbert - looked at the connection to the tow bar and found the insulation had melted above the exhaust causing a short. Disconnected the multiway connector in the wing and cut off the wire at the tow bar - I never tow anything anyway.

Lights all working and stay on - although its dry today....

Will see whether the other issue are related to the BECM as the foot well is damp on the drivers side.Just removed a load of gunk and leaves from the drainage channels. I need to use the car though so will leave that tinkering until my other car is fixed.

Gotta love these Rangies!

Thanks everyone.

Carlos

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Air con drains block up too, from under the car there are two conical shaped bits of rubber, one either side of the gearbox. Give them a squeeze to get a dollop of mud, water and dead leaves up your sleeve. Other cause of damp in the drivers footwell is leaking heater core O rings. Do you have to keep topping the coolant up?

Glad you got the lights sorted though. You're getting there.

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Joined: Feb 14 2018
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Thanks Gilbert

I do keep having to top up the coolant although not by much.

Off out to get water up my sleeves first though.

Cheers

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
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Easy way to tell if it's the o-rings leaking is to feel the side of the transmission tunnel where your left ankle would be when you're driving. It that feels damp then rub your fingers in it and get them damp, then lick them with the tip of your tongue. If you get a horrid sweet taste then it's coolant and is probably your o-rings.

David.