DODGE CARAVAN CENTRE DASH AREA


I presume you have a service manual, though I may include brief pointers from it to make this advice more cohesive. Some of what I cover here is in the service manual if you can find it, often not in the section you'd expect it in - check both the instrument panel and specific-item sections.
These instructions are based on a 1994 high-trim model with Infinity sound system.

Table of Contents
> Top (radio & door lock receiver0
> Centre (lighter socket, heat-A/C, "Micro Relay Block")
> bottom (air bag and body computer modules)
> HVAC


To service the remote door lock module and the radio you go in from the top of the dash, popping off some covers and unscrewing others.
First pop off the metal panel closest to the windshield (full width).
You have to remove the narrow display on top of the instrument cluster before removing the main cover, after popping out the little grill. It's connector lock is push down type.
You have to at least loosen and move aside the main plastic cover cum switch panel over the instruments and radio. You probably can remove the screw under the right bottom by removing or inverting the adjustable air grill. You may be able to avoid disconnecting the cover's electrical connectors by varying the tilt of the steering wheel and to get it lifted up, then moving to the passenger seat to reach the receiver and radio.
Remove the remote door lock receiver.
The radio has two bolts through its front panel, 10mm hex head. The radio's connectors are accessible from above once you get the remote door lock module out of the way, their latch is the lift type (pry away from the radio), you probably can pull the radio out to undo them, but may have to detach the grounding strap from the radio first, the bolt has a 10mm hex head. And there's the antenna cable to pull out of its socket.
For repair of the Infinity CD player/radio units, check the Allpar forum including for the volume pot used on some radios and the http://www.carstereohelp.com/ web site which sells instructions on repairing a common type of fault that causes loss of display and other problems.


To service the cigar lighter power socket, heat-A/C panel, and more relays and electronic modules (mostly for optional equipment), referring to "Premium Console Removal" in the Chrysler manual for some views:
- pull up on on ash tray insert to remove it
- reach 2 tray latches above ash tray w/fingers to pull down in order to to pull the ashtray/cupholder assembly out (I recommend three hands for the task :-). (The latches are arched spring-bars whose downward motion is limited such that the edge of the glide-button on top of the spring-bar may not clear the restraining lip. Try getting your fingernail fully forward on the end of the spring-bar to push it down a bit more. I suggest Once out, you can fiddle with the shape of the spring-bar to minimize the risk next time.) See illustration.
- pull vent grill & surround trim assembly out (1 clip each corner)
- pull out heater controls (2 screws)
- the lighter socket is a standard cheap type. The centre unscrews, but note the anti-rotation notch in shell & dont't forget to replace the large non-metallic washer when you put it all back together
- before putting the surround trim assembly back in, check the light bulb (pull its plastic socket sideways out of the metal holder)

- hidden behind much of the foregoing is an electrical panel with relays and circuit breakers, mostly optional equipment like the Infinity sound system's powered speakers, power accessories, and fog lamps.

I suspect the modules are:
- "body computer" (which the service manual claims is "right of the steering column"), probably with one blue and one natural colour 25-contact connector
- an airbag module (which the service manual claims is in the "centre rear of instrument panel"), with one yellow 4-contact connector and one black 13-contact connector.
(Supposedly the transmission control module is on the right firewall forward side or RH fender shield (without and with 4WD), the ABS module if installed is well below the power centre (underhood LH), and a "powertrain control module" is immediately under the power centre location aka "LH fender shield (that module being what is called the "engine computer" by those of us who think the powertrain is both engine and transmission - note the transmission computer is a late addition to the Caravan). I suspect the more sealed and securely mounted module is the airbag one.
The relays are the "micro relay block" shown in the service manual's component location diagram, wiring diagram AS-HK 152 which covers power doors, windows and seats as well as fog lamps and a "name brand speakers relay" - diagram claims location is "right side of I.P.".
(A relay for speakers? yes, on the wiring diagram for radio "with NBS". It feeds power to the optional speakers in the front doors and liftgate which apparently use power unlike regular speakers. In my vehicle those speakers are labelled Infinity, as is the radio. They are powerful.)

And hidden behind the bin or CD changer below that are two electrical modules. You want to remove the end of the air duct (2 screws) to get at them. After you remove the bin which has two screws at top and one at each bottom corner (the left one is oriented fore-aft the right one sideways, or is it the other way around? wierd!)


HVAC
Working on the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning stuff may require taking the entire dash out to get access from the top.
Refer to Service manual figure 10 in the gages section for upper dash, and figure 50 in Body section for the lower centre console (various HVAC components are shown in that section but there is no illustration of the general location and how to get into that area). You want power completely off due to the airbag in the RH top of the dash.

You can wiggle the control panel out and see the bundle of vacuum lines, colour coded per the service manual. The bundle appears to run back while veering to the right, then up.
By studying the service manual you can see where some of the vacuum actuators are located, generally heat on left and AC on right.

By looking at the other side of the firewall and the manual you can see that the heater input lines are to the left, AC to the right.

It appears as though the RH top of the dash is separate from the ower part that is wider.

Note after removing the panel at the base of the windshield there are hex head bolts at the base of the windshield that appear to hold the overall dash top in place. I have not yet figured out how much you have to remove to get that piece out, and how extensive it is. It may be the dash structure, removing that may require taking the steering wheel off.


Heater fan is now on separate page, linked from my main Caravan maintenance page.


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