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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am having strange electrical issues with a number of systems. Nothing related to the engine running. However, here is a list of what is happening
  • Push on the brake, the radio dims. Seems to be going into "Night Mode".
  • If the lights are ON, then push on the brake, the dash or cluster light fails. It goes completely black while the brake is pressed.
  • If cruise is on, I signal left, the cruise let's go. The cruise stays on if I signal right.
  • If the headlights are on, curise will not set

What I've tried:
  • Checked all fuses.
  • Checked all the grounding points I could find.
  • Ground off the paint under the main ground wire (found that in another thread)
  • Checked OBDII. Nothing

I'm not sure what to do. Any ideas where to start? Thanks.
 

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Check your light bulbs, sounds like you have a combination lamp in the rear with the wrong bulb in it or pull the rear brake light bulbs out and take it for a spin in the neighborhood when no one will be behind you and see if it acts the same. Bettery yet, since turn signal seems to cause it also try just unplugging or remove the tail lamps altogether and give it a quick shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Check your light bulbs, sounds like you have a combination lamp in the rear with the wrong bulb in it or pull the rear brake light bulbs out and take it for a spin in the neighborhood when no one will be behind you and see if it acts the same. Bettery yet, since turn signal seems to cause it also try just unplugging or remove the tail lamps altogether and give it a quick shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for writing so quickly. I disconnect both tail lamps and with them disconnected, I did not experience the dash dimming when putting on the brakes. However with only one connected, I still had that issue. Same with using the turn signals. I took out the bulbs and they are the original bulbs. Wow. All the correct specification.

However, my issues seem to be when increasing load. So it makes sense that when the bulbs are not being added to the load, no symptoms would be present. I also tried a similar test earlier, by just pulling fuses. With the tail light fuse pulled the symptoms related to breaking also do not appear. With the signal fuse pulled, the dash does not dim. Of course with either the fuse pulled or the bulbs pulled or the whole tail assembly pulled, the brake lights or turn signals to not light and are not being added to the load. So, the fact that the dash does not dim or go completely black, or the Radio does not go into "night mode", makes sense. My issues seem to happen when adding it all up. Or something. It really feels like the systems are somehow being added in sequence instead of parallel. I know that is incredibly basic electricity, but that is how it seems. As I add items using the power or going through the internal fuse panel, issues happen.

I will also add that when I bought the KIA 3 years ago the only symptom was the Radio going into "night mode". Which was annoying when I would drive around, but simply turning on the lights seemed to keep it in "night mode" so at least it was stable. Now, 3 years later the symptoms are far worse. The most concerning being when the dash or cluster goes completely dark and night when I use the brakes!

Any other ideas? Is there a way to test the inside fuse panel as a whole?
 

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Sounds like a ground problem. Did you actually disconnect the grounds and check if they are corroded? Try installing a temporary ground from engine to body. Have you had the alternator and battery checked? Check your battery cables and make sure they are tight and not corroded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds like a ground problem. Did you actually disconnect the grounds and check if they are corroded? Try installing a temporary ground from engine to body. Have you had the alternator and battery checked? Check your battery cables and make sure they are tight and not corroded.
Hello

That is what I thought when I started and still suspect. However, I have checked the grounding wires in the engine compartment. All test good. Solid ground to the block and the chasis. However, I'm not sure how or where to check the ground to the internal fuse panel? I would like to find that specific line and test it.
 

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Hmmm, you have a bad ground somewhere. The tail lamps are grounded separately so given that your left side causes issues I would take a peek at that. The grounds are inside the hatch behind the plastic panel in the trunk. The ground can be bad anywhere not necessarily at the bolt itself so inspect the wiring.
Before you go that far, swap the tail lamps side to side. I know they won't bolt in, just plug them in on opposite sides and see if left blinker still causes the issue
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmmm, you have a bad ground somewhere. The tail lamps are grounded separately so given that your left side causes issues I would take a peek at that. The grounds are inside the hatch behind the plastic panel in the trunk. The ground can be bad anywhere not necessarily at the bolt itself so inspect the wiring.
Before you go that far, swap the tail lamps side to side. I know they won't bolt in, just plug them in on opposite sides and see if left blinker still causes the issue
I tried swaping the tail lamps side to side, or rather just plugging in the right side tail light into the left side (did not attach the other tail light). Same issue with the cluster dimming and radio going into night mode when braking.

Before I pull off the whole inside panel in the back, I used a voltmeter to test the tail light plug. Across the brake positive to the black ground wire gives 11.83. I checked the brake positive against the trunk latch, it gave the same 11.83. My "cigarette" plug in the console gives 11.87. The engine block reads 12.02. Looking at all of these numbers, it looks like the ground wire at the back should be OK? I know it's not under load, just a simple meter, but given the distance of small wires 11.83 might be OK? What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do a voltage drop test under load. You will need some kind of slim probe or t pin to probe the connector. Need to see where the voltage drop is. I'll pull up the pins you need to test tonight and get you schematics.
Wow! You are amazing. Thank you so, so much for helping me here, I really appreciate it.
 

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Wow! You are amazing. Thank you so, so much for helping me here, I really appreciate it.
I appreciate it but this is what I do for a living at a Kia dealership and I have half the cars diagnosed before they hit the door based on symptoms someone reports. As a matter of fact today was one of those days that I had 3 cars in a row that I performed simple electric repairs after they left other shops and had $1000s of dollars worth of parts thrown at them only to still have same problem and they didn't even need any parts.
I asked you to unplug the tail lamps immediately as that is where I would have started as I see a lot of issues with the rear tail lamp harness, I am sure you saw the crud that accrued behind there over the years. The thing that is odd that I haven't seen before is that you mention that when the headlamps are on the cruise control won't set and that the left blinker cuts it out as well. I looked over the diagrams as it appears that you would have to have something in common with all the symptoms, came up sort of empty. There is one thing and that is your cluster ground, not easy to reach. Here is a picture of it or rather what it looks like if you pop the cluster out, actually I am not sure if you can reach it with the cluster out on a gen 1 Soul as I don't see that many of them like I do the newer ones. You might be able to sneak your way up to it from under the pedals and maybe use a small inspection mirror and a flashlight to take a peek up there. That is the only ground that all the things have in common as it grounds most of the cluster lights. When things dim you basically have excessive resistance somewhere when things are activated reducing the amount of current, it could be the "green gremlins" otherwise known as corrosion or it could be one of your bulbs????. I still would love to see if everything works with just the right side tail lamp plugged in and then if it does I would take a peek behind the plastics in the trunk at the grounds there. One other thing that can cause all of this is the power side, you could have a corroded wire to the underhood fuse box causing all this as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I appreciate it but this is what I do for a living at a Kia dealership and I have half the cars diagnosed before they hit the door based on symptoms someone reports. As a matter of fact today was one of those days that I had 3 cars in a row that I performed simple electric repairs after they left other shops and had $1000s of dollars worth of parts thrown at them only to still have same problem and they didn't even need any parts.
I asked you to unplug the tail lamps immediately as that is where I would have started as I see a lot of issues with the rear tail lamp harness, I am sure you saw the crud that accrued behind there over the years. The thing that is odd that I haven't seen before is that you mention that when the headlamps are on the cruise control won't set and that the left blinker cuts it out as well. I looked over the diagrams as it appears that you would have to have something in common with all the symptoms, came up sort of empty. There is one thing and that is your cluster ground, not easy to reach. Here is a picture of it or rather what it looks like if you pop the cluster out, actually I am not sure if you can reach it with the cluster out on a gen 1 Soul as I don't see that many of them like I do the newer ones. You might be able to sneak your way up to it from under the pedals and maybe use a small inspection mirror and a flashlight to take a peek up there. That is the only ground that all the things have in common as it grounds most of the cluster lights. When things dim you basically have excessive resistance somewhere when things are activated reducing the amount of current, it could be the "green gremlins" otherwise known as corrosion or it could be one of your bulbs????. I still would love to see if everything works with just the right side tail lamp plugged in and then if it does I would take a peek behind the plastics in the trunk at the grounds there. One other thing that can cause all of this is the power side, you could have a corroded wire to the underhood fuse box causing all this as well.
Good morning

I removed the cluster, found GM01 - GM04. The surrounding metal was a bit corroded, so I removed them all, cleaned them and the metal up and re-attached. I was hopefull, but sadly no change. Strange I do not have a GM05. I can see the hole where it could be bolted to, but it is not there. Tomorrow I will take apart the interior Hatch panels and find the ground for the tail lights, clean up and hope once more. If I was not clear earlier, I did check my bulbs. I also tried with only one tail light connected. I tried with just the left, just the right, and with the left plugged into the right. As long as one tail unit is plugged in, pressing the brakes, dims the Cluster and puts the Ratio into night mode. :(

Thanks for the help, I'll post again after I try the grounds in the back. Here is a quick picture of before and after I cleaned up the grounds under the cluster.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would definitely be looking in the back. Take the bulbs out and take a look down in the sockets at the prongs in there as well.
Finally got both rear panels off. That was not fun :( All the grounding bolts look good. I took them off, sanded off the paint on the body and reattached. HUGE improvement! The cluster or dash lights stay on. Yay! I can drive at night again. However, it's not perfect. The radio still goes into "night" mode when I apply the brakes. Once I have the whole care reassembled I'll go for a drive too and see if the cruise/blinker issue is fixed or now. At this point I'm not sure what else to do. You were absolutely right, it is a grounding issue. However, I've cleaned up the over all ground, cleaned up the cluster ground points or were those the fuse panel ground points, added an extra ground just for my radio, and now cleaned up all five ground points in the back. I might just have to live with the fickering radio. I can always just put my lights one, then the radio stays in night mode and doesn't flicker with the brake.

If you think of anything else, let me know, you have been very helpful all the way! Take care
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You got the ground points cleaned up but you could still have a voltage drop on the ground wire somewhere. I have seen numerous seemingly good wires have corrosion internally with no outside signs of it. I know you have a multimeter, I'm sure pulling it up on Youtube will be easier than me explaining it but basically you want to put a load on a circuit and measure voltage on a ground wire, any voltage on that wire is actually resistance as you are on the same wire and all voltage should be absorbed by the load. Don't freak out when you see a tenth or two of a volt but anything near 0.5 volts or more is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You got the ground points cleaned up but you could still have a voltage drop on the ground wire somewhere. I have seen numerous seemingly good wires have corrosion internally with no outside signs of it. I know you have a multimeter, I'm sure pulling it up on Youtube will be easier than me explaining it but basically you want to put a load on a circuit and measure voltage on a ground wire, any voltage on that wire is actually resistance as you are on the same wire and all voltage should be absorbed by the load. Don't freak out when you see a tenth or two of a volt but anything near 0.5 volts or more is an issue.
That is no doubt, the next thing I should do. However, I am out of time right now so finding the internal corrosion will need to wait. Also, on a whim, I was thinking about load and that if I changed from the incandescent bulbs (8/27W) to LED (0.7/2.6W) that would dramatically reduce the load. I just put in two LED lights replacing the two incandescent 1157 bulbs and every thing is sold. Dash, Radio, Blinker. I have not tested cruise control, but this is a dramatic improvement. Thank you again for all your help. If I get around to testing each individual line, I'll come back and let you know what I find. For now, I need to let it go for a bit. All the best!
 

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There was a recall way back that had to do with the rear brake light causing strange electrical issues. Something to do with the brake pedal switch. Not specifically your issues, but involving some of the same components you are having issues with. Maybe check to see if that recall was done and if so, check the switch again.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There was a recall way back that had to do with the rear brake light causing strange electrical issues. Something to do with the brake pedal switch. Not specifically your issues, but involving some of the same components you are having issues with. Maybe check to see if that recall was done and if so, check the switch again.

Thank you for directing me to the Recalls. I checked my VIN and all the proper recalls have been completed for this vehicle. I continue to be very happy to have my console and radio back and working properly. As an update, something is still not right, as I can no longer use Cruise Control AT ALL. When I turn it on, it shows Cruise in Green, but it will not set. Also, after I drive for 5 to 10 mintues the warning light indicating traction control is active comes on. No idea why. Next break I get, I'll dig into it again.
 

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Thank you for directing me to the Recalls. I checked my VIN and all the proper recalls have been completed for this vehicle. I continue to be very happy to have my console and radio back and working properly. As an update, something is still not right, as I can no longer use Cruise Control AT ALL. When I turn it on, it shows Cruise in Green, but it will not set. Also, after I drive for 5 to 10 mintues the warning light indicating traction control is active comes on. No idea why. Next break I get, I'll dig into it again.
My recalled brake light switch for the 2011 lasted from the recall date till a couple weeks ago.

I had no brake lights, no cruise, and the traction control light was on and the trouble code was C1513. I “temporarily” fixed it by reaching under the dash, pushed the brake pedal down, then grabbed the switch and rapidly pushed it in and out.

I think it cleaned the contacts a little because it’s been working since. I have a replacement OEM part I’m going to put in, but doing that bought me some time.
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