1999 Dodge Durango Gauges and Radio Quit

I have a 1999 Dodge Durango, v8 5.9l and 360 engine, all my gauges and aftermarket radio worked fine until my brother put the battery from my moms van in my car so my alternator could charge hers, I drove on my moms battery for 2-3 weeks with no problems whatsoever, gauges worked fine and radio still worked, then my brother puts my original battery back in my vehicle and from that moment my radio stopped working and gauges went haywire, jumping constantly from moment of ignition until shutting the car off.

Something obviously got shorted out. During the installation of your battery, a cable or wire could have touched metal and shorted out. You could have smoked the instrument cluster and radio due to this, or burned/melted wiring to either of them that is causing the problem.

I called a friend who owns a repair shop and they said basically same thing, sounded like either battery shorted out or alternator shorted, he told me to unhook my battery from the alt and if my car stayed running then my alt was good but if the car died then my battery was bad.. I haven’t done this myself due to blatant ignorance of vehicle repair (can’t even change a tire at 30 yrs old LOL) but I did have my brother put my moms battery back in my car to see if it stopped when having her battery back in and that would’ve let me know that her car/alternator fried my battery, but it still did it so I’m sure its not my battery.

Yeah I would bet something on your car got shorted out. This will take some looking into, you’ll have to trace some wiring, look for blown fuses, etc, until you find the problem.

Could you elaborate a little on your second response, you said burned or melted wire could be the problem, do you mean it could be the problem of the whole lot, or just the radio not working?

It could be the entire problem if that is the case. Let’s say whoever installed the battery back into your vehicle touched the positive cable to the frame or body, or touched the ground cable to the positive cable….that can cause a voltage spike that will usually take out any electronics on that circuit. Normally just the fuse will blow, but since you got erratic behavior from your instruments and radio, I’d say it may not have been enough to blow a fuse or melt a wire, but more than likely shorted out your radio and gauge cluster.

My cousin suggested that while in my moms van, her alternator fried my battery, I almost laughed at the possibility, just thinking yea right her little minivan done some damage to my big honking gas hog SUV (again due to my own ignorance), but after he explained that with all the extra power options her van has, push button dual sliding doors, power windows, locks, seats,lumbar support, not to mention power options that I don’t know it has, that her alternator is actually way bigger than mine, and that very well might have damaged my battery, I didn’t discount this possibility at first after he explained this, but did when i remembered I had my brother put my moms battery back in and the problem continued, thus pretty much telling me it wasn’t a battery issue…but could that still be possible? (her Alt frying my battery?). Another reason I discounted his theory was the simple fact that my car does still fire up regularly.

That is a possibility of happening (the alternator frying a battery) but that is not the case in your situation. And yes, if you had other problems, such as starting, or other electrical failures, then I’d consider the battery, but again, not in this case. Something is wrong with the power feed to your cluster and radio, or a problem with the items themselves.

So just in your own opinion, do you think it sounds like expensive repairs?

Wiring and electrical repairs can get pretty expensive yes.

Thanks for the help, been rocking baby to sleep and now just taking down notes of the info you told me, thanks again.

Your welcome, have a good night !