Electrical short?

A 91 pathfinder seems to be having an electrical short associated with the signal lights.

The problem started 3 car-starts ago. The First time I noticed, it had a little struggle turning over to start. As I drove I noticed my turn signals were not working. It was parked at my destination for several hours and when I tried to start it again it struggled twice as hard. It eventually turned over fast enough to start. I had no problems with it on the road going home. I took the battery out and gave it a slow charge for two hours and tried starting it again. The first time I turned the ignition key for it to start, it struggled a little before starting; the second time it struggled longer.

I checked the fuses under the dash and they were fine. I disconnected and tested the wire harness to the front signal lights and both the wires and the bulbs were good.

I put on the turn signal, turned the ignition key to on and applied the test meter to the wire connector leading back to the rest of the electrical system and I heard one single beep sound from the meter. I thought I should have heard the same sequence in beeps, as I would have seen in flashes from a signal light.

My questions:

1. What could be cause the power drain?

2. The signal lights don?t work?why?

3. I noticed what appear to be relay switches or perhaps larger fuses under the hood; attached to the left side of the body. Could they be significant in this situation?

Thank you for any help you can give me.

Sounds to me like you have 2 different problems. First, the starter may be bad, or have a bad connection from the battery. The signal light issue may or may not be related, but I’m betting it’s not. It could even be a simple bad battery causing your starting problem. I’d take it somewhere and have the battery and charging system tested and the starter.

It could be several things and maybe more than one of them as Rack indicated.  

I would start by checking the battery cables, making sure both ends of all cables are clean and tight.  Next I would have the battery and charging systems checked.  Some auto parts stores will do it for free.

Now, I?m a bit confused. I just returned from reexamining the 1991 pathfinder and found a very different situation.

A friend suggested that if the hazard lights don?t work the signal lights wouldn?t either. So, I reconnected the negative side of the battery and pressed the hazard switch. It works. Then I noticed that there is a clicking sound that seemed to have the same tempo as the hazard lights but a different sound?flatter. Outside, all signal lights were flashing, all around the SUV. (The hazard lights were not lighting up or flashing.) I closed the driver?s side door for safety and the flashing stopped. I opened the door and it started again.

The way the problem showed up this time seems to point directly at the door switch being in cahoots with some other function like the four-way flasher. Does anybody agree with that?

Start checking for loose ground connections. From the battery to the frame, from the engine to the frame, from the frame to the dashboard, just any ground connections you can find. I’d also be looking for possible loose connectors that might be jiggled by the door closing. I really doubt the door switch is involved directly. It is possible you have a blown fuse and the blinker circuit is backfeeding through the cabin lights or something odd like that, but I’d suspect a bad ground first.

Oh and it wouldn’t hurt to replace the blinker. It may just be weak and the load of all 4 corner lights blinking makes it work, but just 2 doesn’t.

Both you guys have had great (logical) suggestions but the pathfinder just told me to change the switch on the door.

I unscrewed and pulled the switch from the doorframe and began turning it to different angles testing for a notable difference. The rhythmic ticking coming from below the dash stopped at one of the angles. While holding this angle I reached over and put on the left turn signal and it worked. I turned it on and off several times with the same result. I then moved the switch to different angles again and the problem reemerged.

I plan to pull and examine the switch. I’m just in the house for tools and to write this note. I’ll let you know what happens later.