Unknown Driver

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
This will be long, so please bear with me.

I was doing some grocery shopping earlier tonight and decided to make one last stop. I jumped back in my car, started it up, and left the parking lot. I was cruising about 30 when first my ABS and Brake lights lit up. About a second later my DIC stated "Unknown Driver". Then all the lights started going crazy on my dash. I decided to pull over ASAP and shut if off thinking maybe it needs to restart or something. I started it back up but all the gauges were still messed up and lights were lit up. Here is a picture of what I saw:

View attachment 29184

Tachometer and speedometer were still working but none of the others were. I replaced all my stepper motors two years ago, so they should be good. I figured, hey, I'll disconnect the battery and let the computer do a reset. BAD FRIENDLY IDEA. I came back out a few minutes later and reconnected the battery. Now when I turn the key the dash lights up with "Unknown Driver", ABS/Brake/Airbag/Battery/SES are lit, but turning to the start position will not crank. The battery is good and I changed it a couple months ago when the other battery went dead and tested bad at Autozone. I pulled and reseated the starter relay to no avail.

I started looking around and found this thread: http://gmtnation.com/f23/wierd-electrical-issue-lots-stuff-stopped-working-today-3523/ which is pretty much spot on for my issues. However, I have taken off and cleaned almost every single ground I can find. I've cleaned up four or five under the hood, the interior master ground on the passenger side of the tranny hump, and the ground just behind the driver's side strut tower that I believe is the ABS ground. My car did almost exactly the same thing as the video posted by Spalding1028 in that thread except he could restart his and the lights would reset.

Ok, here are the gritty details:
I haven't had any problems recently and haven't touched anything electrical. I did notice one of my Moog sway bar end links I just put on a year ago was starting to clunk a couple days ago and I replaced my rear diff fluid last Saturday
Megafuse has continuity and I know not to use it as a jumping point
Headlights work, domelights work and come on after removing the key from the ignition or opening a rear door- not a front door, fan works, radio doesn't come on
Windows don't work from the driver's or passenger's front doors but the rear door windows do work when activated at the rear doors. In fact everything I tried on the drivers door seems dead (windows, heated seat, locks)
All functions on the driver's power seat work (up/down, forward/backward, lumbar, etc.)
I've tried unplugging and plugging back in all the electrical connectors I could find (in case it's a little corrosion)
Key FOB does not work- I must manually unlock and lock all doors. I'm just glad my liftgate was in the locked position when it decided to do this because I don't know how to lock it without the electronics.
I don't think it's the ignition switch as it did it while I was driving and I have never had an issue (~2 years of ownership) with being flaky, but the possibility is there

I have a multimeter and a decent set of tools. Right now I'm leaning toward the data splice packs and it being either the ABS or driver's door module. It also looks like chethro had similar issues with the lift gate module. I had to leave it in the grocery store parking lot and walk the 3 miles back home so I won't get to try anything new until the morning. Any other thoughts? Thanks
 

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dmanns67

Member
Apr 3, 2013
32,979
Ohio
I would say load test your battery and check cables and connects. Ignition switch is also a possibility. Unlocking your door with the key instead of the FOB can cause the unknown driver as well. Did the FOB stop working before or after the unknown driver? Have you replaced the FOB battery? When is the last time you changed the battery in the TB? You could also try disconnect your battery and reset everything.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
I agree with your thoughts. A module somewhere is "speaking in tongues" and putting gibberish on the data bus. All the other modules are confused, and can't pass their critical messages, so starting is suppressed. The BCM is involved in the security authorization process, but none of the window modules or the entertainment system or the TCCM, HVAC or liftgate is required.
 

BRomanJr

Member
Dec 9, 2011
371
Based on your Drivers window switch (DDM) not working, try disconnecting it and see if that "fixes" your other issues.

Those switch modules fail and can take down the communication bus which hampers all communication in the vehicle and causes weird and intermittent problems.


There are 2 Splice Packs for the communications so you can disconnect individual modules easiest from those. One is under the dash by drivers left knee and second is under back seat near hump under a carpet flap.


There is more info on this throughout the Forum.

Also, the ground for the ABS is located on the frame outer support under the driver seat area.
 

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
the roadie said:
I agree with your thoughts. A module somewhere is "speaking in tongues" and putting gibberish on the data bus. All the other modules are confused, and can't pass their critical messages, so starting is suppressed. The BCM is involved in the security authorization process, but none of the window modules or the entertainment system or the TCCM, HVAC or liftgate is required.

I got one chance to mess with it before I needed to get to work this morning. I completely unplugged splice pack SP306 (the one under the carpet flap under the rear passenger seat) and IT STARTED and drove perfectly. No more messed up lights on the display either. It tries to lock the doors about five times when above 10 mph and it's now displaying "Driver 1". This means one of the modules connected at splice pack SP306 isn't speaking the same language or I have a short/bad ground. It also means I've lost all function of anything that is connected to that splice pack. I'll start checking it by jumpering different cables later tonight after work. I've downloaded the manuals so I know which color wire goes to which module (Thanks Mooseman). I'm just happy it's running again. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll post pictures tonight.

Edit: Can I connect my cheapy multimeter to each wire at SP306 to check for a short to ground? Or might that fry a module because it's a 9V battery multimeter?
 
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chethro

Member
Jun 15, 2013
33
My electronic ghost has been with me for 6 years. It rears its head a couple of times a year. My latest fix was cleaning corroded points on the instrument cluster circuit board. Its easy to pull the gauge cluster and check for problems on the rear side circuit board.

So far, my weird problems have not re-surfaced. You can search my threads and replies for the things I have done to try and eliminate this problem. In all of it, the circuit board is the only thing I ever found that had a problem I could see.

Keep us updated on what you find and how your troubleshooting progresses.

Good luck!
 

redleg6

Member
Apr 10, 2012
686
that sounds so strange makes me wonder when it will happen to me...not related to recent rain I assume (I have a small leak near the driver footwell somewhere)
 

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
redleg6 said:
that sounds so strange makes me wonder when it will happen to me...not related to recent rain I assume (I have a small leak near the driver footwell somewhere)

Update: I determined which module was causing the issues by checking all the modules. It's the DVD player. Yeah, I know, weird. I don't see any leaks so I don't think it's due to the rain. At first when I was testing all the different modules at that splice pack I couldn't find anything wrong. So I plugged it back in. About a mile down the road it went crazy again so I pulled over. I immediately started testing all the connections and any time the DVD player is connected to the data wire, I can't start it. I removed that wire from the splice pack and it has driven flawlessly both last night and this morning.

Now the problem is: do I care enough to try to find where the short/bad ground is? I tried following that wire but lost it under the carpet in a large bundle. I think I've used the rear DVD player all of twice in the last couple years.
 
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C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
dfc739 said:
Now the problem is: do I care enough to try to find where the short/bad ground is? I tried following that wire but lost it under the carpet in a large bundle. I think I've used the rear DVD player all of twice in the last couple years.

Good hunting! I think you answered your question. If it were mine and I used it, I'd fix it. Otherwise, let it ride, man. :wootwoot:
 

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
I know this is long overdue, but between a new job and corresponding move to a new state life has been a little busy to say the least. I also let my mom borrow my TB while her transmission was being rebuilt since I have a company car.

I decided to yank (quite literally) down the DVD player. After loosening the four 10mm bolts, you can pull down on the back and it was designed very nicely to hang there.

http://imgur.com/lBo7NdV

I immediately spotted the problem: there is a sharp edge of sheet metal that cut into the data wire since there wasn't anything protecting it.

http://imgur.com/daovjER

I fixed it up with some liquid electrical tape and plastic wire loom. Put everything back together and voila! Works like a charm!

http://imgur.com/zXwxR1P
 

customheating

Member
Jan 20, 2019
2
southern indiana
dfc 739 i hope your still around in 2019. my 04 envoy does the EXACT same thing, i pulled the cap off the plug under back passenger seat ,and at least we can drive it,and unknown driver went away. you tested and found dvd short,well mine doesnt have the dvd player, i was hoping you could tell me how you check this splice kit to find my issue, im good with a meter, would love to know my culprit
 

littleblazer

Member
Jul 6, 2014
9,267
dfc 739 i hope your still around in 2019. my 04 envoy does the EXACT same thing, i pulled the cap off the plug under back passenger seat ,and at least we can drive it,and unknown driver went away. you tested and found dvd short,well mine doesnt have the dvd player, i was hoping you could tell me how you check this splice kit to find my issue, im good with a meter, would love to know my culprit
First, holy thread revival. You may get more answers if you link this thread while starting a new one.

Second, I actually had this happen to my escalade yesterday. No cabin lights, remote didn't work, dash doing the same thing etc... I hit the power button on my radio though and everything came back to life. If I had to speculate, you have the Bose system right? I'd wager if that is the case you may be best tracking the wires from the bose amp for data. Mine only does this when its freezing outside.
 
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customheating

Member
Jan 20, 2019
2
southern indiana
wow,ththasfonr replying so much, hey I wanted to say yes, your correct, it has the bose stereo. I will sure inspect the wiring going to the amp. can you please tell me where the amp is located, please. one more tidbit, i noticed around when this 1st started, there was water in my drivers door. it was alot, i actuallt drilled a hole in the bottom to drain it. I had heard the drivers door wiring having issues,can cause it to act crazy like mine. i know on my module under passenger rear seat, what color wire does what, but can you tell me how to test which item is causing this? for instance if i cut the wire going in the plug,that goes to the driver door,then push my connector block back on, and see if it says unknown driver or not. then wire nut the wire back together. would this be a way to trace what causes my unknown driver, when the block is plugged in???any help is appreciated
 

Mramses

Member
Jul 19, 2020
322
17176352
wow,ththasfonr replying so much, hey I wanted to say yes, your correct, it has the bose stereo. I will sure inspect the wiring going to the amp. can you please tell me where the amp is located, please. one more tidbit, i noticed around when this 1st started, there was water in my drivers door. it was alot, i actuallt drilled a hole in the bottom to drain it. I had heard the drivers door wiring having issues,can cause it to act crazy like mine. i know on my module under passenger rear seat, what color wire does what, but can you tell me how to test which item is causing this? for instance if i cut the wire going in the plug,that goes to the driver door,then push my connector block back on, and see if it says unknown driver or not. then wire nut the wire back together. would this be a way to trace what causes my unknown driver, when the block is plugged in???any help is appreciated
[/QUOTE
This will be long, so please bear with me.

I was doing some grocery shopping earlier tonight and decided to make one last stop. I jumped back in my car, started it up, and left the parking lot. I was cruising about 30 when first my ABS and Brake lights lit up. About a second later my DIC stated "Unknown Driver". Then all the lights started going crazy on my dash. I decided to pull over ASAP and shut if off thinking maybe it needs to restart or something. I started it back up but all the gauges were still messed up and lights were lit up. Here is a picture of what I saw:

View attachment 29184

Tachometer and speedometer were still working but none of the others were. I replaced all my stepper motors two years ago, so they should be good. I figured, hey, I'll disconnect the battery and let the computer do a reset. BAD FRIENDLY IDEA. I came back out a few minutes later and reconnected the battery. Now when I turn the key the dash lights up with "Unknown Driver", ABS/Brake/Airbag/Battery/SES are lit, but turning to the start position will not crank. The battery is good and I changed it a couple months ago when the other battery went dead and tested bad at Autozone. I pulled and reseated the starter relay to no avail.

I started looking around and found this thread: http://gmtnation.com/f23/wierd-electrical-issue-lots-stuff-stopped-working-today-3523/ which is pretty much spot on for my issues. However, I have taken off and cleaned almost every single ground I can find. I've cleaned up four or five under the hood, the interior master ground on the passenger side of the tranny hump, and the ground just behind the driver's side strut tower that I believe is the ABS ground. My car did almost exactly the same thing as the video posted by Spalding1028 in that thread except he could restart his and the lights would reset.

Ok, here are the gritty details:
I haven't had any problems recently and haven't touched anything electrical. I did notice one of my Moog sway bar end links I just put on a year ago was starting to clunk a couple days ago and I replaced my rear diff fluid last Saturday
Megafuse has continuity and I know not to use it as a jumping point
Headlights work, domelights work and come on after removing the key from the ignition or opening a rear door- not a front door, fan works, radio doesn't come on
Windows don't work from the driver's or passenger's front doors but the rear door windows do work when activated at the rear doors. In fact everything I tried on the drivers door seems dead (windows, heated seat, locks)
All functions on the driver's power seat work (up/down, forward/backward, lumbar, etc.)
I've tried unplugging and plugging back in all the electrical connectors I could find (in case it's a little corrosion)
Key FOB does not work- I must manually unlock and lock all doors. I'm just glad my liftgate was in the locked position when it decided to do this because I don't know how to lock it without the electronics.
I don't think it's the ignition switch as it did it while I was driving and I have never had an issue (~2 years of ownership) with being flaky, but the possibility is there

I have a multimeter and a decent set of tools. Right now I'm leaning toward the data splice packs and it being either the ABS or driver's door module. It also looks like chethro had similar issues with the lift gate module. I had to leave it in the grocery store parking lot and walk the 3 miles back home so I won't get to try anything new until the morning. Any other thoughts? Thanks
Amigo
This will be long, so please bear with me.

I was doing some grocery shopping earlier tonight and decided to make one last stop. I jumped back in my car, started it up, and left the parking lot. I was cruising about 30 when first my ABS and Brake lights lit up. About a second later my DIC stated "Unknown Driver". Then all the lights started going crazy on my dash. I decided to pull over ASAP and shut if off thinking maybe it needs to restart or something. I started it back up but all the gauges were still messed up and lights were lit up. Here is a picture of what I saw:

View attachment 29184

Tachometer and speedometer were still working but none of the others were. I replaced all my stepper motors two years ago, so they should be good. I figured, hey, I'll disconnect the battery and let the computer do a reset. BAD FRIENDLY IDEA. I came back out a few minutes later and reconnected the battery. Now when I turn the key the dash lights up with "Unknown Driver", ABS/Brake/Airbag/Battery/SES are lit, but turning to the start position will not crank. The battery is good and I changed it a couple months ago when the other battery went dead and tested bad at Autozone. I pulled and reseated the starter relay to no avail.

I started looking around and found this thread: http://gmtnation.com/f23/wierd-electrical-issue-lots-stuff-stopped-working-today-3523/ which is pretty much spot on for my issues. However, I have taken off and cleaned almost every single ground I can find. I've cleaned up four or five under the hood, the interior master ground on the passenger side of the tranny hump, and the ground just behind the driver's side strut tower that I believe is the ABS ground. My car did almost exactly the same thing as the video posted by Spalding1028 in that thread except he could restart his and the lights would reset.

Ok, here are the gritty details:
I haven't had any problems recently and haven't touched anything electrical. I did notice one of my Moog sway bar end links I just put on a year ago was starting to clunk a couple days ago and I replaced my rear diff fluid last Saturday
Megafuse has continuity and I know not to use it as a jumping point
Headlights work, domelights work and come on after removing the key from the ignition or opening a rear door- not a front door, fan works, radio doesn't come on
Windows don't work from the driver's or passenger's front doors but the rear door windows do work when activated at the rear doors. In fact everything I tried on the drivers door seems dead (windows, heated seat, locks)
All functions on the driver's power seat work (up/down, forward/backward, lumbar, etc.)
I've tried unplugging and plugging back in all the electrical connectors I could find (in case it's a little corrosion)
Key FOB does not work- I must manually unlock and lock all doors. I'm just glad my liftgate was in the locked position when it decided to do this because I don't know how to lock it without the electronics.
I don't think it's the ignition switch as it did it while I was driving and I have never had an issue (~2 years of ownership) with being flaky, but the possibility is there

I have a multimeter and a decent set of tools. Right now I'm leaning toward the data splice packs and it being either the ABS or driver's door module. It also looks like chethro had similar issues with the lift gate module. I had to leave it in the grocery store parking lot and walk the 3 miles back home so I won't get to try anything new until the morning. Any other thoughts? Thanks
Pudiera ayudarme ayudarme a resolver mi caso es similar. Por favor
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,646
Ottawa, ON
Translated:
Friend

Could you help me help me solve my case is similar. Please

Welcome.

First of all, as per the rules, all posts on this forum must be in English. Second, without more details, we cannot help you.

This subject has been discussed quite a bit. Apart from this thread, there a quite a few others that you could read through:

I would suggest that you read through them first and if you cannot resolve it, that you start a new thread with more details such as year and model, symptoms, what lead to it and what you have done to try and remedy it.
 

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