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Electronic Gremlins - Electrical Problems That Are Driving You Crazy



  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Actually, I just went to the site, and they have the electrical schematics for your vehicle you can download. There is aspecifically a section for headlights, which includes a diagnostic section based on your symptoms.

    You should have everything you need to isolate and fix your problem.
  • I have had problems with the interior lights flashing, then I couldn't turn them off, so I took out all the bulbs so my battery wouldn't be drained. Yesterday I was driving and all of a sudden lost power, including my steering. I coasted to the side of the road. My headlights and dashboard still worked. (I do have plenty of gas in tank.) I waited a minute or so, then restarted the car. I drove it home but now I don't know what to do. Why would the car lose power while driving? This is the worst piece of crap car I have ever owned! :lemon: :mad:
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Well, in the GM world, especially Cadillac of about this age, there is a problem with Crank Position Sensors (Cads have two). When they have a problem, it will totally kill the motor. And many times the car will restart in a short time. And, it does not set any check engine code/s.

    But, no idea if this your problem.

    Oh, and a battery cable that failed will also shut the car down.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    It could be caused by a whole bunch of different things, ranging from battery to cabling, to relays, to ignition switch, to computer. Get it to the dealership or good mechanic to troubleshoot.
  • mblbmblb Posts: 1
    The problem I have is a battery drain. First the DRL stopped working, narrowed that down to the diode under the dash (removed diode, jumped the terminals with a fuse). I disconnected the negative battery cable and clipped a test light to the cable and put the pointed end on the neg battery terminal making sure no contact to the cable and battery directly except through the test light, viola I had light that fluctuated from dim to off, quickly, in no appearant rhythm. Next I kept hearing the remote function activation module clicking. When fuse 19 was removed the clicking stopped and the light went out, so I removed the RFAM, no change. The fuse controls the radio/battery as per the fuse cover. Everything works fine, door locks, windows, seats, mirrors, radio, cd player (when fuse is in place), dome lights, head lights, A/C, heater blower motor. Any ideas what would cause a low level "short" that won't blow the fuse but drain the battery down? any help is appreciated. P.S. the fuse is a 15 amp rated fuse which is what called for in that socket. Thanks.
  • Ok, so I just gifted myself a swank new Z2. Was wondering if I need to buy any expensive accessories to protect it? You know like a leather pouch or plastic screen shield.
  • cardv1cardv1 Posts: 4
    Here’s the deal: you don’t have to buy any protection for your DVD, but you’re better off doing so. You probably spent a small fortune on it, so spend a tiny bit more to prevent it from getting scratched or spoilt. Try, they have some good protectors that are not expensive either.
  • My '91 toyota celica keeps blowing alternator fuses. I took the alternator to advance auto and they said that its fine. I also tried replacing the fuse with the alternator unplugged, but when I reconnected the battery, the fuse blew right away. Sounds like a bad ground or a short, but does anyone have any idea where it may be?
  • Just to update: I replaced the combination turn signal/beam control switch (the unit includes the signal arm and plugs into the quick-connects in the steering column) and the problem was solved. BTW, the part sold under the Mercury Villager (Motorcraft) number is the same as the Nissan. Good luck finding a new one. Try eBay. :shades:
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I don't have a set of electrical schematics for your vehicle, which one would really need to help find this problem without randomly guessing.

    The alternator fuse does usually protect other circuits besides the alternator, let me try to give you an analogy which isn't the greatest, but you may get the concept. Lets assume you have a savings and checking account at a bank. Your paycheck normally gets deposited into your checking account, and you pay your utility bills each month directly from your checking account. In a normal month, you may have zero dollars transferred between your savings and checking account, but lots of activity within your checking account.

    That fuse is between the battery (your savings account), and the checking account (your alternator). Hanging off on that alternator circuit side could be a number of different fused circuits, all capable of drawing off current (those utility bills). As an illustrative example only, lets say one of them might be a fused headlight circuit. When those headlights are on and the engine is running, the power is coming directly from the alternator, it does not pass thru that 90? amp alternator fuse. Only if the engine wasn't running and the alternator wasn't making power, would the required power come from the battery.

    So the current going thru that 90? amp fuse, is more like the current that is charging back up the battery. Back to the analogy, when you buy some furniture you withdraw money out of your savings, and then over the course of the next couple of months you slowly fill your savings account back up.

    In a vehicle, some circuits are wired on the battery side (typically like the starter motor), and some are wired on the alternator side of that fuse. So if you had electrical schematics, you'd be able to see which fused circuits are on the alternator side of that fuse. You should be tripping the individual fuses first before being able to draw the 90? amp and blow that alternator fuse.

    If it was my vehicle without electrical schematics, here's the stuff I would probably do:
    - would suspect first, anything added electrically to the vehicle, where someone might have spliced into some wires (added in a new stereo, trailer hitch, alarm system, HID lights?)
    - inspect for corrosion on cabling, either on the positive or grounds, at battery connections, starter connections, fuselink box connections.
    - I would then suspect electrical things that 'wear' with age. The ignition switch, which on an old vehicle has seen many cycles of turning off and on, and may have developed an internal short. The cig socket, which can get prongs bent inside, wiring on the drivers door jamb or trunk which goes thru bending opening and closing, etc.
    - the next diagnostic technique I'd try is to carefully label and pull all the fuses I could find (both engine compartment and cabin. Make sure you know exactly which fuse came out of which slot, and take close up pictures if need be. Once all the fuses were out, replace the 90A alternator fuse and hopefully it won't blow. Begin putting the fuses back, starting up in the engine compartment first as those tend to be the main circuits. If your 90A fuse then blows, then you have focused in on the problem area. This can be a very labor intensive approach.

    A set of electrical schematics could save you hours and hours of work, so personally, I'd be buying that first.

    The real point of this post, expand your diagnostics beyond thinking you have an 'alternator' problem.
  • artnjartnj Posts: 4
    For 6 months or so, once a month, when it rained HARD for HOURS (not in light rain), and my car (2004 Accord EX) was outside, I would experience the nav unit (which includes the radio and clock) quickly flickering off and on until the car warmed up. My mechanic told me "well, you could bring it in and pay me to fish around, but it doesnt seem worth it. Wait and see if it gets worse."

    Last Friday, torrential rains, car outside all day. Nav unit was again flickering on and off, with greater rapidity than I have seen. Over the course of 15 minutes (before car warmed up/dryed out I guess), it probably flickered on and off 75 times. Maybe 15 times, the flicker was accompanied by the ABS and Brake indicator lights on the dash flickering on the dash itself (i.e. as far as I know, it was just the indicator lights flickering), and the gas cutting out. These are super quick flickers, the gas cutting out was noticeable, but over so quickly it didnt seem overly dangerous and I crossed my fingers and drove home.

    I am very concerned I got ripped on the repair work that was done. The tech essentially admitted to me that there was no thorough testing of the electrical system. Sounded like he stopped at a visual inspection of the wires/connections. He noticed that by jiggling the key in the slot, he could make the power flicker and decided the ignition switch was bad. He recovered a code that had led to the check enginge light being on, which reported a problem with the main computer control system, which he said was hopefully just from the power spike. He reported that he "used a hose" on the car but was unable to recreate the problem. He took the car for a "test drive" today (no rain today.) So "maybe" it was the ignition switch. I am getting a bill for $390 for this!

    Hope I'm wrong, but my guess is that the next time the car is out in/after heavy rain, I'm going to be cursing up a storm when the problems reoccur. Most of my drive to work is a busy highway, so its probably not to safe either.

    What the heck? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
  • i have a 88 ford ranger 4/4. we put a new battery in it and starter and drove it home. my son drove it up the road, now it wont start.rolls over but wont fire. we have replaced ingnition key cylinder, distributer. distributer cap and rotor button, coil, plugs wires. we have also had the ignition module checked 3 tmes they say its good. it rolls over but still wont start. i was told it was in the distibuter so thats why i bought the new one, but it still wont fire. please help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,959
    Well you've been to the pyschics and now it's time to go to a real mechanic.

    Has anyone tested for the following?

    1. Is there a spark at the plug when the engine cranks?

    2. Is there a pulse at the injectors when you crank?

    3. Is there fuel pressure in the fuel rail?

    Any good mechanic has the testing tools for these 3 tests, and the "yes/no" answer will tell you which way to proceed toward a solution.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • m1966m1966 Posts: 1
    Passenger electric window stopped working on my 1999 voyager a while ago, Recently driver electric window stopped working. it looks like Chrysler have some major electric problems, I woul appreciate any feedback.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Does the passenger window work from 'either' the drivers switch, or the passengers switch?

    Sounds like you need to get to the underside of your drivers switch to check whether it is supplying voltage to the window regulator/motor assemblies, or not.
  • jwvolsfanjwvolsfan Posts: 4
    I had both front axles replaced in Jan 09--since then I have had various electrical problems. First the anti lock brakes light began coming on intermittently--now on continuously. Then the turn signals/emergency flashers would only work intermittently, now not at all. Then two days ago the battery light and emer brake light came on. After driving it home and parking it in the garage it would not start. I took it too a mechanice who replaced the alternator. The battery and parking brake light went out, but the anti lock brakes light is still on and the turn signals still do not work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • jwvolsfanjwvolsfan Posts: 4
    were you able to resolve your problems?
  • Sounds familiar cdonovan...I had the same happen in both an 05 XC and now a c70. :lemon: How did your issue resolve?
  • anita3anita3 Posts: 19
    Car sat for 2 yrs with blown head gasket d/t bad water pump. D/T having oil and h2o in oil pan the cams rusted very bad in engine. have together..all torqued to specs. but wont start. I have replaced: plugs, coil boots, coil, temp. ( engine ) sensor,crank sensor, cam sensor, pcv valve, timing chain, timing guides, cam gears, timing chain tensioner, new heads, new cams, new lifters, new rollers, new intake gasket set, new auto shut down relay, fuel pump relay.. Car wont start... any idea's what i need to do to get the car to start.. does the computer need to be flashed ? Timing Chain, cams are 100% in line. Anything would help at this point... :sick:
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Check compression in each cylinder.

    Check for spark.

    How did you get rid of all of that bad gas? Any rust on the main crank bearings?
  • anita3anita3 Posts: 19
    i added cfoam to the tank, a whole can.
    compression should be good .. is all new and torqued

    what about the sentry key imobilizer module in the ignition switch ? its a round ring module.. would that have something to do with it ?
  • anita3anita3 Posts: 19
    ok will re check everything over again.... thank you for your quick response to my question :)
  • anita3anita3 Posts: 19
    I have rechecked everything.. and it still dont want to start... sounds like it wants to but dont turn over .. any other suggestions ?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    What is the compression in each cylinder.......?

    Are you getting sparking at each of the spark plugs.......?

    What is the fuel pressure...............? Are the plugs wet with fuel when you take them out of the head?

    And just to clairfy, when you say it sounds like it wants to turn over, but doesn' you mean that the starter is engaged, the starter is turning the crankshaft of the engine, but it is not starting to run....correct?
  • anita3anita3 Posts: 19
    thanks for helping me on this misfit lol i have taken it to the dealer , need new pcm.. something about the emission was set for California and im in ohio... they will fix problem.. and that will be the end of this nightmare :D
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    something about the emission was set for California and im in ohio

    If this was what was actually said - it's BS.

    What, you can't drive a car from California to Ohio?

    And, by 2000, all cars probably met the California emission standards.
  • Hi Guys...I have a good one here that I'm hoping you can figure out for me.

    I have a 1996 Jimmy that I put an electric over hydraulic plow on. I put a second battery in it to help with the draw. I used it all last winter and when everything was running (lights, defroster, rear defroster, rear wiper, front wipers...when I actuated the would draw down to 9 volts at an idle to 1000 rpm. I decided to put on a larger output alternator for this coming winter and bought a 155 amp unit and also the recommended beefier wiring kit with a 175 amp fuse in it. I installed everything and ran the vehicle with everything going and actuated the plow several times. It still drew down to 10 volts but recovered much quicker. I shut it off and since it's just used for plowing, I didn't start it again for a week or so.

    Recently, I started her up and immediately noticed that the voltmeter was registering about 9.5 volts with no load on anything. I called Napa and had them ship another one. I took my new one in and the guy bench tested it and said it was good. He also tested the new one they got for a replacement and found it to be bad so he ordered a third one. I installed this one and it worked fine. I started it up the next 3 days in a row and it was charging just fine...but the 4th day, it did the same thing. When I started it up, it wasn't charging. Something happened to both alternators between the time I shut off the vehicle and the alternator was the next time I started it and it wasn't.

    I believe I should have 12 volts at the charge cable end at the alternator at all times...I do. Also, the "L" terminal coming out of the harness at the alternator should have 12 volts when the ignition is in the RUN or START position...I can't confirm that. I don't have a test meter...just a 12 volt trouble light and I'm not sure I'm making a good connection to that small pin but I had these conditions before I installed the second alternator and it worked for 4 days.

    I don't understand what has happened...why the new alternator will work for a while and then just stop working while the engine isn't even running. I just replaced the original 105 amp alternator with a higher output one...and I installed the wire upgrade kit that goes with it. Both of the alternators have "failed" since doing the changeover. I have rechecked my ground and all wiring. Something is happening after running and then turning off the vehicle...with the first one it was the second time I started it up and it just wasn't charging. The second alternator worked for 4 start-ups and on the fifth...just wasn't charging. Neither one of them "quit" AFTER starting the engine.

    What does that "L" pin go to? Does it have something to do with "exciting" the regulator? I think I read that it could have a resistor in the line somewhere. What does it look like, where is it located, and how do I test it? Can you enlighten and help me...PLEASE? :confuse:

  • I took my nearly 150,000 mile car to this terrible mechanic because the car kept dying, no warning it would just die. Got a new battery and a new alternator but no luck. They said it must be electrical. So after 2 days of them "fixing" it, they said it was a fog light that was bad, they unplugged it, and I was good to go. Well, it runs but now I have the most random issues. First the remote didn't work, turns out they didn't plug back in the wires in the trunk, so i fixed that. Now the air conditioner will blow on full for awhile, then self adjust to low and go back in forth, although the fan meter says it's on high the entire time. When it's 103 out, I really need it to work. The other issue is the radio will work, then the front speakers will cut out and then come back on...over and over. PLEASE HELP!!!! I won't take my car back to that mechanic and I'm being quoted $100 for anyone to even look at it.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I'd take it to the dealership, where you know they would have the electrical skills, schematics, and any test equipment for your model.

    The hardest problems to find are randomly intermittent ones. Your radio and a/c problems sound like they occur fairly regularly, so they should be easy for a good electrical guy to zero right in on the problem.

    If the fog lights were factory, hard to imagine they would create some sort of electrical problem that was causing your vehicle to die. If someone else installed them aftermarket, then no telling what they did to the wiring to get power.
  • Thank you. I will most likely have to do that. I'm sure the genious that worked on it didn't plug something back in very well, but like you said, without that knowledge there is no telling what it is.

    They are factory lights, but for some reason the light case will hold water. I guess there is a crack or something, but I can't see it.

    I'm trying to keep the car going for at least another year, but I was just told the radiator has a hairline crack and the cad. converter is going out. I do the regular maintance, and I know it's a good car, I guess the one I bought just isn't wanting to hold out.
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