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Electronic Gremlins - Electrical Problems That Are Driving You Crazy



  • microrepairmicrorepair Member Posts: 508
    When I use the CD changer (trunk mounted) and the ambient temperature is above 75-80 degrees, I can hear a steady 15-20 hz clicking type noise that is NOT related to the engine speed but gets louder as I turn up the volume control. The cable is a copper cable (not fiber optic) to the head unit. This is not a changer problem. The first changer, which was new, did the same thing when the temperatures were above 80 degrees. That changer broke down after 2 1/2 years and I installed a used one until I could find a new one at a good price. The used one did the same thing. I then found a new one at a great price and the new one (#3) does the same thing except at a slightly lower temp range.
    After much thinking about this problem and analyzing the situation, it appears that it is more likely to hapen when I am in heavy traffic. This indicates that the engine compartment is heating up and possibly causing an electonics module to generate this noise which is being picked up by the copper cable to the trunk mounted CD. A few minutes after the vehicle has been moving at a reasonable speed (40-50 mph), the noise reduces in volume or disappears completely if the outside temp is at the low end of the range.
    If I turn off the engine while there is noise coming through the CD and run the CD on "accessory", there is NO noise.. So it is related to engine electronics being active..
    Any thoughts on this or do any other possibilities come to mind ?
  • jrichards72jrichards72 Member Posts: 1
    I was hit in the front of my car by a guy backing up and he took off. Ever since my right turn signal and brake lights won't work. When I turn on the right signal it makes a buzzing sound only when the lights are off. And my abs and parking brake lights won't go off my dash. Can anyone help me with this?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and maybe even a bad ground. you are just going to have to slug through this one line by line looking for damage, I am afraid. go after the grounds first, an ineffective ground will hose up lots of stuff.

    also, replace any bulbs that are out or questionable.

    you need to have the ABS system looked at if you don't find ground issues. I suspect you were whanged in the right front from the description of problems... the ABS sensor for that wheel in particular could be hammered, if you have an oscilloscope you should be able to read pulses as you spin the wheel by hand. if not, the sensor is sick and needs replacement.

    you should also have the front end alignment checked. keep the bills in one place and submit to insurance for reimbursement.
  • shambroshambro Member Posts: 1
    I have a 92 maxima my dome light fuse keeps blowing when i just touch the fuse box with the fuse all the bulbs are out of the car who can tell me what the problem is? Someone told me it could be the dome light dim relay if so where is it at. Also my speedometer is reading higher than it should at different times could you give me some suggestion on what the problem is Thanks Randy My e-mail is [email protected]
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    flyrod1869 said: It locks the doors by itself, usually it locks/unlocks the doors repeatedly, when driving down the road, even when nobody is in it!

    Boy that is possessed! I've never seen anything like it - a van driving down the road with nobody in it!

    Seriously, though, try leaving all remote controls behind and see if the problem does away. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as the remote control being somewhat stuck. Worth a try before taking the van apart.
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    One way to diagnose a circuit that instantly blows fuses is to replace the fuse with a lamp. I have a lamp cord with two U typw wire crimp connectors on it. I cut one side of the U terminal so it will fit in the socket of mini and maxi fuses. A headlight works best for the lamp and this limits current to about 5A maximum. Most normal circuits draw enough current to cause the lamp to lightly glow. With a long cord, you can place the lamp where you can easily see it and then you can wiggle wires and look for a change in the lamp. With a sensitive digital voltmeter you can even check voltages. Voltage in millivolts gets lover closer to the short.
  • johnwlanejohnwlane Member Posts: 1
    My right side turn signals do not work. The green arrow on my (1987 Cadillac DeVille) dash stays lit and does not flash. The left side works fine. I checked the bulbs in the right front section and they both are okay. As for the right rear, I cannot figure out how to get access to it, Can you help???????
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Remove 1 retaining screw at the bottom of the tail light housing bezel and remove the bezel.
    Remove 1 retaining screw at the bottom of the tail light housing and remove the housing.
    Rotate tail/signal bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise and remove from housing.
    Replace the bulb.
    Reverse steps to install.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Thanks once again Alcan!

    Shifty the Host
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    I am considering pursuing lemon law arbitration on my 2002 Buick and was wondering if anyone can give me some advice...

    Since I purchased my Buick in July, 2001 I have experienced malfunctions of the two-driver memory settings (mirror won't return to pre-set position), automatic door lock/unlock feature, rear sonar back-up system, compass, and the door lock horn chirp feature.

    According to my State Lemon Law, four unsuccessful repair attempts to remedy a "non-conformity" qualifies a vehicle as a "lemon."

    My question is this:

    Can I legitimately argue that all of the above features are functions of the Body Control Module, and thereby conclude that all of my service visits were unsuccessful attempts to repair the same problem?
  • justahangn3justahangn3 Member Posts: 4
    On my 95 Z34, the temperature gauge gets hot then cold, the needle moves all over the place. I just replaced the water pump and the thermostat. Is there a sensor that may need to be changed out???
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    If the thermostat is put in backwards, it will do that. A pretty easy mistake.
  • ryanfiala81ryanfiala81 Member Posts: 35
    I just replaced my LeSabre's alternator yesterday, hoping that the car would stop charging up in the red (according to my battery volt gauge). No such luck. Furthermore, volt gauge will suddenly drop down to around 13, and the car will die at idle (when in Park) or when rolling at 5-10 mph (although sometimes the engine tries to compensate and the RPM spikes to about 2000 before it dies. What key electrical components under my hood (other than the alternator) might explain this malfunction? Any suggestions welcome.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Check the positive battery cable connection to the battery. If it's a double cable, they've had problems with corrosion between the 2 cable ends.
  • justahangn3justahangn3 Member Posts: 4
    No, not before replacing water pump. On this type it has two bleeder valves. I bled it once after replacing thermostat. I did it a second time this weekend. I think that may have done it. Thanks.
  • ray80ray80 Member Posts: 1,655
    My Grand Am Anti-Theft System light has been coming on intermittently (with either of 2 keys being used). Is this the kind of thing that could leave me stranded and should be diagnosed and corrected ASAP, or can I wait a bit for a convenient time to take in in?
  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 9,766
    If the ATS activates, you will have trouble starting the car. Try cleaning the keys and inside the ignition switch (compressed air perhaps).
  • sillygirl3315sillygirl3315 Member Posts: 1
    The headlights on my 1996 Pontiac Sunfire keeps burning out the headlights. I have replaced the bulbs within days of each other, there are no signs of moisture, or cracks anywhere.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    What do you think techs? Check the headlight relay?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I would like to know the running voltage on the car battery. halogens don't like overvoltage at all.
  • alanjohn1alanjohn1 Member Posts: 2
    Need Suggestions-Two Cadillac Dealers unable to repair electrical problems.
    Do you know of a consultant or company who would match my repair records with my GMPD extended warranty contract to give me a roadmap, so I could talk with GMPD Warranty Department about the continued electrical problems and the repairs I already paid on my 1999 Cadillac 4Door Sedan Deville? Who should I talk to with the extended warranty division of GMPD?
    The Cadillac dealer who repaired my car, which had another problem this week, the dealer repaired 12 times before this week, the service manager for the dealer told me today the car has electrical problems, the he can't repair the car.
    What type of settlements have you heard about
    with GM Cadillac Division Warranty Department?
    Desperately in need of suggestions!
  • emdgzmnemdgzmn Member Posts: 2
    I was wondering if anyone had input or a similar problem. I don't know if this incidence is related to the problem, but the onset is coincidental. The other night caravanning behind my maniacal boss, he made a sudden move into another lane so as not to rear end the vehicle in front of him. I reacted and in attempt to stop myself from smashing the tail of either car I slammed on the brakes. Luckily all was safe. The car functioned fine the remainder of the ride and my travel back home.

    The next morning after I released the emergency brake (I have manual transmission), the brake light turned off as usual and then several seconds later turned back on. I checked the brake again to ensure it was released all the way. Sure enough the light persisted. I began to drive without resistance as if the brake were on. Throughout the first ten minutes or so the light randomly turned on and off. Then after awhile it ceased to light. This happened on the way home as well.

    This morning similar occurrence but less. On my way home from work no flicker whatsoever. The light cut off when I released the brake and never illuminated again.

    The bahavior of it seemed more like an electrical problem than a mechanical, but you never can be too sure when it comes to the brakes.

    I brake fluid is at an acceptable level.

    Any insight into the demonic brake light???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You might check if the plunger in the fluid reservoir that monitors brake fluid level is sticking. It seems too coincidental that this light would go on during a sudden stop, which causes the fluid to surge forward.

    Otherwise, if this light also monitors ABS, on most systems you can scan the ABS system for an error code I believe.
  • rasuprasup Member Posts: 136
    I have a question. What effect does attaching a tool like the car polisher or heater etc to a lighter socket or 12 V outlet have?. Does it drain the battery?. Does it affect the alternator in the long run?.
    Experienced user may please give their opinion. My car is a Suzuki Verona 6 cylinder and has a 12 V outlet and lighter socket.
    By the way the Car is doing excellent after 500 miles.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    "What effect does attaching a tool like the car polisher or heater etc to a lighter socket or 12 V outlet have?. Does it drain the battery?."


    "Does it affect the alternator in the long run?."

    It puts additional load on the alternater when the vehicle's started afterwards, and depending on how much the battery was discharged it might cause an alternator overheat condition.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You really don't want to use the alternator to "charge up" a severely discharged battery. That will kill it eventually. I can't imagine a 12V buffer or heater having much power anyway--I would think you'd have much better results using 120V equipment.
  • sixdegrees1sixdegrees1 Member Posts: 1
    My 900S with 50K starts intermitently and has left me stranded 4 times. It has been back to 2 different dealers in 7 weeks. They cannot figure out the problem. It seems to be electrical (that's my guess) The dealer has replaced the ignition switch, the fuel pump and crank position sensor, and the car still only starts when it feels like it. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    specifically, I am referring to the ground connections on both high and low current stuff, and the body harness connectors for the low current stuff. when you put the connectors back together, squirt a little dielectric grease on each pin. when you put the high current ground bolts and lugs back together, use a longer bolt, lockwashers between all metal surfaces, and coat each metal surface with a little dielectric grease before wrenching the thing back into place.

    works wonders for intermittents. don't forget to lift the battery ground cable first, and don't forget to figure out what all your radio codes, etc. are and write 'em down if you have "theft prevented" electronics.
  • jrc346jrc346 Member Posts: 337
    Could it be a bad relay? I have heard of similar stories from people who have had bad fuel pump or other relays. I don't know, it may be worth a look.
  • elegantpenlorielegantpenlori Member Posts: 1
    Hope someone out there can help me... I own a 95 1/2 Rodeo, when it's raining out something must be getting wet or damp and the car totally cuts out whiling driving and then recovers for a second then cuts out again, if I am at a light it will stall. The Isuzu dealer can't find the problem and says the only way to find it is to start replacing parts and it's a hit or miss proposition. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    spray a light water mist about the engine compartment with the engine running (not into alternators, air intakes, etc.) and see if you can make it fail. if so, look at the stuff in that area.

    my personal favorite weather issues usually clean up when I soak up a rag with windshield cleaner and clean the HV wiring, boots, and coil tops. I also pull each boot and skim the inside with dielectric grease to keep moisture out. works nicely.

    on my fords, with distributorless ignition, I also back out the coil mount screws a little bit and retighten them, to break any corrosion that might exist. if I was a little more energetic, I would take the boogers out and skim them with dielectric grease to prevent corrosion and put 'em back. mind, I have never improved things with the screw routines, but figure it's a good time for a little PM since I'm in the neighborhood.
  • alpinapilotalpinapilot Member Posts: 3
    To anyone who has some knowledge of a Porsche. I have a 944S2 conv't and recently had some work done due to having a run in with a deer. The headlight doors were damaged and as part of the repairs the motor for the doors and the relay on the motor were replaced. The problem is the doors are open when the headlight switch is off and closed when the the switch is on. Just the opposite for normal function. Any suggestions to how to fix the problem. I have tried manually closing the doors, but as soon as power is restored the doors open. Thanks in advance. Ron Lichtenfels
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    that seems the only plausible explanation.
  • alpinapilotalpinapilot Member Posts: 3
    I believed as well as the others who submitted a suggested fix that it was the relay as well. The problem was the headlight doors operated in the reverse, open when lights off and closed when lights on. As it turns out the relay was not the problem, and by the way the connection for the relay can only be inserted one way. The fix was releasing the door linkage (not the right word) from the motor, then allowing power to the motor to have in run thru one phase. I then reconnected the motor to the linkage and everything works fine. The motor somehow was out of phase! Thought you all would like to know. Thanks for your help Ron Lichtenfels
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ah, no fair, you didn't tell us the relay could only be wired one way. I assumed (aha, there's the mistake, Shifty) that they had spliced in a new relay.

    So it was an installation boo-boo. Thanks, I'll remember that one!
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    I guess that is why one should never let any motor have power while it's circuit is being worked on. The same would apply for stepper motors such as those used in blend doors for automatic climate control systems.

    What caused to motor to be out of phase from where the relay expected it to be? Was the battery not disconnected?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I guess it would be like turning off the key while the wiper motor was still cycling and then putting on new wiper arms while the motor was still in the halfway position.
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    ...practices should prevent that. But I can see how it could happen in the circumstances described here.
  • alpinapilotalpinapilot Member Posts: 3
    I believe the replacement motor was installed with the battery power on. However, a couple of fuses were blown and the shop tech was not able to get the headlights to work at all. When I got the car back I discovered after replacing several fuses that the motor worked in reverse. By the way the shop was a body shop and not that familiar with a Porsche. The body work was excellent, but they are definitely not electrical experts.
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    When working on the electrics such as a part replacement, I have been taught to *always* disconnect the battery. Thus, I have never had a problem such as your car did. But I am glad that you were able to solve it.
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    Probably not the problem.

    When the light was removed, it was in the 'open' position.

    When the new one was installed, it was in the 'closed' position.

    Or vice-verse. Wouldn't that do it?

    Or, when battery power is applied, the car assumes the light is in the closed position and it wasn't.

    The above assumptions, etc might be referenced in the owner's manual.
  • gb23278gb23278 Member Posts: 4
    I have an 89 Honda accord LXI and the Front Drivers Window is not going down. I can still get the other windows to go down that are on the switch box just not the drivers window. I had a drivers door from another 89 and I used the window control unit from that and put it in mine, and i also switched out the switch box however I now have the problem again. Any help would be great.
  • chucko3chucko3 Member Posts: 793
    Is it possible that the drivers window switch on the control unit from
    the other 89 does not work. Can you replace the switch box with your original 89 and see if it works?
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    but you may have a window motor pulling more current than the switch can handle. Causes arcing on the switch contacts and an eventual failure.

    Does the window go up and down noticeably slower than the passengers side?
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    I posted this in the Maxima Problems forum, but as I got no response, I thought I'd post it here too. Any help will be appreciated. Here it is:

    I have a 2001 GLE. Here's the problem - when I lift the driver's side window button all the way up (auto mode) the window closes and then goes down a couple of inches. It is as if the window does not recognize it has closed, but instead assumes it hit an obstacle and stops/rolls down a little.

    When lifting that button just a little and holding it there (manual mode) the window closes just fine.

    Does anyone know what might be wrong? How much is this likely to cost to fix at the dealer?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    What happens if you try the auto mode the SECOND time, when the window is a few inches from the top, having come down once already? Will it keep bouncing back down every time?
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Yes. Bounces back the second time too.

    Actually I noticed on a cool day it works fine. Now that it is hot again it bounces every time.

    Thanks for any help Mr_Shiftright!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, I'm not familiar with the electronic device that regulates this safety feature but that's what we need to find.

    If you could pop off the door panel and identify this microswitch or pressure switch or whatever it is, and if we could spray it with a "freezer" aerosol, we could identify if that's the problem.

    Usually, when you temporarily freeze an electronic component, it will fail temporarily and then you know for certain.
  • dahuberdahuber Member Posts: 53
    I have a steady drain on my battery that I can't figure out. Using the test light method on the negative cable and terminal post shows that all of the fuses, relays, and the alternator cable are not the problem. The only thing that makes the test light go out is pulling the 50 Amp battery fuse under the hood.

    Battery cables and connections are all tight. I'm assuming now that the answer is battery related (a short, perhaps), but I don't know where to troubleshoot from here on. Thanks.

    Dave H.
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