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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to throw this out there and never explain again about that "new part same problem issue" and my favorite of all is,
"My check engine light came on", which has never come out of my mouth.

My latest success story is a friend took my advice about his motorcycle that had sat inoperable for several years. Every electrical problem imaginable, a laundry list, unsalvageable pile of iron. I caught him before he ordered a list of parts. Bike cranks right up purrs now and not one light anywhere malfunctions and not one new part was purchased.

Words that have never come out of my mouth, "My check engine light came on..." Driving in swamping, puddled, torrential rain, wetter than wet soaked motor, multiple blizzards in mad weather, scare you to death weather if your car stalls and they do stall in blizzards. Main reason people are scared to drive in blizzards is cars will stall out and no one else is around. Smooth idle all day on my vehicles in all of these conditions. No codes thrown to date on one owner SUV; age 16 with 135,000 miles. Original starter, alternator, fuses, relays, sensors and all other original wiring components. My point being, it was the maintenance I did and not luck.

Electrical System Maintenance Procedure

Step (1) Avoid excessive rain/inclement weather driving and avoid heavy handed spraying with water hose jet nozzles every time the car is washed. My preference is low flow rinsing to clean with liquid waxes only, soap only if very dirty and greasy. If the following steps have been performed, this water encroachment can be mitigated. Say it with me folks, "Nothing electronic works well when wet. Wet circuitry is bad each and every day."

Step (2) Use proper safety equipment. Eye protection. Disposable latex gloves if you care about your hands. Cloth rags that do not create lint are helpful.

Step (3) Disconnect the negative battery terminal

Step (4) Identify each and every harness connection you are comfortable reaching and research how each coupling you see was designed to be released so you will not cause any damage

Step (5) Get your can of Electrical Contact Cleaner. Typically, only older weathered circuits need a very light spray, use spray cleaner sparingly and protect over spray with a small rag. Almost new connections can have oxidation as well and be unable to maintain 100% contact. Electrical connectors can and do drop below 100% for many reasons. The main 2 reasons are either loose/bent contact surfaces or dirt and corrosion/oxidation. If any electrical engineers want to go into specifics on sine wave interruptions at the hertz level for both smooth wave and pulse width modulated wave spikes, then more validation on the importance of dry and well connected circuitry is welcome.

Step (6) Get your tube of Dielectric Tune-Up Grease. Use sparingly on any plug/contact on the vehicle and never use dielectric grease on your battery, Negative (-) ground contacts or Positive (+) lead at the car power block. If you are not sure what I mean, just keep the grease off of anything with large gauge wire, battery side 12V high amp circuits create too much high potential sparking. That does not mean you cannot use it there, you can put it on those battery post connector sparingly. If you grease them excessively on the battery post, put a warning label on your battery "Do not connect this end last when jumping - Fire Hazzard, coating is flammable."


That is all there is to it. Doing this will make you a believer.
I've have never blown a fuse and that is not luck, no water has ever shorted in my system because I greased every contact about 15 years ago. Remember also, the more age a weathered car has, the more corroded connections in places you don't know exist. It is not practical to do every connector except when built, During any service on old or new cars that exposed hidden connections, ignoring this service quick step is almost sacrilegious in my book.

This procedure should also supersede any diagnostic code interpretations or part replacement is circuit subsystems. Remember, a code is nothing more than a pointer to wires in a vehicle. I will admit some parts can and do fail just not as you are led to believe. That brand new thingamajig that your swore fixed your problem when you "plugged it in" actually made the problem go away as a result of disturbing weak contacts during r/r, albeit temporarily in many cases.

If I helped just one person, it was worth writing this up.
Ernest
 

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This procedure should also supersede any diagnostic code interpretations or part replacement is circuit subsystems. Remember, a code is nothing more than a pointer to wires in a vehicle. I will admit some parts can and do fail just not as you are led to believe. That brand new thingamajig that your swore fixed your problem when you "plugged it in" actually made the problem go away as a result of disturbing weak contacts during r/r, albeit temporarily in many cases.

If I helped just one person, it was worth writing this up.
Ernest
This is really the best piece of advice of all. All of the CEL are triggered by the ECU controller. The ECU has a network of wiring that essentially sends a metered amount of voltage out, and the sensor reacts based on what it senses...and sends a resulting voltage back to the ECU. Ideally, what the ECU senses and what the sensor is sensing should be the same, but a bad connection or dirty wiring can alter the signal.

If the CEL is on for say...an oxygen sensor...that just means that the return voltage is out of range at the ECU pin. That could be due t:

1) the sensor not metering the oxygen correctly

2) the sensor is working correctly, but the engine is producting O2 levels that are out of range

3) bad connection that essentially altered the voltage signal between the sensor and the ECU

4) the first voltage signal to the sensor was out of range, creating a funky signal on the way back.


Many times, replacing a sensor fixes the problem, not because the sensor itself has failed and is not capable of responding properly...but because the new sensor also has a new and fresh connector.



You should snap a photo of the engine bay and high light a few common and easy to reach connectors, and show how the connectors come apart.
 

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If I helped just one person, it was worth writing this up.
Ernest
I always try to tell people to start with the basics, fuel/air, and electrical...electrical being the most important...and X2 on the contact cleaner and the dielectric grease...they are my best friends...lol

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
COMING SOON:
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I always try to tell people to start with the basics, fuel/air, and electrical...electrical being the most important...and X2 on the contact cleaner and the dielectric grease...they are my best friends...lol

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
COMING SOON:
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up
Electricity is just magic to most people.
I bought my SL500 on the spot without even checking the VIN. You know why? Because when I opened the hood and inspected the car, it was obvious it had never been driven in the rain. And I won't drive it even once in the rain either. Mercedes Dealer will never con me out of a couple grand for a check engine light or any other fault in the 30 or 40 odd electrical system in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Two examples of bad electrical conductivity easily verifiable

High energy spark plug module coil packs on some high end cars. Most come coated in dielectric grease but now always. Install a dry coil pack, it might not blow the leads for a good while. Drive that dry coil pack in the rain for a few weeks and get back to me on how much the new pack to replace that dry pack cost.

If any of you have a high end home stereo amp feeding 2000 dollar speakers. Pull all of you gold place speaker wire contacts. Toss on some cheap speaker wire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
My hope is this, you read it, pass it on. It was always one wire. Soak it up and spread the word. Every vehicle I owned, problems arose, there was a bad wire and I found it.
I have not thrown away a bad car electrical part in years or decades.
Word!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Like a fart in the wind.
Try and lead a horse to water....

Let us revisit this subject once again people.
 
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