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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all I started having an issue where my o/d light would flicker on and off and the transmission would shift very erratically and occasionally my abs light would flicker on. Well the otherday it started doing it very badly when going over any sort of bump and then the truck just died and I smelled a strong smell of gas. When turning the key to the acc position the injectors would pulse like crazy and with the truck completely shut off the evap solenoid on the passenger side of the truck would click like mad!

Got it home and unhooked the battery for a few hours and hooked it back up got it started and it ran fine, well I cleaned the main ground on the drivers side and the one on the passenger side as well and checked all connections except those behind the dash and couldn't reproduce the issue. I took it for a drive around the block and all seemed fine...ok great well went to drive it again and as soon as I started it I heard a loud POP and the lights got slightly dimmer and the abs light flickered quickly. I immediately shut the truck off and noticed that my abs control unit was on fire! Only one line had burst and was on fire...I have yet to start it again for fear of more damage, any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
 

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If I were in your shoes, I'd use a systematic approach. Sorry, no silver bullet here.

1. you know the ABS control unit is bad. The short could be in there, but you want to make sure that you won't have to replace it twice.
2. Check the ABS relays/fuses. A short would burn out the fuse, so that's probably not the issue. But relays can fail in a couple different ways.
3. Use a bright flashlight and follow the wiring away from the ABS control unit in every direction. Look for places where the wire is close to any metal part no matter how painted, and for broken retainer clips that allow vibration in the wire. Look for arc scorch marks on the wire or the metal (more likely on the wire if plug wires are any indication.) If any place is suspect but not confirmed, just wrap electrical tape around the wire and move on.
4. If you find any scorch marks, you can use electrical tape, but replacing the wire or splicing with the shrink type stuff is better.
5. Sometimes wires are routed under the body panels in such a way that wind vibration rubs insulation off the wire and leads to arcing - these can be the most difficult to find, but it could be worth the trouble in the end. Plus if all the other possibilities are eliminated, the mechanic's going to charge you for this effort.
6. You can also check continuity in a line with a multimeter, which is helpful if you can actually see both ends of the wire (like in the case of the relays and engine compartment wiring.) You can use Ohms resistance or a current check with the battery disconnected. The Haynes manual (at least) has wiring diagrams, and if you're comfortable with those you can figure out expected resistance values and compare them to determine if other components are bad. If you use current check, the multimeter sends battery power through the line; if the current is measureable, no short at the moment. If it's zero, there's a short to ground.
7. I imagine there's a chance the ECM is bad, based on the assumption that ABS has to be computer controlled.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! :eek: that is a very well written post, thanks for the information! I will have a look just as soon as I can (bad weather here and I work all weekend) though it should be noted that the abs fuse in the j/b or any of the fusible links in the engine compartment hadn't blown...still not quite sure how that happened. I have inspected most of the engine harness, though I had read on one of those complaint sites that a guy had an issue with his xterra harness right around where it wraps around the turn signal so I will take a very good look there first. Thanks.
 

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happy to help. It could just be the ABS unit. Check out youtube for videos of wind turbine meltdowns and transformer fires - this stuff just happens. And it's fun to watch...until it's your truck!
In an X, there's moisture, heat and cold, dust, and constant vibration, all of which are bad for electrical circuits. Lots have been done to design out those issues, but nothing's perfect.
You can also install a new ABS unit and check resistance or current for overloads, but that's a 'I did everything else, check this last" step.
Good luck!
 
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