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  1. #1
    Inner Circle Member Inner Circle Member
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    Inner Circle ©160 since: Apr 24, 2003 MinnMark is an unknown quantity at this point MinnMark's Avatar
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    Electrical Gremlin has come to ride along. Ideas?

    Looking for ideas... here's what has gone on.

    Got alerted the about three days ago that I had no brake lights, found that the 25A (#46)fuse was blown. Replaced fuse, brake lights work fine, everything else intact and working. Drove car a couple of days, no issues.

    Last night I get in the car to come home after a dinner out, start the engine and the interior lights (over the mirror, custom footwell lights) stayed on instead of fading out. Tried re-slamming all the doors, turn off and restart car, etc. No help. Here's the weirder part - when I stepped on the brake pedal, the interior lights faded to off, take my foot OFF the brake pedal, lights come back on. Drove home this way, get it the garage, can't get the interior lights to go off at all, and the remote locking won't work either. Disconnected the battery... went to bed!

    Today.. reconnect battery, all is good again, working as designed. Brake lights never an issue during the interior lights issue. No more blown fuses. Haven't touched any of this stuff since I put the footwell lights in nearly 10 years ago.

    What was up with the "connection" between the brake pedal and the interior lights??? What the heck is going on?? Interior lights are on fuse #33, not even the same circuit as the brake lights.

    Not even sure where to start looking... and waiting for the Gremlin's next appearance.


    MinnMark
    '00 2.3 Oxford Green/Tan/Tan
    And yes, I drive my car in the snowy winter!


  2. #2
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    You won't believe me, but. . .

    The wire harness between the trunk lid and the body is more than likely the culprit.

    The flex in there for trunk opening chafes the insulation and the wires short out. More than likely your gas gauge is flaky, and your cruise control doesn't work either. . .

  3. #3
    Inner Circle Member Inner Circle Member
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    Re: You won't believe me, but. . .

    Haven't noticed anything with the gas gauge, but maybe I haven't paid close enough attention.

    Haven't GOT cruise control!

    I was thinking about that when the brake light fuse blew, but when the interior lights went flaky... didn't think anything to do with them would be routed through there.


    MinnMark
    '00 2.3 Oxford Green/Tan/Tan
    And yes, I drive my car in the snowy winter!

  4. #4
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    Bad ground connection??????

    98 Z3 1.9 ; HMS strut tower brace, antisway bars, and roll bar; Supersprint cat back exhaust; Dinan chip; Whalen Shift Machine; Strong-Strut Butt strut; FOGGED air box, Downing Atlanta Supercharger.

  5. #5
    Monolith
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    Cut off the protective sheething and carefully

    bend each wire back and forth and note any breakage. If you need the TIS bulletin for it, I can find the link again in one of my old posts on the "other" forum.

  6. #6
    Monolith
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    Here's the TSB link


    http://www.mediafire.com/?z5vzkmn2tz0

  7. #7
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Funny...


    That's funny, because there was a TSB on trunk harness wiring for the E36 too, as I recall.

    I had a problem like that with my old Fiat. I took it in to get it painted, and when I got it back, whenever I hit the brakes, the engine shut off.

    I traced all the wiring and it turns out the fuel pump, which was mounted amidships, grounded on a long brown wire (sound familiar?) to a mounting bolt on one taillight.

    The body man didn't tighten the taillight very well, so when you put on the brakes, the voltage across the fuel pump dropped to nearly zero, shutting it off.

    Electricity does weird things, sometimes.

  8. #8
    TexZan (Germany!)
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    Old Fiat...you don't do a radio show do ya?...

    I listen to cartalk every weekend. I love that show!

  9. #9
    Robert Platt Bell
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    My guest appearance on Car Talk


    Actually, I was on Car Talk with the Fiat problem, and the experience, was to say the least, interesting.

    I e-mailed them with the story, and the producer called me back, all excited. After all, a Fiat - the humor potential there was pretty high - in theory at least.

    Haw, Haw, Haw, as "Click and Clack" like to say.

    Anyway, at the appointed time, I called in (or they called me). They do the tapings at a predetermined time in the studio, at least a week in advance of the air date. So they get the questioners on the line and talk to them in order, tape the whole thing and edit it - heavily - before air time.

    The Fiat in question was a rust-free 1981 model. By 1980, Fiat had put the Luft J-tronic Bosch fuel injection system in the car (the same as in the Rabbit of that vintage) and bumped displacement to 2000 cc. With dual overhead cams, the engine made good horsepower for its time. They put in fender liners and rust-proofing, Hartz cloth tops, and other upgrades. To go after a more upscale market (the Japanese had largely taken over the lower end at that time) they put in leather interiors and other upscale trim, along with alloy wheels, etc.

    The car sold new for over $11,000 back then, which is a staggering amount of money back then - enough to buy a loaded Cadillac.

    In contrast, the most popular year for that car was around 1975, when they were cheaply appointed in vinyl (with vinyl, not cloth tops) and tended to rust when you looked at them.

    In the final years, 1983-85, Fiat sold the rights to Pinninfarina, the body maker, and they were sold in the US as "Pinninfarina Spiders" with A/C and power windows. But of course, by then, it was too late.

    Nevertheless, a 15-year production run is nothing to sneeze at for any car, particularly one built largely for export.

    Anyway, Click and Clack obviously had the 1975 model in mind when I got on the phone.

    Click: "So.. You have a Fee-Yacht, Bawb!"

    Clack: "Haw, Haw, Haw!"

    Me: "Yea, its a 1981 model, in pretty good shape"

    Clack: "I bet it has a lot of rust, am I right?"

    Click: "Haw Haw Haw!"

    Me: "Not really. Anyway the reason I called is..."

    I went on to describe the problem. They listened attentively and then..

    Click: "I'll bet all that rust has really messed up the wiring on that car! You might want to check that out!"

    Clack: "Haw, Haw, Haw!"

    I went on to explain that I found out what the problem was, but they cut me off. "Next Caller!"

    It was not as funny a bit as they thought it would be. I was not some clueless liberal NPR tote-bag toter who drove a battered Subaru and wanted to know why it made a funny noise after the timing belt broke. There's humor gold in clueless Volvo and Subaru drivers, to be sure.

    The next week, I listened for the show to come on. When the time came to my segment, it was interesting to see that they edited out nearly everything I said, other than the statement of the problem. They also added some bits, and then dubbed in my response as the same "Yea..." they had clipped from my first response. So the resulting tape was me saying "Yea..." about five times to everything they said.

    Very interesting!

    So no, it was not a real conversation, of course. And of course, they are not really interested in diagnosing real car problems - that would be boring, difficult, messy, and of course create nightmare liability problems for NPR.

    The show is entertainment, like most media today, not informative. And most media people think that technical details will "scare off" and audience, which they do, even on NPR, where the writing is at 8th grade level, as opposed to 6th on Fox.

    You could imagine if Click and Clack actually did give advice, how it could all go horribly wrong:

    Caller: "Anyway, the car keeps losing brake fluid, what should I do?"

    Click: "Just pour more in and don't worry about it!"

    Clack: "Haw, Haw Haw!"

    Click: "Now for this week's puzzler!"

    Ouch.

    It would be interesting to listen to a real "car talk" program, with real talk about cars and detailed technical information, but I suspect that it would have an audience of about six people.

    Even these "reality" shows like the chopper show and the hot rod show on cable have devolved into less and less about the cars (or bikes) and technology, and more and more into pissy little arguments the characters get into, throwing wrenches and shouting at each other.

    Throwing wrenches sells, rebuilding a small-block Chevy doesn't.

    It is a sad comment on human nature and our society, but most people want juicy gossip and scripted cat fights, like on reality TV - or inane jokes like on "car talk".

    But you don't get a lot of real hard technical data, which I suppose is to be expected.....

    And lets face it, the advertisers (or "sponsors" as they call them on NPR) don't want people fixing their own cars, right? It would be against the interests of the advertisers. So the "tech talk" usually ends up being "take it to the dealer" as so much of the Roundel tech section has devolved into as of late.

    That is the nature of the media.... you have to cater to the sponsors.

    FWIW.

  10. #10
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    My wife have great stories about her 72 spider

    she even wrote them down to remind me how much she sufered while owning the Fiat...I remember it broke only once when I drove it. But we did have so much fun when it didn't brake down.[IMG]

  11. #11
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    OK enough FIAT bashing!

    I drove FIATs for year, even worked for FIAT Motors of NA. I won a SCCA divisional SSC title in a FIAT 124 sedan in 1975. FIATs never once left me sitting on the side of the road. Yes rust was an issue. If I find a nice X1/9 I'll jump on it. Remember that even without the US FIAT is a successful auto maker. When the FIAT 500 Abarth hits the US look out MINI. Flame suit on so fire away.
    Fred
    96 1.9 Z3 black/tan/black
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  12. #12
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    no ba-shing here..i loved my 124 coupe..

    ...sophisticated dohc engine design(kool bifurcated cooling system)..smooooooth tranny, STYLE!...Good luck finding any reasonably priced X1/9 though(one of the wow cars at auction these days.)..Z3Cheers! dk '97 2.8 bg R

  13. #13
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    I always listen on podcast...

    ...because I'm overseas so much. I honestly thought it was live. I guess I'm way off. Good story, though. There are TONS of Fiats out here, especially 500s and Pandas. I've never actually driven one, though. I love the classic Spyders and with unlimited funds, I would get one...but I have other cars in line in front of it (none of which I can get right now seeing as a minivan is about to replace our Murano...sob...).

    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top
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  14. #14
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Cheap cars to buy.


    I paid $1700 for mine, put maybe $2000 into it and sold it on eBay four years later for $6300.

    I sold it, only because a friend of mine had a 5-year-old M Roadster for sale with only 7,000 miles on it.

    So I sold the Fiat, the 2002, the Mercedes, the sidecar motorcycle, and the utility trailer, and bought the Z3.

    It is a nice car, but you certainly don't see many rust-free Fiats around these days!

    The fellow I sold the Fiat to, decided to sell it a year later. He put a vinyl top on it - in black, no less. The lady who bought it called me. She lived in an apartment building and was going to park it outside (ouch) and use it to commute to work (ouch, ouch).

    Neither a good idea for a 112,000 mile Italian car.

    A sad end, I'm afraid. But it happens to a lot of old cars with time. They are just so cheap to buy that people buy them and then drive them into the ground.

    And sad to say, it is happening to the Z3. The E36 went around that bend about 3 years ago...

    Oh well, the few that remain will be that much more "collectible" right? Maybe in 20 years....

  15. #15
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    I love Minivans!

    When our girls were small we had 2 minivans, an 86 Dodge Caravan, and a 95 GMC Safari replaced it. Couldn't ask a vehicle to fill our need for transportation any better than they did back then. Now that I live in the country and have crap to haul around I have a pickup. Sometimes the vehicle we need isn't the one we want.
    Fred
    96 1.9 Z3 black/tan/black
    97 M3/4 estoril/gray
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    08 GMC Sierra stealth gray/gray

  16. #16
    Cookie
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    Re: no ba-shing here..i loved my 124 coupe..

    I had a 1500 Roadster I put an 1800 in. The worst thing about the car was the driver.

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    You are right we loved the car, had it for 7yrs

    to tell you the truth I check craig's once in while see if I can find another one, since I became an expert in repairing and servicing the 124 who knows...I saw the 500 in Mexico great looking car with a pepy engine.[IMG]

  18. #18
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    I just tell myself it's for the wife...

    I'm keeping the "TexZan" and "Daddy's race car," aka the 530i. The 05 Murano is a great car, but won't fit two baby seats and a toddler seat in that middle row. I offered to look into an X5 (I can get great deals through military sales overseas) but my wife wants the sliding doors. Oh well, it's not as much fun to drive as the Murano, but it will hold more memories...

    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top
    Whalen Shift Machine, polished - Type II windscreen (non roll-hoops) - Bilstein HD shocks/struts
    Axxis Metal Master pads - Brembo rotors - Doug Whalen seat bushings
    Passenger Eject (unfortunately non-functional) - OEM Passenger Airbag Disable switch
    Polk Audio all around - Blaupunkt PA amps - LeatherZ Mark II armrest - Strong Strut Trio - AUX input via tapedeck

  19. #19
    DaneKane(Ca Gold Country)
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    i have a great story about how it's melodic engine

    ..tone saved my life one late evening in Sacto...dk '97 2.8 bg R

  20. #20
    Cookie
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    Re: i have a great story about how it's melodic engine

    So tell it already.

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