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Thread: Another quirky electrical question

  1. #1 Another quirky electrical question 
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    During a run-out with other club members from Newfold Farm on the 11th of this month, I spotted a problem withmy newly rewired car. It began with the indicator buzzer and warning light suddenly buzzing / flashing at twice the speed occasionally, then more frequently and finally all the time. OK...a bulb? TWO bulbs? Well no. I have Off side Front Indicators and sidelights are working. but Near Side Front Indicators and sidelights are not. Off Side Rear Indicators and sidelights aren't working either, but the Near Side Rear indicators and sidelights are. So I have problems with the Near Side Front and the Off Side Rear. I did find a fuse blown....but replacement didn't provide a cure...no change in fact. I would guess that earthing is a potential problem....but two earth connections at the same time? I'll check the brake lights next because if the Off Side Rear brake light also doesn't work, then that suggests a dodgy earth there and that I've got two faults.
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  2. #2 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
    club member Club Member listerjp2's Avatar
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    You don't have LED bulbs in any of these lights per chance?

    Adrian
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  3. #3 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
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    Hi Bill
    When you get fast flashing of the indicators it is usually because some of the bulbs aren't illuminating. The usual cause is as you suspect a bad earth.
    With the fuse blowing that suggests that there may have been a short from a live wire feed to the bulb yo earth, so check for that also.
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  4. #4 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
    club member Club Member chris_cussen's Avatar
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    Sometime two faults occur at the same time.
    Have you put the hazard flashers on to see if the bulbs illuminate then?
    Cabrio, Omex 2.0l 170bhp Zetec blacktop, Omex ECU and wiring loom.
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  5. #5 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
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    I've now had spent some time exploring the possibilities. The near side front and off side rear light clusters don't function. There are no obvious hanging wires. I have continuity between earth and the outer sleeve of the near side indicator bulb....and the bulb holder itself is now clean...for a new unit it was surprisingly corroded inside...the bulb itself is also OK. For now, I'm working on the assumption that while I may well have two separate faults to find and correct, one at the front near side, one at the rear off side, but the common failure of the indicator AND side light are probably related. The column switch is a new addition, but is not actually new...but secondhand functional. Both warning lights work: the "indicator on" buzzer (wired via diodes from the rear light cluster feed wiring) works when indicating either direction and the hazard switch operates at the standard speed, but only the offside front and nearside rear indicators actually flash.
    When I got to the garage this morning, the battery was flat...but at rest it only runs the clock???
    Any and all suggestions gratefully received.
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  6. #6 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
    club member Club Member greyV8pete's Avatar
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    Why do you have a buzzer sounding when the indicators work? Do you have a tow bar and socket fitted? If so that buzzer should only sound when you have a trailer plugged in and the reversing lights are on. It’s to remind you that you have a trailer attached, which is handy if the trailer is small and not visible from the driving seat! I would check that wiring asap. An immobiliser will drain the battery too but not overnight!
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  7. #7 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
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    For this kind of thing, you need to start from the basics and eliminate possible problems as you go. Have you got a multimeter ?? If not, it's a good idea to buy one. A basic one doesn't cost that much. First, check whether current is being drained from the battery when everything is switched off. (multimeter on amps/milliamps, disconnect battery 'live' and put meter between battery and wire) For a clock, this current should be tiny, like a few milliamps. Anything more than that inidicates that either something is still powered up (i.e. wired incorrectly) or you have a faulty component somewhere which is taking more than it should. If this is new behaviour then you may have also developed a 'short' somewhere (two wires connected when they should not be, or rubbing on something which breaks its insulation, or insulation cracked, etc.) try to get rid of current draw (by removing fuses, assuming you have them...).

    Indicators - I've had many weird electrical issues in my time. Having had a few fibreglass kits and cars, earth problems are very common, and can be a bugger to find. I had a Scimitar which melted the throttle cable, because the only remaining good earth was down the metal inner, and cranking the engine would heat the cable, melting it into the plastic shroud. I had several issues with my TVR wedge, all caused by earth points corroding over time. So this is always something to check. When wiring kits I ALWAYS put in a big heavy earth wire and wired everything to it. It was amazing that even the headlights were brighter on my TVR after cleaning all the earths and putting a nice thick wire in.

    So try to go methodically by using a "well, it's not THAT" type of approach , and narrow down what it could be..... Yes, it can be slow and frustrating, but it's a reliable method. Chances are you may find other things to sort whilst you're there !
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  8. #8 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
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    The buzzer. I'm a bit of an anorak over signalling. Most drivers (imho) signal too little and (often) too late and there's quite a lot of failed cancellation misleading other road users. Also, I don't altogether trust the self cancelling action on any of the vehicles I drive and in bright sunshine with the hood down I may not see the warning light or hear the tick tick of the flasher unit. Yes...the buzzer is irritatingly loud some times, so I may cover it with a couple of old socks, but I do hear it (with or without my hearing aids). I removed all the wires for the tow bar when I started the rewire, as I never intend to tow with the Marlin.
    I have a multimeter and one of those screwdriver lookalikes with a spike, a battery, bulb, wire and croc clip, so as you say TVRfan, the "well, it's not that then" approach is the order of the day.
    Thanks
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  9. #9 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
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    OK. One almost shirks from admitting it...but....The Rear off side indicator problem also involved the brake and tail lights, and was (as predicted) partly an earthing problem and also a wire inadequately crimped. The front near side was less easily sorted. I checked the wiring to both indicator and side light. I reconnected both. I traced the earth, stripped, cleaned and re connected it...but still neither light worked. I checked the wiring to the column switch..all OK. I checked both feeds to the multiplug in the passenger footwell...live going in...and live coming out...dead as the proverbial do-do at the front wimg. Therefore, there must be a break in my NEW wiring running along the near side chassis rail. SO I had a closer look along the entire length. OH DEAR...a cable mounting had come unstuck, allowing the alternator fan to do a rather effective hatchet job on the whole front end feed wires. The side and indicator wires were completely severed. Three others damaged but not yet broken. Solder, heat shrink, Tesa Tuf tape, spi-wrap and two new cable mounts and ties and the problem was cured / solved.
    ASSUMPTIONS! The wire was new....so it had to be my poor connections, didn't it? How many hours did I waste on the wrong deductions!
    Thank you all who made sensible suggestions...I got there in the end.
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  10. #10 Re: Another quirky electrical question 
    club member Club Member chris_cussen's Avatar
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    Got there in the end Bill, well done.
    Multiple faults are always a b*****r.
    Cabrio, Omex 2.0l 170bhp Zetec blacktop, Omex ECU and wiring loom.
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