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Old 04-14-2005, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Coming Up This Weekend: The Joy of Door Locks

So I'm out late last night in the Bonne... Got stuck late on a rewiring project in the parents' garage; finally got out of there @ 12:30 a.m. for the 44-mile drive back to my house. Slowly became aware that I had nowhere near enough gas to make it all the way home... Okay, okay, I wasn't aware of this at _all_ until the DingDingDingDing went off and the little gas pump appeared in the HUD. Oh, joy, now I have to find a gas station in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, and the car takes Premium, and I have... let'* see... eight, nine, ten dollars in my wallet. Ugh. Visa time. Spouse will _not_ be happy.

By this point I'm sure we are running on fumes, but by some miracle a BP station appears in middle of nowhere. $2.53/gallon for Premium. Sigh... Stand around waiting while car slurps up 17.5 gallons into what I thought was a 16.5-gallon tank. Jeez, I _was_ running on fumes.

Finally reach home @1:45 a.m. Park car in garage; don't bother to unload anything from trunk; stagger up to bed; sleep.

Up at dawn! Time to go to work! Yay! It'* been a whole... um... four hours! Shower, breakfast, stagger back to car, get in, drive. Stop at local store for newspapers and coffee. Mainly coffee.

Activate pit-stop mode on remote starter to keep car running without keys for quick store visit, hop out, punch the door locks, ...

I said, punch the door locks...

Oh, %$^&, now what.

Car locks aren't working. Nowhere, no-how. This is a first.

For a couple of months now, the remote starter decided that it would Unlock the car, but wouldn't Lock it. I figured it was just a bad aftermarket relay, and got used to locking the car with its own door buttons until I could get around to fixing it, but now the lock system is completely stone dead.

No time to diagnose or check fuses as train leaves in seven minutes. Hop in, race to train station, reach around to lock all doors manually, then notice the Security light blinking at me as usual... and oh, %$^& all over again: there'* no way to arm the Security system if there'* no power to the lock system. I hadn't thought of that before.

I'm sure the car will be safe anyway, and it'* also got a red LED installed in the gauge cluster as a visual deterrent, but I now have a whole new project for this weekend... Like I don't have enough to do. Groan... Details to follow.
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Old 04-15-2005, 08:52 AM   #2
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Anything else on that door lock fuse that isn't working as well? Maybe just dirty contacts like most of my problems. One other possibliity would be that crazy alarm is sending a signal constant to the relay and f'ing things up.
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Old 04-15-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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Anything else on that door lock fuse that isn't working as well? Maybe just dirty contacts like most of my problems. One other possibliity would be that crazy alarm is sending a signal constant to the relay and f'ing things up.
Episode 2:

Got back home yesterday evening on the train. Walking towards car; car is not responding to remote starter. Uh-oh.

Yup, it'* dead. Not _completely_ dead; I can see the LED glowing in the gauge cluster, but when I unlock the door (Manually! With a key! Right here in 2005!), the LED starts flickering and I hear a TickTickTickTickTick... coming from the relay pack behind the right side of the dash. This is Not Good.

Car is borderline dead, so a phone call to spouse is made. Spouse is thrilled to interrupt cooking and breaking up fights between offspring in order to come and get me.

Fortunately, since I never unpacked the car after the late-night garage-wiring project, I have a trunk full of tools, and can spend the time before spouse arrives in unbolting battery holddown to move it away from trans cooler line, so that jumper cables can be attached. I also drop the right-side soundproofing panel and pull the #3 fuse, which kills the TickTickTickTickTicking relay assembly, the power antenna and also apparently (I would discover later) the interior lights when a door is opened, although they _do_ still work if I turn the headlight switch.

Spouse arrives and we get cables connected; car is up and running very quickly, and we all go home. Decide to _not_ leave charger on car overnight, to see if it'* going to drain down again anyway: I would rather find a dead car in the garage in the morning at home, than a dead car in the evening at the train station.

This morning: I find a dead car in the garage. I guess the power locks weren't the culprit after all. First thing to look at this weekend is going to be the remote starter, since it was already having problems locking the car for unknown reasons. I think I'll unplug it (and its separate relays) temporarily this evening, get the car going again, then see if it holds the charge overnight while the remote starter is disconnected. More news as we have it.
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Old 04-15-2005, 12:34 PM   #4
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You shouldn't have to undo the relays for the alarm. They should be setup to allow the factory systems to pass through, only adding the alarms two cents if it is cooperating that day.

Yeah..pull the plug on the alarm and see how it goes. Bet you have success.
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:16 PM   #5
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You shouldn't have to undo the relays for the alarm. They should be setup to allow the factory systems to pass through, only adding the alarms two cents if it is cooperating that day.

Yeah..pull the plug on the alarm and see how it goes. Bet you have success.
It'* an aftermarket remote starter rather than an alarm, but yes, that'* what I'm thinking.

To be clear, I was only talking about the relays belonging to the remote starter, not a factory relay, because I'm thinking that either the remote starter has gone dain-bramaged and is holding one of the relays closed (presumably its Lock relay, since that had mysteriously quit a little while ago), or one of the relays themselves has gone bad and may be stuck closed all by itself. There were several that came with the installation kit, plus I had to get one or two more from RatShack to deal with some positive-signal/negative-switching situations, so I've got a small bunch of aftermarket relays to look at. (One of them turned out to be DOA right out of the package, so RatShack quality control is not what I would have liked to begin with.)
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:54 PM   #6
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I was completely with you on that one. Depending on where you stuffed all the relays...a wire might have come unplugged and that would explain the lack of locking. Dain Bramage would and probably explains the drainage of juice. But...what is eating that much juice....to kill off the battery charge isn't a simple task w/o blowing a fuse.
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Old 04-15-2005, 06:18 PM   #7
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But...what is eating that much juice....to kill off the battery charge isn't a simple task w/o blowing a fuse.
Well, a slow drain will do it, such as a lighter that'* stuck partway in, or a relay with an internal short. All you need is enough resistance to keep the current flow down below the rating of the fuse, and it'll keep on going until the battery dies.

One of the strangest power drains I ever successfully found was on a '75 Cutlass, where the lighter **** was loose, partly unscrewed from the lighter element. The **** has that metal grounding ring on it that'* supposed to contact the rim of the socket when you push it in. On this one, the **** was so loose that it drooped at an angle, and when it did, that was just enough to touch the rim of the socket, even when the lighter was popped out. Three mechanics hadn't been able to find that power drain, but I did.
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:17 PM   #8
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Episode 3: Got some time in the garage just now, at last.

Car is now deadier than it was before, so the slow drain has continued all day, so first thing to do is get the charger hooked up. As soon as juice starts to flow, some sort of buzzing erupts from the back of the car. Some investigation and opening things up reveals that it'* the locking solenoid for the gas filler door, trying to lock itself for some reason, but because system voltage is still down around 7-8, it can't finish the job. Hmmm...

Opening the door and punching the power lock switch is... interesting: If I press Lock, nothing happens; if I press Unlock, the interior lights go on. None of this should be happening because I pulled the Power Lock fuse... only the locks are still working, sort of.

The car in general is now waking up and acting completely goofy, with the chime unit going off at random intervals and buzzers or relays or something making odd noises. New theory: the remote starter'* Lock circuit is stuck on, and feeding power into the power-lock circuit at the driver'* door switch, enabling the circuit to go hot even after I pulled the factory fuse. Pressing Lock on the door switch doesn't do anything because that side is _already_ hot, but pressing Unlock will work because the car'* lock relay assembly interrupts power to the Lock side when the Unlock side is active; this probably also explains why the interior lights go on at that time (even though, again, they're not supposed to be working at all because their fuse had been pulled).

I've now pulled the remote starter and its aftermarket relays, got the charger going, got the factory power-locks/interior-lights fuse back in, and we'll see how it'* doing tomorrow...
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:37 PM   #9
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I've now pulled the remote starter and its aftermarket relays, got the charger going, got the factory power-locks/interior-lights fuse back in, and we'll see how it'* doing tomorrow...
Episode 3a: Checked the car again just now, disconnected the charger, cranked the engine and it fired _right_ up, instantaneously. Leaving the charger off the car, going off to drink wine with the spouse and watch "Ocean'* 12," and we'll see if the car will still run tomorrow...
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Old 04-16-2005, 12:31 AM   #10
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WTG Andy... glad it sounds like it'* working out for you. keep us posted.
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