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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 9/4/2010 6:27:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 6:28:49 PM EDT by Cyclic]
I'm no full time mechanic, but I've been know to turn a wrench or two. I'm helping out a friend with evaluating vehicles for her son. We find a decent used 2001 Dodge 1500 v6, not my cup of tea but its a solid vehicle. We get it home and next day the batteries dead. Shot beyond belief, so a simple replace with terminal cleaning, ect. Checking electrical systems, everything seems good. Next day, won't start again?!? Fine, jump it and bring it to my house for a detailed exam. Get's here, systems charging fine, truck starts and restarts fine. So I shut it down and place an amp meter inline so I can try to find any faults. WTF?!? I have a 6 amp draw with the key off!!! So start easy and start pulling single fuses until the meter drops. Nothing inside, next under hood. When I finally pull the a/c clutch fuse it drops to millivolts, bingo, we have a winner. At the same time the fuse is pulled I hear the clutch disengauge, uh? Fine it's narrowed down. Check obvious wires, nothing, all clear. Replace fuse and pull relay, mmmmm? Some idiot inserted a jumper wire under the relay making it constant hot! Great, what are we into now? I swap to a good relay just incase, the meter stays low and no a/c clutch clunk. Pull the meter and reconnect battery. Truck fires right up, a/c cycles normally with the controls and pressure switch. No more excess current draw, good to go.

Sorry about the rant, but crap like this really pisses me off. Half the time I'm fixing friends stuff, it's because someone not only doesn't have a clue, but they couldn't be bothered with taking the time to solve simple problems. Idiot couldn't get a $10 relay, which burned up a battery for around $70 for a decent one. Thankfully I do enjoy fixing things for friends.

I really had to get that off my chest, thanks guys.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:43:41 PM EDT
I've seen some funky wiring in the past, as well.

I've seen the homemade solid front axle swaps that look like it came from the backwoods joe stumblauto repair shop.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 9:18:38 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 2:11:18 AM EDT
the best one i've come across yet is a fuel pump realy that was wired using 11 different wires, 4 different gauges of wire and like 20 of those twist on connectors. alot of people shouldn't work on anything let alone a car.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 4:19:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 4:21:00 AM EDT by Cyclic]
Originally Posted By kapnkrunch:
the best one i've come across yet is a fuel pump realy that was wired using 11 different wires, 4 different gauges of wire and like 20 of those twist on connectors. alot of people shouldn't work on anything let alone a car.


You just reminded me of a car stereo system I redid about 15 years ago. A guy came in the stereo shop I was working at, bought everything he needed to put some very serious bass into his camaro. We offered install at a reasonable rate, but his buddy said he would do it. Sometimes, people can actually do nice jobs on basic installs, its not rocket science you know?
So a couple days roll around and he comes driving up. Pulls out the money and says fix it, it keeps blowing fuses. Ok. Great, another dumb wiring fix, possible bad amp, you never know.
So we start in the trunk, uh, why is the fuse block splitting the zero gauge wire to both amps and direct to ground?!? Crap, we start worrying the cars going to burn to the ground right here in the shop. So we run, pop the hood, and go to pull the power wire. Uh where's the zero gauge power wire?!? Mmmmmm, not under the hood. Fine, rip the complete interior, seats, carpet, padding everything. The power is running up behind the radio, then using the yellow twist nuts and cutting the excess wires, he tied it to the cigarett lighter wire! Finished pulling it appart while taking pickures and then reassembled it right.
For quite a long time it was the loudest car in town once we were done, but it almost was a smoking pile of burned carcass chevy due to thew buddy install. Even years later everyone who see's the pictures thinks they are staged, as NO ONE could be that stupid. Right?!?

Link Posted: 9/5/2010 4:48:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 4:49:09 AM EDT by paul463]
Originally Posted By Cyclic:
Originally Posted By kapnkrunch:
the best one i've come across yet is a fuel pump realy that was wired using 11 different wires, 4 different gauges of wire and like 20 of those twist on connectors. alot of people shouldn't work on anything let alone a car.


You just reminded me of a car stereo system I redid about 15 years ago. A guy came in the stereo shop I was working at, bought everything he needed to put some very serious bass into his camaro. We offered install at a reasonable rate, but his buddy said he would do it. Sometimes, people can actually do nice jobs on basic installs, its not rocket science you know?
So a couple days roll around and he comes driving up. Pulls out the money and says fix it, it keeps blowing fuses. Ok. Great, another dumb wiring fix, possible bad amp, you never know.
So we start in the trunk, uh, why is the fuse block splitting the zero gauge wire to both amps and direct to ground?!? Crap, we start worrying the cars going to burn to the ground right here in the shop. So we run, pop the hood, and go to pull the power wire. Uh where's the zero gauge power wire?!? Mmmmmm, not under the hood. Fine, rip the complete interior, seats, carpet, padding everything. The power is running up behind the radio, then using the yellow twist nuts and cutting the excess wires, he tied it to the cigarett lighter wire! Finished pulling it appart while taking pickures and then reassembled it right.
For quite a long time it was the loudest car in town once we were done, but it almost was a smoking pile of burned carcass chevy due to thew buddy install. Even years later everyone who see's the pictures thinks they are staged, as NO ONE could be that stupid. Right?!?



I LOVE the huge 0/1 gauge power wires that are tied to a 10 gauge inline fuse holder with the stripped end wrapped around the battery terminal, and then instead of running through a hole/ and grommet in the firewall, they run it through the door jamb.

I'm surprised we don't see more cars on fire than we do. Wiring shit right isn't hard to do, just takes a little extra time.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 5:25:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By kapnkrunch:
the best one i've come across yet is a fuel pump realy that was wired using 11 different wires, 4 different gauges of wire and like 20 of those twist on connectors. alot of people shouldn't work on anything let alone a car.


As in wire nuts?

I'm guilty as anyone when it comes to ghetto repairs but Ive seen stupid dangerous stuff on some of the cars that comes into the shop.

Top of the list is a bailing wire gas tank strap and garden hose fuel line. Same truck

Link Posted: 9/5/2010 5:30:00 AM EDT
Where do hammer mechanics get that orange gasket stuff I used to find smeared everywhere? I have never seen it for sale.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 5:56:56 AM EDT
Popped the hood on an AC check once and first thing I noticed was the extension cord running across the radiator. Yup, they had cut an extension cord up to run power straight to the AC compressor from the battery.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 6:53:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Where do hammer mechanics get that orange gasket stuff I used to find smeared everywhere? I have never seen it for sale.




Any parts store sells it. It's high temp RTV.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 7:07:13 AM EDT
I have always said there should be testing before just anyone can buy tools.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 10:19:04 AM EDT
Now that I've recovered from the bday party I've got another one to add. A kid i went to school with installed a nitrous kit on his camaro and had wires running through a hole he center punched through the firewall without a grommet up the back of the block between the valvecover and header, across the waterpump/fan and over the intake to the battery. I told the dude it was a ticking timebomb and promptly told to go fuck myself their was nothing wrong with the install. a week later the pos burned to the ground in the parking lot.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 4:43:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 4:46:30 PM EDT by SDPDHunter22-250]
Back in my college days I worked part time in a auto repair shop. My specialty was electrical which was something most shops steered away from. We also did a limited amount of high performance stuff.

This kid comes in and wants us to install a holley carb and intake manifold along with a high performance distributor. I noticed that the kid had installed a HOLLEY 30 gallon per minute electric fuel pump on a switch on the dashboard which was run directly from the battery . (not through the ignition switch like it should have been for safety. ) I was leaving for a two week vacation and booked the kid for the job INCLUDING fixing that fuel pump shutoff which I told him was a must.

Well, I go on vacation and the boss decides to do the job early and puts on the new carb, manifold and distributor, BUT, never fixes the fuel pump switch problem. I get home and there are NO jobs booked for the shop.. Very strange !!!! The boss went on vacation and I didn't get to talk to him. A regular customer comes in for some work and when I tell him to bring it right in as I had no work, he started laughing. He goes out to his car and brings in our local paper and here on the cover is the Kid's Camaro blazing away on the main street of town. When the fire department got there all they had to extinguish was the empty body and frame as everything else was burnt away.

Insurance investigators found out that my boss left tools on the engine and when the kid pulls out and punches it , of course, and then slams on the brakes at the light and the wrench flys into the fan, which breaks and broken fan parts fly into the carb, which starts to leak and POOF....FIRE...The kid bails out and LEAVES THE SWITCH ON THE FUEL PUMP ON AT 30 GALLONS PER MINUTE TO FEED THE FIRE.

I quit the job two months later as we had almost no work......the word got around quickly....he was out of business in 6 months.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:37:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 8:00:12 PM EDT
I got a 1979 chevy truck that was a 4x4 with a manual trans. I bought it for parts and possible switch to auto once I got the manual trans I wanted. I got it on Ebay for pretty cheap, probably why i'm not pissed about it, so I didn't see pics of the wiring. This kid that owned it had taken a 2wd truck automatic and put it on a 4x4 frame manual. He didn't say that on the listing. He apparently didn't understand how vehicle grounds work so he had no bonding strap on the cab. Nothing worked in the cab so this kid ran all these wires all around to the battery. It was a mess.

It gets better. The PO kid put a quadrjet 4 barrel on the 305. He said for some reason it wouldn't idle good. I saw instantly that it had the main pcv vac port open. What a dumbass.

Even Better. After fixing a few things so I could drive it in the field to test the trans and such it mysteriously wouldn't start. Turns out the battery cable on the starter was somehow welded/brazed together so crappily it broke apart.

The clincher upon tearing the truck up for parts and scrapping most of it, I found that the exhaust was a cobble together of several pipes both old and new. The engine never seemed to have much power and I found out why. The dumbass instead of using a coupler to connect the exhaust just pounded one pipe inward so it barely fit into another. I found the pipe had about 1 inch diameter once it was pounded in to flow a v8 through.

Oh yeah it was listed as a running driving vehicle.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 12:13:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
My very first car in the US (I had an old Mercedes as my very first car, but that was in Germany, I had it for less than a year, and it never needed any kind of work at all), was a 1976 Ford Maverick two door. I bought it from a 58 pilot in the 101st (it was on the Lemon Lot next to the Burger King on Campbell in 1989).

My dad being a pilot himself kind of assumed that the former owner would have taken care of the little things, as the car came with an immaculate maint history and documentation. The first time I went to drive the car the water pump gave out, no big deal, it happens with used cars. My dad helped me fix that, and the second time I drove it it had an electrical fire under the dash and burned up every single wire under there.

Fortunately I was very talented and trained on electrical systems and electronics, so rewiring the car was no problem (once I found a correct harness, the 76 Maverick with factory AC uses a different harness than any other Maverick). After getting the car home and torn down it was obvious what had happened, instead of replacing a blown 20 amp fuse he had wrapped a foil gum wrapper around the blown fuse and put it back in.


Makes me miss my first car (77 Maverick). I put that car through some serious abuse and made a ton of memories. The downside was the steering and suspension was completly shot (which eventually led to the end of her).

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 7:56:05 AM EDT
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