Dear Mr. Hewitt,
I just came across your website. This is exactly what I (and many other people, I'm sure) have been looking for. It's GREAT!!! [Ed. note: Awww shucks.]
I started reading some of your repair experiences and were reminded of a few of my own. As soon as I'm finished with this I'm getting back there for more good reading! I have been doing most of my own auto repairs for years. It started out of necessity (couldn't afford to have the work done), and I found I liked doing it, and most of the time it was a challenge. Anyway, I read your story about your F-150 with intermittent wiper problem. I thought I was the only person that fixed cars with a microscope! Now I don't feel so alone.
I had a '76 Plymouth that one day would not start. There was no warning symptoms, it just said I ain't starting today. All the electrics that were independent of the ignition switch were O.K., lights, horn, brake lights etc. Just when you turned the key, nothing. I broke out my books and started checking wiring diagrams. Every wire in the diagram of the ignition switch and starting circuit seemed to go through the heater fan. No matter where I started, I ended up at the heater fan. This gave me an idea and I turned the key to "run".
On that model Plymouth the heater fan is always on when the ignition switch is on. As with the other electrics that went through the ignition switch, no heater fan. I checked under the hood around the heater fan and found the heater fan relay, which is where all the wires in the diagram led to.
All the time I'm thinking....no way!! I unplugged the harness and removed the relay (about 1 in. long and 1/2 in. wide). Like the "unrepairable" window switches you discussed, I bent the tabs back and removed the cover. The wire making up the windings was finer than a hair. With a magnifying class I found the wire had burned in two at the solder joint. I removed one wrap of wire, resoldered it in place and put it back on the car. As soon as I hit the key it fired up and down the road we went.
It actually took three days of reading the wiring diagrams before I got it fixed, because I could not imagine how the heater motor could have anything to do with the starting system. Anyway, like I said earlier...it's a challenge.
If you would like to use this story, or any part of it feel free. I hope it helps someone. I'm gonna get back to your page now. Keep up the good work!
See you later,
Ed note: No, this is not my dad but I wouldn't mind calling him pop - he's my kind of mechanic who digs in, does the research to understand the problem and then fixes the real problem instead of just throwing parts and money at a it!!
Back to Brother Bob's Home Page
Copyright © 1996 by Bob Hewitt - All rights reserved