Monday, March 4, 2013

Pic of the Day: Grounded.

It's been an aggravating few weeks. What should have been a simple radio swap has become a big troubleshooting project.

I'd been putting off putting in a new radio/MP3 player for nearly two years because of all the medical stuff and fatigue (which is part of the medical stuff, I guess). Four weeks ago, I got to it. It only took ten minutes to get the factory radio out of the dash. It's pretty hefty and has an impressive bunch of wires coming out of it. I traced everything out so I could hook it all up to the new player.

Then my instrument panel lights and windshield wipers died, the turn signal and high beam indicators wouldn't shut off, and the gauges all went crazy. After a week and change tracing the wiring in place, I realized I'd have to pull the dash: I couldn't get to the fuse block. It's half-buried under the passenger side of the dash and I couldn't get to all of it, just the lower couple of rows.

Time for some forensic wrench-turning. I pulled the entire dash and everything in it. No, the GM engineers didn't make it easy. They couldn't. It would violate their decades-old "let's screw with anyone who wants to fix their own damn car!" rule. These are the guys who put the oil filter up on the engine's back side in a late-'90s Cavalier, or bury a Chrysler Sebring's battery in the wheel well. The engineers probably added hidden cameras to all the cars just so they could watch and laugh: "Hey, guys! Forget the dope working on that Citation, we got another Sebring guy looking under the hood for his battery! Someone make popcorn! I'll put it on the big screen!"

In my case, they bolted the wiring harness to the backside of the dash panel to protect it from me. I won, without damaging the car:

This was this past Saturday. My poor car.

Fortunately, I know what everything is and how to put it all back. Theoretically, it's still drivable.  I could even hang the instrument panel somewhere and hook it up so I'd have gauges...and I'm already in X-11 withdrawal after almost two weeks of driving my Tracker instead.

At least this way I can sit in one spot and reach both ends of a wire run and the fuse box. This is the easy part. Putting it all back together might be interesting.

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