Thursday, June 12, 2014

S10 to Replace Civic

Well, I found a replacement vehicle for the Civic.  I'd prefer to have a small engine for a commuter, but this one has a V6.  It's a Chevy S10 V6 regular cab (a little tight for stuff inside the cab), and a long bed (a bit rare).  It's been working quite well for me.

However, it did cost a little more than the Civic, so it interfered with some of that cost going to headlight unit paint.  Finally saved up a little, and decided I'd better get to the wiring, and started playing with the wiring.

My fear was that I'd connect the batter and melt a wire, causing the whole car to burn to the ground (yeah, I kept a fire extinguisher close by, just in case, even if the odds of it being that bad were so minuscule).  So, I followed the advice of some experts, and threw in a little bit of a procedure for my own sanity.  Here's how I tested the electrical.

Preparation :

  1. Put the battery in place.
  2. Connect the positive battery cable end (+).
  3. Do NOT connect the ground cable yet.  Instead, wire some spare connectors to it that you can connect at will.
  4. Disconnect/remove all of the fuses.
  5. Obtain a headlight (this step is invaluable, and is the advice I received from some experts).
  6. Connect one side of the headlight to the negative (-) battery cable (not the battery).

I ran the first test with no fuses connected/in the vehicle, because I wanted to make sure all was well before proceeding.  I then re-connected one fuse at a time and re-tested, just to ensure each circuit was acceptable.

Actual Test :

  1. Connect the negative terminal of the battery (-) to the other terminal of the light.
  2. Check the headlight.  If it's on, something is shorted in the circuits that are still connected.  If it's off, you're okay.
  3. Turn the key to the accessory/on position (but not start, just in case you don't have fluids/etc) just to ensure things behave as expected, each time checking the headlight.
  4. Repeat as necessary for each circuit as you connect fuses.

So, that's what I kept doing.  I'd connect a fuse, and check that circuit.  Everything looked flawless...

... until I finished and decided to get the stupid door glass adjusted.  The power window regulators wouldn't move.  I started with the trusty old volt meter on the wiring.  Checking the whole thing out, I found the power window relay is bad.  Bypassing that to ensure the rest of the wiring was okay and the motors ran, I still couldn't get the motors to turn.  I checked the voltages on the connectors at the motor side, and... I had the right voltage.  It looks like the wiring is fine.  It means that the power window motors aren't so good.  Now I've got to replace the power window motors again (I have done that a couple of times already), and hope it's not a mechanical bind with the regulator.

So... I started out expecting the whole car was going to "blow up" from something being shorted out, and found out the opposite is true - the wiring is great, some components connected to it, not so much.

While I was at it, I decided to try an electrical pop-up headlight conversion.  I had obtained a couple of 1995 Ford Probe headlight motors from a junk yard.  I slapped them up to the battery, and they worked perfectly.  They have about the same throw as the C3 Corvette, so I'm in great shape.  Some others had done this conversion in the past, and I borrowed their process - I cut some brackets, soldered some wires together so that the motors work in tandem (and put heat shrink tubing around that), and bolted them in place.  I still have yet to adjust them (I'll need finished headlights), and I still have yet to finish the circuits, but I'm close.

At this point, here's the list of things to do :

  1. Replace power window motors and relay (can only find that through mail order services [sigh]).
  2. Adjust door glass
  3. Install door mirrors
  4. Install door panels
  5. Install A/C ducts
  6. Install dash panels
  7. Get headlight units painted and installed
  8. Complete circuit (two diodes and battery wiring) for the pop-up motors
  9. Install rear speakers/amplifier
  10. Ensure fluids are in the car
  11. Actually try to start it
It's amazing that I'm that close - and yet it's taking me so long to get there.  I will continue to work when I can, though.

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