tricky electrical problem?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by J Swain, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. J Swain

    J Swain Guest


    I have a 2001 LW300 with ~120K miles(long commute+travel)

    Today, while driving on the highway, my car horn beeped by itself a few
    times. When it happened, I kinda assumed it was another car even though
    there was no reason for someone to beep. It was just a couple of short
    beeps.. Nothing else noticed on the rest of the drive to work.

    On the way home, again on the highway, the door locks started clicking,
    At first I thought it was an electrical clicking in the radio, but it
    happened again. It didn't happen long enough for me to see if the lock
    knobs were actually moving.

    After the car had been home for a while(~1 hour?), I went to run an
    errand and the car beeped a couple of short times just after starting
    and then in about 1 mile, the door locks clicked a few times again.
    Nothing happened for the rest of the trip...

    It seems as if there's probably some wire chafed or chewed by something
    (I do see acorns in my engine on occasion), but I'm wondering if someone
    could give me an idea of where to look since apparently the horn and the
    door locks are involved.
    I'll take a quick look in the AM to see if there's anything obvious, but
    any help regarding locations to concentrate on would be appreciated.

    J Swain, Nov 13, 2003
  2. J Swain

    Dan Hicks Guest

    For the horn I'd suspect the wire coming out of the steering column,
    but that wouldn't explain the door locks. Possibly the two are on
    the same fuse, but that's about the only connection I can think of.
    (Or does this model have the feature that automatically locks the
    doors when you start moving?)

    Whatever, the problem is probably in the passenger compartment
    (behind or below the dash), not under the hood.

    I just spent $300 getting a short fixed behind the dash of my wife's
    SL1. A bracket had worn through a wiring harness.
    Dan Hicks, Nov 14, 2003
  3. J Swain

    Zaphod Guest

    This post actually makes a nice segue for a question that arose with my car

    Today I had the alternator replaced on my 95 SL1 with 115K on it. I left
    the shop drove around and everything was fine. When I got home I locked the
    doors and they immediately unlocked, locked them again and same thing
    happened and then again 2 or 3 more times before they stayed locked.

    A few hours later I got to wondering if it was just the driver's side door
    that was doing that so I went out to test the lock switch on the passenger
    side. The lock on the passenger side operated just fine. I took another
    look at the switch on the drivers door while out there and that was working
    fine also at this point.

    I don't understand how replacing the alternator could be related to the door
    locks suddenly acting funny. It could just be a coincidence that the locks
    started acting funny with in 90 minutes of changing the alternator, does
    anyone have any ideas?

    Zaphod, Nov 14, 2003
  4. J Swain

    J Swain Guest

    I can't help with your alternator question, but a friend did bring up
    the remote door lock key fob controls both the horn and the door locks,
    so we were thinking maybe there's some intermittent short inside there
    or maybe that the receiver that gets the signal has a problem(short,
    J Swain, Nov 14, 2003
  5. J Swain

    Ron Taylor Guest

    i had the same thing happen, '01 L300. turned out to be a dirty/bad
    ground. it was a main body ground just behind the abs unit.
    Ron Taylor, Nov 14, 2003
  6. J Swain

    Zaphod Guest

    I can't help with your alternator question, but a friend did bring up the
    remote door lock key fob controls both the horn and the door locks, so we
    were thinking maybe there's some intermittent short inside there or maybe
    that the receiver that gets the signal has a problem(short, malfunction)..."

    I have electric locks but I don't have any kind of remote keyless entry
    system, or locks that are supposed to automatically lock when the car starts

    Last night I did a google search of this newsgroup and mangaed to find a few
    post's where people mentioned simialr problems. They were pretty old but
    still relevent.

    Anyway these posts mentioned that when the key and/or the lock start to wear
    down it is possible to remove the key from the lock with out it being in a
    full 90 degree postion. If it is too far out of postion then the lock may
    not be fully disengaged causing the electric locks to start operating on
    their own.

    As it turns out about 2 weeks ago I first noticed that the lock on the
    outside of the drivers door is a little off center. My locks behavied
    normally today and I have not noticed any other weird electirical problems
    so I think that it was just a coencidence that they started acting funny
    only an hour or two after putting a new altanator on the car. I will keep
    an eye on it and just make sure when unlocking the door with my key that I
    have the locking cyliander in the correct postion.

    Zaphod, Nov 14, 2003
  7. J Swain

    Dan Hicks Guest

    Don't think it has anything to do with the alternator. What I
    suspect is that your ignition switch is sticking and it thinks the
    key is still in. On some cars (not sure if Saturn is one) this
    causes the locks to automatically unlock when you slam the
    driver-side door. (A safety feature to keep you from locking your
    keys in.)
    Dan Hicks, Nov 15, 2003
  8. J Swain

    J Swain Guest

    Both the horn and the locks??? If so, I'll start looking for ground
    connections that look iffy

    J Swain, Nov 15, 2003
  9. J Swain

    J Swain Guest

    How many main grounds are there to check? I brought the car in today
    and they said they couldn't find the problem(it was going off
    intermittently all the way to work, but not from work to the
    dealership(of course). Before taking it in, I requested that they check
    all the ground connections anyway. The write up states that the
    connections were didn't say they actually did anything
    though. I would like to take a look for myself since it happened again
    after they looked at it. There were no codes, by the way.
    J Swain, Nov 21, 2003
  10. J Swain

    Dan Hicks Guest

    There are probably 20 different ground connections in the car, and
    they only checked the main battery ground, and maybe the ground
    strap between engine and chassis.
    Dan Hicks, Nov 21, 2003
  11. J Swain

    J Swain Guest

    I forget his exact words, but he said they checked them all...probably
    all the ones that were easy to get at....
    J Swain, Nov 21, 2003
  12. J Swain

    Ron Taylor Guest

    yes, mine did the exact same thing. a tight ground, does not
    mean a good ground. what the tech did was take the connection apart,
    clean all the contact surfaces and put it back together.
    that was over a year ago and no problems since.
    it was a main body ground, seems like it was on the firewall, driver
    i'm not saying it'll fix yours, just fixed mine.
    Ron Taylor, Nov 21, 2003
  13. J Swain

    J Swain Guest

    J Swain, Nov 21, 2003
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