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BMW E36 convertibles: Repair / Replace conversation

The Convertible BMW E36 1992- 1999 model | Helping the top repair / replace conversation

BMW 318 convertibleor also known as the 318, 323,325,328 and of course the M3.

All BMW e36 models share the same convertible roof components, and along with that, also have the same issues over time.

It’s amazing how popular these cars are, they give you the same performance and style that can only be had from a car that is 4 times the price. Some of the top related issues stem from parts just worn out.

BMW 323 convertible topHere are a couple of things to consider when repairing / replacing a convertible top or even buying one:

  • Make sure the top goes up and down smoothly without parts grinding / hitting each other, or dead spots in the in the process when raising or lowering the top.

The primary cause of this is the straps that are under the top. They contain elastic that over time wears out. They can look good from the outward appearance, but when it comes to the job they are designed to do, they are not holding up. Not only do they hold the frame bows in place, they also influence the top so that is closes properly when you operate it.

  • Keep in mind when installing a new top, the straps that contain the elastic are a separate item, it is highly recommended to replace them at that time.

BMW convert 325 1996 resized 600BMW convertible top help | What else should I look out for?

The rear bow will lift off the body and just stop, or the top will hang out when folded in the well area and sometimes the top can even hit the rear tonneau lid on the way down.

  • Consider this: Some people will prefer / request to replace them at a later date, in order to do this, the top would need to come back off. History of replacing 100’s of BMW e36 tops is that the new fabric on the top will not fold as easy as the old top putting strain on the old worn. Add with that, most companies state that if the straps are more than 3 years old, they should be replaced.
  • Another telltale sign to watch for concerns the headliner. This can range from broken plastic brackets back by the quarter windows to holes and a thin paper like backing coming off the headliner. Replace these items or ignore them, time has a way to wearing them out. The reality is all going to be based on your expectations.

bmw 328 convertible 1996 resized 600The last thing is the rear window, if it is a factory BMW top, the window can be replaced independently. The problem is the replacement windows are getting so expensive it will cost ½ the price of a brand new aftermarket top.

The difference in many aftermarket tops is they have a non-replaceable rear window, in other words if the top window cracks, the whole top needs replacement.

  • Shopping for a new top? We have looked at many different aftermarket replacement convertible tops, and many don’t measure up in terms of fit and finish.

BMW M3 1999 convert resized 600Many people will shop best price and later find out that the performance associated with a non-preferred top are much lower than those of a top that is of higher quality & performance. Again, it is all about your expectations.

  • The product we use weighs heavily on quality, not only on how it’s made but how well it fits. A poor quality product will produce more bad memories that a product that slightly more expensive but give back many years of service.

We would rather explain in detail the elements associated with a good quality top vs. one that is more price driven, we are here to educate, and help you make a solid decision. Remember, the top you choose is the top that you will be with for a long time.

photos by, wikipedia


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Quality BMW auto repair | a high tech computer on wheels

BMW repairHow many technicians does it take to change a BMW headlight bulb?

Today, the answer isn’t how many, it is with what tools and skilled knowledge to make sure that it performs as intended by the factory that makes all the difference.

The simple task like changing a headlight has changed dramatically, who would ever thought you would need a proper scan tool to finish the job.

headlight reprogrammingYes, as crazy as that sounds, it is true, remember we are not just talking about replacing the bulb. If you have ever looked at the backside of that light you would see a small computer box that needs to be told what to do and when.

So what happens if you don’t complete the job correctly? The most obvious is that you have a light illuminating on the dash, warning you that there's a problem.

Secondly, the headlights will not work correctly, meaning if it is an adaptive headlight, it will not pivot when you turn the steering wheel. And the purpose of adaptive headlight is to shine in the direction of your vehicle’s intended path, this is a programed feature.

I will take it one further, many cars on the road today have adopted LED daytime running lights. If you think that part is plug and play, guess again, if you think all that light does is light up, sorry, it too has so many additional functions.

Is this the only part of the car that needs this level of technical knowledge and tooling to make BMW repairs complete?

Not by a long shot, First, to better understand the BMW as a whole, it is relevant the one understand how the computer system works in BMW’s.

BMW repair help

There are several types of computers in a car with multiple tasks, and they are all connected and rely on each other for BMW performance. Some of most common types are the main computers like the PCM or powertrain control module. Just about everything electrical may flow through this computer.

  • From Wikipedia: The PCM is one of potentially several onboard computers, or essentially the "brain" of the engine control system. When the "brain" does not function correctly, neither will the engine or anything else that the microprocessor controls, which may include the charging system, transmission, various emission controls and communications with other onboard control modules. The PCM should be replaced only when it is diagnosed to be defective.

Second, might be secondary computers, that do a primary job but rely on other computers for information, one example of this is the ABS module or Anti Lock Brake System.

And then there are what is called slave modules that focus on one job, very basic and totally rely on other modules. All this put together creates a fully functional two-way network. With all networks, in order to be effective, they must be identified and placed in the proper group.

BMW performance scan tools | this is where the current scan tool comes into play.

Realize this is the short version of all that happens in the process of reprogramming a new part, but this does give an idea of why quality repair matters in order to have the full system work as designed.

Because these cars do more for you means that it takes technical expertise, and skills to work within the parameters as the manufacturer intended. There is a reason that BMW’s are so revered, they provide a great driving experience (for their intended market of course).

pop quiz:  How many of you know what the logo represents for BMW?

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Rodent Interior Repair | Mice need a place to live too

wire harness miceIt is good to remember: Nature does what nature is programmed to do. That means finding a home under the hood of your truck or car. They are not fussy, and they can live just as happy in your dash or under your seats.

I have a Rodent problem | How do you know when you been invaded?

When maybe your car has been acting strange, lights on the dash have been coming and going. Or ultimately is has just quit running. If you open your hood look for things like dog food, shredded fibers or maybe even a bird seed and shells. Or their could be an odor in your car that can’t understand where it is emanating from. When you are doing this you are going back to” what nature would do”, looking for food and shelter.

What happens if mice / rodents damage the interior of your car?

They seem to get anywhere inside your car they can fit, and one of their favorite spots is the heater core or in the vents. This will start with a smell that will come and go until it is no longer bearable. Yes, this can be resolved, but it does require the removal of the dash, and air conditioning \ heater housing unit also known as the Plenum Tower. This can involve removing the freon and the coolant from the car to remove the plenum for replacement or cleaning. If your goal is to repair it properly, and drive for many years, getting it right the first time will alleviate a lot of hassle down the road.

So how does this involve the wires of the car?

Some manufactures will make the outer coating on the wires out of a soy based product, to the mice that is a smorgasbord. They just moved into a house with a fully stocked kitchen. Damage can range from a little to a lot, and needs to be handled on a case by case basis. This will lead to repairs that could extend from a couple of wire repairs and some connectors to complete wire harness replacement.

Can it get expensive? Yes it can, depending the extent of the repairs needed to put your car back in running order. If the wire harness is getting replaced this could cost $500.00 to $2000.00 for the harness plus installation. There some are cases where proper wire repairs will correct the problem, and they usually will cost less than the price of replacing the whole harness. 

Rodent Infestation | What is the best way to prevent problems like this?

For the most part, take away one of the requirements for them to move in, their food.

If you park your car in a garage, make sure any food you may have for your pets or wild bird in a sealed container and clean up any that is laying on the floor. Note:  A little to you is a lot to them, it is all relative.  

Learn more about Harness Repair

The first thing a mouse will do when it finds any tasty treats is look for a place to store it for when they might have nothing to eat. Remember these are instincts doing the thinking for that mouse. If you park outside try not to park next to the garbage cans or a dumpster, once again everything in those containers are a tasty treats to a little critter like rodents.

If you discover you have been a victim of these unwanted visitors,

First, remove the food source. Your vehicle doesn’t have to be in storage for this to happen, we have seen this take place in everyday vehicles, as in the one that is your main form of transportation.

Second, place traps where you store your vehicle to get them before they destroy more of your cars precious wiring, and interior.

mice infestationThird, clean out as much as you can from under your hood. Rodents are not picky, they might be under some plastic shielding or in your fuse box. This will give you a good idea if you have been invaded, and if everything is still in working order, don’t take unnecessary risks, have it checked out or at the very least, keep a close eye on how your car performs.

Fourth, if you suspect you might have wire damage, get it fixed. If it is not causing a problem now, bare wires will certainly become an issue later, and usually at the most inconvenient time.  Wires that do not have the proper insulation, or wire thickness will fail, it is just a matter of time.  

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Why am I getting charged for a diagnosis? | Auto Electrical Repair

Understanding Auto Electric diagnosis | Why is it that I am being charged for you to tell me what is wrong with my car?

auto repair estimatesMany people have said it, or thought about it once or twice. We know this is sometimes tough, however we also are willing to share what we do as a professional shop to better explain the reality.

We also see this as a fair question and everyone should ask it if they don’t understand all that goes into the process of a proper diagnosis.

Now, depending on what the specific diagnosis is, this will determine the outcome of what it might cost. a quick example might be an electrical problem. Because today’s automobiles are so inter-connected, fixing an electrical problem can be easy when compared to properly diagnosing an electrical problem. Here is how the process generally works:

This may require the use of a scan tool, and every scan tool costs money, and just buying the tool is helpful, there is more. These also require education and software updates to accommodate new features, programing ability, and coverage for your vehicle.

  • And like everything else, the usual rule; ‘you get what you pay for’ applies. So you might ask after you hook the scanner to the car, ‘doesn’t it tell you everything you need to know? This should only take 2 minutes’.

Sometimes you get lucky, and you have only one option,  a code or information is displayed, and that outcome is a push in the right direction. When the scan tool reports diagnostic information, most of the time it is necessary to resort to a database that will give you steps to follow in determining the source of the problem, and steps to repair, test, and obtain satisfactory performance.

  • The days of plugging it in, and getting one code and the immediate course of action is to replace one part (one and done) does happen, just not as often as one would like.

Back to the diagnosis: This may require the technician to study several wiring diagrams, flowcharts and dictate proper tests to help determine the specific problem. All good shops pay a monthly fee to belong to several data bases that help locate the real problem and what to do to properly fix it, as without it, they are just guessing. We have a large volume of data and experience, it is something easy, we want you to know up front.  

In this area, it is easy to spend a lot of time doing research before working on the car itself.

auto interior diagnosisPlease keep in mind, up until this point, we have not even mentioned the time it takes the technician to perform these necessary steps. The goal at this point is to understand how everything works, and have a clear idea of where to start.

Now it's time to start working on the problem. This may involve removing trim, panels, and any other parts on the car that might be needed to be removed to get access to points or parts that will need to be checked according to the flow chart. Yes, we still have might not found the problem and need to go further.

Once the problem is discovered, you as the customer have 2 directions to go at this point.

Fix the problem, or have the technician put everything back together and don’t fix the issue.

To this point, the technician may have several hours if not more. So you can see as the customer when there is a fee for a diagnosis you get something for your money. Chances are, if it is free, expect it to worth what it cost you.

Is this not the same as when you go see the doctor? Every visit is one that takes time, expertise in the specific areas, consultation / research to best understand the problem, choose the solution, and take necessary action to resolve or improve the situation.

Excellent Diagnostic Tools / People

auto interiorToday’s auto interiors are very complex, the right people with the right tools and knowledge will lead to a result that provides safety and comfort, just as you expect it to.

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Toyota Sunroof Repair tips | Understanding why it breaks

If you have owned a Toyota power sunroof, you may have experienced a crunching sound when you operated your sunroof.

If you are lucky, it didn’t get stuck in a position that allowed the outside to come in uninvited. This can happen easily to any manufacture, but the focus in this article is on Toyota sunroofs.

Unlike General Motors, the sunroof in a Toyota can be rebuilt which can save you (as the customer) a lot of money. It still requires the removal of the headliner and sunroof, but parts can be half price, or less than many other cars. If you are questioning the performance of your Toyota sunroof, it is better to get it checked out and repaired, then to wait until the wrong time when it is raining hard and it won’t close all the way with a family trip in process.

My sunroof is stuck | So, what causes this to happen?

  • First, remember there are plastic parts as part of the equation. Now I’m not telling you that plastic is bad by no means. It has a life expectancy like everything else, and if the plastic didn’t break, something else would.
  • Second, the grease can and often does escalate the problem. Yup, the same thing that helps it slide can cause breakage. Grease can become a huge dirt trap, and when sunroof is open all those little particles of dirt in the air find a home and get stuck in the grease.
  • Another important point is that grease can get stiff over time, thus causing the sunroof to work harder, and putting more stress on the movable parts. Third, age, as plastic gets older, it becomes brittle and loses flexibility.

This is the primary reason we caution many of our customers against buying used parts for this type of repair. This is especially true if you have plans to keep your vehicle. Ultimately, it’s going to come back and haunt you.  

Even when plastic looks good, the strength and flexibility are compromised, remember this plastic is exposed to 110 degrees down to 40 below (ever touch the roof of your car on a 80 degree day?  Weather will break down materials over time.

  • This is an area we like to perform a full repair with the thought in mind that it is actually fixed, and will not cause you future problems until the life of the product cause it happen again.

Your best way to stay trouble free is to do not operate your sunroof when it is below 45 degrees.

If you hear noises, don’t assume it is alright if it closes. Your sunroof is trying to warn you about future problems.

Toyota Sunroof help

If it starts moving slower than normal, check the tracks for debris and maybe even put some light weight lube on the tracks (Remember, a little grease, as putting a lot will only attract dirt and debris that will speed up deterioration).

We hope this is helpful, proper maintenance will lead to a longer life of any product, especially those that work harder over time to keep you safe and dry such as the sunroof.

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Auto Interior Repair | Specialized equipment, the new ‘Normal’

auto interior repairAuto Interior Technology is here to stay, so it is important to understand it as well as knowing how to fix it.

So what does a statement like this really mean?

It can mean many different things to many people, and how you look at it, and what you understand about it. Yes, the topic is automobiles.

And just like working on your computer, you need to know what to do, and having the right tools is key to a quality outcome. Today’s automobile is just as powerful as many high tech computers, processing 10s of 1000’s of calculations per second to keep you safe and comfortable for the miles ahead.

Today’s auto interior is a very complex system, many of them tied into the interior of the automobile to make the driving experience that much better.

Today's auto interior wiring explained:

Multiplexing is a technique that can simplify the wiring in a car. In older cars, the wires from each switch run to the device they power. With more and more devices at the driver's command each year, multiplexing is necessary to keep the wiring from getting out of control.

Repairing these complex wiring systems may include software, along with specialized meters / tools.  Some of this may be called Scanners, Digital Volt and Ohm Meters (DVOM), and the software that runs the scanner.

And just like the computers you have at home, if you want them to be in great working order, they require maintenance, and / or the necessary tools find and fix problems.

Now take that thought process to today’s automobile, most people associate these types of tools with mechanics, but have you ever thought about all the electrical components on the interior?

Let’s look at one example:

For instance, cars that have lots of controls on the door may have a driver's-door module. Some cars have power-window, power-mirror, power-lock and even power-seat controls on the door. It would be impractical to run the thick bundle of wires that would come from a system like this out of the door. Instead, the driver's-door module monitors all of the switches.

  • drivers side repairHere's how it works: If the driver presses his window switch, the door module closes a relay that provides power to the window motor. If the driver presses the switch to adjust the passenger-side mirror, the driver's door module sends a packet of data onto the communication bus of the car. This packet tells a different module to energize one of the power-mirror motors. In this way, most of the signals that leave the driver's door are consolidated onto the two wires that form the communication bus.

If any of these components quits working, the whole system can be compromised, now this is where the high tech equipment and training come into play in order to properly identify and repair.

  • The fact of the matter is electronics save lives and provide a higher level of comfort, it is all about the driver, and occupants.
  • We buy automobiles for transportation, with the added value of safety, entertainment and comfort. This is our ‘normal’ expectation.
  • This directly relates to airbags, your audio and screen monitors and the power seat that has memory, heater, lumbar and more safety items.

Think of that scanner used to troubleshoot the issue as a special pair of eye glasses to help you see what is happening in the wires of your car.

Or in some cases you may be reading the memory of a solid-state computer box to help in understanding the what and why something is not working correctly.

In either case, special tools and knowledge are required to make a proper determination of what is necessary for a quality repair.

auto interior repair Minneapolis

This is vastly becoming the new ‘normal’ in auto interior repair, a necessity, and in some cases a requirement to work on the interiors of today’s car.

  • What if your shop doesn’t have access or own these tools?

Well, on one end of the scale, they might not be able to do the repair all the way where your safety might be compromised, and you also might now know it after the fact.

  • So how do you know if your shop is ill-equipped?

Simple, ask them when they work on your car:

  • How they plan to keep the safety integrity in tact, or do they have the in-house electrical equipment necessary to perform the work?

What should you do if they haven’t got the necessary equipment?

auto interior safetyThat’s your choice, but if it involved my safety of my family, I wouldn’t take the chance, you only get second life's in video games.

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Convertible Top Care | busy time for Convertibles, know this

In the Spring, we get a big rush of convertible top repairs.

Some were problems left over from the previous years, and some occurred during the first couple days of usage.

Fact: Many of the problems that occurred in the spring could have been avoided with a little care and knowledge.

convertible top rear glassI have seen many rear windows broken due to items that had been thrown in the back well last fall, and were forgotten about only to announce their presence when your top doesn’t go down all the way, crunch.

Also, just remember, your convertible top is a mechanical item with many switches, moving arms and hydraulics. It might be computer controlled, but that doesn’t mean it has advanced thinking, all it knows is that you are commanding it to move the top from the switch.

Some of the newer models will have safeguards built into them; like sensors that detect if too many items are in the trunk, or if it is too cold out, for the most part, common sense prevails. Always take some time and be prepared to notice when things start to go wrong, it can end up saving you in the long run.

Other things to consider: If you have a vinyl top or a plastic rear window, these items will crack, or make it hard to operate your top, and in some cases, even prevent the top from closing all the way!

spring convertible top repairIf you have a canvas/ cloth top, you might not be subject to a closing problem, but many of of the same problems plague the vinyl cover top apply to this.

Now, the retractable hardtop convertibles do require even more care when first opening them.

If something malfunctions in the top, and you have a hard shell, that can cause damage, not only to the roof panels but the top frame as well.

A good recommendation in lowering your top for the first time (with any type) is to drop it in slow stages, checking to make sure nothing is binding, and that everything is folding correctly.

Also look to see if it is moving equally on both sides and finally, make sure to make a final check in the back well, before you fully retract it down.

Got questions on top replacement?

If you have a problem, don’t keep going thinking it will work itself out. Sometimes the problem might be simple to resolve and save you hundreds of dollars in repair.

If you still can’t figure it out, seek a professional, this may cost you some money, but will cost a lot less than if you keep going.

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Understanding Electrical Repair | Where the value comes in

Electronic RepairAuto Electrical Repair | When you work on cars, chances are, you will need some knowledge of electronics, scan equipment and a database to put it all together.

What happens when you are missing one of these pieces? You either have an improper repair or no repair at all.

Let’s break it apart. piece by piece.

  • #1 

Let’s start with the first item, Knowledge of electronics. What do you know about basic electricity?

This is where is where terms like resistance, volts, current all have properties that have basic rules to be followed every time to perform correctly.

The best example most people relate to is water running through a hose.

  • With a bigger hose, you can flow more water, so does having a bigger wire to flow more current.

When you turn the water pressure up, and have a sprinkler attached, it moves faster. As does the flow of current, the more amps you put to a motor, the faster it turns.

And if you have a couple of hoses connected together, and they’re all are leaking, what happens to your sprinkler?

  • The same thing happens when you have a bad electrical connection, components malfunction.

This may include corroded terminals, bad grounds, or even connectors not locked together. The basic idea of all of this is that how energy flows never changes, just the application.

If this part is not understood, the other two parts may not help you, and there's much more to it than the basics.

  • #2 

Scan tool helpScan equipment is where it gets tricky, depending on what type of car, and what system within the car you want to work on.

There are as many types and brands of scan tools out there (as there are colors of paint). They all have individual claims of what they can do, some will get the job done, others will leave you sadly disappointed.

Then, there is the software that keeps up with technology necessary for good up-to-date operation, known as updates to your scan tool.

These are very important, and even though you may have physical scan tool, it is only as good as the information that is inside the tool.

This means paying for a subscription to keep you scan tool current. And if you need to program a module in the car that is usually an extra charge. Many aftermarket scan tools cover some, but not all functions necessary for repairs. And the price of aftermarket scan tools can range from $150.00 to $10,000.00 (and in some cases they even cost more).

Got a Question

This may sound expensive but think about what you are getting for the price, its still a lot less expensive that buying all the factory equipment. With factory scanners you get all the same options as the dealership has available to them. But this doesn’t come without a price, in comparison; one factory scanner can cost the same as an aftermarket tool that works on many brands.

Just don’t expect the scanner you bought from Chrysler to work on a Honda, it was designed to work specifically on Chrysler systems.

  • Many of these factory scanners will also force you to update on a regular basis or it may lock you out from using it.

The Factory equipment is what we use, but if you are serious about solving the many issues that may arise, this is a necessary item. Updates for these scanners can range from $600 to $8000 per year, per manufacturer, this is in addition to the cost of the tool.

These updates can include the ability to diagnose new car to the information needed to program the computers. Many of them will even charge you an extra fee for the program, Volvo will charge you for every module or computer you are programing. This is one area you get what you pay for, don’t plan doing everything that the dealership can do on the cheap, you wouldn’t succeed.

So, when we state that we have the tools necessary to work on your specific vehicle, it is more than one thinks. We invest heavily in our tools, it keeps us the market leader in addressing the complex issues of todays high tech automobiles.

  • #3 

alldata.comThe last part is information, this is just as key as every other part. This piece will guide you through the information you just accessed with your scan tool. These databases are subscription based and derive from the manufacturers library of information. Some the names may include Alldata, Mitchell and Identifix.

You can also access the information online, but sometimes this can be inaccurate. Remember, we live in the information age. Knowledge comes at a price.

Along with these databases are the subscription based OEM(Original Equipment Manufacturer) information centers.

These are the same set of web sites that the technician at the dealerships go to for their information to look up DTC’s (diagnostic Trouble Codes), test plans, specifications, and procedures (as well as any other type of information needed to perform repair properly).

  • Without this set of knowledge provided by these companies, many or most repairs could not be completed or carried out.

What can you expect to find in these databases?

Every piece of information needed to program, initialize, diagnose, and more.

One advantage to some of the scan tool programs is they incorporate all this information in the tool program. Combine this with our ongoing training and experience, todays auto interiors are quite the challenge, we like a good challenge.

So as you can see, having all of these parts are essential to making your car sound again, and in great working order.

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Harness Repair Part 2 | What makes a lasting repair

harness repair autoHarness Repair Part 2 | In the last blog post, I talked about the issues surrounding wire harness repair, here is a follow up, going deeper into what can happen:

There is nothing more frustrating to have more problems after you have installed the harness, only find out you have missed a connection or it wasn’t securely put together.  On occasion, locking a secondary tab makes all the difference.  Knowledge is power here, do it right the first time, and you won't have to go back.

What we are talking about here is knowing what to look for, and what to avoid when repairing a wiring harness, experience with many makes and models can be the difference between a good repair, and a good repair that lasts the life of the vehicle.

  • Many harness connections cannot be fully tested, repaired, and/or evaluated when they are installed in the vehicle, they must be 100% before they are put back in the vehicle.

Over time, wire harness availability gets in the way because they have become obsolete from the manufacturer. Add to that, the prospect of finding a used harness that doesn’t match the options from car to car which creates a whole other issue.

  • There is nothing more discouraging than spending 6 hours installing a wire harness only to have more problems because of the wrong parts.electrical repairs

We have had this happen to us, because there were split years in car options, and the dealer ordered the wrong parts, (usually trying to get things out the door as fast as possible) and this harness went from the front of the car to under the dash.

So, not only did the new harness needed to be removed and a second harness installed, but the dash had to come out twice, this really killed production efficiencies for all involved.

Learn more about Harness Repair

On a quick note; make sure the wires on the harness that are being repaired are recommended by the manufacturer as “repairable wires”. For this you need to check the manufacturers posted guidelines on:

  • What is, and what is not acceptable. Also, make sure:
  • All connectors mate together correctly, and properly lock. 
  • On wiring that has seals on the wires, they get reinstalled to protect the terminals from moisture.

The best way to get it repaired correctly (OEM quality), and in a timely manner, is to go with a shop that is experienced, and willing to talk upfront about the complexities of ‘your vehicle repair’ instead of general speak ‘Yes, we can fix that’.

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Harness Repair | What makes a wire repair work?

We have found that electrical connections are biggest contributor to most failures in your automobiles electrical system. Your system is only as good as the weakest link.

So if a connector is corroded / broken, how does a shop fix the problem (correctly)?auto harness repair

There are a couple of options, first being the replacement of the entire harness. This can be anywhere between $200.00 to $2000.00 for the wiring harness, add installation (upward to $600.00) and sometimes more, depending on the vehicle and complexity involved.

The second approach that we like to practice is to replace the connector that is broken, repairing the harness as a whole.

This practice has become very popular to the point that we stock many of commonly used connectors for many makes and models.

Wires, Terminals, Connectors, Harness Repair | Every part must meet OEM specifications

This repair consists of extracting the wires from the harness connector (with the aid of special tools), and replacing them with a new connector in the correct order.

connector repairGreat care is needed to make sure that the wires fit and are secure within the connectors consistent with OEM specifications so that performance is restored. This can be a tedious and precise process, however this is where quality matters.

The Terminals may also need replacement if damaged, if you take a closer look at the terminal removed from the connector, you will see they can be pretty delicate, and need to be in good shape to make proper contact with the other mating half. Damaged terminals can cause intermittent connection problems or no connectivity at all.

  • Can you use any connector to complete the job? No, it is really crucial that you get the connector that matches the terminals and the other mating half of the connector.

Another is the compatibility factor; is it sealed, or does it have a locking secondary tab?. Installing a unsealed connector in a high moisture area is a recipe for disaster.

If that connector requires a secondary lock, many of these are installed on safety and critical systems. Without the secondary lock in place and locked, the component that it is connected to will not work properly. It will fail.

  • The big advantage of repairing a wire harness.

Time and Money:

  • The first is cost when compared to replacing it with a OEM harness. And that doesn't even include installation.  
  • The second is time, anybody who is in the auto body repair business understands, time is money, and one wrong part or unexpected problem that adds to the time it takes for a good repair.

If any of the two options go beyond what is acceptable, the repair may not be worth the price of the vehicle.

Learn more about Harness Repair

In my next blog, I’ll discuss what happens when either of these issues lead to a bigger problem for the owner and the shop doing the repair.

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