Vehicles have lots of wires running all over to each and every electrical item. These wires are not draped willy-nilly through the vehicle, that would be a mess. So, the wires are bundled into harnesses. As wires reach their components, they break out of the harness like a branch. In German, wiring harness is Kabelbaum. Kabelbaum literally translates to "cable tree". Considering how the wiring harness is thick at one end and branches off in tangents, "cable tree" is a very good analogy.
On this job, this Beetle had some serious running problems. The customer said they had just recently bought the car and it would shut off at random times. They were getting sick of it. At their wit's end, they dropped it off at our shop.
The test drive - if you could call it that - revealed that the engine shut off when the transmission was placed in drive. It would idle OK, but put that puppy in drive and it would die. The engine trouble codes were complaining about injector power going away intermittently. Given that information, I surmised that a wire was getting a poor connection. With an assistant keeping the engine running, I started pulling on the wiring harnesses in the engine bay. One harness in particular would shut the engine off when pulled. I also found that the injector power wire was losing power at the same time.
I pulled some parts off the car for access to the wiring harness and opened it up to find the bad wire. Some test equipment was handy in pinpointing the location of the break inside the wire. Once found, I cut the bad section of wire out, soldered in a new piece, insulated the solders with heat-shrink tubing, and reassembled the harness and the rest of the car. Afterwards, the car ran like a dream and the customer was tickled. That's what we call "pulling a rabbit out of your hat".
This page last updated 07/21/15 by Rick Sherrod.
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