Thursday, November 6, 2008

rain rain rain rain

It's raining/drizzling/tstorming outside, take your pick. Very dark also.

Gotta break down and buy tires for Vger today. 2 blowouts in two weeks and I'm out of all my spare tires from all the other vans. The spare I'm running on now has a STRONG pull all the time, have to fight to keep it on the road. I'd like to buy WinterForce if I can find a good enough deal on them, we'll see.

I'm hearing reports of 1+ ft of snow in North Dakota, we are supposed to get hit starting tomorrow night. We'll see, I haven't seen a flake yet although measurable snow has been forecast several times in the last 3-4 weeks. But, with deer season starting day after tomorrow I guess we are overdue for some snow.

Suiburban Tailights (and Chevy/GMC/Yukon/C-series/K -series 1988-2008) Was working on a neighbors 1997 Suburban the other day. Brake light burns out every few days. Sometimes it might last a couple of weeks, but usually a couple of days.

I was talking about it at the parts counter, when the counterman showed me that they keep 4 ea R/L socket assemblies in stock at all times. "Some people replace them every year, sometimes twice a year." Wow. So, I grabbed a pair and installed them on the neighbors Suburban, problem fixed. Then I took apart the unit to see what was wrong. I STILL can't believe that GM engineering is SO STUPID to come up with this idea and use it for so long and NO-ONE has forced them to fix it???? This should be a warrantable engineering/manufacturing defect, and GM deserves to go out of business for perpetrating this kind of CRAP on their customers.

Here is a photo of the unit I removed from the Suburban. I have cut off the plastic retainers so that I can lift the board covering the connections.

Here I have removed the board. You can see that it is just a very simple circuit board, and the socket assembly has contacts on it.

Here is where one of the brake lamp contacts meets the circuit board. See the corrosion? You can also see it in the above photo if you look closely. The matching contact also has a spot of corrosion on it.

It would appear that what's been happening is that moisture gets into the socket assembly and eventually corrosion starts eating at the contacts. When the light goes out and you replace the bulb, I guess that the movement is enough to give some continuity for a brief span of time until the corrosion catches up.

But what can be done? Well, in the first place, GM could have done several things when this was originally designed. They could have used soldered connections instead of the circuit board. Or, they could have sealed the interior of the socket assembly to keep the moisture out.

What can be done now? I'm going to solder wires to the connectors and swap and rotate the L/R circuit boards so that the conductive side faces toward the bulbs and the non-conductive side faces toward the wiring circuit. Then, when i put it together I will use a silicone glue in a dry atmosphere to seal the moisture away from the connections.

I will then put the modified socket assemblies away and when the neighbors lights quit working in a few months we can try my modified ones. We'll see what happens.

Something I wouldn't mind trying if I had the opportunity would be to take a pair of new assemblies and, in a dry location, place a thin bead around the circuit board, just enough to seal out moisture. My guess is that they should work fine for several years with just that slight mod done.

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