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February 2006

Electrical Gremlins

The tiger had recently developed an intermittent problem, when indicating right it would only do so if the lever was held against its stop.

Well this seemed like an easy fix in that the old Sierra stalks had finally failed and needed replacing. So after a lot of searching (as there is only one scrappy left in Peterborough and that didn't have any Sierras) I finally obtained a new set of stalks and set about fitting them.

First problem the MK1 sierra has the horn button on the end of the indicator stalk whereas the new stalks don't so I had to buy a new horn button and wire it into the dashboard.

Second problem the new stalks sit about 1/2" further back on column compared to the old ones and hence the entire steering assembly came out and had to be repositioned to allow the stalks to operate.

I also took this as a chance to actually sort out some of the wiring problems that exist under the dashboard so to this end the electric heater was removed and sold on to a tiger owners club forum member, and then the rather defunct alarm system was ripped out (it hasn't worked as an immobiliser for years and turned out to be connected to the car with just three wires!). The alarm will be replaced with a new immobiliser in a short while which I am not going to document for obvious reasons!

Once this had been done and there was a lot less wiring under the dashboard I connected everything up and discovered the same fault was still there !!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was then that I found the battery powered lights in the garage were running down, in the much lower light level I spotted that the side lamps and tail lights were flashing in sequence with the indicators and there had to be an earthing fault on the car.

After waiting for two days for the battery to be recharged I started tracing the fault from the lights at the front of the car, guess what the fault was at the back! It turned out the original builder (me) had stupidly fitted an earth point to a chassis rail via a pop rivet and put it on the top of a chassis rail directly under the rear bodywork. This was removed and I fitted an 8 way earth block as used in domestic fuseboxes screwed to the chassis to remake the earths. Once this had been done I had some very bright indicators and everything worked again.

A tip for anyone trying to trace indicator faults, the flasher relay can often do more harm than good, so remove it from the wiring plug and short the terminals out with a piece of wire so the lights remain permanently lit, it saves a lot of money in bulbs.

Earth Block Installed Some spare wiring (actually the old alarm system) horn