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Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline
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The Steering Column
The Passenger Seat
August Meeting Report
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The Rallye Corner
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Import Night, Downers
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True Story
Just a Simple Wrench
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  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
True Story - Happened this morning
August 5, 2002 - Lucas, again?

Back in December I took advantage of the 0 down, 0% offers from Chrysler and purchased a 2002 Sebring Sedan as my company car and daily driver. Its been a fine ride for 13000+ miles but this morning I made a discovery that will now haunt me with unrelenting worry it until the day the car vaporizes into oblivion.

As I was pulling out of the driveway today I got a whiff of the distinctive aroma of burning resistors. I quickly turned off the blower fan to have a better sniff. Yeah, resistors alright. Iíve worked with electronics long enough to know. I went to turn the blower fan back on.... One click....nothing! Two clicks.....nothing! Three clicks.....Oh Joy!...it still runs at full speed anyway.

Iíve seen this before in old cars I had. The fan speed switch just routes the juice through various resistors for the lower fan speeds and gives full volts flow for top speed. One (or more) of the resistors had bitten it.

On my drive to work I started thinking about the carís warranty and was thankful the car was still covered. Iíd just take it to dealer. Then, the mechanic in me took over.

When I arrived at the office I looked at the dash and surmised that the faux burled walnut (read brown, spotty, cheapo plastic) surrounding the heater controls and radio would quickly pop off of some ingenious snap-together fasteners the automakers now all use. (Very few actual screws in a car anymore.) It did OK....with some effort and despite my visions of cracking the thing in half.

I expected the heater controls to be attached to the dash in some way, but no. Conveniently they all came out of the dash on this part I was holding, two neatly connectored cables trailing. The connectors came off easily and I realized that you donít just replace a fan switch anymore. The fan speed switch, temperature, A/C and duct selector controls were all part of a large, rectangular, common module. Warranty or not, this thingís gotta cost somebody $100 or more to replace, all because some 1/2 cent resistor toasted.

Then.....THE HORRIBLE DISCOVERY! Emblazoned on the back of the failed module, in molded, raised lettering.....a word so foul and universally understood as the root of all automotive evil....LUCAS !!!!! Well, if that doesnít explain it!

WHAT IS CHRYSLER THINKING???? I am now certain that not one of their engineers or designers ever owned a British sports car. I have to wonder (and will wonder from now until forever) just how many LUCAS-built, fire starting, darkness causing, pre-corroded, intermittent, high resistance (or shorted) devices did they bury in this car???

Gotta go.....Iíll bet thereís unsoldered connections too. Whereís my soldering iron?

Kelvin Palmer


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