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Electrickery

Rooster-Alpha

Active Member
Joined
September 5, 2009
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City, State
Augusta, Ga
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Sport
I was wondering if this was a common problem. I'm assuming not since I don't see a sticky for it or an entry in the index.

My '99 sport has this weird electrical problem. My windshield wipers go at random times, the ABS light will come on and off, the washer fluid will only spray sometimes after minutes of repeatedly mashing the button in, and the airbag deploy light will come on and go off. I'm the furthest thing there is from an electrician so i don't even know how to go about starting to chase this problem down. I remember The F-150 my dad used to have had the same problem with the windshield wipers and the guy's at the ford dealership couldn't figure it out.

This may not even be one problem it may be several and I'm just not knowledgeable enough to know how to tell. If there is a simple fix though, I would love to hear it.
 



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The following may apply. You may need a pro to check for the problems and repair.

Excerpt from tsb 00-9-6:

WINDSHIELD WIPERS—FRONT WIPERS OPERATE
WHILE SWITCH IS IN “OFF” POSITION Article No. 00-9-6

FORD: 1999 TAURUS
1999-2000 MUSTANG, EXPLORER, F-150, F-250 LD, RANGER, WINDSTAR
2000 EXCURSION
MERCURY: 1999 SABLE
1999-2000 MOUNTAINEER


ISSUE present
The front windshield wipers may operate while the
multifunction switch is in the OFF position on some
vehicles. This may be caused by a resistance drift
in the multifunction switch or a partially plugged-in
connector.

ACTION

If the uncommanded wiper operation condition is
present and all wiper related connectors are fully
seated, install a revised multifunction switch. Refer
to the following Service Procedure and the
Multifunction Switch Application Chart for the
applicable switch.

YL5Z-13K359-AAA Multifunction Switch
(Explorer/Mountaineer, Ranger)
YL1Z-13K359-AAA Multifunction Switch (Excursion)
YL3Z-13K359-ABA Multifunction Switch (F-150/250 LD)
YR3Z-13K359-AAA Multifunction Switch (Mustang)
XF1Z-13K359-AAC Multifunction Switch (Taurus/Sable)
YF2Z-13K359-AAA Multifunction Switch (Windstar)

Check for partially plugged in MF switch connector. The MF switch is the stalk that controls the wipers, turn signals, etc.

From TSB 03-24-1:
ELECTRICAL—AIRBAG LAMP ILLUMINATED— Article No. 03-24-1
DIAGNOSTIC TROUBLE CODES (DTC’S) B1994
AND/OR B1998

ISSUE
Some 1999-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer 4DR and Explorer Sport 2DR vehicles may exhibit an airbag lamp illuminated intermittently with diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) B1994 or B1998 stored in memory. This may be due to a high resistance or poor connections in the side air bag (SAB) wiring harness circuits or restraints control module. This condition may occur on vehicles equipped with, or without, side air bags.

ACTION
To service, install an overlay harness which incorporates soldered terminals and tin wiring. Refer to the service procedure for direction on which side air bag kit to order. Installation instructions and
illustrations are included in the kit.

SERVICE PROCEDURE
FOR VEHICLES WITHOUT THE (SAB), FOURTH
DIGIT OF VIN IS “Y” OR “Z” :
1. Install a new Non-SAB wire harness kit
3L2Z-14B455-AB. Refer to the installation
instruction sheet included in the kit.

FOR VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH (SAB),FOURTH DIGIT OF VIN IS “C” OR “D” :
1. Install the appropriate harnesses as indicated below. Refer to the installation instruction sheet included in the kit.
• 1999-2001 4DR Limited Explorer XL2Z-14B455-DB

• 1999-2001 4DR Explorer (except Limited) and Mountaineer XL2Z-14B455-AC

• 1999-2000 2DR Explorer XL2Z-14B455-BC

• 2001 2DR Explorer 1L2Z-14B455-AC

Have system scanned for airbag codes and abs codes.
 






Awesome. Thanks alot, this really helps.
 






Has anyone ever installed one of the updated wiring harnesses listed in the TSB to address the yellow dummy resistor plug problems that seem to be a re-occurring theme in a lot of Explorers?

The wire harness pictured online looks to be only 8-10 inches in length and appears to be plugged into the Airbag computer behind the passenger kick plate...and then left there out of sight/out of mind vice routed uselessly under the carpet to the back of the fronts seats - only to be kicked by someone in the back seat or have something knock off the dummy plugs by putting something under their seats.
 






I fought air-bag lights for years (due to poor connections in the yellow resistor caps). Somene suggested removing the caps a spraying the caps and connectors with WD40. I did not think this would work, but it's been about a year since I did this and the air-bag light/codes 3-6 and 3-7 have never returned since.
 






Did all of this start happening simultaneously, or only some of it, or none?

I'd check the multi-function switch (turn signal lever) connector for damaged wire or contacts pulled out of the connector.
I'd have a helper pressing the washer fluid button while I measured for voltage at the washer pump connector.

ABS, use a scan tool to see if there are any codes set, and if not, use a scan tool with live data to monitor the speed sensors.

Airbag, I'd check the connectors for contamination and try cleaning them with contact cleaner, unplug and replug together a few times, while the contact cleaner is still wet if possible. Be sure to be careful working with an airbag circuit, there's probably some checklist of safe practices.

Just for the heck of it, I'd also try pulling, examining and reinserting any relevant fuses, in case the contacts have become contaminated. Might not hurt to do the same with the relays. If the contacts look bad, you can wrap a piece of very fine sandpaper around a sliver of credit card or similar and push it in and out of the fuse slot to clean corrosion, if contact cleaner or just the manual abrasion of removal and reinsertion of the fuse itself isn't enough.
 






I fought air-bag lights for years (due to poor connections in the yellow resistor caps). Somene suggested removing the caps a spraying the caps and connectors with WD40. I did not think this would work, but it's been about a year since I did this and the air-bag light/codes 3-6 and 3-7 have never returned since.

I did the tried and true ******** trick on the passenger side for years (no, not that one) to the yellow connectors and that would get the light out for a month, two, sometimes 4-6 months...but the light would always return. The last time the light came on...I let it go and said screw it...with the understanding that the airbags would still work because of how an airbag system in these Ford vehicles function (at least two different sensors (either impact or the G-Force ones) in the vehicle are required to trip in order for the airbags to activate). I never had any issues with the drivers side (at least that I knew of)

Then someone else has been driving my Explorer for the past few years...and they knew about the light and the reason.

I got the vehicle back now...and I was going to register it in another state (that also has an annual safety check requirement) but it won't pass safety inspection with the airbag light going on/off so I thought I'd address it again. Lo and behold, I went to go disconnect the fake dummy harness on the passenger side and wiggle it and noticed one of the wires this time was broke right as it goes into the dummy connector. I tried to strip back some wiring and shove it in there...but I'm still getting the light - also, this time, it's a 36 light.

Now, I believe the 36 light is for the drivers side but that one appears to be fine....and just for S&G's, I went ahead and sprayed a little WD-40 in there.

As to the passenger side (with the broken wire going into the dummy plug), I went to the junkyard today and pulled a few different pigtail ends from a few Explorers (and sacrificed a few of them towards reverse engineering how the pins are held in there and how to disassemble the side that goes back to the computer). I did a quickee repair of my broken end but that didn't do anything to fix the 36 light.

Tomorrow, I'm gonna cut my existing pigtail end and splice in one that I brought home from the junkyard. I don't solder, so it will have to be wire twisting and electrical tape repair for now. I'll also pull off the other end at the Restraint Control Module (RCM) and do some continuity checks of the wiring that goes under the carpet.

As to the dummy resistor plugs...they both Ohm out at 6.9...which is what I believe is the correct reading for that resistor based upon what I read.

The last option, is the buy a replacement harness that was addressed in the 2003 TSB - That will run me about $60-70.

I could get the replacement harness that was addressed in the first TSB (2001) but that is basically the same harness that is in there now and about 10 feet long...and it's only about $30.

The 2003 TSB harness appears to only be about 8-10" inches long....and I guess, is positioned right next to the RCM in the kickpanel (I believe).

A couple of questions.

- How do people feel about the BlueDriver OBD2 scanner - I understand it can read Airbag codes and has great reviews, including from ChrisFix and Scotty Kilmer (love watching their Youtube Videos)!

- What's everyone using for image hosting these days that's free?? I used to use Photobucket...but we know how that turned out. I want to do a write-up of my Airbag woes, with LOTS of pictures, especially ones I wished I had before all of this....but that I also saw were missing from the many airbag threads up here.

-
 

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wait...can we host our pics here??? I thought you had to be a paying member???
 






Did all of this start happening simultaneously, or only some of it, or none?

I'd check the multi-function switch (turn signal lever) connector for damaged wire or contacts pulled out of the connector.
I'd have a helper pressing the washer fluid button while I measured for voltage at the washer pump connector.

ABS, use a scan tool to see if there are any codes set, and if not, use a scan tool with live data to monitor the speed sensors.

Airbag, I'd check the connectors for contamination and try cleaning them with contact cleaner, unplug and replug together a few times, while the contact cleaner is still wet if possible. Be sure to be careful working with an airbag circuit, there's probably some checklist of safe practices.

Just for the heck of it, I'd also try pulling, examining and reinserting any relevant fuses, in case the contacts have become contaminated. Might not hurt to do the same with the relays. If the contacts look bad, you can wrap a piece of very fine sandpaper around a sliver of credit card or similar and push it in and out of the fuse slot to clean corrosion, if contact cleaner or just the manual abrasion of removal and reinsertion of the fuse itself isn't enough.


I think I was replying to Koda2000 when you wrote your response...so I may have addressed some of your question. But basically, it's been happening on and off for years...just like everyone else. I was registered in a state that did not have a safety inspection...so thus one of the reasons it was ignored after troubleshooting it for years. The person who had it the past few years doesn't drive at night much...so the airbag light didn't bother them.

BTW, thanks for the tip on sacrificing a few connectors to see how to reverse engineer the connectors. I was able to figure out how to get the darn thing apart! That red clip just pulled straight out and then you just had to reach in the front to poke a tab out of the way and the gold plated connector came right out the back with the wire!
 

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^ My response was a reply to Rooster-Alpha, I did not notice that this topic was over a decade old... you really should have started a new topic. :)

As far as scan tools, the trick is in the software. Normally the lowest cost ones don't do manufacturer specific codes but there is Forscan app for Fords so an ELM327 based scan tool is what i'd try. For example I have a BAFX from Amazon, but I've never tried using it for airbags.

These require a host for the display but if you don't have an android or windows host (phone, tablet, or laptop), then you may need a wifi based scan tool instead (for apple). Beware of the dirt cheap Chinese scan tools ($4 and up) that claim OBDII support for all vehicles but don't do the J1850 that this generation of Fords uses. The BAFX does do J1850.

I wouldn't just twist and electrical tape the wires, at least get some crimp splices and if you don't have a crimp tool, be very attentive to detail crimping it with pliers. However, soldering is a very useful skill to have, so this could be a good time to get a basic $8 soldering iron that comes with a roll of solder and practice it. There are also youtube videos that show not only the basics but also how to do far more detailed work than needed for this. There are some that say crimping (properly) is better than soldering, but I don't subscribe to that and have never had a solder joint let me down after decades of doing them. The devil is in the details. ;) If you can't solder well then a crimp is better if you have the specific crimp tool needed for the type of crimp connector, but if you don't have a good crimp tool then either can go wrong. Ideally, a person would be good at and have the right tools for both and then a crimp has no advantage, but can still be "good enough" to last longer than you need it to, and is a little faster to do.

The other possibility if you didn't have any luck with the connectors, would be to just buy mating male and female connectors someplace and replace them both. You could also just directly connect the wires without connectors but I hate to do that when there are a million connector choices out there at electronics supply houses like Digikey, Mouser, etc.

The different color insert in Ford connectors is common, just a matter of figuring out the puzzle of how to non-destructively pull it apart.

Image hosting, I use imgur.com for a single image, especially if I want to embed it in a post instead of linking to it in a new browser window on the host site, or if there are a lot of large images, I'll create a google album and link to that. On imgur if you want to embed the image, after you upload it you then right click on it and choose "copy image location" (or similar, may vary by browser) then paste that into your post, and the forum code will do the rest, no need to use the image icon on top of the posting box... but that works too.

In THIS sub-forum on explorerforum, you can upload some things without being a paying member, images and file attachments. That is not the case on all the explorerforum subforums. Unfortunately the image size and resolution is limited so sometimes it is enough and sometimes not, depends on how much detail needs to be seen and how much context around it instead of just zooming in to that area to edit the image before uploading it.
 






J_C,
Thanks for the info.

I guess you can never have too many Airbag Code 36 & 37 threads around! :oops:

I've been away from this site for a while...so some of the changes (picture hosting) I was not aware of.
Yes, you're right though...I should start a new thread about this...instead, I was just trying to revive old ones!

I have a soldering iron somewhere...I'll have to try and dig it out. I just never seemed to get the hang of soldering...but you're correct, there are a ton of YouTube video's to learn from.

As for a scan tool...ooops, it's too late, I already ordered the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android on Amazon.

The BlueDriver seems easy to use and looks very reliable, supported, and future proof for hopefully years to come for many different vehicles. Based upon the YouTube video reviews...it seems to blow away most other OBDII scan tools in the under $100 market.
 






I think the reason I raised this old thread from the grave...was due to the fact that someone actually posted the 2003 TSB that referred to the 2nd re-issued harness from Ford to try and address the poor connections.

I still haven't read of anyone actually installing these harnesses as a fix....then again, blowing and WD-40 is definitely the cheaper route to take first!
 






I use Imgur for posting pics. Upload to Imgur, select the photo, use BBCODE copy and paste into your posting. Free and works pretty much like photobucket used to. As I recall I did need to add an extension to my browser I think it was @J_C that told me about extension to add.
 






Thanks for the feedback on Imgur.
 








Here's a pic of the shorter Airbag harness that Ford re-issured in the 2003 TSB.

Just playing here with inserting pics from Imgur.

Wow...can I really just post pics there, get the code...and NOT have to sign up for an account???
 

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I went out again today to investigate my Explorers Airbag wiring and to do some continuity tests of the wiring harness - the wire harness portion between the Airbag Computer (Restraint Control Module (RCM)), located behind the kick panel of the front passenger seat, and the yellow dummy resister plugs located under the driver and passenger seats. First, of course, I disconnected both battery cables and waited a few minutes so that the backup power-supply in the RCM could safely discharge and render the airbags inoperable...just to make sure I wasn't going to somehow set off any airbags with testing probes from my multi meter.

As a reminder, I was getting an Airbag light code of 36 - which usually indicates a problem with the drivers side wiring/yellow dummy resistor plug.
But at the same time, I knew that I actually had a broken wire on the passengers side airbag wiring, right as the wire goes into the dummy yellow resistor plug...but I was not getting a code 37 (passenger side airbag light code)???? :confused:

For my 99 Explorer, I had the following wire colors going to the dummy yellow resistor plugs:
Drivers Side - Brown / Blue & White / Blue
Passenger Side - White / Yellow & Brown / Yellow

IMG_1293.JPG
IMG_1294.JPG



On the RCM, the wiring went into a connector:


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IMG_1354.JPG


I had previously made a simple repair of the passenger side dummy plug broken wire (Brown / Yellow) by wrapping it and taping it with electric tape (not an ideal repair) and began testing continuity between the gold pins of the passenger side back to the corresponding hole on the RCM connector (Brown / Yellow) (Note: my probe points were too thick to get into the small holes of the RCM connector and I couldn't find any paperclips - so I used bread loaf wire ties (pulling the plastic off the ends) as a simple conductor that would fit into the small holes of the connector). I then started continuity tests of the Brown / Yellow wire and I was getting positive continuity tones on my multi meter when touching the gold dummy plug pin of the Brown / Yellow wire and the corresponding other side at the connector...but I was also getting positive continuity tones for the White / Yellow wire gold connector as well?? I reversed the bread loaf wire to the White / Yellow wire and the same thing happened at the gold contacts....no matter what side I was probing, I was getting continuity positive tones on both gold connectors??? :confused: I thought I might have a problem at that point but could not figure why this was??

I then switched over to the drivers side and tested the Brown / Blue & White / Blue wire pairs. I only got positive continuity tones on the white / blue pair of wires. I was getting absolutely nothing on the Brown / Blue pair. While holding the dummy connector and trying to probe the gold connector on the Brown / Blue wire, I would occasionally hear a positive continuity tone but thought my probe had just touched the other gold connector...but then realized it only occurred when I was moving the wire around. After a little deeper inspecting, I noticed a small crease, that you can barely see in the above picture, just before the Brown / Blue wire goes into the back of the yellow connector. As I bent it more, I could see copper inside. Ah Ha! :snicker: A clue!

I stuck my probe in there and started getting positive continuity tones back to the RCM connector on both the Brown / Blue side AND the White / Blue side

I then took apart the connector (BTW, the red insert, just pulls right out with a good tug from needle nose pliers - you then have to stick a small probe into the front of the yellow connector to lift a tab, that lets you pull the wire out the back - see previous pic in an earlier post above).

See that small break in the Brown / Blue wire below...that's where my 37 code was coming from!


IMG_1367.JPG


I then proceeded to take apart the wire from the gold pin and make another jury rigged repair of twisting bare wire from both sides and using tape to finalize the temporary repair. All continuity tests worked perfect. Now, why a positive continuity test from the gold connector of the Brown / Blue wire goes back to the RCM connector and tests positive for continuity at both the Brown / Blue side AND the White / Blue side of the RCM connector is beyond my understanding as to why... :rolleyes:

I then connected the RCM connector back to the RCM and then plugged in both resistors to their respective dummy plugs (Oh, both resistors read 6.9 - 7.0 Ohms when I probed them - I believe that is within specs for the resistor connector on the dummy plug). I then connected the battery terminals and reached in to start the car (keeping my head and body away from the front of the airbag! :eek: ).

Wouldn't ya know it!... The Airbag light came on during startup and lit up for a few seconds and then it went out. I sat there waiting for the next few micro-seconds for the typical blinking airbag light...and there was NONE!! Yes!! :chug:

For now, I just wrapped up both wires and shoved them back in the holes of the carpet from where they came...I hope to never see them again but as we know, these things keep occurring. I think I'm just going to one day, cut them about 10 inches from the RCM connector and correctly solder the cut ends with the resistor dummy plugs and leave em' right there next to the RCM just like the replacement harness does from the 2003 TSB.
 

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I should probably re-write this all up in its own thread...as I know I did a lot of reading of Airbag threads going back to 2003 on this issue to learn all I could about this airbag system and its dummy plug flaws...as well as understanding the purpose behind the dummy plug resistors (cuz there's no airbag in a lot of early seats) and how easily these wires can be damaged from a wayward foot to an umbrella shoved under a seat, etc...
 






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