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Found my ghosts in the machine

Bobmbx

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Hey guys, If you've got unexplained, and intermittent, problems, here's a possible cause. My Ex has developed what is best described as the "hiccups" at idle. It doesn't happen all the time, and feels like a misfire. No codes, though.

So I thought I'd just inspect the engine for (esp the plug wires) for shorts or arcing. Here's what I found. (Generally, you have to pull the cable protector back and remove any electrical tape to see this far back from the connector). Most of the bare wires were not visible without doing that. Bummer.

It appears to be caused by engine heat over time, and mostly occurs where the wires are bent. The more severe the bend, the more likely the insulation will separate.

This is the TPS connector.
034.JPG




This is the fan connector.
035.JPG


This is for the distributor
037.JPG


And last but not least, the MAF.
031.JPG
 
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Flag Gibby

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Wow, that is crazy. I have never seen so much wire shielding degradation before on something that is only about 8 years old. Yeah I have seen it on stuff that is 40 years old undergoing a restoration, but never that bad on something less than 10 years old. Makes me want to go through mine just to be sure I don't have any wire degradation starting to occur like yours.
 
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Beachcomber86

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Bumping an old thread.
Saw your post and thanks!
I had some of the same issues but with a lot more insulation gone. Almost a new machine after $0.50 of liquid tape. Did you find any more chafing on your Ex? If so, where?
 
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tripplec

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How do you fix that? Electric taping would require a lot more free wire exposed and gets messy. Cutting and redoing with new plugs will have its own issued due to a splice now. Hmmm

Yeap thats bad, very bad and I see its on a V6. V8's get hot as well. I wonder if it in all Ford harness.
 
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Beachcomber86

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How do you fix that? Electric taping would require a lot more free wire exposed and gets messy. Cutting and redoing with new plugs will have its own issued due to a splice now. Hmmm

Yeap thats bad, very bad and I see its on a V6. V8's get hot as well. I wondering if it in all Ford harness.

Liquid electrical tape (brush on not spray) from Lowes and yes it's messy...WEAR GLOVES!

I believe it was a crappy taping job by Ford. Once I opened up the harness, the wires weren't bundled and taped to the end of the harness cover. That edge is what chafed off the insulation. I had to put newspaper under the wires to keep drips off of other stuff and make several coats. I also had to separate the wires before recoating. Once cured (12 hours, should be 24 but I had no choice), I bundled the wires and electrical taped them together making sure I extended past the end of the harness cover. Then I taped over the harness cover to seal it and keep it from moving on the wires.

Unbelievable how much happier the vehicle was! And Ford has no service bulletin on it. SMH!
 
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Beachcomber86

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The funny thing is, my dad's 2005 taurus with 50k more miles has a pristine harness with no issues. Go figure.
 
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boominXplorer

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This seems to be an issue with 06+ trucks as I have seen it numerous times. Best thing to do is get the very small tubes of heat shrink and take 1 pin at a time out of the harness and slide the tube down as far as you can on each wire. Then after all wires are done hit them with a heat gun to shrink the tubing and while it's still warm plug it in or bend the harness how it needs to go so it stays nice and tight and will last a long time. Tape doesn't last and brush on tape isn't the best solution in high problem areas.
 
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Beachcomber86

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This seems to be an issue with 06+ trucks as I have seen it numerous times. Best thing to do is get the very small tubes of heat shrink and take 1 pin at a time out of the harness and slide the tube down as far as you can on each wire. Then after all wires are done hit them with a heat gun to shrink the tubing and while it's still warm plug it in or bend the harness how it needs to go so it stays nice and tight and will last a long time. Tape doesn't last and brush on tape isn't the best solution in high problem areas.

I agree, but I was 200 miles from home with no tools and had to be somewhere else at a certain time. I'm hopeful that my fix will hold!
 
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boominXplorer

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As long as the wires don't touch your good to go but heat and electrical tape usually doesn't last unless you use the 3m super 88 or similar.
 
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Davidm53

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Used small strips of electrical tape on mine at the MAF harness, then wrapped the whole assembly.
That's not a hi heat area.
 
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Beachcomber86

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As long as the wires don't touch your good to go but heat and electrical tape usually doesn't last unless you use the 3m super 88 or similar.

The tape is rated at 176 F and the liquid tape at 200 F. Fingers crossed.
 
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bob60014

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Imho, just dont tape or liquid tape it (if not an emergency). If there is any sign of corrosion try to strip and solder the joint, then seal, to eliminate high resistance.
 
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Beachcomber86

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400 miles after the fix and all is well, so far. I did buy some Super 88 and put a top coat on all that I worked on. Amazing improvement to the beast.
 
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Bobmbx

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All of the harness connections on the engine are static, meaning they don't move after the connection is made so there shouldn't be a concern about the electrical tape falling off.

I should mention that all of the insulation shrinkage was co-located with a "factory bend" in the harness, or where one might bend the cable while removing/installing it. I suspected, but never pursued, that this was throughout the harnesses, in places not accessible without removing the entire harness and stripping off the cable protector. So, if you bend a cable in the middle of a long run, you may open the insulation and cause a short you'll never find.
 
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Beachcomber86

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I called Ford and they were no help. The standard save your receipts, yada, yada, yada. Must be a setup issue on the Explorer because my dad's 2005 taurus' harness is just fine.
 
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J.L.U.

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Hi guys,

I'm having some issues here too. After all the reading I've done I'm very much leaning to it being a wiring harness issue due to heat. May I trouble you to post pictures of your work?

Thanks guys! I'm glad things are working out for you!
 
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Bobmbx

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Hmm....can't post photos now, and my original images are gone.
 
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Beachcomber86

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Sorry, but I never took in progress pictures. I would start with the MAF as its easiest to get to. Examine the wiring from the plug to the cable harness cover. If you see bare wires, then start investigating into the harness under the shield. Otherwise, leave it alone. Next go to the fan plug, it's right behind he radiator cap. Same instructions apply.

The fix. I'm goimg to say use the easy quicker fix of liquid tape then rebundle the wires and tape. Mine has 170k+ miles and I can't solder worth a dang, so the splice technique while better isn't an option for me. I would get the 3M Super 88 tape as standard electrical tape does get gummy from the engine heat.
 
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ourthirdexplorer

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To Bobmbx and everyone else that contributed to this thread, thank you. To anyone at Autonation Ford North Scottsdale that might read this some day, please do some research. I should be paying for your expertise, not your guesses. You have lost my business.

The short version: I have been in P2135 hell for the last two years. This summer, it went to a whole new level with the error occurring almost every day. Add to that, the fan clutch kicking in on an ice-cold engine. I kept my code reader in the truck at all times to manually reset. Once the dash indicators would go from green to amber, I've got really damn good at pulling out of traffic lanes, slipping into neutral, shutting the truck off, and restarting it.

The dealer diagnosis: The third throttle body they put in is still good, the alternator is 'generating RF interference' and that is what is causing the A/B voltage reading on the throttle position sensor. Bad alternator, happy to replace for $900. Oh, and the fan clutch is bad, too.

Second opinion at independent shop: Alternator is fine. Never heard of 'RF interference' causing something like that.Not sure what is going on. At that point, I was thinking ECM. Until I read this thread.

I read this post and decided to split open the engine wiring harness to see what's up. Nothing to lose. I can't say that I saw anything obvious, but I wanted to treat this like a controlled experiment to eliminate wiring as a possible cause. I purchased the same high-temp plastic flexible as the OEM, but smaller gauge. I also picked up some 3m Super 88 high-temp tape and went to work. I ended up creating "mini-harnesses" to separate the fan clutch, throttle body, alternator, groups of wires.

After 9 days of code-free driving and not one single fan clutch "roar," I am just about ready to declare victory. My investment in this fix is approximately $10, including tax.

Again, thanks to everyone that contributed to this thread. For those of you in P2135 hell and searching the ExplorerForum answers, there is hope.
 
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Bobmbx

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To Bobmbx and everyone else that contributed to this thread, thank you. To anyone at Autonation Ford North Scottsdale that might read this some day, please do some research. I should be paying for your expertise, not your guesses. You have lost my business.

Again, thanks to everyone that contributed to this thread. For those of you in P2135 hell and searching the ExplorerForum answers, there is hope.

Glad I could assist. Checking and fixing my harness cured sooooo many issues that just didn't make sense, and didn't cost me anything (my roll of electrical tape must be 20 years old).

I'm trying find a way to re-post my original photos. Anyone know how?
 
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