Friday, January 18, 2013

It Burns Us!

In light of my great success installing five little capacitors, I decided to try my hand at some automobile repair.

I have a 1992 Miata. It originally belonged to my sister who gave it to my dad who gave it to me. It's been sitting out in the Texas Panhandle weather for the last 16 years or so. If you are not familiar with Texas Panhandle weather it consists of hot summers, lots of wind, lots of dust, a little rain, occasional hail storms, occasional tornadoes, and yearly snow and ice storms.

So far we've replaced the flip up headlights with flush mounted ones. The flush mounted headlights look better, but I'm not exactly happy about the mounting instructions and the work required to aim them. They haven't been aimed yet so I can't drive it after the sun goes down.

We've also replace the old vinyl top, which was weathered and hot glued to keep the rain out, with a cloth top. I like it much better.

Lately, it has started stalling. It stalls if you are at a low RPM and then push in the clutch. This mostly happens when downshifting in to second gear or first gear and then coming to a stop or slowing down to take a corner. I got to where I'd drive it without downshifting and at least it wouldn't die, but it wasn't as much fun to drive.

I found a website that said you could bypass the computer and adjust the idle to prevent this behavior. On the driver's side of the engine there is a diagnostics box. On the passenger's side of the engine there is a small metal tube sticking up with a black plastic cap on top. In my car's case, the cap was gone. At the bottom of this tube is a screw. Counter-clockwise turns increase the idle. Clockwise turns decrease the idle. It only works when the computer is not controlling the idle.

I rounded up a helper and went out to adjust the idle. The diagnostic box contains two rows of metal connectors. The instructions say use a paperclip to connect the ground to connector ten. The diagnostic box top has them labelled. I put the paperclip in and the car stalled. This made me feel that I perhaps had found the problem.

Now, my helper had to adjust the idle while I monitored the tachometer in the car. But, before that, I yanked the paperclip out to keep the car from stalling. When I put the paperclip back in, I was not very careful. Just next to the connector marked TEN is a connector marked B+. B+ and GND is not good. It burned the hell out of my fingers (which were holding the paperclip). It caused me to think perhaps I had some strange form of Tourette syndrome. I had no idea my brain knew such foul words. Three fingers on one hand and two on the other have, what will more than likely be, permanent scars.

But, I'm no wimpy Tourette sufferer. I found another paperclip and inserted it into the proper spots and we adjusted the idle up to about 900 RPM's with the paperclip installed. Then we removed the paperclip to insure that everything was still copacetic. It was.

Now, hopefully when I drive the car to the body shop later today, it'll run without stalling. I hope. Else the payment of my tender digits will have been for naught.

1 comment:

  1. You tried to repair your car with info from the internet? You believe in the truthfulness of the internet a lot more than me, my friend.