Door electric stuff gradually being lost

JP

Hero Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
639
Likes
1
Points
18
#1
Make
Pontiac
Model
Torrent
Year
2008
Miles
90000
Engine
V6
I've been gradually losing functionality related to the driver's door: first, the interior lights going on and off are intermittent, second, the radio doesn't turn off when I turn off the ignition and open the driver's door. Third, now the driver's door lock in inoperative. All this is obviously electrical, and I understand is a common problem with these models as they get older. This smells like a door wiring harness issue.

So I haven't looked at the vehicle yet, but I understand the wiring harness for the (especially the driver's, because it's used so much) door used crappy wire from the factory and the wires gradually crack in half.

One Youtube video in particular shows where the connector is and 5 or so cracked wires in the harness. Other pix are online showing the same thing in similar year Torrent. and Equinox models

So, that's my first task, is to take a peek.

My question is how best to repair it. My plan is to splice in a short wire and solder each wire back together with a shrink insulator over top. This seems like a better fix than using a crimp connector on each wire. I re-wired an entire underhood fuse box a few years ago on a 99 Lumina, so electrical repairs don't bother me.

Any other suggestions (assuming the wires are the culprit)?
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
4,668
Likes
17
Points
38
#2
Used 16 AWG neoprene wire on some vehicles, very awkward place to work. Soldered with heat shrink, another bad spot is the hatch door on an SUV, have to remove the back end of the headliner first.

You must live in a warmer climate if yours lasted ten years, in subzero weather, want to open that door very slowly and just far enough to get in, yes, they are crap. 30 Olds did not have this problem, no wires period.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
3,342
Likes
42
Points
48
Location
Kentucky
#3
Like NickD said, awkward place to work. If you are lucky, you may be able to fold over the end of a stiff wire and push it alongside the harness, starting inside the car and ending inside the door. Then pull several wires back thru and connect at a less awkward location. But if best access is right at the hinge area, I like to patch in a new section of wire, long enough to make a little loop for flexibility, and then stuff it back into the harness boot. Tuff spot to solder crusty old wires...I use the smallest wire nut that will fit the wire size, and pack wire nut with dielectric grease.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
4,668
Likes
17
Points
38
#4
Pretinned wire can be found in history books, all bare copper now, put a soft wire brush in a small electric drill and press the bare end of it so it can be soldered.

89 Continental used insulation displacement connectors, sure made the bean counters happy, didn't have to strip the end of the insulation, just crimp the terminal on it. Piece of brass would pierce the wire and barely make contact to a tiny piece of copper.

Nice way to spend a weekend, with a sharp knife, cut a bit of insulation right above the terminal, and soldered it. Sure solved a lot of problems.
 

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
8,259
Likes
125
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
#5
I think the best way I approach this on these are to undo the main driver door jam connector and just pull the whole thing through into the door. I obviously remove the paneling and switches and such. I then disconnect everything in the door and pull the entire harness out.

Way easier to work on my work bench and do a clean job with soldering and heat shrink tubing. Most clients want me to do as Dan suggests. Just splice in a few wires in that tight spot in the harness boot. But when I get a client who wants it done right, I do it the way I described. When it's for me or family or friends. I pull the entire section out. Most cars will have a separate harness for different options and the connectors are always close to the drivers door jam at left kick panel. Some now days even have a connector right at the boot. Those suck large as the wires split right at the connector.

Finding new pins gets to be a hassle and trying to pry open a used pin connector and getting that back to factory is near impossible if you have shaky hands from to much beer the night before. Which is often my case as most know me here. I am a cannuck and like my beer.

:eek:

Tinned copper wiring is available but usually not at your local parts store. I found a link here but am confused on gauge. The pictures show 16guage, but add says 28 gauge. Anyway, with a bit of googling, you can find very flexible tinned copper wiring that will last forever on the cheap.

Normally you would want 16gauge for switches and mirrors and maybe 14 gauge for power window since it draws more amps. But I assume 16 will do. Normally, you will see the window circuit on a bigger gauge such as 14.

Here is that link to tinned wire, just make sure you get 16. 28 is way to small. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1M-...copper-cable-silicone-rubber/32668414664.html


Found a better link here.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1me..._expid=d9a4fee4-bede-4720-958d-2e7d68362d46-5
 
Last edited:

JP

Hero Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
639
Likes
1
Points
18
#6
Found this pix on the interwebz from a YouTube video. It's a pix of an Equinox, not sure if it's the same year or similar year to my 2008 Torrent. If so, this looks like a reasonably accessible way to do the repair:

maxresdefault.jpg
 

JP

Hero Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
639
Likes
1
Points
18
#7
I was thinking that an owner's first thought might be: "Don't they test these things?", but I've been puttering around cars long enough to know the answer to that question, LOL.

Save costs = Cheap wires/poor design= Issues long after the warranty expires or the division is eliminated by the manufacturer

Besides, what would life be like without a few challenges? ;)
 

JP

Hero Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
639
Likes
1
Points
18
#8
Would it be of any use to wrap the entire bundle in electrical tape after the repair? I'm thinking that may limit the flex in the wires at the point of repair. Or is that wishful thinking?
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
4,668
Likes
17
Points
38
#9
Vehicles don't even last ten years around here, with this dang road salt a pile of rust, rocker panels go first so the center of the vehicle sags and can't even close the doors. This assures them you will have a buy a new one every few years.

Computers are far better as are smart phones, but here they change the OS every five minutes to force us to buy new ones. Looking at new home construction, particle board, plastic exteriors, plumbing, appliances, they are lasting very long either. Made in China is sure killing us with their junk, HVAC systems, refrigerators, air compressors, etc. Lucky to get two years use out of this crap and have to pay a stiff recycling charge to get rid of it.

Not only automotive, just about everything. 1949 was the year Detroit quit using nickel in steel, the year of Detroit rust. But why quit with the sheet metal, wire and other items as well. Practically all the components are throwaway.

1970 Buick OEM blower motor was six bucks brand new, but why spend six bucks? Just needed two new brushes for a quarter, and two bronze bushings for a dime a piece, and had screws. Now all welded together, paper thin commutators if you could open it, and some are as high as 250 bucks!
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
4,668
Likes
17
Points
38
#10
Without an automobile, we can't even go to our jobs or take our kids to school and this is the law. Billionaires can deduct 100% the cost of their private jets, know this for a fact, so why are we the people being quiet on this issue?

We can deduct 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, but better keep a log of it or will get audited. If its even worth it.