This title should be read in a deep Arnold Schwarzenegger voice with the cadence of “It’s not a too-mah.” (Well, it’s funny to me.)
Recently my partition stopped working (the solid privacy shade that separates me from my passengers) and I’ve been running around the greater Seattle area trying to find someone who is even willing to look at it, let alone fix it. My regular body shop doesn’t do after-market electrical work, and the several other places I called weren’t interested in messing with it either.
I took it to Car Toys over the weekend, and they said it wasn’t a power issue and I would probably have to replace the motor. The friend I was with offered to look at it if it were a brush motor, but of course it was something more complicated. Making matters worse, there was no brand or descriptive text written on it so I couldn’t start the task of tracking down the part.
One of my awesome facebook fans recommended Brody’s in Lynnwood, so I trucked it up there taking 99 the whole way, which was sort of interesting. They were really nice there, and they seem to have more business than they could handle. They couldn’t take the motor out right then and there (and I learned later that was actually a good thing), so I made an appointment to have that done next month and continued on my merry way.
Since I went to work late that day, I had told my boss and some other folks in passing what I was doing. So of course it was anticlimactic and a little embarrassing when everyone asked me if I got the motor fixed and I had to tell them I couldn’t even get someone to take it out. My boss suggested I ask one of the engineers I work with. He spends half the day on the phone looking for parts, and he’s very much into electronics, so it was a sensible suggestion. I didn’t want to put him out, but when I asked he seemed intersted in the challenge. He told me to pull into the manufacturing area after 3:30 when most of the guys leave and he’d have a look at it.
The first thing he did was connect it to a power supply. I told him the people who have already looked at it said it wasn’t a power issue, and he replied, “I have very little faith in most people’s troubleshooting skills.”
It’s a fair and understandable statement. Plus, I didn’t watch anyone test the power, I just went by what they told me. I shouldn’t have done that, as it wasn’t entirely true. Connecting the power supply to the wires nearest the motor enabled my coworker to put the divider down, which was great, but then we still had to find the faulty connection between the motor and the switches. Even without that information though, we learned the problem wasn’t the motor. Removing and replacing it would have been time-consuming and expensive, so I’m glad my coworker took the time to manually power it to be sure and I wish the car shops had done the same. It literally took two minutes.
He then removed the switch box. No loose connections there. Tracing back the wires got kind of tricky, and we ended up having to pull back a good portion of the carpet, where he found a poorly grounded connection. Depending on the rattle and hum of the car at any given moment, a loose screw could break the circuitry or close it again, which explains why the divider was going up and down sometimes but not others. He reconnected the wiring and it works now, but I may need to revisit this issue again and find something to stabilize that screw.
At any rate, I learned a lot that day. I learned a little more about my car’s electrical wiring, the aptitude of my continuously kind and talented coworkers, and the places I should avoid taking my car. I’m not surprised the average body shop wouldn’t take on this project, but it’s pretty crazy that somewhere like Car Toys, who specializes in electronics couldn’t be bothered to troubleshoot a wiring issue. Oh well, I’m just happy it’s fixed, and Barbie will live to drive another day.
Detached switch box:
Wires under the carpet:
BDH after hours on the manufacturing floor: