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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'94 Mercury Villager, Crazy Brakes and Power Lines

Q: When I'm driving my “94 Mercury Villager van under high power lines, the brakes buck, the pedal pushes upward and won't stop till I put the car in park and remove my foot from the brake. The car bucks forward and it's dangerous. It's getting more and more sensitive and is doing it for lesser power lines. What the heck is that?

A: You’re not alone with this problem. We’ve had two other vehicles of your type in the shop with the same complaint. It was hard at first determining the cause for the problem until one customer said it happens at the same place every time, which happened to be under a set of power lines. Her husband confirmed our suspicion by driving the vehicle under the same power line and applying the brakes. The anti-lock brake system would just flip out, with the ABS computer was thinking it was in the panic stop of a lifetime. The ABS computer would not calm down until the vehicle was brought to a stop after the power lines. Once the cause for the ABS system flip-out was determined, his wife did not want anything to do with that vehicle and traded it in. At this time we only have a theory that the grounds for the wheel speed sensor shields were/are bad. The wiring for the wheel speed sensors travels the length of the vehicle; they could be acting as a receiver. Power lines have a very strong magnetic field. When another wire comes under the influence of a magnetic field it will produce electricity, this electrical theory is call mutual induction. If our theory on the ABS problem is correct, then the power lines could create a signal/voltage in the ABS wiring that would cause the ABS computer to believe that there is an ABS event occurring of a grand scale. Our theory was applied to the second vehicle and all the grounds for the ABS shielding were cleaned and serviced. We have not see or heard back from this customer, so we have no idea if this was an effective repair.

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