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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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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
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

Hot Diagnostics
Q: Can you help me troubleshoot my problem. A few days ago I lost the tail lights in my van. I thought I could smell something burning. Also the dash lights are out. I checked the fuse and it was spent. I replaced it with a new 15 amp fuse and it burnt right away. I went to 20 then 30, both burnt. I bypassed the fuse and started getting smoke (not too smart, huh). My brake lights work, my directionals work, but no my emergency or tail lights. I would appreciate any constructive advice rather than the obvious of going to see a tech.

A: Bypassing the fuse with a jumper is a sure fire way to get things smoking. You're likely to do more damage than good using that approach to identify the problem. Whenever a sudden electrical problem appears, the first question I ask is: what has been worked on recently? Has there been any body work or accessory upgrades such as a radio? A wire can be damaged during these procedures and become a problem a short time later. If I'm not mistaken you have problems with three different electrical circuits. The dash lights use a different fuse than the tail lights and the emergency flasher is another circuit in itself. The ideal approach would be to obtain a wiring diagram and start tracing the wires from the fuse panel to the first connector and disconnect it, then install a new fuse. If the fuse doesn't fail then you know that part of the wiring is good. Then move to the next wiring harness connector of that circuit and repeat the procedure. A good wiring diagram, patience and time is needed to diagnose a problem like yours. If you still come up short, take your car to a qualified tech.

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