Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

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takza
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Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by takza »

For the last 2-3 years I've had a problem where the license plate lights would light up dimly when the hatch was opened....but could never figure it out.

Recently the license plate lights and the backup light failed to work at all....so I had to fix whatever was wrong.

Ended up taking the inside trim/cover off the hatch and after testing a bunch of wires and connectors discovered that the problem was a broken ground wire...where it routes between the hatch and the body. This bundle of wires flexes each time the hatch is opened/shut....and....the ground wire is a LARGE white wire with a black stripe....so it has less flexibility than the other wires I'd guess.

So after a lot of testing and so forth I happened to pull on this wire and had it separate....basically cleaned a short bit of insulation on both ends...put them straight together and soldered them...covered by a length of shrink tubing and some vinyl tubing split and taped....over that.

So now all 3 lights act like they should. The wiper was never affected...must have a separate ground.

The cover inside the hatch is held on by some plastic screws that go into some 4 pronged holders that grip the sheet metal...plus some clips that just pry loose. If the screw/prong thingies bust...they sell black plastic generic type trim holders at the parts stores.

Inside of the hatch with the cover off...wiper motor on the right..and you can see the lock cylinder to the left of that in the middle of the dark area...with a rod going down (or up in this pic) to the latch.

There IS a switch inside the latch on the hatch that controls the dome light....found the sucker. :!:

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Where the break in the ground wire was...AFTER the fix...the rubber grommets at the ends are espec important to keep the wires from shorting on sheet metal...this fix might be good for 20K or so?

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Last edited by takza on Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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splatterdog
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Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by splatterdog »

One of mine had the license plate light wire break there too. All the others were ok.

Could be worse. Seen a 10 year old 97 jetta with most of it's 40 or so door jamb wires broken or cracked including the back doors that saw little action.
Mogordo
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My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by Mogordo »

Hi all, This is a pretty old thread but I have a related question. I realized that the license plate lights on my car are not working. This after about 5 months and 13,000 miles of driving...Checked all the lights that actually matter before driving it cross-country to get it home...Anyway, after looking through posts I got to checking the wiring at the top of the hatch and sure enough I can see broken wires when I pull up the rubber boot. I am wondering if there is a good way to get to the wires without wrecking the boot. It doesn't seem to squish up enough to get to the rest of the broken wires. If not I'm thinking I'll put a slit lengthwise in the rubber but only in the smooth middle. Maybe that will allow me either direct access or provide enough give to slide the bottom up. I can then tape it when I'm done and the undamaged ends will still fit snugly in the metal. But maybe there is another way that someone has had success with?
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dlb
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Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by dlb »

This is a tough one. I don't know if there will be enough room to splice the wires together even with slicing the boot open but it's worth a try since you can just tape the boot up when you're done. Please post back here with your results, I'm curious to hear how it goes.
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NWMO
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Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by NWMO »

Slice, repair, tape is how my son and I repaired roughy 4 wires (of maybe a dozen) or so on his wife’s Dodge Journey. I’m getting ready to check mine, as I haven’t had back up lights for a while, but just assumed I had a wiring issue from swapping the transmission.

Chris
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Mogordo
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Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by Mogordo »

I don't know the longevity but I now have a rear wiper, washer fluid (I consider those two luxuries so though they didn't work before I didn't think much on it), rear dome light (not sure but don't think it worked before), license plate lights, and reverse lights (worked when I got car but wire broke since). I feel rich.
I did slit the boot lengthwise except the ends, though I went a little further on the lower end than I think now I wanted to. There were four wires completely severed, one very close, and the large one (ground?) with just the casing broken. I pulled out the trim that goes across the roof of the car in the back and loosened panels to better access the wires. For the large wire I made a splint from the casing of a larger wire and then wrapped it in tape. I ended up using short lengths of wire to reconnect each of the other wires. With casing from slightly larger wire around each upper connection before wrapping with tape. Maybe not ideal but I wasn't sure what else to use that wouldn't create too much bulk. My experience with electrical repairs is quite limited. I had some trouble getting the lower end of the boot slid down and then pushed back into place on the car with the extra bulk of the tape and such but once I got it slid down I got it into the hole by using the end of a toothbrush handle to push it into place. I'm not sure my taping of the boot when I was done is waterproof enough so I may re-tape it but I was pretty done with it for the day.
I'll be pretty disheartened if the either of the outside lights stops working again soon but if they work a while I'll feel pretty good about it I think.
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Mogordo
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My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by Mogordo »

And:
Thank-you dlb for the encouragement (:

Chris, Thanks also (: For more ideas for future repairs or re-taping: What did you and your son use for the actual repair of the wires? And what kind of tape did you use when you were done to keep water out?
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dlb
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Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by dlb »

ahh, I see what you did. Nice work! That seems like it will work fine.

I believe the gold standard for wiring repairs is to twist the wires together and solder them but I can't solder to save my life so I've always just used butt splices. Every now and then one might slip out of the splice but usually they're fine.
Mogordo
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Re: Backup...license plate...dome light issues....

Post by Mogordo »

Thanks. I'm glad it looks all right to you too. I hope it's fine because I don't want to struggle with that boot again. And I'm pretty excited about having everything work. I do think I better re-tape it rather soon though because I think it isn't as waterproof as it better be. In part because the boot was rather dusty and the tape didn't stick as well as it could. I figure if I pull all that tape back off it will pull some of the dust with it...
I don't know soldering either. I watched someone solder something several years ago and I don't remember a whole lot more about it than that. That it happened (:
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