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Transmission Destroyed By Python 871xp


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mabuffalo 
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Joined: June 23, 2007
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 12:16 PM / IP Logged  

Ford automatic overdrive transmission destroyed by “professional” Python 871XP installation at Circuit City  Transmission Destroyed By Python 871xp -- posted image.

I just had a Python 871XP (aka Viper 771XV, Clifford Matrix RSX3.2) installed in my 2000 Ford e150 conversion van at Circuit City (Amherst, NY). I drove into the service bay with a perfectly working transmission and within a mile down the road it began malfunctioning after the installation. By a couple of miles, the security system that was "professionally" installed had completely destroyed my automatic overdrive transmission (around $3,000 in repairs). I considered installing a security/remote-start system myself, I but decided to pay the extra money and let the “professionals” do the work. What a mistake! These guys are real amateurs. Taped connections, hunt-and-probe wire identification methods, didn’t even install the hood pin switch which is both a safety feature (for the remote start function) and a theft deterrent (sounds the alarm before a thief can disconnect the battery or cut the siren input).

I had done some ‘homework’ on car security system installation (thanks to all of you here and elsewhere who post information freely online!) and could see that he was not following ‘best practice’ procedures. Without a schematic for the vehicle wiring, he probed the steering column wiring harness with a continuity tester (this low impedance device can actually damage sensitive automobile electronics itself) and selected wires from the steering column for connecting with the security system (including the +12 VDC security module power supply). All connections were poorly insulated with electrical tape which he also apparently used as the only attachment to retain the shock sensor under the dash. I was present during much of the installation and did ask questions about how he was doing it, but he’s a “professional” alarm installer and I’m just a university professor (albeit with considerable experience in designing and building electronic and computer-control circuits for my biomedical research laboratory), so I let him do “his” work without being ‘pestered’ by me with suggestions on how it should be done properly. (He was clearly not about to change his installation method because of my questions or suggestions.)  

Meanwhile the installation manager at Circuit City has no idea how the installation of his security/remote-start system could damage my transmission. It’s all electronically controlled, you idiot!!! (Among other things, a switch controlling the electronic overdrive is located in the gear shift lever on the steering column.) The improper installation apparently caused a malfunction in the power-train control module (PCM) that in turn caused the automatic transmission to shift inappropriately in-and-out and between various gears (including overdrive), thereby grinding the teeth off of the gears and nearly locking up the transmission permanently (it did thump and bump going down the road). And for those of you who know something about automatic transmissions, yes, the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) was very clean with no sign of burning that would have been indicative of an existing mechanical problem with the transmission – this was an abrupt catastrophic failure caused by an electronic malfunction shortly after the Python 871XP was “professionally” installed.  

So hurrah for you DIYers out there. And if you do ‘drop and shop’ (viz., drop off your vehicle for installation and shop or otherwise leave the vehicle unattended for the installer to do “their” work), make sure your installer really knows their business. Trusting a well-know national brand, such as Circuit City, is not enough!

ADDENDUM

Before I’m ‘flamed’ by the professional installers on this site, let me apologize to those of you who do know your trade. I have a lot of respect for what other people know and that’s why I deferred to the professionals for this installation. As an average consumer, I have no way of discerning the good from the bad installers, so I opted for a nationally known retailer (i.e., Circuit City) to professionally install my security/remote-start system instead of a local, independently owned shop. Again, I would have preferred a ‘small shop’ with a great installer, but I have no way of knowing who to trust. I wish some of you guys were in ‘my neighborhood’ to fix this problem. After my $3000+ in transmission repairs I still don’t have an alarm system that is working!

MABuffalo
KPierson 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 12:40 PM / IP Logged  

First off, I would say it was NOT a mistake to let a professional, insured shop work on your vehicle.  Had you done the install yourself, and made the same 'mistake' that they made, you would be left paying the $3000 repair bill out of your own pocket.  Because you opted for an insured shop, their insurance company will work with you to cover the bills.

Circuit City solders and tapes all their connections.  As long as it was soldered under the tape, I wouldn't complain about that.  This is a MUCH better way of connecting then butt splicing or using T-taps - a method typicially chosen by install shops that pay by the job and not by the hour (T-taps are quicker, but much less reliable).  However, I will say, Circuit City did downgrade thier tape and they are no longer using Scotch 33+.  This is a BIG mistake on their part, but I'm sure the change saved them >$100,000/year in supplies.

Most shops 'hunt and probe', this is the standard.  The alternative is to 'hunt and pray'.   I've worked with people who didn't probe wires during installs and they always had problems with their installs that I usually had to fix.  Installers work off of sheets that give the wire function, location, and color, thats it.  Unfortunately, manufacturers sometimes change colors and often times use multipe wires of the same color in the same harness.  Hunting and probing is the ONLY way to install an alarm in a vehicle.

There is no excuse for the hood pin not being installed.  That is a lazy installer, and that should be reported to his manager.  If his manager doesn't want to listen take it to his manager.  This is a big deal, as you said, because it is a safety item. 

Who did the repairs?  What did they find as the 'cause'?  I've done quite a bit of work with automatic transmissions, including designing, building, and installing a stand alone automatic transmission controller with paddle controls for a high HP street vehicle ( http://www.kptechnologies.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=208), and would be curious how the PCM could destroy the tranny.  Typically, the PCM controls shift solenoids, and the rest is hydraulic.  You can do what you want to the shift solenoids, and the tranny will still shift somewhat smoothly with no issues, because of the hydraulic control system.  The only thing I can think of is if something happened to the line pressure solenoid and the tranny was shifting at full line pressure.  This won't typically destroy the tranny immediately, but it won't do anything good for the tranny.  I, personally, have never seen an electronic clutch based auto tranny, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

If I were you, I would use the 'large chain' status of Circuit City to your advantage.  Contact the car audio district manager in your area and find out who their 'best' installer is.  Large chains typically have 'super techs' or 'master techs' that float around the district working on issues like yours.  Then, take your vehicle to that installer, and ONLY that installer.  Let him finish the install that you already paid for.  Don't pay a $ more, as you've already paid for the install, and Circuit City has a life time warranty on all installations.  Throw in the fact that they already damaged your vehicle and they should be very willing to work with you.  If they are unwilling to do this, demand a refund in cash, and go elsewhere.

Unfortunately, whenever working on a vehicle, there is a chance for damage.  Hopefully the vehicle was fixed to your satisfaction.  Hopefully, from this you've learned that if you are not comfortable with the person working on your car that you should speak up and stop the installation.  All shops have technicians of varying degrees, and even if you go to a reputable shop there is always a chance you'll get a tech that just started and is still learning.

Good luck getting this all resolved in a timely manner.

Kevin Pierson
mabuffalo 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 1:50 PM / IP Logged  

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions. I need all of the help that I can get on this problem . . . I'm way out of my field of expertise or experience. Normally when I get 'burned' like this I just 'walk away' and try not to exacerbate the issue by investing more time in it. This time, the problem is especially annoying and very expensive – the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”  I’m resolved not to let them ‘get by with this,’ but it will most likely ‘cost’ me the completion of a book scheduled for publication at the end of summer and it’s certainly raising my (already too high) blood pressure.

 
Yes, the same problem could have happened had I tried to install the security/remote-start system myself. But I would have been working from wiring diagrams provided by the vendors who supply the alarms that I was considering, and I would have had a much more sophisticated alarm system for less than 1/3 of the cost. I opted to pay more for "professional" installation to avoid the problem that occurred and to have the new system installed in a few hours rather than the few days it would have taken me to carefully plod along. I also considered buying a security system from a third party; again, a wiring schematic would have been provided to guide the installation. I opted to keep it simple by purchasing a security system that I presumed that the installers had experience with at their retail store. It never occurred to me that the first corner they would cut is not subscribing to one of the online services that provides wiring diagrams (cost for individual diagrams $4.95 to $14.95, with a much lower unit cost to volume subscribers).

No wiring diagrams were used by the installer. He also appeared to be using a low impedance continuity tester not a high impedance DMM. I have no experience installing automotive electronics since I was a young man installing 8-track tape players one summer, but I have designed and constructed a lot of electronic and computer-control circuits for my laboratory research. It doesn’t take me much longer to use heat-shrink tubing than to wrap the connection with electrical tape, and the seal is much, much better with heat shrink. I’m also well aware of how delicate CMOS and TTL circuitry can be and would not apply any low impedance testing device to this circuitry.

 
The repairs are being performed at a local Aamco transmission shop (Amherst, NY). They haven’t thus far been able to provide an exact cause. What is obvious is that there was no apparent sign of mechanical transmission damage as evidenced by the very clean ATF (FYI: This is a 2000 Ford 4R100 automatic overdrive transmission in an e150 conversion van.) I had just finished a 2,300 mile “test drive” from Phoenix, AZ to Buffalo, NY, and the transmission was working perfectly. It shifted very smoothly with no slippage and performed flawlessly on my drive home. The installer himself drove the vehicle into the service bay with no apparent problem. When I left their shop around 4 hours later, the transmission suffered catastrophic failure within a few miles. An unfortunate coincidence? Perhaps, but the probability is extremely unlikely. I did test the anti-carjacking feature just before the transmission jammed driving down the road, but I think the power train may have also been making some rather strange sounds earlier. 

I learned as the installation was being done that they don’t install very many alarm/remote-start systems at my local Circuit City. In fact, I was the only customer from 10:00 until around 2:30 pm when I left and at 3:00 to 3:30 pm when I returned with the problem. I think they install many more sound systems than alarms, and the installer probably does an adequate (even very good) job at that task. I was pleased that he worked pretty constantly, without taking any long breaks, and even gave him a small tip.

 
Finally, who is paying the bill is yet to be decided. Circuit City at first said they would pay for any damage they caused, but very quickly adopted a, “gee, we don’t know how our alarm installation could damage your transmission”  position. Interestingly, the first thing the transmission shop asked me when I described my problem is whether I had an alarm system installed recently. But I haven’t yet found very many similar problems documented on the web. Thus, I’m ‘gearing’ up for a major battle and probable litigation.

Thanks again for your support and advise.

MABuffalo
KPierson 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 3:21 PM / IP Logged  

Circuit City is given the wiring information directly from DEI (the maker of the alarm).  They have access to the wiring, but that doesn't mean they used it.

The reason they don't use heat shrink tubing is because they don't actually cut the wire.  Heat shrink tubing is a better (seamless) insulator, but requires that the wire be cut.  By not cutting the wire you increase the reliability of the OEM wiring.  If you were to cut the wire and solder it back together with a cold solder joint you could have issues down the road.  If you splice in to a wire with a cold solder joint you'll only have issues with the aftermarket equipment. 

You're local AAMCO should be able to tell you if an electronic failure could damage your tranny with certainty.  Again, I would recomend that you quit dealing with the people at the store and just ask for their insurance information.  File a claim with them and let them take care of it.  Like you said, it MAY be a coincidence, but that is very unlikely and deserves to be throughly investigated by someone who does know everything works.

You are correct about using a DMM - that should be the only device used in testing on cars.  WIthout knowing exactly what he was using its hard to say if it was acceptable though.  They make many 'high impedence' devices these days that look like the old low impedence devices of yesterday (ie LED test lights vs bulb test lights).

Keep us updated.

Kevin Pierson
mabuffalo 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 6:57 PM / IP Logged  

I don't do automotive work, but it would appear better and even easier to cut and strip the wire, put the two ends normally connect into one butt connector and the new wire running to the alarm control module in another butt connector. Are crimped connections OK for this type of automotive work?

Alternatively, I would stripa 1/4 inch off the wire, fold it 360 degrees, solder the new wire at 180 degrees and still use heat shrink to cover the work. But then I really like heat shrink tubing and probably only buy cheap electrical tape in my other work. (It always comes loose, this year or next decade, and I want to keep this vehicle for a long time.)

Finally, for those of you who like pictures, I have posted a few with a long narrative at www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm and will update the webpage later when I have some photographs of the actual wiring.

Thanks for the comments and suggests . . .

MABuffalo
peterubers 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 7:18 PM / IP Logged  

Get the BBB involved asap -- i've worked with the BBB once in the past to resolve an issue with a major automaker and they helped me obtain a fair, equitable resolution.  I suggest you do the same, regardless if you hire private legal representation.  It's free, it's an online form, and it only takes 5 minutes to fill out.

Just make sure you have your facts in order, your receipts for all the work handy (including actual time of delivery, date of work done, manager or service/tech you spoke with and/or the guy who actually did the work) First and last names are best, but if you at least know the first name, that's a start. 

The search function is your friend.
KPierson 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 8:22 PM / IP Logged  
mabuffalo wrote:

I don't do automotive work, but it would appear better and even easier to cut and strip the wire, put the two ends normally connect into one butt connector and the new wire running to the alarm control module in another butt connector. Are crimped connections OK for this type of automotive work?

Alternatively, I would stripa 1/4 inch off the wire, fold it 360 degrees, solder the new wire at 180 degrees and still use heat shrink to cover the work. But then I really like heat shrink tubing and probably only buy cheap electrical tape in my other work. (It always comes loose, this year or next decade, and I want to keep this vehicle for a long time.)

Finally, for those of you who like pictures, I have posted a few with a long narrative at www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm and will update the webpage later when I have some photographs of the actual wiring.

Thanks for the comments and suggests . . .

Butt connectors should never be used in cars (in my opinion).  A car enviroment provides two things that will kill a butt connector - excessive vibration and moisture.  It is my preference, like stated before, to never cut an OEM wire unless I aboslutely have to, because cutting it can lead to problems down the road.  One example I have seen, is a cold solder joint on a starter wire.  The customer had occasional problems where the car wouldn't crank.  He could hit the bottom of his steering column and the car would normally crank.  The starter wire was in a tight spot, and the original installer did a terible job at soldering it.  (unfortunately in this case, the starter kill required the wire to be cut).  Had this been an ignition wire with the same issue you could have cars stalling at highway speeds etc.

People who have issues with tape are people who have never used Scotch 33+.  It doesn't peel and it doesn't leave sticky stuff on the wire.  Its stupid expensive, usually about $4 a roll, but worth every penny.  Its the only tape I'll use in a car, and the only tape I use at my 'day job' which involves machine control/automation in a manufacturing environment.  I have no problems admitting that heat shrink is better, but electrical tape is much more convenient and I've never had an issue with it.

I read your entire write up, very thorough (and someone enjoyable to read - I'm a geek I know).  If I were in your position I would NOT authorize any repair work to be done until after you contacted Circuit City's insurance company.  I would also stress to them that this is a special needs vehicle and getting it repaired immediately is the most important thing to you at this point.

Regarding your write up though, there are several things that are fairly inaccurate.  First, the 'ignition kill' doesn't exist and can NOT provide a ground out to the ignition circuit (the starter kill that you mention is the same way - it can NOT output a ground).  If the starter was engaging while driving it would not cause any damage to the PCM or tranny.  It would only chew the teeth off the starter or flywheel.  The starter is controlled through a solenoid and isn't connected to the PCM in any way (an assumption on my part, but a safe one considering the year of the vehicle).  Also, horn honk is never hooked up on an alarm, because you have a siren, comfort closing wasn't hooked up because your vehicle isn't compatible, and dome light supervision requires additoinal parts, at an additional cost, and most customers don't opt for it.  In fact, a lot of modern vehicles will automatically turn the light on when you unlock the doors.  I've said it once, and I'll say it again - Circuit City uses DEI's DirectWire program for wiring information.  This is availible to all their installers and I couldn't imagine installing an alarm without it.  The ignition wires would be easy, but it would be almost impossible to find the door pin(s) and other alarm wires.  DEI doesn't have an E-x50 listed, but does list an Econoline in the year 2000.  This may have confused the installer to thinking that there was no information, and something I would definately dig deeper in to.  I would also get the exact manufacturer and model number of whatever the installer used to probe the wires.  Be aware though, that NO shop uses circuit diagrams - they simply use a database that shows function, color, and general location (ie drivers kick panel).

I looked for some powertrain schematics on the 'net but couldn't find any.  I would love to take a look at them and see if there is anything obvious that would cause this.  You may (if possible) also make a log of where each wire was connected.  You can then cross reference that to schematics from a service manual and find out exaclty what each wire controls.  Also, if you remember, how was he probing wires?  Was he cutting each wire open or was he using 'bed of nails'?  If he stripped back each wire he was testing I would look for wires that weren't taped back up.  This could have caused some major issues.  If he stripped back every wire, make a log also of these wires that you can see.  if he used a low impedence device on a data wire it could have damaged the PCM.  This is VERY important to know, because the last thing you want is to install a brand new (or fixed) tranny only to have the problem happen again.

Again, good luck with this.  It seems like you're in quite a mess at this point.  Take things slow and work with the insurance company so you arn't coughing up the $3K out of pocket.  Over the internet, it is impossible to say that the alarm caused the problem, but I would say you have enough evidence to get the insurance company to side with you fairly easily.

Lastly, ask AAMCO if they have schematics for the tranny.  If they do, ask for a copy, I would love to check them out!

Kevin Pierson
Velocity Motors 
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Posted: June 24, 2007 at 9:06 PM / IP Logged  
All in all, this problem is definitely needing the attention of CC's insurance company. Try not to let another shop or installer touch the wiring that has been done as this will give ammunition to CC's insurance company to void your claim with them. Even IF this ends up not being CC's direct fault, I would still have them open a claim for this as this could have your damages paid for by CC's company insurance policy.
Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
mabuffalo 
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Posted: June 25, 2007 at 1:54 PM / IP Logged  

Thanks again for your support and suggestions . . . I can’t emphasize enough how much your comments are appreciated. I’m trying to deal with this pretty much alone, in a calm and logical manner, when my visceral response is quite simple – I drove into Circuit City with a perfectly functioning vehicle (e.g., I just completed a 2,300 mile ‘test drive’ from Phoenix, AZ to Buffalo, NY and the transmission shifted smoothly without hesitation) and drove away with a vehicle that suffered catastrophic transmission failure within a short distance down the road. Meanwhile, I’m looking at my handicapped wife who remains stranded at home while her wheelchair-lift equipped van is in the shop for an undermined length of time. Her health has been steadily deteriorating and it is very important to get her out of the house this summer. For reasons that I won’t bore you with, it was essential that I have installed a security/remote-start system in the van immediately.

BBB involvement: Yes, I did file an online complaint with the BBB. Perhaps a bit to hastily, Circuit City has not technically declined my claim yet. But they did start dodging responsibility. The service supervisor and installer basically left me stranded in their parking lot with a, “gee, we don’t know what’s wrong with your car, you should have the transmission checked.” And they emphasized that they had no idea how their alarm system could be causing my problem.

Detailed notes: Unfortunately, I didn’t note (nor was I ever told) the names of the people in the shop. I didn’t note the time nor chronology of events, but I did try to reconstruct what I could with my long narrative of the day’s events. I wasn’t prepared for a problem. I thought this was a walk in the park for the “professional” installers at Circuit City.

Insurance company: I would not have thought of contacting the insurance company directly. Thanks again for the suggestion. I have no experience in this area. When similar events have happened in the past, they were for a much smaller dollar amount and I simply ‘shrugged’ them off as bad luck while bearing the expense myself. This case is much different.

Electrical tape: Thanks for the information about buying quality electrical tape. I should have known that there is something available besides the cheap stuff I buy at the usual retailers. I don’t use electrical tap very often, so it’s even cost effective to invest in the best grade of tape.

Butt connections: I never used butt connections in my electronic work in my research lab. I’m only familiar with them in automotive work and presumed that they were the industry standard. My conservative approach would have probably used them with heat shrink tubing over the connection between the two pieces. Alternatively, I might have used a wiring strip under the dash to make the various connections. (I would never expect anyone professionally installing an alarm system to use this latter approach; it’s certainly overkill and only considered by those of us doing our own installation who are very conservative in our approach.)

Horn honk: I’ve seen (or rather heard) it on other alarm installations. The default setting for the alarm (I believe but I can’t confirm because the transmission shop has my installation manual) is to have it activated. I’m guessing the horn wire was not connected to the alarm control module because the installer didn’t want to spend time searching for the proper wire. I understand that I can deactivate this feature by programming the alarm control module. (My inclination now is to attract maximum attention when my alarm sounds; if the alarm system is prone to false alarms, then I will ‘tone’ it down [pun intended].)

Dome light supervision: Again, the owner’s manual as well as the alarm description online indicates that this is connected and that the default condition is to have the dome light illuminated automatically when the ignition is turned off. I asked that the dome light circuit be connected to an auxiliary output instead, and the installer replied he didn’t know how to do that and that it might require an extra relay. I said fine, fully prepared to pay extra for the feature. The supervisor later explained that this could not be done on my vehicle with this alarm system. (I dropped the issue realizing these guys were over their heads and that I would have to install this myself later.)

Installation procedure: I stayed behind the ‘ropes’ during most of the installation. I’m a university professor that knows a little bit about too many things. Thus, I’m prone to micromanage everything. I thought he was an experienced professional and I should let him do his work without interference. Unlike many of my colleagues, I have a sincere appreciation about what other people know despite their educational or general intelligence level. I more often assume they know more than they actually do, and that’s where I sometimes get in trouble. Therefore, I did not directly observe how he probed the wires or whether he had a DMM in his pocket (I didn’t see one.). I didn’t make notes on what I thought he was doing in a cost-cutting manner. And he did have some loose-sheet pages that may have been wiring information about my vehicle. (It was clear from my distance that this was not a detailed schematic, but it could have had wiring diagrams for the alarm installation specific to my vehicle.)

Ignition kill vs. transmission failure: It’s now obvious that the transmission failed, but this wasn’t clear until I had the vehicle checked at AAMCO. The first thing my wife asked me was, “why did you keep driving the vehicle when the transmission was breaking?” I’m still trying to explain to her that this wasn’t clear for a couple of reasons.

First, I had no idea that transmissions were now electronically controlled. The last automatic transmission that I worked on was a Powerglide in my 1962 Chevy, and it had mechanical linkage. Welcome to the 1980s?!

Second, I mistakenly thought that the alarm system had an ignition kill function. It’s now clear to me that it doesn’t and it’s apparent why an alarm company would not provide this function with their anti-theft system (Yes, I can imaging driving down the road and an alarm malfunction causes the vehicle to stall out.). The prominent symptoms were consistent with the notion that the engine was stalling out and resuming power at 2,000 to 4,000 rpm – the vehicle jerked and lunged forward as if engine power was intermittently available. 

Third, the vehicle seemed to operate better as I reached 35 to 40 mph. It also seemed to improve somewhat when the installer removed the ground, but it was still running erratically.

So, in retrospect it’s clear that an electronic malfunction caused the transmission to shift in-and-out of gear erratically and to seemingly jam between gears. But this was not apparent at the time when I was driving and thinking that the alarm system had an ignition kill circuit. Had I known that the transmission was electronically controlled and that this might be the source of the problem, I would have driven the vehicle to a safe stopping area and called a tow truck. When I deactivated the anti-carjacking feature of the alarm and immediately heard a loud sound that sounded like a powertrain problem, I immediately stopped the vehicle in a parking lot and looked for damage to the powertrain. After waiting a few minutes and resuming my short drive across the parking lot, the engine seemed to stall-out intermittently. When I was driving the 2.4 miles back to Circuit City, the engine continued to apparently stall-out intermittently while the transmission seemed to be ‘searching’ for the proper gear. This latter sign would be consistent with the engine running at a higher rpm than appropriate for the speed of the differential. Thus, everything still seemed consistent with my notion that the ignition was simply being interrupted by the alarm’s circuitry. Obviously I was wrong about the cause.

Transmission electronic control schematics: I’ve enquired about the schematics. I too would like to understand exactly how this happened.

Bottom line: Yes, I’m begging the question. I’m presuming that the transmission failed because of something related to the new installation. It might have been improper installation; it might have been a malfunction in the alarm control module. I don’t know and I’m still waiting for a ‘smoking gun’ from the transmission repair shop. What I do know is that the statistical probably of this being coincidental is very small. If necessary, I will try to obtain data from Ford regarding the failure rate associated with this type of mechanical damage and conduct Monte Carlo simulations using different statistical models (I’m now moving into an area with which I have some expertise.). My guess is that I’ll be able to show that the chance probability of these two events occurring in close temporal proximity is extremely low, thus constituting firm scientific evidence for cause-and-effect even if the exact cause remains unknown. I prefer not to spend my summer break this way; I prefer to take my handicapped wife out in her wheelchair-lift equipped van and to use the time for a much needed recuperation from a hectic academic year.

Finally, there is, of course, an empirical test of this hypothesis: let AAMCO install the rebuilt transmission with the alarm active and see if the event repeats itself. I’m disinclined to use this experimental approach, but if the “experts” are so sure that the problem was not caused by the alarm installation, then I should be safe reactivating the alarm system that I paid for and will offer my apologies to Circuit City when it doesn't destroy a second transmission. Perhaps I will be forced to test their level of confidence in disavowing any responsibility for my transmission problem, but I certainly hope not.

MABuffalo
mabuffalo 
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Posted: June 25, 2007 at 2:50 PM / IP Logged  

Update from AAMCO

I hate to make too many postings to this thread, but for those of you who are anxiously following the progress with me I wanted to keep you informed. (And I suppose those not interested simply don’t click on this discussion topic.)

I called AAMCO. They still don’t have an exact cause of the transmission failure. They contacted Circuit City and CC is supposed to come to the AAMCO shop to view the work. The only comment I have from the AAMCO owner/manager so far regarding the wiring is that it looks like it was very poorly done, and he “wondered if this was the guy’s first alarm installation.”

AAMCO has had my vehicle since late Wednesday afternoon (the day of the alarm installation). The work is progressing much more slowly than I like, but they are very, very busy. I take this as a good sign (e.g., lots of customers seem to have confidence in their work, they don’t need to add another job to a slow shop), but it’s been very frustrating waiting for a specific diagnosis of the problem. I personally like the owner very much and would trust him with my wallet (but then, I trusted Circuit City too, so I guess my judgment is not always good).

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the phone to ring with my camera in-hand.  More when I have it . . .

MABuffalo
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