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Transmission Destroyed By Python 871xp


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mabuffalo 
Copper - Posts: 63
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Posted: June†26, 2007 at 1:35 PM / IP Logged  
Thanks, "JWorm." I've been viewing the page from the computer that uploaded the file (always a mistake). I'll look into it later today.
MABuffalo
slab42 
Copper - Posts: 56
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Posted: June†26, 2007 at 2:41 PM / IP Logged  
you should change the thread topic to "transmission destroyed by installer during remote start install"  The python did nothing to you!
mabuffalo 
Copper - Posts: 63
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Posted: June†26, 2007 at 5:54 PM / IP Logged  

Actually, itís not clear at this point who did what to whom. What is clear is that it is extremely unlikely that the automatic transmission electronic circuitry spontaneously self-destructed a few blocks down the road from the Circuit City service bay. If an exact cause cannot be clearly linked with the installation, then the next likely cause would be a malfunction in the Python alarm/remote-start unit. At a minimum DEI is permitting their Python product line (under contract) to be sold only with installation included by an authorized retailer (i.e., Circuit City) who allows unqualified installers to do the work. For example, I noted earlier that the pin switch was still in the box; I double-checked again today and there is no sign of any pin switch (factory installed or otherwise) under the hood. Perhaps there is a factory-installed tilt switch in the hood that the installer used for this important safety circuit. Until I examine the actual wiring on the alarm control module I wonít know for sure if that function was connected (The panel has not yet been removed to reveal the alarm wiring and I donít want to touch it myself.). Also, the shock sensor was mounted under the steering column with electrical tape, and, Iím sorry to say, it was already dangling by its connecting wires (tape failure or bumped by the AAMCO technician?).

Lastly, I donít think I can change the ďthreadĒ of this discussion, and it is technically correct. I have advised DEI of the situation and they have assigned a case number. So far, DEI is moving about as fast as the guys at Circuit City. I have old fashioned views about customer service and I think itís in DEIís best interest to have their regional trouble-shooter look into the situation ASAP. If they donít understand the marketing aspects, they should understand the product liability issue. (FYI: Had I anticipated how the title thread would be truncated on the running heading, I would have probably moved Circuit City to the front and Python to the back of the title. On the other hand, most of the people reading this discussion are professional installers or DYIers and their primary concern would be the possibility of a defective DEI product not a bad installation job at Circuit City. Imagine someone who is moonlighting by installing a few DEI systems on the side without liability insurance; they would be installing a lot of alarms for free to pay off a $3,000 malfunction or mistake. Personally, I wouldnít use DEI products for a while without the proper insurance.)

I remain cautiously optimistic that when this case reaches the right level at Circuit City, they will apologize and take care of the problem. However, I am aware that they have a reputation for poor customer service and that so far their staff have not been helpful at all. If DEI or the BBB wish to provide a little more pressure to promptly resolve this issue, their help would be appreciated. (If they donít, then I will think less of both of these corporations and will steer clear of their goods and services.) Meanwhile, the primary person suffering is my wife stuck at home in her wheelchair because her handicapped van is out of service. In a few more days, Iím likely to authorize the repairs myself; being trapped in a wheelchair is bad enough, but being trapped at home in a wheelchair is even worse.

MABuffalo
enice 
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Posted: June†26, 2007 at 7:04 PM / IP Logged  

Heres my 2 cents,

Although it seems like its not clear what caused the damage I see your point in regards of you seeing the python as causing the damage.  Now, a remote start system duplicated exactly what your key does if done correctly.  I read that you posted that the car was sounding like it was cranking.  If the vehicle cranked then what would fail if it continues to crank would not be the transmission.  When you turn the key and press the brake the remote start/alarm will turn off and wouldn't even be on while your driving unless you arm it and would not energized anything else in the vehicle but would receive info, example: door triggers(input).  What could of went wrong was when the installer was testing the vehicle and may of energized something that he wasn't suppose to.  That would be the only logical answer.  This is the reason why using a DMM should be used at all costs.  By the way, was this in buffalo NY?

KPierson 
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Posted: June†26, 2007 at 7:15 PM / IP Logged  

Have you filed a claim with their insurance company yet?

DEI products are the most reliable alarm/remote starts on the market.  I've installed hundreds of them and can't say that I've ever had a hardware issue with one.  I've also installed quite a few Audiovox and Alpine alarms and I would take a DEI product over either of them any day.

Kevin Pierson
mabuffalo 
Copper - Posts: 63
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Posted: June†27, 2007 at 12:17 AM / IP Logged  

Corrections and Clarifications

There are several points that have been corrected or further clarified in my earlier postings, but some of the replies indicate that I should repeat these points in one summary.

1.  It is now clear that what I heard was the transmission gears grinding. The starter gearing has not been examined, but I donít think the starter was engaged. And the alarm/remote-start system does not have an ignition cut-out function. To understand how I would miss the obvious requires a bit of background. First, you might already be aware that how we interpret things is based on our perceptions which are formed by stimuli processed by cognitive mechanisms. (This is a basic principle of both gestalt and cognitive psychology.) For example, we donít actually see depth but extrapolate it based on shadows, perspective, eye convergence, and other cues. Second, for 25 years I spent most of my time conducting neuroscience research in my laboratory; for the past 5 years I have slowed the pace, but much of my time is spent teaching and working in theory. I havenít kept up on whatís been happening in many things that I once new a bit about. The last automatic transmission that I worked on was a Chevrolet Powerglide (c. 1962) which had manual linkage to the shift lever. It never occurred to me that my Ford transmission was electronically controlled. Thus, I could not envision any way that an alarm system could interfere with an automatic transmission. (Actually, I did know that the overdrive was electronically controlled. I had a similar control with the manual transmission of my 1956 Austin Healey 100/6.) Now that Iíve learned about the powertrain control module (PCM), it is very clear that a sensitive electronic device controls my automatic transmission. Iím surprised that the installer didnít consider this when I described my problem and when he rode with me suggesting I had a transmission problem. Or perhaps he did know about it, but was hoping that I would not see any possible relationship with the newly installed electronic device and simply pay for the repairs myself.

2. The transmission is a Ford 4R75 not a 4R100 as stated earlier. An AAMCO technician showed me the transmission and corrected what I had been told by the owner/manager. Iíll confirm this when I speak with the owner again. In either case, it does have an electronic overdrive and the control to inactivate the overdrive is located on the shift lever positioned on the steering column.

3.  The installer probably did have one or two pages of wiring color codes. I could see from my distance and when I approached the vehicle that he didnít have the type of detailed schematics that I have used when working on other vehicles.

4.  The device the installer used to probe the wires looked (from a distance) like an old TTL-logic probe or continuity light. It could have been a pen-shaped DMM but the meters that I use (e.g., mostly Flukes) are more traditionally shaped.

5.  I stayed behind the ropes and tried not to supervise the installerís work. I thought he was an experienced professional, not me. He may not do things the more conservative way that I would do them, but I deferred to his practical experience and judgment.

6.  I donít mean to suggest that DEI products arenít great. But if the installation didnít cause the problem my next suspect is the alarm/remote-start control module. I have used IBM computers almost exclusively in my home and in my laboratory for years; I usually buy used IBMs that have come off lease and theyíre great. But I did have one IBM computer fail over the years even though I have dozens that ran 24/7 without a problem. (All of my Compaqs, Gateways, and others died within a few years.) Python could have released a defective unit. A locally owned, upscale electronics shop that also sells car alarm/remote-start systems did tell me that they heard about problems with these products, but I blew their comments off as trying to convince me to buy their brand. The shop is filled with self-proclaimed geeks who donít make a commission, but they do like to point out that what they sell is the best equipment. My online research suggested that the DEI products are very good, and I was happy with most of the features of the system I purchased even at the higher price. Do I expect DEI to become involved when one of their retailers does $3,000 in damage installing one of their products? Yes, I do; thatís what makes a good company great!

7.  The Circuit City is located in a Buffalo, NY suburb. It is close to Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan Drive in Amherst or Tonawanda, NY (both city locations are sometimes used).

8.  I have not yet been able to examine the actual wiring on the installation. I went to AAMCO today with camera and wiring diagrams expecting to have a lot more information about what may have gone wrong. The panel is still in place and I donít want to touch anything myself until Circuit City has had the chance to examine the work and deny responsibility. I did confirm that the pin switch was not installed and that the shock sensor has already come loose from its electrical tape attachment and was dangling from the steering column by its wires.

9.  I strongly suspect that the +12 VDC was wired into the steering column power line. If the alarm control module does have two circuits, each with a 30A fuse, this is not a good choice. I donít do automotive work, but I have considerable experience in electronic design and construction of digital circuits (I could actually design and build this alarm easier than I could wire it into the vehicleís existing electrical system.). Any abrupt voltage drop along that line could cause other sensitive electronic devices to become unstable. And yes, I too thought that simply disconnecting the ground was not adequate to take the alarm control module out of the circuit (thanks for giving some authority to my unvoiced speculation). The negative inputs might serve as current sinks partially energizing this unit. But installers donít take instructions from customers (and you usually shouldnít).

10. I have not yet contacted Circuit Cityís insurance company. I will push this incident up the ladder tomorrow despite the apparent stalling. (If I donít give you at least a brief update late tomorrow night, Iím probably in jail.) I will ask for the names of the district manager and the insurance company unless they provide AAMCO with a P.O. number for the repairs. And thanks again for the suggestion to contract the insurance company directly; that would not have occurred to me.)

Lastly, I checked the web posting on two other computers and the figures do load for me on both machines. You probably need to refresh/reload the page to see the revised page with the figures. Please let me know if you still have problems.

www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm

Sorry about the rambling, poorly written posting. Iím very tired tonight but thought it important to clarify the above points. I will try later to respond to some other points raised earlier (e.g., problems hiring qualified installers).

Cheers . . .

MABuffalo
mabuffalo 
Copper - Posts: 63
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Posted: June†27, 2007 at 12:30 AM / IP Logged  
Sorry, I forgot to mention in my summary points that I did arm the system while driving, and disarming the system  just before entering a parking lot immediately proceeded the transmission problem. I heard a loud noise that did sound like the powertrain and abruptly stopped the vehicle expecting to see obvious damage. (You can read the rest of my description/recollection on the long narrative posted on my website.)
MABuffalo
KarTuneMan 
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Posted: June†27, 2007 at 12:45 AM / IP Logged  

that I did arm the system while driving,

This should NOT be able to happen.  AT ALL.....never, ever.

Installer_mss 
Copper - Posts: 221
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Posted: June†27, 2007 at 12:57 AM / IP Logged  

ok, i have read this entire topic and i think i have a way to shed some light.  first i want to start by saying i myself have worked at a CC in my past and i have seen both good and bad installers there.  they don't require any certification to get a job installing there, just to pass a computer based test.  this does not mean all CC employees are green.  like i said, i worked there, certified, and with a lot of experience.  CC will try to avoid insurance claims as this of course costs money they don't want to spend, but they usually are good about paying up when they should.  secondly CC installers have access to directwire and magicwire...two of the absolute best wire diagram programs on the market, not to mention they have a tech database that alerts them of problematic or complexities in specific vehicles.  the PCM does control the tranny selenoids and can cause them to malfunction if something is wrong in the module.  i know from experience that something simple can cause complex problems.  in late 90's/early 2000's model honda civics, if you cut the starter wire for the starter kill before the fuse block, it would not allow the tranny to shift past 2nd gear in auto tranny cars and throw a trouble code.  why, i don't know, but i even saw it for myself happen so i know it's true.  also on certain model ford vehicles, there are several ignition wires (5 i believe) that have to be powered up by the remote starter in order to keep from tripping a trouble code or tranny problem.  on the other hand, if the van is older, the ignition switch itself could be to blame.  it's what activates all the accessory and ignition circuits in the car and ford has had problems with ignition switches faulting from the late 80's to mid 90's commonly.  if a circuit lost power it very well could have been to the pcm and if driven too long could cause damage.  it also could be a defective part (car or remote starter).  none-the-less, make sure ALL of the accessory and ignition wires where connected to the remote starter and that there are no bare wires.  after that have the pcm tested for damage. and bring the van to a local reputable shop.  the only chain store i would take my car to (if i weren't an installer already) would be Car Toys because they require their installers to be certified before employment.  the best bet is to check around the local one-owner shops.  they don't mind if you ask questions (if they do that's indicative that they make not be that great)...including "how long have you been in business", "how many years experience does your installer(s) have", "do you solder your connections", and "do you offer lifetime warranty on labor".  if they say no to the warranty, immediately leave.  any good shop will offer lifetime warranty on LABOR and back it readily.  we do at our shop, but to be honest...i rarely ever have to warranty anything due to my installation methods.

"If a man made it, another can modify it...it just takes some thinking."
"If you ask questions, you're a fool for 5 minutes; if you don't, you're a fool for a lifetime."
Installer_mss 
Copper - Posts: 221
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Posted: June†27, 2007 at 1:08 AM / IP Logged  
the fact that you were able to arm the alarm while driving shows that at least one ignition wire was not connected or not connected properly.  any alarm, remote starter or otherwise, should never allow the system to be armed while the key is on, especially while running.  also, to address the DEI liabily issue...i don't believe they should be held accountable UNLESS it is found that a defective unit caused the problem.  DEI is a huge and very well established company that makes some of the best alarms in my opinion (and i've installed most brands made to date), but no matter how good the product, there will always be the occasional (or not so occasional) defective unit.  DEI is not reponsible for the installation of the product and if i were a representative of DEI and was approached with the subject of an installation causing vehicle damage not related to a defective product, i would tell the comsumer to talk to the installer and would not pay for anything (nothing against you).  i just see too many people try to automatically blame the installer for car problems, from the plausible (like this case), to the insanely absurd (like flats or fuel milage dropping).  the situation should be assessed from a neutral veiwpoint and diagnosed unbiased.
"If a man made it, another can modify it...it just takes some thinking."
"If you ask questions, you're a fool for 5 minutes; if you don't, you're a fool for a lifetime."
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