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Transmission Destroyed By Python 871xp

Printed From: the12volt.com
Forum Name: Car Security and Convenience
Forum Discription: Car Alarms, Keyless Entries, Remote Starters, Immobilizer Bypasses, Sensors, Door Locks, Window Modules, Heated Mirrors, Heated Seats, etc.
URL: https://www.the12volt.com/installbay/forum_posts.asp?tid=95084
Printed Date: September 26, 2022 at 2:46 PM


Topic: Transmission Destroyed By Python 871xp

Posted By: mabuffalo
Subject: Transmission Destroyed By Python 871xp
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 12:16 PM

Ford automatic overdrive transmission destroyed by “professional” Python 871XP installation at Circuit City  :x

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!



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MABuffalo



Replies:

Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 12:40 PM

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 (https://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.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 1:50 PM

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.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 3:21 PM

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.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 6:57 PM

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 . . .



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MABuffalo




Posted By: peterubers
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 7:18 PM

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. 



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The search function is your friend.




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 8:22 PM
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!



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: Velocity Motors
Date Posted: June 24, 2007 at 9:06 PM
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.



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Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 1:54 PM

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.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 2:50 PM

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 . . .



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MABuffalo




Posted By: customak47
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 3:24 PM
My first question to you about this vehicle would be how many miles are on it? If you have over 100,000 miles on it, I would say it's possible it was just the trans time to go. I had a caprice that had a hundred thousand + on and I put a shift kit in it (mechanical) ran it hard for a week just fine, then I put a ecm performance chip in it (eeprom plug and chug) went to back out of the spot to check it out and the reverse gear went in, then out then kaput. It was just that trans's time to go. regardless of chance or fault, If I were you I would only authorize diagnosis on the transmission with the aamco shop because if you just tell them to fix it and after they're done still cannot tell you what caused the failure, then you will get stuck with the bill, because YOU authorized repair. Circuit city states that if the repair facility can show them that their installation caused the damage, then they will authorize the repair to be paid by them. Customers a lot of times get stuck in the middle for this reason. The other thing I would have suggested is to take it to a dealership.They have repair techs that specialize in electrical and transmissions along with almost everything else and may be able to track the problem to the cause.

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My rifle is my friend...




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 3:24 PM

You've definately got your homework done.

Another piece of advice to give you is that statistics and hypothesis will only go so far.  The insurance company will ONLY cover this if they can find a direct connection between the alarm wiring and the tranny failure.  That is why it is important that YOU or someone you trust inspect the wiring in the vehicle BEFORE a CC associate gets to it. 

I'm not trying to say that they may try to hide things or cover things up, but they may try to hide things or cover things up.    :)

Again, if possible, record (and take pictures if possible) of every splice and every wire that looks like it has been probed.  I would be very critical in the search for wires that have had their insulation peeled back and no tape on them.  Your problem sounds very familiar to a wire intermittently grounding out.

The 'typical' alarm wiring guide is 1 to 2 pages printed out from a computer printer.  If he had a couple loose leaf papers with him, that was the guide.  To be dead honest, a circuit diagram would only confuse the majority of installers in the world.  Installers work much better with Where, What, and How (were to find, what color, and how to verify).

Keep the updates coming!



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 4:40 PM
A couple things worth mentioning...

Removing the ground from the alarm will not totally disable the alarm. It may even make problems worse. The alarm will often "pull" ground from another circuit like the door trigger or parking light circuit. I would have AAMCO pull the 15 amp fuse for the alarm. There will also be (2) 30 amp fuses that provide power for the remote start. Removing those as well wouldn't be a bad idea.

DEI has a wiring diagram program that installers use. The sheet for your van is only a single page. I doubt the installer was just randomly testing wires.

Butt connectors are not a preferred connection method. Soldering and tape can hold up over a long period if done correctly.

Horn honk is a simple 1-wire connection. It was only a feature added to DEI alarms about 2 years ago. If you had an experienced installer (it sounds like you didn't) then they may have been in the practice of not hooking up horn honk because it wasn't an option for many years. I always hook it up, but I do a lot of things differently than an inexperienced installer.

Domelight supervision does require an extra relay. I believe CC charges for each extra relay. It can also be programmed so the domelight only comes ON when you hit unlock on the remote, and not when the ignition is shut OFF.

Power wires to battery. Not a good idea. All a thief would have to do to disable the alarm is disconnect the power right at the battery. On a properly installed alarm, the thief would have to remove lower dash panels, and possibly some metal bracing before they would have access to the power wires.

Good luck with the fight against CC. I'm sure it will probably get nasty with them saying it has nothing to do with their install.




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 5:32 PM

JWorm] wrote:

br>
Power wires to battery. Not a good idea. All a thief would have to do to disable the alarm is disconnect the power right at the battery. On a properly installed alarm, the thief would have to remove lower dash panels, and possibly some metal bracing before they would have access to the power wires.

This can go both ways.  Circuit Citys standpoint on this is if the customer has a problem with their remote there should be an easy way to bypass the system.  Not many thiefs are going to pop the hood and look for an alarm fuse.  At that point, they might as well just cut the battery cables, since they are already at the battery.  The fuse, in my oppinion SHOULD be at the battery, an easy to access spot where a customer can disable the alarm to deactivate the starter kill if they should break/lose their remote.  I always hid the fuse around the battery as much as possible so that it wasn't clearly visable.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 8:14 PM
KPierson wrote:

JWorm] wrote:



Power wires to battery. Not a good idea. All a thief would have to do to disable the alarm is disconnect the power right at the battery. On a properly installed alarm, the thief would have to remove lower dash panels, and possibly some metal bracing before they would have access to the power wires.

This can go both ways.  Circuit Citys standpoint on this is if the customer has a problem with their remote there should be an easy way to bypass the system.  Not many thiefs are going to pop the hood and look for an alarm fuse.  At that point, they might as well just cut the battery cables, since they are already at the battery.  The fuse, in my oppinion SHOULD be at the battery, an easy to access spot where a customer can disable the alarm to deactivate the starter kill if they should break/lose their remote.  I always hid the fuse around the battery as much as possible so that it wasn't clearly visable.




Circuit City just doesn't want to pay for the car getting towed when one of their incompetent installers does a bad install.
The valet button should be used to disarm the alarm if the remote is lost or broken.
If the thief cuts the battery cables, how are they going to start the car?
Most thiefs pop the hood, then cut the siren wires which are usually easy to get at. If I saw some fuses at the battery that looked like they were alarm related, I would probably take the fuses out or cut those wires.




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 8:25 PM
Not that it has ANY impact on the thread in general but, I FOR 1, cannot wait to see some pics!posted_image

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Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 8:35 PM
KarTuneMan wrote:

Not that it has ANY impact on the thread in general but, I FOR 1, cannot wait to see some pics!posted_image


Yeah....sorry about that. I'll stay on topic in this thread with any future posts.

I would like to see some pictures of the install as well. The original poster has some pictures on that link he posted, but they won't load for me.




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 25, 2007 at 8:51 PM

JWorm] wrote:

br>Circuit City just doesn't want to pay for the car getting towed when one of their incompetent installers does a bad install.
The valet button should be used to disarm the alarm if the remote is lost or broken.
If the thief cuts the battery cables, how are they going to start the car?
Most thiefs pop the hood, then cut the siren wires which are usually easy to get at. If I saw some fuses at the battery that looked like they were alarm related, I would probably take the fuses out or cut those wires.

Typically, the fuse is only important when the remote has been lost or damaged.  Most alarm customers don't know where their valet switch is hidden or how to use it anyway.  There is nothing more frustrating then trying to tell an irate customer where you hid their valet switch 9 months ago when their car is completely disabled by the system you installed.  Although it isn't your problem, it is YOU that is expected to provide a quick fix over the phone.

If the thief has already cut the siren wires, the alarm fuse, at that point, is worthless anyway.  Like I said, there are two ways to look at it, and in my opinion, I would want the alarm fuse at the battery.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 11:35 AM

Yes, I’m definitely looking for a “smoking gun!” I’ll try to avoid the statistical probability and the “what constitutes scientific proof?” approach; I agree that it wouldn’t ‘play well’ in Buffalo or elsewhere. I guess I’m simply trying to explain why I appear to be “begging the question” – assuming the problem is related to the Circuit City installation without identifying the exact mechanism.

I have been searching the web for reports of others who have had similar experiences. I found (on this site) that this problem can occur on GM products if the second ignition wire is not connected. I haven’t found much on Ford products yet. I was hoping that my posting here would cause some ‘flocking’ of others who have experience with this problem in Fords. This problem may be beyond local expertise; thus, my reaching out to the World Wide Web for help.

Meanwhile, my patience has run out. I’m going this afternoon to AAMCO with camera in hand to see if I can photograph the installation. I have avoided touching anything myself; I don’t want my fingerprints on the alarm installation. But tomorrow afternoon will be one week since the alarm installation with subsequent transmission failure, and it’s time to get things moving ahead.

I’ll try to post point-by-point comments in a reply to your specific comments later this evening (e.g., I stand corrected -- he probably did have a page or two indicating the wiring for my vehicle, and I concur that a real wiring schematic for the vehicle was unnecessary and would have only confused him).

In case you missed the original link with the transmission pictures and long narrartive, it is repeated below:

www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm



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MABuffalo




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 1:17 PM
Your images still don't load on that page.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 1:35 PM
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.

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MABuffalo




Posted By: slab42
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 2:41 PM
you should change the thread topic to "transmission destroyed by installer during remote start install"  The python did nothing to you!




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 5:54 PM

Actually, it’s 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 won’t know for sure if that function was connected (The panel has not yet been removed to reveal the alarm wiring and I don’t want to touch it myself.). Also, the shock sensor was mounted under the steering column with electrical tape, and, I’m sorry to say, it was already dangling by its connecting wires (tape failure or bumped by the AAMCO technician?).

Lastly, I don’t think I can change the “thread” 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 it’s in DEI’s best interest to have their regional trouble-shooter look into the situation ASAP. If they don’t 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 wouldn’t 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 don’t, 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, I’m 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.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: enice
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 7:04 PM

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?





Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 26, 2007 at 7:15 PM

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.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 12:17 AM

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 don’t 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 don’t 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 haven’t kept up on what’s 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 I’ve learned about the powertrain control module (PCM), it is very clear that a sensitive electronic device controls my automatic transmission. I’m surprised that the installer didn’t 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. I’ll 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 didn’t 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 installer’s 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 don’t mean to suggest that DEI products aren’t great. But if the installation didn’t 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 they’re 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 don’t 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; that’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 vehicle’s 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 don’t take instructions from customers (and you usually shouldn’t).

10. I have not yet contacted Circuit City’s insurance company. I will push this incident up the ladder tomorrow despite the apparent stalling. (If I don’t give you at least a brief update late tomorrow night, I’m 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. I’m 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 . . .



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 12:30 AM
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.)

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 12:45 AM

that I did arm the system while driving,

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



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Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 12:57 AM

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."




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 1:08 AM
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."




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 5:21 AM

Things should move ahead MUCH quicker once you get their insurance company involved.  You should have done that immediately.

The 12VDC line that the remote starter was tapped in to is more then capable of supplying the current necesarry for the alarm, without any voltage drop.  These lines are typically fused around 40-60A and this is the same power source that normally powers the igniton, accessories, and starter.  It is basically a heavy guage wire that is ran directly to the battery, through the main fuse box.  The alternative would be for the alarm installer to run two smaller guage wires (typically 18 awg is what they use) directly to the battery.  This would work, but most likely would have less total current capacity and more voltage drop issues.  The alarm brains operate on 5vdc, so there is actually quite a bit of headroom for voltage drop.

If the alarm did arm while driving it is possible that the starter was engaging.  Did they demonstrate the unit for you before you left?  Did it remote start?  If the igntion wire wasn't hooked up properly I seriously would doubt that it would remote start.  I'm assuming that the Python alarms get their ignition signal direclty from the remote start igniton output like the older (2004ish) Viper alarms did.  It's been a while since I've installed any DEI products.  Did they also demonstrate the starter kill feature?

If I were you, I would either higher another professional to inspect the car, or just do it yourself with picture documentation.  I would NOT let Circuit City inspect the car before you have your evidence gathered.  If you do go this route, make sure that you are watching over them constantly and that they don't have any tape or wire cutters with them.  It only takes a second to cover up a mistake.

Good luck today!  If you end up in jail ask for your one PM and shoot me a message, I'll bail you out!   :)



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: enice
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 6:47 AM

Sorry guys but DEI alarms can be armed while driving,  All sensors will be bypassed except the door triggers.  Don't know about others but these DO.





Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 8:42 AM
enice] wrote:

Sorry guys but DEI alarms can be armed while driving,  All sensors will be bypassed except the door triggers.  Don't know about others but these DO.




I just wanted to confirm this is correct. A few guys above posted incorrect information related to this. It is actually an option that can be turned ON and OFF in the alarm programming.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 9:24 AM

I can’t emphasize enough that I don’t know a lot about alarm/remote-start systems and that I’m likely to use the wrong term or a misleading description from time-to-time. (The principles seem simple enough, but I’m still learning about the terms and details.) When I see that I’ve not been clear and that the discussion is ‘taking a wrong turn,’ I’ll try to correct it quickly. Similarly, when I make a mistake I’ll try to post a correction as well. (I’m a scientist not a politician and I have no problem revising my ‘opinion’ [aka tentative conclusion, working hypothesis] based on new data.)

When I’m describing the “alarm being active while driving” I’m referring to the anti-carjacking/anti-hijacking function. The door sensors are the only circuit active in this  alarm mode and this IS a feature of the Python 871XP.

The Circuit City installer and his supervisor didn’t demonstrate much of anything. I excuse them on this because it may have been apparent that I understood the basic functioning of the alarm/remote-start system. But then I didn’t ever hear the shock sensor instigate a chirp when I saw the installer adjusting it and jumping on my running board. I figured that I might be making a trip back to Circuit City for an adjustment later or doing it myself. (I’ve observed lots of annoying false alarms presumably from shock sensors, and I was wiling to leave this set at a high threshold for the time being.)

The Python 871XP description lists “dome light supervision” as a standard feature which is active in the default condition. Their advertising is misleading if this requires an “add on.” I requested that this function be deactivated and that the dome lights instead be wired to operate from one of the auxiliary channels. The installer explained that this might require an additional relay but I would have to discuss this with his supervisor when he arrived (4 hours after my installation had begun). The supervisor explained that this was not possible even for an additional cost. (Yes, I know that was BS, but he was full of it so I dropped the issue. And unlike the AAMCO transmission shop, he wasn’t trying to rush my vehicle out of his service bay for the next customer [Oops, I don’t mean to imply that the AAMCO shop is rushing me out of their service bay, only that they have a lot of customers waiting for service.]. I was the only customer in the three Circuit City service bays that day, including when I returned later with my “alarm problem.” [Perhaps they did have customers during the late afternoon and evening after I left.] The supervisor and his installer were sitting around talking with their buddies who were obviously ‘hanging out’ at the shop.)

It is in the best interest of Circuit City, DEI, and even independent alarm installers to see this case resolved promptly in a satisfactory manner. The impact of my experience on the average consumer may not be immediately apparent but it is pretty uniform. The first question my wife asked me is “why did I do this?” Do what? “Have the alarm installed” that broke our only wheelchair-lift equipped vehicle. Wow, I don’t know, let me see: I went to a major national retailer to have a top-rated alarm system installed and something went wrong which destroyed the vehicle’s transmission. Yes, I see. I started the chain of events that led to this outcome. She of course doesn’t really blame me. I didn’t cut any corners by hastily trying to install the alarm system myself or by (knowingly) using a substandard installation shop. I didn’t buy the cheapest system I could find nor did I use eBay to purchase a much more sophisticated system at a much lower price.

Over 90% of the average consumers associate these two events. And they’re not rushing down to Circuit City today to have alarms installed, nor are they buying DEI products or even contracting for installation through small, locally owned shops. They are weighing the added benefits of the increased security of an alarm and the convenience of a remote-start system with the chance that they too will suffer a $3,000 or more expense as a consequence. I must admit that I naively failed to realize that there was any risk involved, but I need to be able to run the vehicle unattended in a parking lot and this necessitated installing this type of alarm/remote-start system.

I have not yet linked the web page describing this situation on my web site. It remains ‘invisible’ on the Internet unless you know the exact URL or use the link posted on this discussion forum. The domain receives 150,000 to 200,000 hits per month the last time I checked, and I will use the full force of this resource when it’s apparent that I’ve reached a roadblock in resolving this case. Meanwhile, I don’t wish to have an adverse impact on anybody’s “bottom line.”

Thanks for the bail-out offer, "KPierson" . . . I may need it. I’m loosing my patience very quickly. This afternoon marks one week sans van.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 9:38 AM
JWorm] wrote:

QUOTE=enice]

Sorry guys but DEI alarms can be armed while driving,  All sensors will be bypassed except the door triggers.  Don't know about others but these DO.




I just wanted to confirm this is correct. A few guys above posted incorrect information related to this. It is actually an option that can be turned ON and OFF in the alarm programming.[/QUOTE]

Is this for some type of anti-car jack feature? Armed while driving, you open the door, the alarm triggers? Why is that an option ??  Learn me would yas.



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Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 9:45 AM

Sorry for the additional post, but I forgot to add that I do see your point about the +12VDC on the wiring bundle in the steering column being adequate for the alarm’s power supply. This is where I defer to experience. In theory, I would be nervous about transients and the two 30A fuses got my attention. I don’t see how the alarm control module draws very much current except perhaps when the siren is sounding, but then again I don’t really know about these things. I’m happy to let you professionals do your work or take the advice of the experienced DIYers. As I mentioned early in my postings, I simply don’t know how to sort out “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” (I mistakenly opted for a national reputation lacking any other reliable information. The online discussion that I read about Circuit City’s automobile products and their installation service was generally favorable, but I’ll correct this myself when [and if] they stall on this case.)

Meanwhile, I plan on going back to AAMCO around 1:00 pm this afternoon if they don’t call me earlier with the Circuit City people on their way. It’s showdown at the OK coral time, albeit a bit off high noon. I plan on escalating this to their district manager and their insurance company today and perhaps even to the top management at their head office. (I can explain the logic in this top-down approach in a later post if you are interested.)



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 9:53 AM
The anti-carjacking feature is a nice addition these days. For example, I can imagine taking a ‘wrong turn’ off the expressway and ending up somewhere I’d rather not be. If some dude opens the rear cargo door of my slow moving, can’t see around the vehicle van, the alarm will sound attracting lots of attention including mine. Nice feature! Car-jacking is rare in my area which has consistently been rated the safest city in America (among population centers 100,000 or higher), but it occurs even here. I travel and often end up in much riskier environments. The full-sized van is an easy, slow-moving target.

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 11:11 AM

I think the anti car jacking feature is pointless, and may cause more damage then it is worth.  Natually, if a thief trys to open your door and its locked, the alarm does nothing, and you can possibly drive off without a problem.

But, say your door isn't locked (first mistake) and some guy approaches you with a gun drawn and tries to open your door.  Since it is unlocked it opens right up, but sine you have the anti carjack feature 'armed' the alarm goes off.  The siren startles the thief and he inadvertently pulls the trigger.  I will admit, it is far fetched, but I don't believe in a car jack situation an alarm siren is going to do any good at all, ESPECIALLY with the keys in the ignition.

The alarm will draw very little current under ALL circumstance except remote starting.  When remote starting the alarms internal (or external, depending on the alarm) will source all the current necesarry to power the cars ignition, accessory, and starter [solenoid] circuits.  This is where the dual 30A fuses come in.  Without remote start I believe the alarms feature a 15A fuse, with the parking light ouput being fused at 10A by itself, leaving 5A for the alarm (from memory).  The siren is a relatively low current device. 



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 11:14 AM

Oh, one more sidenote - I wouldn't even get any other people at Circuit City involved.  Focus on the insurance company, they are the ONLY ones that matter, as THEY will decide fault and THEY will issue the check.  Circuit City will ONLY try to fight this, and wait you out until you give up.  Circuit City will NOT give you any money, beyond possibly refunding your labor charge, that is why the carry insurance.

I'm not sure why Circuit City is even sending someone to look at the vehicle.  The damage is already done, and it sounds like it is irreversable.  It is pointless for them to try and 'fix' it now.

Request the insurance companys concact information today and call them immediately.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 11:47 AM

I still don’t have a “smoking gun,” yet, and I presumed that Circuit City might assume responsibility and pay for the repairs. Thus, I’m affording them every opportunity to prevent this case from escalating further. And like someone already suggested, maybe the transmission simply self-destructed. (This event has a lower statistical probability than buying a winning ticket for the Mega Ball lottery today.) I don’t know if AAMCO will be able to ascertain an exact cause; they are in the transmission repair business not product liability determination.

If Circuit City and their insurance company fail to take prompt action, then I will probably take this to court. I have the option of suing them myself in small claims court or retaining a lawyer with whom I have already discussed this case. If it’s the latter, I will pursue maximum damages of all parties involved and let the judicial system sort things out. Meanwhile, I will also ‘try this in the court of public opinion.’ My straw poll indicates that the average consumer is overwhelmingly on my side and that they would not consider installing an aftermarket security/remote-start system that risks incurring thousands of dollars of damage to their vehicle. The facts for most people are very simple – “drove into the Circuit City service bay with a fully functioning vehicle and drove out with a broken transmission.” Regardless of any legal outcome, public sentiment on this is quite clear.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 11:57 AM
I like the anti-carjacking feature. Because the alarm doesn’t have an ignition kill function, the only thing that should happen is that the siren would sound and the lights would flash. If someone enters through the rear cargo door, they are unlikely to have the firearm accurately pointed at any of the passengers while opening the door (they may even shoot themselves). If the firearm accidentally discharges, this will probably scare them almost as much as it scares me and I will be zooming down the road on my way while they are disoriented. (Yes, the 5.4 liter V8 does “zoom” quite well; I just don’t drive it that way.)

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 2:12 PM
mabuffalo wrote:

I still don’t have a “smoking gun,” yet, and I presumed that Circuit City might assume responsibility and pay for the repairs. Thus, I’m affording them every opportunity to prevent this case from escalating further.


Again, Circuit City can NOT take responsibility.  Circuit City will NOT be the ones paying you if it is determined that it is their fault.  In order for them to even consider paying you you MUST file a claim with their insurance company.  I'm not sure what they have been telling you, but that is how it works.  Also, they can NOT stop you from filing a claim, you have every right to do so, and it sounds like it will be done sooner or later, so you might as well do it sooner.  Even if Circuit City accepts responsibility the insurance company will still do a full investigation and may decide differently. 

As far as statistics go, I agree that is unlikely that your tranny just happened to fail minutes after leaving.  But, in my experiance, I've seen strange things happen:

1. Installed a radio in a Dodge Stratus.  Less then a week later they nocticed the cruise control wasn't working.  They took it to the dealer and the dealer told thim that the stereo installation broke their cruise control.  They brought the car to my shop.  I popped the hood (something we never did when we installed the radio) and visually inspected the cruise control servo to find that a vacuum line had melted against the exhaust manifold.  They took the car back to the dealership, had the line repaired, and the cruise control system was fine.

2. Installed a radio in a Honda that was driven by a younger female.  About a year later, her and her Mom brought the car back because the sunroof wasn't working.  We, being the nice people that we are, took a look and found that the switch had came unplugged (you can't make this stuff up). 

3. I was installing an alarm in a Buick Riviara.  I turned the ignition switch on to test something and the turn signal module started smoking.  I quickly turned the key off, inspected everything, and didn't find anything wrong.  The car was taken to the dealership because the turn signals didn't work.  The guy fought with us (my shop and our insurance agency) to get us to pay.  He lost the case because the mechanic at the Buick dealership said they replace 2-3 of those modules per month, because they randomly go up in smoke.  They could also find no link between our alarm and the turn signal module.

4. A coworker installed a radio in a Nissan and the parking lights quit working.  Replaced the fuse and it blew again.  I removed the radio to find the ground wire had been screwed in to the back metal support of the radio cavity.  I reached behind it to find a relay.  I removed the screw, regrounded it, replaced the fuse, and everything worked fine - This is a case of obvious installation error - hard proof of what went wrong. 

5.  My boss (yes, my superior) installed a remote start system in an older Dodge Minivan.  He wasn't very good at installation, as his background was sales.  He ran the tach wire up to the coil, through the doghouse.  Well, he didn't tie up the tach wire, or protect it in any way.  The van died less then 1.5 miles away and they actually pushed it back to our shop.  I pulled it apart to find the melted tach wire still stuck to the exhaust manifold.  I worked with our 'super tech' until about 1AM troubleshooting it and replacing parts.  It turns out we burnt the coil up.  Once the coil was replaced and the tach wire was secured the vehicle operated as normal - another case of hard evidence.

These are a few of the more memerable moments I had during my 5+ years as a professional installer.  As someone else had said, when a tranny is going to go, it is going to go.  I'm trying to stay unbiased and give advice based on facts only, but I still believe that your tranny is primarily a hydraulic device that only has electronic solenoids.  That being said, it would be impossible to electronically destroy it.  But, every tranny is different and I don't know anything at all about yours.  If the tranny was in the 'wrong' gear it would put more stress on your motor, not the tranny, and if the tranny was grinding gears it would be a clutch issue, something that is NOT electronically controlled to my knowledge.  I believe these two points will be the basis of the insurance companies investigation.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: peterubers
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 4:14 PM
Aren't there some dodge trucks (or some Chrysler product .. can't recall) where if you do not hook up the second accessory, for whatever reason the tranny drives like crap -- even after manual key takeover. ??

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The search function is your friend.




Posted By: mikvot
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 6:13 PM

peterubers wrote:

Aren't there some dodge trucks (or some Chrysler product .. can't recall) where if you do not hook up the second accessory, for whatever reason the tranny drives like crap -- even after manual key takeover. ??

Chevy trucks, for quite a while, have needed the second ignition powered up or there could be possible tranny damage.....not the same situation here though.



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Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 7:41 PM

After having reached the limits of my patience with the stalling tactics by Circuit City (e.g., the service manager was “off” Monday and Tuesday and didn’t return the calls from AAMCO voluntarily today but reluctantly promised to review the actual installation sometime Thursday when the AAMCO manager finally tracked him down this afternoon), I went to the retail outlet to discuss this situation with the operations manger. Again, after a number of stalling tactics with various people running interference (lasting about an hour), the operations manager emerged and essentially let me know that Circuit City assumes no responsibility for this incident. Of course he would put nothing in writing, including spelling his name, and he didn’t have any business cards. (I have his fingerprints on my clipboard.) And he was very paranoid when he saw a cell phone in my pocket (recording the conversation?).

There are a number of individual components to today’s events, but to keep the discussion focused I’m going to introduce them one at a time. You already have the bottom line, so I’m not trying to keep you in the “dark.” But there are a few twists and turns you might find interesting as the discussion progresses and at least one directly involves this online forum. If the discussion remains active, I’ll post additional points across the next couple of days to help keep it lively. Meanwhile, I’m making my own detailed notes for impending litigation and other approaches to dealing with Circuit City’s refusal to accept responsibility.

Point #1: The operations manager would not give me the name or contact information for their insurance company. Let me repeat that in case you think I mistyped it: “The operations manager would not give me the name or contact information for their insurance company.” Which hand would you like for me to remove from his throat (metaphorically, of course) as I write that down for you in case it’s not clear --  “The operations manager would not give me the name or contact information for their insurance company.” Next suggestion?

(He did add that he had to file the claim with the insurance company which he would not do.)



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MABuffalo




Posted By: enice
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 7:50 PM
At this point I would assume your very frustrated.  Only thing I would recommend is to go ahead with the repair and instruct AAMCO to write down in receipt the cause of the failure.  With this receipt you may show it to the CC manager and a claim should be done only and if the AAMCO document states that it was the installation that caused the damage.  Only way to really press this situation.




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 9:07 PM
mabuffalo wrote:

Point #1: The operations manager would not give me the name or contact information for their insurance company. Let me repeat that in case you think I mistyped it: “The operations manager would not give me the name or contact information for their insurance company.” Which hand would you like for me to remove from his throat (metaphorically, of course) as I write that down for you in case it’s not clear --  “The operations manager would not give me the name or contact information for their insurance company.” Next suggestion?

(He did add that he had to file the claim with the insurance company which he would not do.)


Thats complete BS.  The 'operations' manager doesn't know anything about car audio.  Have you asked the car audio manager about the insurance contact information?  I will attempt to get it for you.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: ferretvw
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 9:29 PM
Didn't most if not all of the Roadshop managers get axed a few weeks ago? My suggestion to you is to get the number to the "cool line" it is basically your route to a manager outside of the store and will lead to a regional manager or whatever they are called, thus far you are remaining pretty level headed and I recommend you do this on the "cool line" as well as it will get much better results. I agree with a few people on here that, to me, at least it doesn't sound like a problem that the remote start could have caused, but then again anything is possible and I've seen stranger things so we shall see. (I'm really not trying to start an argument or anything I completely understand your frustration I'm just going with my gut feeling on this one). Anyways, sorry to ramble so long, but call and get the cool line number and give that a shot (you may also try another store in the area if you don't have any luck getting the number from that one. One last thing as KPierson said they cannot stop you from filing a claim with the insurance and the Ops manager is definetely not the only one that can do it. Hope this helps a little.
--->Richard

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2008 Scion xB
Pioneer AVIC-D3
RF 3Sixty.2 sound processor
Stock speakers (for now ;))




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 10:02 PM

If you feel as strongly as I assume you feel....get a lawyer. We here on this web site can only give you "suggestions" The lawyer can give you the facts. It's a VERY intriguing story, and a very sad one as well. And boy can you type. I feel that all of the energy you have sharing your information with us might be better pushed in a different direction. None of us here can help you. I feel bad for you to have to deal with a wiz poor installation. But look....you have hardly gotten going on trying to resolve your issue and you have run SMACK into the corperate F ing brick wall. You cannot do this alone.

Please don't take what I have written here, the wrong way. I hate "the man" And you are dealing with him right now!

Good luck brother....I'm pullin for ya!



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Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 10:14 PM
before you take legal action, first determine 100% that they caused the damage or the lawyer will still charge you probably and drop your case...leaving you looking like the fool.  have aamco seek out the cause and take it from there.  if it is CC's fault, then talk to the staore manager...if they don't cooperate, call the regional manager and tell him what is happening.  i worked at CC a couple years ago and this will work for you...trust me.  the roadshop and other lower managers will try to keep such a claim from happening because it looks bad on them and the store as CC is based on statistical numbers and not so much on reputation or customer service for that matter (most of the time).

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"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."




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 27, 2007 at 10:18 PM

Looking for insurance information (its too late to call anyone tonight) I found this and thought you might enjoy it:

https://www.epinions.com/content_4170031236

In here, it says their insurance company is Travelers, which does sound familiar.  You may try giving them a call, but I should be able to find out more information tomorrow.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Perhaps coincidental (cf. Circuit City asserts that my transmission damage immediately following their installation is unrelated), but I received one of the heaviest “spam” attacks in years this morning (and they’re still coming in). I have multiple layers of protection, including two different domain servers and measures incorporated into my individual computers, but 343 “messages” containing around 14 MB managed to penetrate my external spam filters and about half actually reached my “in-box.” These e-mails were directed to my domain name that hosts the Circuit City web page describing this incident. They are technically not spam, but rather, e-mails containing viruses that spoof my return e-mail address as the sender. I receive the bounced mail which is probably less than 1% of the actual volume of e-mails sent. (This is a common practice to 'bring down' website through what is commonly called a "denial of service" attack. The volume is way below threshold for having an impact on my servers.)

Although perhaps just a coincidence, the fact that some pumples at Circuit City might have instigated this suggests that I may have emerged as a blimp on their radar – and that would be good! I’m currently employing some additional electronic counter-measures (and of course, developing the case against Circuit City for pending litigation), but I’ll post replies to some of the recent comments as time permits.

www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm

“Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.”



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 12:10 PM

OK, thats going a little far to actually hint that Circuit City (as a corporation) might be behind your flooded inbox!

If anything, I would guess that a Circuit City EMPLOYEE came across this thread and didn't like the bad publicity.  There is a BIG difference between a Corporate attack and an attack from a person who works for a company.

Have you contacted their insurance company yet?



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 12:37 PM

Absolutely! If you follow this type of thing, you probably know that some over zealous employee most often takes it upon themselves to act. This made the headlines recently for one of the presidential candidates, but it occurs quite frequently in corporate America. (The ‘mob’ is also reputed to work this way, seldom tracing a direct command for a "hit" from senior leaders.) Also as an interesting coincidence, the web page (at www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm) disappeared from the search engines this morning. Hum, very interesting. Yesterday a Google search for “Circuit City transmission damage” and several related key words found the web page immediately. Today, it has vanished. Another interesting coincidence?

Thanks for the link to the article, Kevin. I enjoyed it. Please don’t spend your time searching for their insurance company information. I made a “reasonable attempt” to obtain this information yesterday from their operations manager, and I’ve now progressed beyond that level.

“Live free or die trying .”



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 1:13 PM

I made a few phone calls and found that both local sales and installation managers didn't make the 'cut' a few weeks ago.  That sucks, they were both good guys that had been with CC for years.  I'm not sure how a company thinks they can conitnue by firing all their experianced managers.

It's been a few years since I worked at CC, maybe things have changed that much since I was there.

I talked to a CC installer whom I haven't ever met today and he was fairly clueless on the SIL stuff (self insured loss).  I have one buddy left that still works for CC, but he won't be in until Saturday.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 1:28 PM

Before this discussion takes an unintended detour, let me make it clear that I am not suggesting some sort of conspiracy theory – I’m simply reporting observations. As a scientist I have spent much of my lifetime collecting data and looking for patterns. I frequently see patterns that others have missed. I develop hypotheses and alternative hypotheses that are evaluated against the empirical evidence. (And yes, I use statistical analysis for this process.) Sometimes the conclusions are surprising.

With this background, let me introduce a “second point” in the ongoing discussion from yesterday’s events. (I still intend to reply to comments regarding the first point, but it seems somewhat appropriate to introduce another observation here.)

Point #2: I was informed from an independent source that the “service manager was told he needs to pay attention to the discussion on the12volt.” (The source had never heard of this web site before.) Interesting observation. People here are trying to help the ‘kid’ cover his butt. He will obviously be using whatever information he can from this discussion to cover himself while supporting his company’s denial of responsibility. That’s fine . . . I’m placing my money on truth and justice.

Closely related is the “third point” --

Point #3: While I was waiting for the operations manager at Circuit City, the Roadshop service manager slipped into AAMCO unannounced to examine the wiring. In about one minute he concluded it was OK. (The shock sensor mysteriously reattached itself when I returned to AAMCO, but the pin switch for the remote start cut-out didn’t have enough time to install itself.)

FYI: My university server is undergoing an e-mail attack as I write this. Most likely this event is widely spread across the Internet. The high volume of spoofed return mail I received today IS most likely just a coincidence. I’m still trying to develop a viable alternative explanation as to why the Circuit City web page disappeared from the search engines’ data bases.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 1:45 PM

I’m very sorry to hear about the “good guys” being cut at Circuit City. This is most likely part of the problem – the good people are being terminated and the bad people are rising to fill the vacancies along with new, unqualified employees. I had done some background on Circuit City and they apparently have been firing their experienced personnel for some time and replacing them with lower-paid, less-qualified employees. The stock has been in trouble for a while. Their CEO didn’t even exercise his stock options last year, making him one of the few CEO’s in corporate America receiving less than a million dollar in annual compensation. (Of course, when he does exercise the stock options his compensation will be well above the million dollar mark.) And as noted on other discussions, their parking lot looks like a ghost town. A few more hits and they will be out of business. Personally, I would sell any investment in CC stock.

My experience at Circuit City is that their sales people are generally not very knowledgeable (with a few notable exceptions) – that’s OK, I shopped there for their low prices. But I did expect experienced, knowledgeable service people! This is an area where they can’t afford to cut the payroll (some other areas are more debatable, although I do appreciate a knowledgeable salesperson too).



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MABuffalo




Posted By: gus1
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 3:38 PM
********** Disclaimer: I don not work for CC, nor do I really care about larger chain stores. I work at an independant retailer, and just happens that I specialize in remote starts (to the tune of over 300 per season of 4 months) Just giving my $0.02 on this matter*********

So, I decide to wade through this lengthy tome of a thread. My curiousity has most certainly been aroused.......

As far as I know, all Ford F series light duty of similar year use a very robust transmission. It is an electronically controlled, hydraulically operated device. The electronic component can fail. However, when it does, the vehicle will have a "safe mode" to ensure that mechanical damage won't occur, and that the vehicle can be driven. I would highly doubt that an improper alarm install would cause a failure. If it did, it would be immediately apparent the moment it was shifted into gear. If all else fails, there would also be visial indication or MIL on the cluster.

That particular year of Ford has, at the most, 2 ignitions at the key, and at the very most 3 accessory circuits that must be powered in a remote start situation. There is visual indication of not powering one of the accesories in the form of the ABS light staying on. The other accessory circuits just won't function (grey / YELLOW- heater. BLACK/ green- radio, A/C compressor clutch). I am fairly skeptical that a remote start can actually cause mechanical failure in a transmission........ GM fullsize trucks wouldn't shift out of 1st if the second (white) ignition wasn't powered (runs a heater circuit in the tranny from what I remember...and the cluster takes its 12V off the circuit as well..), but generally, you would notice that the truck wouldn't shift right off the hop. Pretty good indicator that something was up. (and the PRNDL indicator not lighting up is a pretty good giveaway as well).

I am going to play devil's advocate, and I would say that before jumping to any conclusions about the alarm/starter being at fault, get a very comprehensive teardown of the install by a trusted, independant, non biased, 3rd party shop. It isn't DEI's fault. They make a pretty solid product, and the absolute worst that can happen is the starter may engage is the tach wire is incorrectly connected and programmed. And only may. With customer input from the remote. It'll zing the starter, not a big deal. (sounds flippant, yes, however, just stating the obvious) I can't realistically see how a remote start can cause catastrophic mechanical failure to an automatic transmission. (the pictures on your site don't load, by the way. Just going by descriptions). In the 15 years of doing this for a living, I have seen pretty much every type of failure I can fathom in most vehicles. In that many years, I know I haven't seen a transmission fail due to a remote start (and we have seen some highly loveed installs. Pardon my french. We do a lot of dealership repair work..... and we see a lot of other shops work. Some guys just shouldn't own tools. At all.) I have seen remote starts that were a miracle they even worked. I have seen blatant fire hazards. Nothing that would cause mechanical failure to a vehicle though.

Really would like to see empirical evidence that supports this failure....... really would. I like proof. A lot. Rather analytical like that. As a researcher, you should be able to appreciate where I am coming from.



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Wherever I go, that is where I end up......




Posted By: soultinter
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 3:48 PM
NOBODY in buffalo installs hood pin switches due to rapid corrosion and failure, along w the fact that this is one of THE most competitive (read "whore")markets in the country. Price are at ROCK BOTTOM, and along w the extra time involved, there is MUCH failure.




Posted By: profuse007
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 4:01 PM
Not exactly sure whats goin on here but it seems like the general case w/ customer complaining his/her vehicle has problem b4 or after installation.

b4 everyone gets any further, there should be NO biased comment toward this issue. I can tell you, this can not be creditted in the court. just like any other thread and forums ive been into. yall guys do not know the whole story of both sides, so you shouldnt step in. CC is doin what they do, which is protocol, cant blame them.

6 pages, i will assume CC do not take matter into their own hand. GO FILE SMALL CLAIM COURT, EVERY STATE HAS THIS.

you need an expert to figure out why the tranny gotten screwed up... bc he didnt power the 2nd, 3rd, or 2nd accessory, for that matters.

if you could, look at a FSM and too see if the unpowered ign or acc has anything related to the tranny. for that reason, you need to look at the hard facts, not the fact that you brought it in and it got messed up somehow, judge wont buy it.

lets forget about whos good and not good at installing mobile electrnics, because everyone on this board messed up something in their career. dont make assumption about CC dropping higher paid and hire some crappy installer just to fill-in the employee roster, bc you and dont know that for sure.

good luck the thread starter,





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Houston,TX
"The two most common elements in the universe are H+ and stupidity" (Ellison).




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 4:55 PM

Thanks for the tip about the pin switch. I’ll install a sealed tilt switch myself. Also, sorry to hear that the market in the Buffalo area is so cut-throat competitive. As a consumer I like the low, competitive prices but not at the expense of failing to provide a decent livelihood to competent installers.

FYI: I paid $418 for my Python 871XP installed; $160 of the cost was allocated for the installation with another $4.95 “shop fee” mysteriously appearing on my bill. I have no way of knowing if this was high or low, except that a local, independent alarm shop offered to install a third-party, customer-supplied system (with no profit on the alarm/remote-start unit) for a bit less than the $160 allocated at Circuit City. (I don’t know if they would have added a $4.95 “shop charge.”)



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 5:48 PM

If there is a single event that I suspect linked to the failure in the transmission PCM’s electronic circuitry (the apparent cause of the mechanical damage), it is related to the alarm system’s anti-carjacking feature – just after deactivating this function while entering a parking lot a short distance from Circuit City, I heard a loud noise that is now obviously the transmission gears being destroyed. I don’t suspect the starter circuit nor the starter-kill circuit, but I was really hoping that people on this discussion forum could help direct me as to the probable cause. I did find information on this problem with GM products but little on Ford transmissions.

I’m willing to buy that DEI makes outstanding products (pun intended); I did some research before purchase and concluded they are top-of-the-line. But NASA also has among the world’s most stringent quality control, and I do recall in recent history (perhaps I’m much older than you) not one but two space shuttle disasters – sh#t happens and even outstanding companies occasionally release defective products. Ruling out this possibility without examining the possibility is irresponsible; my opinion of this DEI has dropped drastically.

The Ford 4R70W transmission has an excellent record. It is a top choice among Ford enthusiasts including those involved in high-performance sports (e.g., it’s preferred by many Ford Cobras owners). There is no documentation that I’ve been able to find regarding this type of failure (to the electronics); instead, these transmissions fail (when they do) with a much different pattern (e.g., slippage, not engaging certain gears) and then they invariably do so with progressive signs (e.g., burnt AFT). I can document that this transmission had no problems before entering Circuit City. The installer even drove it into the service bay himself! (I’m going to save the primary evidence for the court case.) Within 2.4 miles later (yes, I did measure the distance), an atypical electronic malfunction caused extensive mechanical damage to the transmission. The AAMCO shop reviewed around 150 cases with me and could find no similar transmission failures. I’m trying to obtain more information from the technical people at Ford.

There are, of course, two distinctively different perspectives on this issue; both involving “what if this happens to me?” From the installer’s point of view, there’s the worry that a customer will suffer expensive damage to their vehicle for reasons unrelated to their installation work or their installed product. From the customer’s point of view, there is the worry that they will have an alarm or remote-start system installed and be left out in the cold with $3,000 repair bill for a vehicle that was working perfectly fine just before the installation. (The bias on this discussion forum is obvious as well it should be.) Which view has the biggest impact will ultimately be determined by the ‘market.’ My friends and neighbors today are very nervous about having aftermarket products installed. Had the company (Circuit City or even DEI) assumed responsibility, this incident would have been viewed as an unfortunate accident. When they disavow any responsibility and are later proved responsible in a court of law, good luck. It is in the independent installer’s and in the corporation’s best interest to thoroughly investigate any alleged problems with their work and the work of others. In this case, Circuit City has shrugged any responsibility without even examining the installation or the installed product.

Unfortunately the local AAMCO transmission shop is in the business of transmission repair not product liability. Perhaps a local installation expect will be able to identify the exact cause of the failure, but it may also be due to an evasive intermittent problem. In any case, I’m optimistic that the judicial system will side with the customer, and if not, I’m even more confident of the outcome in the ‘court of public opinion.’



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 6:06 PM

soultinter wrote:

NOBODY in buffalo installs hood pin switches due to rapid corrosion and failure, along w the fact that this is one of THE most competitive (read "whore")markets in the country. Price are at ROCK BOTTOM, and along w the extra time involved, there is MUCH failure.

That is such a lazy response.  Here in Ohio we experianced the same problem with corroded hood pins.  Our solution - require everyone to purchase a mercury tilt switch with the RS install.  Sure, this tacked on another $10 but our sales people SOLD it as what it is - a required, reliable safety feature.  Those DEI supplied switches are a joke.

The tilt switches aren't perfect, but they are reliable.  They can last more then 12 months under the hood, more then can be said about the supplied switches.

The other advantage of the mercury switch is they are a no brainer to install.  You find a clear place on the hood, make sure you have clearence, and you drive a screw in.  Lining up the DEI hood pins could take quite a bit of time to get it working perfectly and reliably.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mikvot
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 6:26 PM
Definately agree with you on that one Kpierson. I've had the same DEI mercury switch for at least 6 years, been on 3 different cars, 3 different states (CO,AZ,MO).......and still works like brand new.

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Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 8:08 PM
MABuffalo, I think you should look into having an un-biased installer with extensive DEI experience check out the install on your van. AAMCO is not qualified to diagnose a remote start install problem. Circuit City wouldn't be a good choice for obvious reasons. If the un-biased installer were to find some improper circuits tied into, or possibly some wires that were grounding out then that could provide some evidence to support your claim that the install is related to the damage. When you "armed" the alarm while driving the van down the road, certain circuits on the alarm become energized. It is possible that the installer connected to an improper wire that created a problem. Maybe the installer didn't power an ignition or accessory wire up with the remote start that created this mess. Without looking at the van, everybody here is just making guesses at what the problem could be.





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 8:43 PM

I hate being so repetitive on the posts, but there is one simple point that most people seem to have forgotten . . .

When I returned to Circuit City with my problem after their alarm installation (not yet identified as a transmission problem), the initial response was to state that they “would pay for any damage that they caused.” After taking the installer for a short test drive and without much of an explanation, their next point was, “gee, we don’t know how our alarm installation could cause your problem.” I asked that the +12 VDC be disconnected (they only removed the ground instead which is not sufficient to isolate the alarm control module from the vehicle’s electrical circuitry because some inputs could act as current sinks), they then left me standing in their parking lot (not their service bay; the vehicle was never back in their service bay!!!).

No one examined the wiring, any connections, or even lifted a flashlight or trouble light. They didn’t look at the alarm/remote-start installation at all. They did nothing. (Now right this down five times so you remember—THEY DID NOTHING!)

After waiting a week for them to examine the problem that was quickly diagnosed as a malfunction in the transmission’s electronic control circuitry at AAMCO, I finally went back to Circuit City to discuss this with the operations manager. While I was kept waiting close to an hour for the operations manager to appear, the service manager sneaked (yes, literally, sneaked) over to AAMCO and looked at the vehicle for around a minute (according to the AAMCO owner/manager). None of the wiring or panels appeared to be touched (the wiring is not visible from its current position), except the shock sensor was reattached underneath the steering column by its one strand of electrical tape. By the time the operations manager had appeared at Circuit City, the installation supervisor had informed him (allegedly) that he had examined the work and that their installation had nothing to do with my transmission problem. End of story.

I may be missing something here, but I have the impression that none of you professionals treat your customers this way. If they experience a problem shortly after your installation (for me this was 2.4 miles from Circuit City), you carefully examine your work and explain your findings to your customers. And if you do make a critical mistake (which most of us do from time to time), then I hope that you don’t try to cover it up. In this case, it’s your bad luck and not the customer’s. (I should repeat that Circuit City had no customers in their service bay when I returned; they weren’t swamped with work but chatting with some young buddies!)

Neither Circuit City nor DEI have looked into this situation beyond a superficial response. Circuit City examined the vehicle for approximately one minute yesterday and reiterated their initial position that it wasn’t their responsibility; DEI assigned it a case number last week with no further response. Sorry, guys, but I’m not impressed with either company. If they’re too big to take care of their customers, then they’re too big for my business. It’s now too late to take my high-definition plasma TV back to Circuit City, but I can let everyone know about my experiences with them. (Before last week, I was telling everyone interested what a good deal I got at Circuit City on my new TV. And Wednesday when the alarm installation was near completion, I almost bought another Python system for my Jeep Wrangler.)



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 9:06 PM

Yes, I certainly will obtain an independent assessment of the installation work. I am proceeding with my lawsuit regardless of the outcome (I’m not even going to try to explain the logic for this, but “trust me,’ it makes sense to scientists and to most laymen alike.). I have three options that I see for locating an independent opinion.

1. Best Buy installs the same systems under the Viper brand name. I compared equivalent Python and Viper operator’s manuals and they were identical. I WAS a loyal Circuit City customer, so I opted for the Python.

2. I am trying to obtain a recommendation from DEI for a “super-tech” in the area.

3. We have a local, upscale electronics store that includes automotive products that enjoys by far the best overall reputation locally. (They would be viewed as extremely reputable in court.) I’m not suggesting that they are any better (or even as good) as a smaller, lesser-known (to me) installer in the Buffalo area – only that they have a stellar reputation across the board for having the most knowledgeable people selling the best equipment. (Did I make it clear to you professionals in the Buffalo area that I’m not trying to downgrade your shops, just that I don’t know about you?)



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MABuffalo




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 28, 2007 at 11:36 PM
Best Buy? I said an installer with extensive installation experience. Not some new guy just out of high school. You will find an occasional installer at a Best Buy or Circuit City that has worked in the industry for a while, but it is rare. A high percentage of installers at those stores are just starting off in the industry. After they gain some experience they either move onto a shop that specializes in higher quality work if it is a career they are interested in keeping, or they move onto a new field.

I would never treat a customer the way you have been treated. To not even double check the wiring of the system after you brought it back the first time is not excusable.

Go here: DEI Dealers

Go visit some of those local shops. Talk to the owner and tell them your situation. Tell them you would like to pay them to have their top installer go check out the work on your van. Your are probably talking about an hour of diagnostic time....plus an hour of travel time. I would expect a charge of around $100 to be reasonable. Don't just pick the first shop you go to. Talk to the guy that would be going to look at the van. Ask him about his experience. If you don't feel comfortable with him, look for someone else. If I didn't live over 6 hours away, I would be willing to check it out. I guarantee I could find any wiring problem within an hour of looking at everything.





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 1:04 AM

Thanks for the list, JWorm, but I already checked it and CompUSA has been closed for quite a while and the two Amherst listings ARE Circuit City. That doesn’t attest to the credibility of the remaining listings. (Thanks for the consideration too, but you must drive fast if you can make it to Buffalo in anything close to 6 hours; it takes us a lot longer to reach Manchester in our MoHo when visiting for auctions.)

Yes, Best Buy wasn’t really on the top of my list either (actually, the list wasn’t ordered). I included them because they are the other major retailer listed as authorized installers for DSI products in my area and they sell (and install) a Viper system that is identical to my Python system except for the logo. (As I mentioned earlier, I almost went to Best Buy for the Viper system, but I had some sort of weird loyalty to Circuit City where I had recently received a good deal on a new TV.)

Another thought . . .

One point that I think is important when considering the social dynamics of the situation was implied in my long narrative at www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm but never stated explicitly. When I returned to Circuit City for help with my newly created problem, I though I had a simple electrical problem that would be easily solved by changing a wire or replacing a faulty relay. I was being very polite asking for help. (I had no idea I had major transmission damage.) The young guy that installed the security system worked steadily on my vehicle (at least when I dropped into the shop to check his progress), and his wiring inside the vehicle was very neat; I liked him, even tipped him. The “supervisor” was a ‘hot dog.’ Fast mouthed with little knowledge or intelligence and even fewer social skills. (I’m certain he must act better around his supervisors, but in his natural environment you can spot this turkey a mile off.) It was apparent within a couple of minutes even before the problem that the installation manager/supervisor was BSing about everything and anything. For example, I asked about installing the relay so that the dome lights could be activated from one of the auxiliary channels. (Yes, I expected to pay more for it.) He replied that this couldn’t be done. I was finished dealing with him very quickly and was glad that he didn’t install my alarm system. When I returned with the problem, the service manager had little to say other than “gee, I don’t see how our alarm installation could cause your problem” and returned to chatting with his buddies who were hanging out in the service bay.

FYI: I posted a picture of the van on my website for those who might be curious. Also, I have no idea why the photographs aren’t loading for some of you. I’ve tried it on four different computers and they load without problem on each one. Do you have high speed/broadband? The images might be somewhat large, so you may have to reload/refresh to get the images. Can anyone besides me see them? 

One last thought for tonight . . .

This is somewhat sad for me but nonetheless true: this experience has burnt me, and I don’t think that I would consider any aftermarket products again unless I installed them myself. I know there are good people out there, but I also know that I’m more likely to find some turkey and that they won’t accept responsibility if they damage my vehicle. For us simple folks, this argues strongly for factory-installed equipment under major manufacturer’s warranty. And the people that I know that can well-afford these products would rather pay more for an overpriced factory-installed option than risk the type of problem that I’ve encountered. Perhaps the young kids, if they can get the credit, will keep places like Circuit City afloat for awhile.

“Live free or die trying”



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 5:15 AM

I can see the pictures just fine.

I would have probably said the same thing - I don't see how the alarm could cause your tranny problem.  BUT, I would have tore the vehicle apart, and spent hours looking for any problem (if I had to).  Leaving you stranded would have been last option considered.

I can sympathyize with you on this case.  Although I've never had any electrical issues I have had a shop jerk me around on some performance work.  In my case, I shrugged it off and paid another shop to fix everything, but it wasn't $3000 worth of damage.

I wouldn't necesarry use a DEI technician.  As long as you can get your hands on an install book any experianced installer should be able to figure out what is going on.  These alarms, especially in a vehicle like yours, are not that complicated.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 9:02 AM

OH, you get up early. I concur on all points. Reviewing your work would have been a pain in the butt, especially on a busy day. But it’s part of the cost of having a (reputable) business. (And it appeared that I was the only customer during the entire day in their install shop, so they certainly weren’t too busy to attend to my problem.) They didn’t look at a wire; they even blew off my request to remove the +12 VDC connections, removing only the ground wire much to my dissatisfaction. (Did I mention enough times that I was still very patient and very polite?)

I obtained the wiring color-code from this site (thanks again to the12volt.com!), and sorted through the connections specified by the installation manual. Yes, it’s very straight forward, but I do appreciate the younger guy digging through the wire bundles in the contorted positions necessary to do the installation. He mounted the alarm control unit high enough on the side panel that it blends well with the factory wiring, and with the addition of a 50-cent piece of wiring loam which I will add later it should be indistinguishable from OEM wiring. Good job on this part of the work!

I will take it to an independent shop for review. I’m somewhat pessimistic about it being as easy as finding a misplaced wire. I’ve done a lot of troubling shooting over the past 30 years, and most of the problems that I’ve had to contend with are intermittent problems requiring extensive testing. If I’m lucky, the independent technican will find a misplaced wire, a connection that should have been made, or a poorly insulated connection that grounded out. If not, then I’ll have to have the alarm control unit bench tested including examined for high frequency spikes (yes, I know how to do all of this and I have the necessary equipment). And if this fails to reveal the problem, I’ll have to have the alarm control unit placed back in the vehicle and tested in situ.

The latter two approaches I expect to be well outside the abilities of even a highly qualified alarm installer. I know how to do this myself, and I have unlimited resources for independent testing at an outstanding electrical engineering department in my university. If I am forced to contract independent testing beyond having the wiring reviewed by a local installer, then the bill for this work will rise exponentially propelling this case well outside the limits of small claims court.

Update: the good news is that AAMCO has completed the repairs to the transmission, and I’m picking up the vehicle latter today -- my handicapped wife should be able to get out of the house this afternoon in her wheelchair. The bad news is that I don't have an alarm/remote-start system and that I don't really trust the vehicle to be relaible now.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 10:14 AM
I would suggest unplugging the alarm control unit (brain) as soon as you get the van back. Leaving it in there with the ground disconnected would be a bad idea.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 10:40 AM

This poses a dilemma that I’ve already considered: if I lose a second transmission the evidence is incontrovertible, but the bill rises dramatically. I won’t be satisfied with a simple repair on the next one; it will be an OEM replacement. And then there will be added considerable attorney’s fees (e.g., around $1,000 to initiate the case), time and trouble, and other financial compensation. One obvious thing that I see is that I really don’t want to touch the alarm system; this is the way that Circuit City left me driving down the road. And this case is certainly going to court, so I don’t want to tamper with the evidence in any way.

So, "what's a fella to do?"



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MABuffalo




Posted By: burns25
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 11:15 AM

Well, I would take the van to them and tell them to pull the fuses out if you don't want to touch it.  Then take it to another shop and have them look it over.  As for the insurance company, I know they stopped using travelers a few years back for sil's.  I can't remember who they switched to but I would call the cool line like suggested earlier and get someone higher up or out of that store involved.





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 11:39 AM
The people at Circuit City won't be touching my vehicle again, "no way, no how." I don’t know how to obtain the number for the “cool line.” And I don’t mean to escalate this situation unnecessarily, but I do have the telephone number for the CEO in Richmond while the people at Circuit City refused to supply any information as to how I could file a claim or move my problem up to the next level. The operations manager wouldn’t even write down his name and claimed that he doesn’t have a business card. But he was paranoid that the cell phone in my pocket was a tape recorder. Ironically, he is so inept that he totally missed the Bluetooth flashing in my ear.

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 2:25 PM

I would have the alarm removed for the sake of 'breaking in' the new tranny.  If you leave it like it is now, and the tranny fails immediately, there are two possible explanations - 1. bad repair or 2. alarm.  If you remove the alarm, break it in for 500 or so miles (and get your wife out of the house and around town a bit) and then plug the alarm in and the tranny fails immediately that would be too much of a coincidence to me. 

The cool line phone numbers is: 1-800-251-2665.  I got it by calling my local CC and asking the girl at the front desk.  Renee was her name, she seemed very nice and helpful.  :)

If I were you, I would call the 'cool line' and give them the bare minium details.  Explain that your vehicle was worked on, and soon as soon as you left you experianced transmission problems.  Ask them who their insurance agency is and for a contact number.  If they refuse that info, I would go up the chain.  I wouldn't outright accuse them of damaging your vehicle, I would calmly and politely (like you seem to be already) tell them that you would like a 3rd party (insurance company) to help resolve the issue.

Good luck!

hehe, I'm half tempted to call the cool line and pretend to have a problem just to see how I am treated......  



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 2:35 PM
Thanks a lot, KPierson. I considered contacting one of my former students who works at the service desk, but I thought I that a bit sneaky and I didn't want to compromise her. I will be tied up the rest of the day at AAMCO, so it looks like this will have to wait until Monday (I may try tomorrow, or I may try to get my wife out of the house for a break.) Thanks, again! I still have the problem that AAMCO, who was originally going to fix it, doesn't want to touch it either. I must have been very, very bad in another lifetime.

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 2:37 PM
Why don't they want to fix the tranny now?  Things keep getting worse and worse for you it sounds.

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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 6:42 PM
take pictures of the installation then pull the fuse.  no use in risking damage of a 2nd tranny.  i still don't see it mechanically damaging it either, but i've seen stranger things with electronics.

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"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."




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 7:02 PM

I'm working on a long post to update the current status and address a few other issues, but I saw this comment and thought I would immediately reply in case this information was lost in the earlier postings . . .

The mechanical parts of the transmission are electronically controlled by a powertrain control module (PCM) that takes signals from the tach circuit to determine when to cause a solenoid to shift gears. (Is that explanation ok? I may need some help here; I just learned last week that modern automatic transmissions are electronically controlled.) The PCM was fired!!! The transmission then got very confused and gears found abnormal positions which caused major mechanical damage along with the electrical damage. (For those of you than have been on a farm, it's like a chicken with its head cut off -- still running for a while but not knowing where to go.) I know some of you alarm installers still don't see how this could happen, but the installer most likely tied into the tach circuit of the PCM (still to be determined). Perhaps his installation was standard and the DEI product had one of their rare failures. I don't know (yet); I just know I was left high and dry by all parties involved. and Ciruit City wouldn't even look at the problem.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Sorry, KP, bad writing form on my part. That’s the problem with “it” – to what does “it” refer? AAMCO did fix the transmission, no problemo; that’s what they do best. They are now a full service auto repair facility. When I first arrived, most likely in a somewhat agitated state after being left standing in the parking lot at Circuit City with the installation supervisor and installer refusing to look at their work, I understood the AAMCO manager to say that they would be able to reinstall the alarm system correctly. I think their electrical specialist must have taken a look at it and said, “no way!” So, the transmission is repaired but the alarm remains as it was when I arrived at AAMCO.

Now the update: I started the van ready to take it for a test drive and noticed that the engine is running unusually fast. I depressed the accelerator and the engine seems to die for a couple of seconds and then resume running. I let it warm-up for a minute or two and noticed that there is now a pronounced hesitation lasting a few second when I first depress the accelerator pedal (e.g., as when pulling away from a stoplight). I also noticed that the shock sensor LED illuminates periodically (The shock sensor was reattached just below the dash by its single strand of electrical tape and is clearly visible.). The LED may be responding to the increased RPM when the accelerator pedal is depressed (remember boys and girls, the ground is disconnected; I was right when I asked the turkey to remove the +12 VDC inputs and not just the ground as were some of you). I turned the van off and returned to the shop and told the manager about the new problem (new since Circuit City worked on my vehicle, but the engine problem was present when I drove to AAMCO).

He offered to have the van towed to a local Ford dealer. I asked if he could have his technician remove the two 30A fuses to the alarm control module. The electrical specialist had already left for the day (I really think this guy doesn’t want to touch this mess; I had asked earlier that the +12 VDC be removed but I may not have been clear that this could be accomplished by pulling the two 30A fuses [I’ll have to check the installation manual tomorrow, it’s at AAMCO, and make sure that there aren’t other +12 VDC inputs to the module].)

He then drove the van from his parking lot back into the garage for overnight storage. (Oops, he hit his garage door which was partially lowered with my conversion top; no, I didn’t’ ask him who his insurance company is so that I could file a claim; if it didn’t crack the fiberglass, I’ll fix it myself with a little touch-up paint.) He commented that the van ran better after the initial hesitation; I replied, ok, but that’s not how it ran before Circuit City got their claws on it (Am I showing a little anger yet?), and I didn’t want to risk engine damage too. He then said he discovered that the alarm system was working and demonstrated the armed and disarmed functions (the vehicle was stationary, i.e., no transmission gear motion). I stopped him from trying other alarm functions and quickly made sure that the remote-start safety switch was off.

I mentioned early in my posts that I know relatively little about electronics and that’s true from my perspective. Actually, I have worked with electronic circuits in my research for over 30 years. For example, I design and construct computer-controlled circuits for producing small, well-controlled electrical pulses for stimulating brain tissue (one of the experimental techniques that I’ve used for my work; if you’re really curious and bored on a Friday night, you can see a few photographs of one of the labs I built here: www.wings.buffalo.edu/aru/BSRfacilities.htm). And of course I had my graduate students assembling the computers used in this research one IC at a time before the prices dropped so much that it was much cheaper to modify completed computer systems than it was to construct them from components. OK, now you have some background. I still don’t think that I know very much about electronics, but some people might think otherwise.

Now back to removing the ground wire as a method of ‘unpowering’ a circuit board. That’s almost as stupid as not using the tilt switch for the alarm safety. The alarm control module has other negative (aka ground) inputs. (Thanks to the posters who reassured me when I only timidly suggested this was a potential problem.) This can provide a current sink, thus powering-up the device as evidenced by the fact the alarm control module is working with the ground wire totally detached! Now there’s one other point. The negative going inputs can complete the circuit for the module’s power supply, but this isn’t the way the circuit was meant to operate. This could make the alarm control module very erratic and create even more problems (e.g., defeat current- and voltage-limiting circuits). OK, see why I wanted the +12 VDC inputs disconnected from the alarm control module by the Circuit City people, and see how off the wall they were when they only disconnected the ground instead?

Sorry, I didn’t mean to sucker punch anyone here. I do feel that I have just a basic understanding of these things but that hasn’t stopped me from designing and building some pretty sophisticated circuits for use in my research. (I’m the old-fashioned type of professor/scientist who learns the skills needed to accomplish the task at hand and doesn’t let the limitations of his skills determine the task.) And I suppose I do have kind of a home here on the12volt.com, even though I’ve little experience in automotive electrical work – 12 VDC was my favorite power and control levels for the CMOS circuits that I used extensively in my research (I avoided TTL whenever I could use CMOS.).



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MABuffalo




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 7:31 PM
i have been reading some other forums on other sites (ford enthusiasts sites) and have read more than one occurance of this being a factory related problem with the overdrive.  when one of the guys asked if were a common problem the tech said he sees those trannies in from time to time with that problem.  they all seem to have have the same after effects from the repair (the sluggish takeoff) as well.

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"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."




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 7:38 PM

The point behind the 'electronics shouldn't destroy the tranny' comments are the fact that the only electronic parts of the tranny are solenoids.  A 'typical' tranny has two shift solenoids.  With no solenoids energized (ie safe mode, limp mode, etc) the tranny is in 2nd gear.  When sol. A is energized and B. isn't you would have 1st gear.  A off and B on would give you 3rd, and both on would be 4th (and so on for how many gears you have).

All the 'electronics' are doing are allowing tranny fluid to flow, to allow the tranny to operate.  You can pop those solenoids in any way you want and all that will happen is that you will end up in the wrong gear (which, as we already discussed, would cause engine damage before tranny damage).  The clutch of the AT works off of they hydralic side of the tranny.  I hope this explanation makes sense to you.  Of course, as we all know, we haven't seen the schematic of this tranny and it may be different.

I would completely unplug the harness from the brain, if the brain is accessible.  The tach wire is the only wire that could possible cause any issues.  I've hooked low current transistor based input circuits to car circuits that could pull the signal down far enough for the circuit to be unreadable.  This was with custom built experamental stuff, but it still happened!

Hopefully you'll have it back in your possession, running great, in a short time.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 8:50 PM

If you run across those references again, “Installer_mss,” I’d appreciate the links. The only failures that I’ve seen after a few hours of online research at the forums, performance shops, and the posted TSBs is not shifting into some gears and, of course, the usual slipping. Both of these problems are most often progressive and appear much more frequently on models before 1998(?). And the ATF usually is not nearly as clean as that removed from my transmission. Also, I’ve found nothing on the PCM being fried at the same time mechanical damage occurs.

I’ve only been reading about Ford transmissions for a short time now, and the 4R70W just the past day or two. So obviously I don’t have the experience that many of you have reported. I appreciate your comments and would like to review any technical reports on failure rates that you find.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 10:39 PM
i also asked my buddy, who happens to be an ASE certified tech who specializes with fords and he said those trannies are junk and looking at the picks that it was solely mechanical failure probably from a loose/broken part or a silenoid sticking.  he's gonna look at them more tomorrow and try to figure out more details.

-------------
"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."




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 10:42 PM

Thanks for the lesson, Kevin. As I stated before, I didn’t even know that automatic transmissions were now electronic. The last automatic transmission that I looked very closely at was a 1962 Chevy Powerglide. My Jeep Wrangler has a 5-speed and I try not to get too close to the power train in my 1988 Ford chassis MoHo. (But now I may crawl underneath it; my curiosity is aroused.)

The 4R70W must have only 4 speeds. The way it smoothly and decisively shifted among them during my 2,300-mile trip home, I would have thought it had more. I understand the logic states dictated by the two solenoids and the ensuing 4 gear ratios – you provided a very good, simple (at my level) explanation. And I figured that there must be what I would call a “safe mode” for when the electronics fail; that appears to be 2nd gear (and I see that you use that term too, so I’ll assume that this is the correct term). 

I conclude from this that the transmission would not ‘get lost’ between gears because of a solenoid-related problem. So I’m back to my initial subjective impression, the transmission may have been shifting radically from 3rd to 1st to 4th or to whatever gear regardless of the engine RPM and power train requirements. Remember, I thought I had a kill circuit that was grounding the engine, so being rather stupid I depressed the accelerator more when it began to stall. And as I mentioned before, the 5.4 liter V8 scoots this full-sized van down the road real well. I generally drove slowly on my trip from Phoenix (often under the speed limit when the road was very bumpy), but I did have to accelerate quickly a number of times when entering the expressway from the entrance ramp, and this dude rolls! Now you have me even more worried and thinking I will have to take this to regular civil court and not to small claims court. What if the engine is damaged too? Should I be going for a full power train replacement? The lawsuit may be escalating..

The PCM is fired (not literally, but operationally). I don’t know if it could oscillate on its own, but understanding a bit more about how the transmission works only makes me more certain that the alarm system must have interfered with the PCM’s operation. The stalling-like signs that I interpreted within the erroneous context of an ignition kill circuit would be very much like what I would expect with the engine racing at higher than normal RPM in 1st gear and slamming into 4th and slowing down very abruptly. And then perhaps moving to a much higher RPM in 2nd gear or even back down to 1st gear. (Man, "Ford trucks are tough!") The symptoms are quite clear now, but the exact cause other than PCM malfunction shortly after the alarm/remote-start installation at Circuit City remains unclear. (Recall that I heard a very loud power train thump and bump immediately after deactivating the anti-carjacking feature.) Perhaps the people at Ford engineering can help.



-------------
MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 10:55 PM
KPierson wrote:

With no solenoids energized (ie safe mode, limp mode, etc) the tranny is in 2nd gear.  When sol. A is energized and B. isn't you would have 1st gear.  A off and B on would give you 3rd, and both on would be 4th . . . .


That's very interesting -- with no solenoids energized, the gear would be 2nd; with both solenoids energized, the gear would be 4th. I'm guessing by my good gas mileage at 70 to 75 mph that 4th gear must be pretty high, and the quick acceleration suggests that 2nd gear must be pretty low. I'll have to check the gear ratios in the Ford literature, but abruptly shifting from 2nd to 4th and from 4th to 2nd might have caused the mechanical damage. Very interesting and coincidentally a state shift from all OFF to all ON. You may have put me onto something . . . thanks again, Kevin.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: ferretvw
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM
I just thought of something reading through the last page of posts my car did exactly the same thing (albeit with no damage). when I got done with my own remote start install (on the Audi A4) there is a metal plate that goes behind my knee bolster and my tach wire got crushed underneath (it was very late and I just wanted to be done) and grounded out. I pulled out of the bay but noticed immediately something was wrong it was erratically shifting in and out of gears and would almost stall when I attempted to accelerate. So I pulled back in took it apart and after searching a while found out what the problem was. If anything I would look at that wire first (it's PURPLE / white in either a 4 or 5 pin plug on the side of the brain module). If this is install/product related, which I'm still on the fence about, that would be my guess just from personal experience.
--->Richard

-------------
2008 Scion xB
Pioneer AVIC-D3
RF 3Sixty.2 sound processor
Stock speakers (for now ;))




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 12:34 AM

INSTALLER_MSS wrote:

i also asked my buddy, who happens to be an ASE certified tech who specializes with fords and he said those trannies are junk and looking at the picks that it was solely mechanical failure probably from a loose/broken part or a silenoid sticking.  he's gonna look at them more tomorrow and try to figure out more details.

Solenoid failure should have locked into a single gear, not caused it to shift radically between gears. (Locking OUT of a gear is a way these transmission have had problems. This IS NOT what happened.) All of the information that I've found is that this is a great transmission . . . do you have any data? The post-1998 manufacture seems to have a particularly good track record. I'm still waiting for the links showing problems? Finally, did you miss the part where the PCM was fired?



-------------
MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 1:01 AM

ferretvw wrote:

I just thought of something reading through the last page of posts my car did exactly the same thing (albeit with no damage). when I got done with my own remote start install (on the Audi A4) there is a metal plate that goes behind my knee bolster and my tach wire got crushed underneath (it was very late and I just wanted to be done) and grounded out. I pulled out of the bay but noticed immediately something was wrong it was erratically shifting in and out of gears and would almost stall when I attempted to accelerate. So I pulled back in took it apart and after searching a while found out what the problem was. If anything I would look at that wire first (it's PURPLE / white in either a 4 or 5 pin plug on the side of the brain module). If this is install/product related, which I'm still on the fence about, that would be my guess just from personal experience.
--->Richard

That's very helpful, Richard, you've certainly nailed the symptoms. Now I'll have to see if I can find a qualified installer locally not in bed with the boys at Circuit City. I was stupid, I thought the ignition was cutting out because of my mistaken belief there was an ignition kill relay. I depressed the accelerator more to try to keep the engine running (actually, it worked but probably exacerbated the damage). I drove back to Circuit City (2.4 miles) not realizing that the transmission was probably being destroyed enroute. When the Circuit City people refused to look at the problem, I then drove further to the AAMCO shop not thinking it was really a transmission problem but not knowing where else to go for help. With hindsite I may have minimized the damage knowing about this possible problem, but I didn't even know that the automatic transmission was electronically controlled (apparently some ASE mechanics don't know this yet). In the 5 1/2 days this discussion has been running, you're the first person to report a similar experience. This was the primary reason for initiating this thread -- anybody ever have a similar problem? Instead, I think I put a lot of installers on the defensive (with some notable exceptions). And at least one has been feeding the installation manager at the Amherst, NY Circuit City where this incident occured. (And he may have recruited a few of his buddies to try to throw a few red herrings on this thread.) Thanks a lot for reporting your experience!!!



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 9:44 AM

My apologies to “Installer_mss.” Even a cursory investigation reveals that it’s unlikely that s/he just entered the arena yesterday to throw a few red herrings (thanks to the12volt.com site features for making the ‘background’ check easy). Yes, some of this discussion is fishy and I’m not ruling out the possibility that you’re running interference, but it’s more likely that this is your independent (perhaps uniformed) opinion. So my apology is both appropriate and sincere.

I’m not a transmission “expert.” Remember that last week I didn’t even know that modern automatic transmissions were electronically controlled. But it seems that I already know quite a bit more about this topic than some of the posters who don’t see how an electronic malfunction in the PCM could cause mechanical damage. I guess this is becoming somewhat frustrating, and when people reassert this argument it looks to me like they are trying to confuse the issue.

OK, repeat after me: “all on, all off, all on, all off; stupid driver depresses accelerator pedal, stupid driver depresses accelerator pedal; snap, crackle, pop.” (See yesterday’s posts for more details if this is not clear.) The engine revs up in lower gear and slams into high gear sending tremendous torque stress through the power train. The process repeats itself while chugging down the street as the driver continues to depress the accelerator pedal thinking it’s an electrical problem and that the higher fuel feed is keeping the engine running which it was but not for the presumed reason. (In actuality, it was increasing the engine’s torque output to contend with the inappropriately low gear ratio when the transmission was in the high-gear state.). Yes, it’s ultimately a “stupid human trick” instigated by an electrical malfunction.

I have a pretty good working hypothesis of how this may have happened. Now, the three probable causes need to be investigated: (1) improper installation, (2) defective alarm control module (AKA “brain”), and (3) spontaneous failure of the PCM. The preliminary analysis suggests that the last cause is very unlikely for two reasons. First, the failure rate of the Ford PCM appears to be very low (but this needs confirmation by examining more data), and second, a spontaneous failure of the PCM is extremely unlikely to correlate with work on the vehicle’s electrical system (The correlation is high even if the causation is not clearly established; if you need help understanding this, please wiki the word “correlation.”).

I find it very difficult to understand how the photographs of the transmission damage in this case could indicate how the damage occurred. The gears are still on their shafts, there are no burn marks around the bearings, and the ATF was very clean. The transmission photographs were simply posted to illustrate the extent of the damage not the probable cause. Sorry “Installer_mss,” but this is where your statement “he said . . . looking at the picks that it was solely mechanical failure probably from a loose/broken part . . .” appears to be BS. I can post a picture of the PCM module if you like, but there is nothing obviously wrong with its outside appearance. Perhaps your friend has x-ray vision that works over the Internet OK, another cheap shot just after I apologized for the first one, but really, the only thing apparent in the photographs is the damage to the gear teeth and the metal fragments found in the transmission pan (and of course, the very clean residual ATF suggesting no pre-existing mechanical problem).

The problem with expecting an obvious “smoking gun” is that the exact cause could have been intermittent or very brief, such as a sudden voltage drop or spike in the tach output which sent the PCM into a spasm. And if the PCM was totally fried (i.e., frozen into a stable state), the transmission should have locked into a single gear not shifted abruptly between gears.

FYI: I suspected the tach line earlier. From my limited knowledge, this appears to be a fairly high voltage (for automotive circuits) AC line. This type of signal is a common cause (from my experience) of interference with 12 VDC digital lines. In my work the EMF alone is enough to reeve havoc with the 12 VDC digital signals, thus requiring shielding of the lower voltage lines. The simpler possible cause involving inadvertently grounding the tach line is much easier to investigate and is perhaps more likely to happen.

The quest for truth and justice continues . . .



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 11:14 AM

mabuffalo wrote:

FYI: I suspected the tach line earlier. From my limited knowledge, this appears to be a fairly high voltage (for automotive circuits) AC line. This type of signal is a common cause (from my experience) of interference with 12 VDC digital lines. In my work the EMF alone is enough to reeve havoc with the 12 VDC digital signals, thus requiring shielding of the lower voltage lines. The simpler possible cause involving inadvertently grounding the tach line is much easier to investigate and is perhaps more likely to happen.


The tach signal is NOT an AC signal (the most common installer misconception).  The signal, is in fact, DC, but it is a pulsing DC signal (usually a squarewave).  Because the DC voltage is frequency based, DC voltage meters will NOT read the signal.  If you switch the meter to AC you can detect differences in the voltage potential based on the difference in frequency (the principle behind alternating currrent).  The AC readings you get on your meter while reading a tach signal are NOT accurate by any means, and actually represent absolutely nothing.  All it does is shows the installer that the frequency on the wire changes when the engine revs, thus making it a good choice for a tach signal.

Keep in mind, also, that the tach signal is an INPUT, and most likely a high impedence one.  The alarm module never outputs any kind of signal to this line.  If it is a tach related problem, as stated above, it is most likely related to the tach wire being pinched or somehow grounded out (something that removing the power to the alarm wouldn't fix).



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: ferretvw
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 11:53 AM
That's all I was trying to say, I do in fact understand how a tach works and never meant to imply that the unit was sending out any sort of signal but, if it is crushed then that would be a direct link from the PCM to a ground that wasn't meant to be there and again I had very close to the same symptoms in my own car luckily it was only driven about 100ft as my check engine light was on. Also as KPierson said, obviously removing ground (or power in this case) would not solve a pinched wire problem. Again, though, this is all speculation and without seeing the unit is just a guess, however it might be a more educated guess than some.
--->Richard

-------------
2008 Scion xB
Pioneer AVIC-D3
RF 3Sixty.2 sound processor
Stock speakers (for now ;))




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Thanks again for another lesson, Kevin. I am learning by picking up what I can from installation manuals and from online discussions and of course from this discussion. Lots of people appear to have this wrong. I’ve seen reference to 50 to 80 VAC signals, but what they really mean to indicate is that you need to detect the signal change using the AC setting on a DMM. For the record, I was the only one that I recall who mistakenly referred to the tach signal as being an AC signal on this thread. FYI: I have used monophasic cathodal square-wave pulses for my brain stimulation work for years. I measure with an oscilloscope; the pulses are typically 20 to 200 pps (as you probably know, I actually measure pulse period directly not frequency) with a 100 to 300 usec pulse width at 50 to 300 uA. I also measure impedance and have to detect any high frequency noise on the signal in real time in my applications.

I’m willing to bet that the engineers at DSI are real smart people and that they design their devices with high impedance inputs. So, I too am particularly interested in the possibility of an inadvertently grounded tach signal from the installation, but I don’t rule out a component failure with the DSI module. The fact that the alarm is functioning quasi-normally with the ground disconnected indicates that the engineers have not isolated their system components as well might be expected. I’m sure this causes no problems with normal automotive work, but this can create major problems with the circuits that I have used in my research.

Now this brings up another question: I’m guessing that the same tach signal that’s used in the installation also ‘feeds’ the automatic transmission solenoids or that the same tach signal is fed to the PCM. (I could envision designing a system to work either way.) What is the source of the “tach” signal, and does it ‘feed’ to the PCM or to the automatic transmission directly?

Update: I got the van back from AAMCO today. It seems to be running smoothly again. I’m going out to wash the Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma bugs off it now. Yes, I picked up a few bugs from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York too, but the Southwestern bugs seem to be the juiciest.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: ferretvw
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 1:32 PM
Depends on where the installer caught his tach signal from. Normally I go directly to an injector, coil, or to the tach on the instrument panel. But, on occasion I have gone directly to the PCM for a tach generally though that is on GM full size trucks and SUV's though. According to my notes for that vehicle the tach signal is normally acquired from a WHITE/ pink wire at the PCM which is on the drivers side rear of engine (bolded for emphasis) the tach wire from the alarm will be violet/white so you may wat to check that out and see if thats where it goes and if it is crushed or pinched or cut anywhere.
--->Richard

-------------
2008 Scion xB
Pioneer AVIC-D3
RF 3Sixty.2 sound processor
Stock speakers (for now ;))




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 4:41 PM
i myself are not claiming to be an expert on transmissions, but my friend is and i just relayed the info i initially got from him from the discription i gave him.  i will post more info when he more thoroughly looks at the pics today and has a more definite answer.  and i'm a "he" for the record...lol

-------------
"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."




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: June 30, 2007 at 4:49 PM

no offense taken...and i haven't worked for CC for a few years and don't really care if they get sued to bankruptcy.  i just threw in my 2 cents to try to help solve this problem.  those were my opinions based on past experience from both myself and my mechanic friend, and merely stated what i thought MIGHT have occured.  hopefully ferret nailed it and you can get to the bottom of this.  i DO believe in people being held accountable for their mistakes (even if it were myself).  good luck

P.S.  if you bring it down here to Texas, I'LL take a look at it...lol



-------------
"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."




Posted By: turboaccordlx
Date Posted: July 01, 2007 at 2:20 AM
Okay I have not read all of this thread yet and probably will never. But you have a 7 or 8 year old Ford van that you just bought and only put about 2000 miles on. Yes you got a crappy install done by some hack. But just because its not the best does not mean you can blame it right away.

First of all you brought it to a transmission shop that first asked you if you had a alarm recently installed right away. There first conclusion was to blame the remote starter. Thats the type of place that blames anything aftermaket because, of there incompetence in properly diagnosing an issue.

Second you have a lift. A lot of times when you remote start a van like that and use the lift while it is remote started, if they used voltage sense instead of tach the van may crank its self due to voltage drop. I am guessing he did not hook up tach because he is a lazy and inexperienced installer. So if you end up keeping the system that will need to be corrected. Another thing is there is no problem hooking up the 12v power for the remote starter to the ignition harness on that car. On that car when you turn the key you are doing the same thing the remote starter does.

Also comfort closure is not even an option on your car. You need to take some details out of your website you created the misconceptions you have discredit you.

Pay a better shop to take a look at it and write you up a professional work order. And if you take them to court they will most likely just settle so they dont have to waste any more money and legal fees defending the case. I hope you get this worked out soon, goog luck




Posted By: turboaccordlx
Date Posted: July 01, 2007 at 2:22 AM
^ I thought I could edit after I posted but cant so excuse and spelling or grammer errors in my post.




Posted By: howie ll
Date Posted: July 01, 2007 at 3:48 AM

My thoughts keep coming back to either tach or possibly a whisker of cable being in the wrong place, but I reject tach because the starter will grind only on remote start. one look by an experienced indie installer or company should give an overview of the installation 's general quality.

If gearbox ECU is fried surely there won't be physical damage because unit (ie mechanical/hydraulic part) is in fail-safe mode?





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 01, 2007 at 11:42 AM

turboaccordlx wrote:

Yes you got a crappy install done by some hack.

I didn’t mean to imply initially that the installer was a “hack” nor conclude that the installation was overall “crappy.” (However, I’m revising my opinion as I make more observations and reconsider the work.) I think there was either an unfortunate mistake in the installation or a (rare) defective alarm control unit (AKA “brain”). What I do fault the installer and the service shop supervisor about is that they refused to review their work and that they left their customer standing in the parking lot with a problem that occurred shortly after their installation. (Please note as mentioned earlier, I wasn’t angry at this point, just puzzled and confused.) What I do fault Circuit City about is that they further refused to examine this issue and appear to permit unqualified people to do potentially injurious work on customer’s vehicles.

I haven’t revised the web page description recently that is intended for private use only. I will make some important revisions before making it public (see note below), and I will form an opinion based on independent review by a well-qualified installer and my own reconsideration of all the available data. For now, that page remains a working, draft copy of the incident.

turboaccordlx wrote:

But just because its not the best does not mean you can blame it right away.

Actually, I can. But I’m going to postpone a detailed explanation until later.

turboaccordlx wrote:

First of all you brought it to a transmission shop that first asked you if you had a alarm recently installed right away. There first conclusion was to blame the remote starter. Thats the type of place that blames anything aftermaket because, of there incompetence in properly diagnosing an issue.

I need to stick up for AAMCO here, placing the events back in their proper context. When I arrived at AAMCO with my problem, the manager/owner did ask me if I had an alarm or remote start recently installed. The context in which I took his question was that my problem would be easily and quickly resolved by correcting a misplaced wire or two. (Recall that the people at Circuit City refused to look at their installation work.) It was not apparent at this time that I had major mechanical damage to my transmission nor that this would be a costly repair. When the service technician took my van for a short test drive, it became immediately apparent that my transmission had suffered major damage. They then focused on fixing the problem which included replacement of the PCM. They cannot say conclusively that the alarm/remote-start installation caused my transmission problem. This is not the business they are in. They do not constitute expert witnesses for my case against Circuit City. They are not in a position to affix blame nor do they wish to.

turboaccordlx wrote:

Second you have a lift. A lot of times when you remote start a van like that and use the lift while it is remote started, if they used voltage sense instead of tach the van may crank its self due to voltage drop. I am guessing he did not hook up tach because he is a lazy and inexperienced installer. So if you end up keeping the system that will need to be corrected.

Thanks for pointing this out. At first I didn’t think the chairlift would ever be used at the same time the van was running in the remote-start condition, but I do see that this is a possibility. My limited understanding of remote start is that the tach signal is used in preference to a voltage signal, and I would normally presume that’s how my system was installed. I would also presume that the anti-grind feature of the remote start would prevent a potential problem. Considering the problems that I’ve had thus far, I will certainly have someone look at this connection to insure that it is the tach signal that is being used. Thanks!

turboaccordlx wrote:

Also comfort closure is not even an option on your car. You need to take some details out of your website you created the misconceptions you have discredit you.

Thanks, but it’s listed in DEI’s description under “features” without qualification (e.g., not available on “most” or even “some” vehicles – see www.pythoncarsecurity.com/products/871xp.html). Interestingly, nearly one-quarter of the “features” listed are ‘incorrect’ (actually, 4 out of 17 items or 23.5%). I don’t want “comfort closure” nor do I really care that the LED is red not blue. But I do wonder if there are other things listed incorrectly in their advertisement. And if one wishes to ‘push it,’ two of the features are clearly not applicable to my vehicle (i.e., defroster output and turbo timer) bringing the total “features” down to 15 and because the auxiliary output can’t be connected to anything useful in my application (e.g., connected to operate the dome lights remotely even with the addition of a relay – according to the Circuit City installation manager), the math becomes 5 out of 15 “features” incorrectly listed or exactly one-third. (Don’t bother to reply; I don’t really care but at some point this crosses over the bounds of liberal copy writing and becomes false advertising.)

An important reminder: I posted the web page at www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm as an convenient reference for use with this discussion forum. It is a draft copy not a copy for public view (as noted on the top of the page). I have not yet linked it to my primary web site which receives 150,000 to 200,000 monthly hits and I won’t until it’s edited and I feel it’s appropriate. You have to know the URL (equivalent to password-level protection) or follow the link provided in this discussion thread (limited audience). The web page is also available for review by Circuit City and by DEI, but the Circuit City operations manager told me that he “doesn’t use the Internet” so it appears that relevant people at Circuit City don’t really care.

Time to watch the concert for Diana – thanks CTV! Most of my countrymen will have the watch the edited version later on U.S. television.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: July 01, 2007 at 9:11 PM
turboaccord, i don't mean to start anything, but you may want to read what is going on completely before you jump into the convo.  everything you said has been said and touched upon long ago in this forum topic.

-------------
"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."




Posted By: Silvrefox
Date Posted: July 01, 2007 at 11:41 PM
Yes, I myself would like to know if the installer used the tach wire in the installation. Whenever any wire grounds out the results are always negative and if it were to be the tach wire, there is no fuse to stop the situation from continuing until the wire is removed or destroyed. And as far as the AAMCO guy asking if you had recently had a remote starter installed, I've been on both sides of the fence here as I worked at a car service shop and am now installation senior at Best Buy and believe me, when you see as many problems caused by driveway "professional installers", it's easy to say where to start looking. If I can offer any advise on how to handle CC is don't let them forget who you are. While it doesn't seem like those guys have that much to do, remember that in retail lots of stuff gets pushed on down the line and your name, number and situation is more than likely (though not always, hopefully) on a sticky note that is being circulated to a different manager every time your name comes up. So keep on'em like a bad cold, man, and good luck to ya.

-------------
BOOSH!!




Posted By: soultinter
Date Posted: July 02, 2007 at 3:02 PM
Ahh, the plot continues to thicken. mabuffalo, my offer still stands(for now but I am buying a new house and won't be much longer)




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 02, 2007 at 4:34 PM

Bang! Got’m, found the smoking gun!!! The problem has been identified and corrected by a top-rated independent installation shop. And I have full documentation along with photographs and witnesses. Because I am filing a lawsuit, I am not going to present the details at this time. Suffice it to say that there WAS a mistake in the installation. Had Circuit City reviewed their work, corrected it, and paid for the transmission repairs, I would have dismissed this as an unfortunate mistake with the attitude that “all’s well that ends well.” Because they refused to review their work or take any action on this problem that clearly resulted from their improper installation, I am forced to expend considerable time and effort and to take action through the judicial system. The only decision that remains to be made is whether I am going to be content with the limitations of small claims court or take this to regular civil court seeking major compensation. I kind of feel like I’m sticking up for the ‘little guy’ who doesn’t have the personal and financial resources that I have to pursue this case to its rightful conclusion.

Thanks to all of you who have expressed your support and who have tried to help me identify the problem through this online forum. If this discussion remains “open,” I will post the final outcome when it’s settled. (Alternatively, you can check www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm for the updates.) Meanwhile, I may post some additional comments from time-to-time, but I will not discuss the specifics of the pending lawsuit.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: July 02, 2007 at 7:38 PM
My guess would be grounded out tach wire. Glad you took my advice (as well as many others here) and went to another shop (non big box store) and had the van looked at. I have a feeling the problem was easily found once a competent installer looked at it.

Maybe now it is time to change the title of the thread to: "transmission destroyed by Circuit City installation" since the product is not at fault.




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: July 02, 2007 at 8:54 PM
Oh I'm giddy with excitment...... I can hardley stand it.   How long must we wait for the "smoking gun" details?

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Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 7:24 AM

Good news to hear you found hard evidence that explains the problems you had.

As an installer I have never gone through this process, so please keep us updated on how things go.  I am very interested to see if they pay for the entire tranny rebuild or just a 'pro rated' amount.  Trannys don't last forever and yours had considerable mileage on it.  I have a gut feeling that they will settle out of court and give you all that you ask for (within reason, of course). 

Did the shop finish the installation? 



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: kassdog
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 7:45 AM
I actually can guarantee it will be settled out of court. For as long I as I have worked for big box stores I have yet to hear of one case going to court.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 10:42 AM
KPierson wrote:

As an installer I have never gone through this process


This is very unlikely to happen to you, Kevin, for two reasons. First, you’re smart and I would bet very careful in your work. A simple 30-second test would have detected the error and prevented the problem The installer was either too inexperienced or, as some of YOU suggested, too “lazy” to check his work. Second, you wouldn’t leave your customer stranded in your parking lot. You would have reviewed your work and most likely spotted the mistake very quickly.

KPierson wrote:

I am very interested to see if they pay for the entire tranny rebuild or just a 'pro rated' amount.  Trannys don't last forever . . . .


I had the transmission repaired not rebuilt. I didn’t have a different, remanufactured transmission or an OEM replacement installed. I had the problem fixed. This is how the repair cost remained slightly below $3,000. That was probably stupid on my part. Now I have other transmission parts that have most likely suffered undue stress and may undergo premature failure related to this incident. But some weird sense of minimizing the “damage” (i.e., cost to rectify the problem) made this solution the most logical choice for me. Also, I have reason to suspect (which I will not elaborate on here) that the transmission “mileage” is much lower than the vehicle’s mileage (e.g., look at the photographs again; the transmission did not go through the parts washer at this point – note the residual ATF remaining in the pan and elsewhere).

The facts for the customer (and I’m willing to bet for the judge) are quite simple. The vehicle entered the service bay with a perfectly working transmission and left with a ‘time bomb’ that would detonate within 2 miles down the road. Now fix it. The implication that the transmission was going to ‘break’ anyway is BS! And even with the vehicle ‘running’ again, the stress on the other drive-train components (I believe you pointed out that you would expect engine damage from this problem; well, me too.) may lead to additional problems . So even if Circuit City were to pay for the repairs and throw in the botched alarm/remote-start installation for free, I’m still worse off than when I entered their service bay almost two weeks ago. And so far I’ve been working for Circuit City for free.

Time to prepare for some fireworks . . .



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MABuffalo




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 12:34 PM
it's good you found the problem.  i too am anxious to hear what happened.  this thread has been like an "installer soap opera" and i'm sure everyone here is waiting for the final episode.  the installer not checking the problem was almost guaranteed both laziness and inexperience.  some installers don't like to look over stuff as it's easier to just ignore the problem and hope the customer goes away...something a good installer would not do.  he also may not have known how to troubleshoot this and therefore didn't want to and couldn't see how his install could have caused it.  i myself still would like to see so i can use this as personal reference in case someone else ever has the same problem (which would definitely not be caused by myself i can proudly say).  hooray for justice and for competent installers on the12volt.  the saga continues................

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"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."




Posted By: xtremej
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 1:45 PM
The only thing this thread doesn't have is popcorn and a beverageposted_image. I too am curious to see what caused this problem,. I am also betting out of court settlement with the big box..




Posted By: soultinter
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 5:31 PM
mabuffalo, would you be interested in sharing the ending w me? PM of course, not on the board.




Posted By: peterubers
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 5:47 PM

Congrats on your hard work -- looks like you'll have the last laugh now, and that must be very gratifying after dealing with the incompetant morons at this particular Circuit City.  I hope your website gets as MUCH publicity as possible and forces CC to reevaluate their automotive staff/installers.

Best of luck on the details of the final resolution, thanks for the updates.



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The search function is your friend.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 03, 2007 at 5:57 PM

soultinter wrote:

mabuffalo, would you be interested in sharing the ending w me? PM of course, not on the board.

The ending isn’t written yet. And as I mentioned on an earlier post, the comments on this forum are being watched by some people at Circuit City. Of course they aren’t paying attention to try to resolve the problem but using the information to plan their strategies and to try to cover their butts. These turkeys have dug in, which is all the better for a turkey shoot!

FYI: I’m not suggesting any particular information-monger(s); I have a pretty good idea who isn’t passing along information. But in all fairness I’m only commenting on what I can as I can to all who have been following this little drama . . . don’t choke on popcorn as the suspense builds.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, USA! (“Oh, Canada,” a belated happy birthday to you too, eh.)



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 1:03 AM

I can stand keeping you in suspense, but I can’t stand the feeling that I may be withholding information that could prevent a potential problem for other installers. So, even though this is likely to cost me money (i.e., I’m providing too much information to Circuit City which helps them prepare their defense), following is the apparent source of the problem.

The Ford E-series vans have more than one WHITE/ pink wire in the wire bundle. I’m not sure how common this is, but mine is a 2000 Ford E150 and I’ve read about a similar situation on a 2006 Ford E350 (I’ve posted a ‘warning’ directly on the other thread.). The Circuit City installer used a WHITE/ pink wire that does NOT show increased voltage with increasing engine RPM. The independent “expert installer” reconnected my alarm/remote-start system to the WHITE/ pink wire that does show increased voltage with increasing RPM. The moral of the story: there may be more than one WHITE/ pink wire on some Ford vehicles, so check your voltages properly. I won’t elaborate on how this caused a malfunction in the vehicle’s PCM that produced the severe transmission damage. I have already given up too much information to help Circuit City prepare their counter arguments, so I have to save some twists and turns for the court date. But be very careful when hooking up a remote starter on the E-series Fords and do check for the proper voltage changes when identifying the correct tach line.

(OK, I feel better now even if this does cost me money.)

Perhaps Circuit City should sue DEI for providing inadequate wiring information (but then the installer should have checked for proper voltage changes)? Perhaps DEI should sue Ford for duplicate color coding of different wires (but then Ford doesn’t produce their vehicles with aftermarket product installation in mind)? I don’t know. What I do know is that I didn’t do this and I’m the one left out in the cold with the $3,000 transmission repair bill.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 6:52 AM

^^^ If that is the case, DEI is in no way at fault, that is 100% installer error.  It is up to the installer to verify all wiring before making any connections, as it is very common to have multiple wires of the same color in the same vehicle.

Now I would be very interested to know what this 'wrong' wire went to, and how it could cause damage (as we've discussed it is most likely a high impedence input). 

How's the van running now?  Everything back to 'normal'?



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: enice
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 7:10 AM

I agree Kpierson.  I'm wondering how this caused damage.  The remote start probably would of kept on cranking if you have the wrong tach.  The tach wire on the r/s is an input.  Still curious to learn how it actually damaged it other then someone posting that maybe the tach wire was pinched and hitting ground somehow, therefore feeding ground to the tach wire.  Again, im not saying that I dont think it damaged it but would like to learn how it did.





Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 8:36 AM
Enice.... That was my thought. The tach on a remote start is an input?  What kind of ANYTHING could come "back thru" this wire? And I'm sure conversation like this is what  made mabuffalo, NOT want to show his cards.posted_image

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Posted By: xtremej
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 8:55 AM
Not sure if this relates but we had a pontiac montana come in that had a remote start installed by a local shop. The tach lead was hooked up to a white wire in the main harness, it tested as tach (I tested it) but when this wire was hoked up it would not allow the engine to go above 3000 rpm. I didn't belive until I drove it I clipped the wire and it was fine. I went to the coil pack for a tach lead and the customer went back to the original installer with 2 bills 1 from the dealer and 1 from me.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 9:21 AM

As I stated earlier, “I’m providing too much information to Circuit City which helps them prepare their defense.” So my participation in this part of the discussion is going to be very limited until after the trial. But . . . 

When is the last time you measured the impedance (not the resistance, the impedance) of the Python 871XP’s connections? You are making unwarranted assumptions about their circuit designs. We already know that some of their inputs sink enough current to power-up the module even with the ground disconnected. In my biomedical work this is a major design flaw; we often have to use optoisolators and other strategies for totally isolating inputs/outputs from each other and from the system’s main power supply. The fact that the alarm/remote-start module functioned quasi-normally indicates that some inputs can act as Vss with the system ground disconnected. This may not be a problem in most automotive applications, but when a marginal engineering practice coincides with an installation error, the result can be disastrous for the customer.

Thanks, Kar TuneMan, you’re dead on. I provided the information regarding the wiring error as a courtesy to help others avert a potential problem. I fully realize that I’m also providing an opportunity for some installers to start another round of, “gee, I don’t see how this could cause your problem.” I think most of the comments are prompted by a legitimate curiosity about the problem, but they will certainly be used by Circuit City to try to avoid accepting responsibility for this incident. Rest assured that I’m holding back a couple of aces that won’t be revealed until the end of game. And a few red herrings along the way should confuse the Circuit City people even more.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 9:55 AM

And now, time for a brief commercial message . . .

BUY’EM A CUP OF COFFEE!

The folks at www.the12volt.com have set up a great site, packed full of useful information and hosting a great discussion forum with state-of-the-art features. (I wish I knew how to set-up a discussion forum with these features on my www.AddictionScience.net web site. It would be very useful, but the sophistication is way beyond my technical ability and I have zero budget for support services.)

Although there are unobtrusive sponsors on www.the12volt.com, my experience is nothing feels better than grassroots support for your hard work. So, consider making a small donation (the “buy’em a cup of coffee,” or if you prefer, a Diet Coke or Mountain Dew, metaphor). Lots of small donations add up and the psychological impact often far exceeds the monetary value. My sincere thanks to the www.the12volt.com moderator(s) for hosting this outstanding forum and for providing a wealth of free information online!



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 11:07 AM

How do you know their INPUTS sink current?  From what I remember it is actually the parking light output that sinks enough ground current to cause the alarm to do some funky stuff if a true ground isn't connected.

I'm not saying the inputs don't bleed current back to the system, but I wouldn't be confident that they did just because of what you saw (more testing needs to be done).

I would bet $10 (I know, big spender) that the tach wire is optoisolated.  I can't prove this at all, as I don't have a remote start unit laying around, but you have to remember that this is a mass produced electronic product by one of the biggest names in the business.  They may not optoisolate every input, but I am confident that they at least optoisolate their tach input.  As we all know, any noise on a tach wire can cause issues, this is enough of a reason to isolate it.  Also, keep in mind that they have been selling these things for years, and I have never (until you) heard of any issues caused by hooking up the tach wire.

Regardless of how/why it happened, I think you have an open and closed case.  They worked on your vehicle, your vehicle immediately broke, an independent shop found a problem, everything worked from then on.

Have you started filing the paperwork yet?  I am anxious to see how quickly CC pays up.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 1:05 PM

actually what mabuffalo says makes sense if you think about electronics in general and the given situation.  when the remote start engages, the unit "searches" for a tach signal from it's tach input, which causes that circuit path in the unit to close and allow current flow.  once or twice is enough to damage an electrical device as we all know.  electronics do funny things that we would never imagine when no properly used or installed.

also, even though you released this information, they have no way of using the info against you or in their defense.  the cut-and-dry fact is that the wrong connection was made, and that in turn caused the tranny to become damaged.  nothing omits the fact that the installer incorrectly installed the device and it subsequently damaged your vehicle.  their attorneys will see this and it will probably not make it all the way before a settlement is issued.  CC doesn't want it's name tarnished (ha, ha right?) by a lawsuit filed against them publically, so they will do what they can to avoid it.  as long as your not asking for a million dollars for "mental anguish" you should be fine.



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"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."




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 1:30 PM

It doesn't 'search' and it doesn't only do it when the vehicle is remote starter.

As I already said, I don't know exactly how the input works, but at a bare minimum it would be an input transistor.  Most likely it is an optoisolator, which is basically equivalent to an LED.  What happens if you ground out the base of an NPN transistor, or the + side of an LED?  Nothing.  What happens if you apply 14.4vdc to the base of a transistor or the + of an LED?  Assuming there is enough current availible (>0.002A) the transistor will go in to saturation and the LED would turn on.

The fact is, that you would have to have a very sensitive circuit to be damaged by either an LED or the base current of a transitor.  We are talking about a few milliamps here at most.

Now if they were somehow trying to energize a relay coil off the tach signal, I would have no problems agreeing that that could pose a problem, but I am very skeptical (not saying it couldn't) that this would damage a tranny. 

So, now, the big unknows are how much current can the tach wire pull and what is the function of the wire they tapped in to?  I used to have an old Viper 550ESP laying around but I got rid of it.  I might go ask for it back just to do some testing!!!



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: howie ll
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 2:18 PM
I know this topic has been done to death but a company I contract to is being sued for a "faulty" AG IV installation. The customer is saying that the I/Start IV tach lead caused the cooling system, (!!) ECU coilpack and air sensor to fail. Any thoughts? Vehicle is a GM Vauxhall Astra which wuld have a similar 4-cyl 16v engine to I believe Pontiac Le Mans or cetain Saturns. Tach was taken from injector lead after testing, same as on just about every other similar  install where I didn't have a traditional coil, distributor or RPM at tachometer, none of the other installs have given any problems.




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: July 06, 2007 at 5:23 PM

howie ll wrote:

I know this topic has been done to death but a company I contract to is being sued for a "faulty" AG IV installation. The customer is saying that the I/Start IV tach lead caused the cooling system, (!!) ECU coilpack and air sensor to fail. Any thoughts? Vehicle is a GM Vauxhall Astra which wuld have a similar 4-cyl 16v engine to I believe Pontiac Le Mans or cetain Saturns. Tach was taken from injector lead after testing, same as on just about every other similar  install where I didn't have a traditional coil, distributor or RPM at tachometer, none of the other installs have given any problems.

Start a new thread........posted_image



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Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: July 11, 2007 at 3:23 PM

The lawsuit has been filed. I am going to refrain from further comments about the case until after it’s been decided, but I may reply to some general comments made earlier on this forum. If the thread remains “open,” I will post the outcome after the trial. Otherwise, you can check www.AddictionScience.net/CircuitCity.htm for the updates.

Meanwhile, do consider “buying them a cup of coffee.” The folks at www.the12volt.com provide a great service in hosting this forum and in their other work, and I can tell you from experience that even small, token contributions are sincerely appreciated by those of us who offer many of our services free of charge.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: nava94
Date Posted: July 17, 2007 at 12:58 AM
hey mabuffalo when I got my on hands experience at a shop I remember working on a 2000 toyota truck the customer came in for an aftermarket rpm gauge. I completed the install tested the tach wire under the hood and everthing worked great till the customer called us back 10 minutes later that his truck started to lag on acceleration and finally stalled leaving him on the side of the freeway.We got the truck towed and had a toyota mechanic look at it and ended up the wire I tagged was not a tach wire. the tach wire was connected straight to the ecm behind the glove box and everything was fine after that.




Posted By: Silvrefox
Date Posted: July 17, 2007 at 1:54 AM
KPierson wrote:

The fact is, that you would have to have a very sensitive circuit to be damaged by either an LED or the base current of a transitor. We are talking about a few milliamps here at most.

Now if they were somehow trying to energize a relay coil off the tach signal, I would have no problems agreeing that that could pose a problem, but I am very skeptical (not saying it couldn't) that this would damage a tranny.




I agree with this statement, as it is most obvious that the alarm receives that signal from the vehicle. Be it from a coil, injector, pcm, or otherwise. However, if you would like to perform an experiment take a wire, run it from your tach source and ground it out. I think if said tach wire were to be pinched or accidentally grounded out (as per said experiment) you would find similar symptoms as were described by our host. If you persisted to drive the vehicle with all that going on, I am almost certain you could, in fact shell out a transmission.

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BOOSH!!




Posted By: swerks
Date Posted: July 29, 2007 at 12:54 PM
i would have the tranny diagnosed at a ford dealer they have the factory diagnosis equipment. the cc will have to pay rthe bill if it is determined it was the starter. solder and taping is the only way to go 3m tapes do not come off! super 33 can be used at -20C im from canada i know this butts and scotchlocks have no place in a car. heatshrink is great if you cut the wire but cutting should only be done if necessary

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Steve Sverdahl
Swerksound Auto Electric
Red Deer Alberta




Posted By: johnmax
Date Posted: July 30, 2007 at 12:00 PM

Did the remote start even work? If they were on the wrong tach, the unit would not have even learned the tach signal, thus never work. Unless they put it on voltage sense after they couldnt get it to learn tach.

I mean tach is easy to find anyway on that van. A caveman could do it... a capped WHITE/ pink with a CTO sticker on it under the hood.





Posted By: stratorider
Date Posted: July 30, 2007 at 12:55 PM
The only thing I can say, is that if the unit is set to tach sensing, it won't start without a tach signal. Believe me, I've tried :) It could've grounded out a wire it wasn't supposed to, I don't know, I'm not a Ford mechanic. Good luck suing Circuit City or DEI or whoeverposted_image




Posted By: Mad Scientists
Date Posted: July 30, 2007 at 8:05 PM

Well.. I've read through the entire post.. all 14 pages. Here's my thoughts.

Playing the D.A...

mabuffalo submits that Circuit City miswired the alarm system they installed and broke his transmission. Even if CC admits miswiring, it still needs to be proved that the miswiring caused the transmission failure. I think that's going to be the problem. Even though it's interesting that, according to mabuffalo, the failure occurred immediately after the remote start was installed, it has to be noted that he only had the vehicle for a short time. 

Looking at the pictures posted at mabuffalo's website, I noticed that the sun gear and planetary gears look damaged. As these gears are in constant mesh with one another, 'grinding the gears' isn't possible as compared to a manual transmission. While the transmission fluid does appear to be in good condition in the pictures, it should be noted that mabuffalo had recently purchased the vehicle and that the possibility exists that the fluid had been changed before the sale of said vehicle, possibly to conceal a pre-existing transmission problem.

It is alleged that the wiring for the alarm/remote start was connected improperly. It should be noted that plaintiff did arm/disarm and remote start vehicle in the parking lot of the defendant, and that proper and correct operation was observed. Problem was first noticed while dis-arming the anti-hijacking option of the unit while operating the vehicle.

... to drop out of legalese.. burden of proof lies with mabuffalo. He has to demonstrate that the miswiring of the unit was what caused the damage to the transmission. Without knowing how it was miswired, I can't really comment on that aspect of it, except to say that I would agree with mabuffalo's assessment that this would be an extremely rare failure mode.. if we apply Bishop Occam's theory to the information as stated (excluding any information not revealed; such as mileage of the van, statement of AAMCO as to cause and extent of damage, statement of indie shop detailing miswire and ramifications of same) then it doesn't seem likely.

Just my 0.02.. if I was presenting this, I'd have as an expert witness, at minimum, a tech with significant training, education and factory backing. The best I would expect out of this case would be to split costs between CC and mabuffalo.

Jim

EDIT: Michael, your circuitcity page on your website is in the wild.. it's available to the public. It shows up in searches, and Google.com cached it on July 22 - and they have it stored in their database. It's not private anymore, and available to anyone who wants to read it.





Posted By: profuse007
Date Posted: July 30, 2007 at 9:11 PM
Hey Michael,

I hope things are progressing. This will be a tough case, a lot of time will be spent through legal matters.

Anyways, can you rehost the pics of the tranny service?



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Houston,TX
"The two most common elements in the universe are H+ and stupidity" (Ellison).




Posted By: voluster
Date Posted: July 31, 2007 at 11:16 AM

I'm gonna ask a couple questions

How many miles were on this van?

you bought this used ?

I have seen quite a few of them transmissions in them ford vans take a dump more then once.

I used to work right next to a transmission shop and seen plenty of them vans in there having transmissions repaired. not the 1st time I've seen a sun gear and planeteries come apart like that.





Posted By: NowYaKnow
Date Posted: July 31, 2007 at 8:42 PM
I read through the thread quick, and checked some diagrams quick. It seems there is a WHITE/ pink wire for the RPM sensor (ie: tach signal) at the PCM, and multiple WHITE/ pink wires that go to various COP (coil on plugs). Any of them should work to program a remote start signal.

The WHITE/ pinks going to a COP probably wouldn't show varying voltage, but would still work fine and shouldn't damage anything. Should the wire short out, it would most likely fry that COP and cause the van to run rough. I'm not seeing how that severe damage could happen without other damage, like a fried PCM. Unless I missed this part, I see you reference a "fired" PCM a few times, but no mention of it being replaced.

Hopefully your indepenent shop found a different problem otherwise I can't see any connection. Of course stranger things have happened.. And yes tach signals shorting out is scary and usually kills whatever component is on the other end. Again I didn't dig too much or look very long, but I can't find a WHITE/ pink linked to the tranny in any way. I would assume CC would settle because $3k doesn't pay for their lawyers to get out of bed, much less build a case. Good luck with it let us know how it turns out,

Mike




Posted By: hawksbball25
Date Posted: August 13, 2007 at 7:26 PM
so any word on how the trial if any is progressing




Posted By: offroadzj
Date Posted: August 14, 2007 at 12:49 AM
I actually just got finished reading this thread, and being a professional installer at circuit city, I would like to apologize for the poor experience that you had to deal with. Unfortunately, there are some installers that do not care about their work, and are simply there to pay the bills. There are some of us however that really do take pride in our work, and actually care about what we do. It is very unfortunate that those lazy installers make a bad name for all of us, but either way, as a representative of Circuit City, I would still like to apologize for the improper installation as well as the inexcusable poor customer service. I was ready to drive from Albany, NY to help look at the install and try to determine the problem (but at this point, it appears that it was found). However, as Now ya Know has posted, from what I can find, the only WHITE/ pink wires (although more than one exist) in the harneess have to do with the tach in some way (ie coil,pcm). I unfortunately cant imagine how this would then cause the PCM to completely fry (again, unless the wire was pinched, but your post did not mention anything about your installer finding a wire pinched). I am not saying that you are wrong in any way, but I would definately try to find the complete connection before continuing with the legal battle. Either way, good luck with everything, and again, I am sorry for the way that things have turned out... it really sucks to have a few lazy people put a bad name on people who do things correctly.

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Kenny
Owner / Technician
KKD Garage LLC
Albany, NY 12205




Posted By: hawksbball25
Date Posted: September 05, 2007 at 5:02 PM
so i guess nothing happend or if something did it musta just been the trannies time to go cuz im pretty sure litigation doesnt take this long to occur but u are a professer so that might have something to do with with cuz school is back in session




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: September 05, 2007 at 11:27 PM

... to drop out of legalese.. burden of proof lies with mabuffalo. He has to demonstrate that the miswiring of the unit was what caused the damage to the transmission. Without knowing how it was miswired, I can't really comment on that aspect of it, except to say that I would agree with mabuffalo's assessment that this would be an extremely rare failure mode.. if we apply Bishop Occam's theory to the information as stated (excluding any information not revealed; such as mileage of the van, statement of AAMCO as to cause and extent of damage, statement of indie shop detailing miswire and ramifications of same) then it doesn't seem likely.

It's MY opinion, that THIS is the ONLY hurdle for Mr. Buffalo. And the bar is set REAL high.



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Posted By: eurobink
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 12:42 AM

Interesting topic and definitely a few more arguable issues have been introduced.

After 15years of installing, my perspective is a bit reserved for the moment. A 2000 e150 is not exactly a challenging install. Truthfully, there really aren't too many vehicles that are much easier if you ignore the room factor and the seat lodging in your side.  I, too, do not favor mass merchants like CC and BB for these installs. Their guys just aren't experienced. The pay structure is not very good.

Electronically controlled or not seems of little concern. It's still a 2000. It's not like you are driving a BMW with a triptronic transmission. And, I agree that test lights, even computer safe test lights do pass current, and are unsafe for testing. However, the likelihood of damage resulting in this situation is minut. If AAMCO.. (another scam outfit) cannot find the cause of the problem, it may very well be just very bad timing for that installer.

I know many installers will frown at the following statement... soldering and taping is NOT the best method. For years this arguement has never been laid to rest. So called gurus and self-proclaimed experts arguing over a connection... very silly. The entire concept this pivots on is that connectors like t-taps cannot carry the current required by remote starters, safely to the circuits. Their claim is there is not enough metal in contact with the wire, therefore, risk of fire, or damage to electronics may exist from resistance. That's like saying talking on your phone while pumping gas will ignite the fumes and you are going by by. As the eminent danger may exist, it's more so for those living in a constant state of paranoia.

In reality, T-taps provide the same connection as other plugs in the vehicle. Manufactures seldom solder wires with their expensive computers. I will agree that improper use of T-Taps, or use of poor quality T-taps has led to many, many installation issues. If you choose to use T-Taps.. 3M is the way to go, and you must have experience. Actually soldering is more dangerouse in new vehicles. Most harnesses do not allow the room to create such connections, not to mention the heat transfer from that connection is actually interpreted as voltage, and just like that probe, it can activate computers.

THAT IS FACT! Electronics 101

Unless the installer left, exposed, wiring that had some tie into your trans.. highly unlikely.. he probably didnt cause your problem. Just because an install is sloppy doesn't mean it's the cause of a malfunction. The worst he could have done is not activate an extra accessory wire and cause your check engine or air bag light to stay on.  Like Kartunman said.. your vehicle is 7 years old.

Curious to see what comes of this.





Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 5:20 AM
eurobink wrote:

I know many installers will frown at the following statement... soldering and taping is NOT the best method. For years this arguement has never been laid to rest. So called gurus and self-proclaimed experts arguing over a connection... very silly. The entire concept this pivots on is that connectors like t-taps cannot carry the current required by remote starters, safely to the circuits. Their claim is there is not enough metal in contact with the wire, therefore, risk of fire, or damage to electronics may exist from resistance. That's like saying talking on your phone while pumping gas will ignite the fumes and you are going by by. As the eminent danger may exist, it's more so for those living in a constant state of paranoia.

In reality, T-taps provide the same connection as other plugs in the vehicle. Manufactures seldom solder wires with their expensive computers. I will agree that improper use of T-Taps, or use of poor quality T-taps has led to many, many installation issues. If you choose to use T-Taps.. 3M is the way to go, and you must have experience. Actually soldering is more dangerouse in new vehicles. Most harnesses do not allow the room to create such connections, not to mention the heat transfer from that connection is actually interpreted as voltage, and just like that probe, it can activate computers.

THAT IS FACT! Electronics 101


You are right, many installers will disagree with this.  TTaps are a mechanical connection.  It is no secret that an automobile is a rattle trap.  Excessive vibration, over time, will loosen ANY mechanical connection.  I will agree with you that IF installed correctly, and if it is a quality TTap the customer most likely won't have an issue while they own the car.

How is soldering a wire going to damage a computer?  I've never heard of the heat from solder damaging anything in a car (besides carpet and door panels).  How do you think the headers are connected to the circuit board?  They are SOLDERED, as is EVERY other component on the computer circuit board.  Also, the copper wire you are soldering to will act like a heat sink so unless you are soldering 1" from the connection there is nothing to worry about.

I have NEVER, in my 12+ years of car installs seen an OEM installed TTap.



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 8:29 AM

I have NEVER, in my 12+ years of car installs seen an OEM installed TTap.

Dealer installed "factory options" ARE installed with an item simular to a T-tap....it's called a scotch lock. I iknow you are aware of these little goodies, aren't you? They are used on a regular basis in the "OE" automotive world.



-------------




Posted By: xtremej
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 8:32 AM
I love scotch locks and t-taps, they make me money in repairs from others installsposted_image.




Posted By: swerks
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:25 AM
I have heard of some soldering guns and irons triggering codes in vehicles, I use a bluepoint cordless iron from snap on. and have never had a problem, as for t taps i have seen many an install with corrosion all over the t tap so do i think theyt are an acceptable connector? Absolutely not!

-------------
Steve Sverdahl
Swerksound Auto Electric
Red Deer Alberta




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:27 AM
KarTuneMan wrote:

I have NEVER, in my 12+ years of car installs seen an OEM installed TTap.

Dealer installed "factory options" ARE installed with an item simular to a T-tap....it's called a scotch lock. I iknow you are aware of these little goodies, aren't you? They are used on a regular basis in the "OE" automotive world.


Incorrect.

DEALER options may be installed with Scotch locks, but you will NEVER find a factory installed option installed using Scotch locks.  I'm sure you just used the wrong word, but for the sake of clearity I am pointing it out.

These are used by the dealers that charge $700 for a $60 add on alarm that works with the OEM security system.  I would really trust their judgement in this case.....   :)

I, too, have fixed many installs where Ttaps/scotch locks were installed.  More so then solder joints (I have only ever fixed one solder joint - it was cold). 



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: eurobink
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:34 AM

For those lacking experience.. corrosion is primarily caused by moisture.. with that arguement posed.. let's assume the radio plug.. the ignition harness.. and every item 'plugged in' will corrode... and they may very well do so.. 80 years from now.. but in about 5 years, your taping job will unravel due to climate conditions.  I challenge anyone here to properly apply the techniques in installing a 3m ttap with a 3m male insulated spade connector..  then try unplugging it without any tools.

if you succeed, you need to learn to use these connectors properly. 

As far as the heat transfer response, i suggest you go to the library and pickup a book on ohms law and kirchoffs voltage divider law.. then come back here and leave your words of infinite wisdom.





Posted By: xtremej
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:43 AM

I suggest you start your own thread professing your love for mechanical connections as this one is about a transmission failure that has been alledgedly caused by a improper install. You may  want to post your crecentials also otherwise you will be considered another keyboard comando with little or no experience.





Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 12:38 PM
eurobink wrote:

For those lacking experience.. corrosion is primarily caused by moisture.. with that arguement posed.. let's assume the radio plug.. the ignition harness.. and every item 'plugged in' will corrode... and they may very well do so.. 80 years from now.. but in about 5 years, your taping job will unravel due to climate conditions.  I challenge anyone here to properly apply the techniques in installing a 3m ttap with a 3m male insulated spade connector..  then try unplugging it without any tools.

if you succeed, you need to learn to use these connectors properly. 

As far as the heat transfer response, i suggest you go to the library and pickup a book on ohms law and kirchoffs voltage divider law.. then come back here and leave your words of infinite wisdom.


If a quality tape is used it will not come off.  I live in Ohio with severe weather changes and I have yet to see Scotch 33+ tape come off.  I have seen TTaps fail.

The speed of corrosion is dependent on many variables, but the biggest factor is the metal used in the actual connector.  If the ttap/scotch lock wasn't designed for outdoor use, then it shouldn't be used in a car.  The connectors in cars are designed to resist moisture.

I have a nice collection of Floyd's finest books collecting dust in my basement, no need to go to a library.  It's one thing to try and apply theories, but practical application is going to be completely different in this case.



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: eurobink
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 2:06 PM

I love this place.. better than watching mr.bean...

I have yet to see TTAPS not designed to work outdoors..

Corrosion is deterioration of essential properties in a material due to reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means a loss of an electron of metals reacting with water and oxygen.

If the transmission guy is relying on the expertise found here, he may need to consider a different source.. that installer did not cause his problem, and it is immature of him to form accusations before all evidence is gathered. Further, KarTuneMan's response on scotchlocks is correct.. they are used on OEM items installed by dealers.. These dealers use mechanics to do the work who do not have such experience.. they simply follow instructions...  i work with 7 dealerships in the 12volt add-ons..

Whether the installer taped or not, soldered or not, left exposed or not, does not mean his error caused such destruction.. the most he could have done is caused a fuse to blow, or a check engine light to come on.. THESE ARE FACTS.. I have installed on over 8000 vehicles.. i lost count.. i have been working at dealerships from the age 14, and i have first hand knowledge of CC, BB and AAMCO.. if need be ill show you proof of all.. in a 'new thread', i also have a degree in EET. and have owned 6 shops.. my original experience is with drivetrains... there is noway to cause such damage with that install..

the best this guy can hope for is that CC just cashes him out, and i dont think they will do that without the burden of proof.. and yes.. having clean trans fluid on that car is a bit fishy.

the indoor outdoor use comment is null and void seeing how unless these connectors are exclusively used in controlled climates, it is impossible to keep moisture(humidity) away from them.. therefore there target market would be virtually non-existent....

common sense goes a long way.. i suggest you dust those books and use them...

to respond to Kpierson.. rattle traps are a thing of the past.. connectors now adays lock in, with clips.. even without the clip, they are tight enough to outlast the vehicle...  

my EXPERT advice to this thread is to layoff the installer who im sure replayed the install in his head 100times.. looking for a possible error, despite his best efforts completing a pretty involved install... sounds to me like this guy was soaked with the purchase of the van. 

For those inclined to run this thread.. go to a transmission shop.. and ask them... what do i have to to underneath the dash, to make the transmission fall apart within miles of driving.. then come back here and share your information.  I did just that and the mechanic was dumbfounded with my question.. there isn't anything he could think of.

this was comical.. but i have work to do





Posted By: swerks
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:45 PM
Probally have some comebacks to fix eh?

-------------
Steve Sverdahl
Swerksound Auto Electric
Red Deer Alberta




Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:58 PM
eurobink wrote:

For those inclined to run this thread.. go to a transmission shop.. and ask them... what do i have to to underneath the dash, to make the transmission fall apart within miles of driving.. then come back here and share your information.  I did just that and the mechanic was dumbfounded with my question.. there isn't anything he could think of.





How about not hooking up the second ignition wire on GM's from about 1997 to 2005? That will damage a transmission when it doesn't shift out of second. Would the transmission shop guy know that? Not that it applies in this case since the van is a Ford.




Posted By: eurobink
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:59 PM

once again.. stick to the topic.. a vehicle not shifting out of second will not burn up a trans in a few miles.. i used to have a GM and 3rd gear was blown.. i drove it 4 months before i caused more damage.. and in a remote start application, not installing the second ignition would make the remote start not work. All ignitions must be connected.. same with the first accessory-- or the dummy light on dash will stay on.. but still no damage to trans..

i didnt question the guy on his expertise... i'm assuminghe knows transmissions seing how he works on them.. but maybe i shouldnt assume.

i cant believe this thread is 16 pages long.. WOW!

Im hoping for the owner to get resolution and the installer to be cleared of his supposed mistake-- that at this point is still unfounded...   why are you guys pushing so hard to basically prosecute this kid as if he is enemy #1.. he is an installer.. maybe not as experienced, but doesnt mean he is incompetent.





Posted By: JWorm
Date Posted: September 07, 2007 at 11:58 PM
eurobink wrote:

once again.. stick to the topic.. a vehicle not shifting out of second will not burn up a trans in a few miles.. i used to have a GM and 3rd gear was blown.. i drove it 4 months before i caused more damage.. and in a remote start application, not installing the second ignition would make the remote start not work. All ignitions must be connected.. same with the first accessory-- or the dummy light on dash will stay on.. but still no damage to trans..




Quote below...from a DEI tech sheet. The truck will start and stay runnin, and yes a check engine light will come on. I am surprised you haven't heard of this warning before with all your experience. I'm just trying to prove that an incorrectly installed remote starter can cause damage to a transmission. I am not saying that is the cause in this case, just that it is possible. Personally, from the info provided I believe the transmission failing in MaBuffalo's van is probably not related to the install.

CHEVROLET, SILVERADO, 2000, Second Ignition
To avoid the check engine light from coming on and possible damage to the automatic transmission, the second ignition in this vehicle MUST be powered when adding a remote start system.





Posted By: eurobink
Date Posted: September 08, 2007 at 12:12 AM

yes, gm has some weird designs.. (ie mid 90's grandprix )where improper connection of the ignition wires can make the drivetrain inoperable..

dei quote "To avoid the check engine light from coming on and possible damage to the automatic transmission, " nothing about it running... Gm trucks were a big thing for us in detroit... they didnt run for us when the wire wasnt connected.. maybe it was a fluke... our shop was a four man crew.. in remote start season doing 12 cars in a day was normal.. many trucks.. and being so close to the GM tech center gave us plenty opportunity to install on GM trucks...

if you really want to know all my experiences, start a new thread.. and we can discuss all we want.. assumptions will get you nowhere.

anything is always possible.. i try to stick with probable whenever i can.. maybe i just dont have the experience.. dunno, dont care..

i have yet to see any vehicle lose that function resulting from a 12volt installation.. ive seen crazy stuff... i have even heard of a guy trying to jump his car battery from his house AC receptacle by cutting off the other end of the extension cord, stripping it back, and connecting to the battery, and walking away...

but nothing like we are discussing..  but i am not a man of the world either..





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: September 08, 2007 at 12:30 AM

hawksbball25 wrote:

so i guess nothing happend or if something did it musta just been the trannies time to go cuz im pretty sure litigation doesnt take this long to occur but u are a professer so that might have something to do with with cuz school is back in session

Right on the last two points. Yes, the academic year has started and I’m swamped with my ‘day job.’ And yes, the case was decided late August. I’m sorry to keep everyone in suspense, but because I started this thread I reserve the right to post the first commentary regarding the outcome which I’m certain will start another flurry of comments. And not surprising to those of you who have been reading along, I have a lot to say.

Meanwhile, I’ve been running a special security package with my IE that was blocking the12-Volt; every time I tried to load the page, I got a blank. So much for “Haute Secure” that was highly recommend by “professional computer security experts.” Or was it the firewall included with Time-Warner’s security package that I recently upgraded. No matter, I finally got it working again, and I hope to post this weekend or early next week. Apologies again for keeping you in suspense, but I’m sure that most of you installers which enjoy the outcome and have a lot to say.

Cheers . . .



-------------
MABuffalo




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: September 08, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Come on Mr.Buffalo......you KILLIN us man.......posted_image



-------------




Posted By: INSTALLER_MSS
Date Posted: September 08, 2007 at 9:53 PM
cmon man...let us know

-------------
"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."




Posted By: kassdog
Date Posted: September 19, 2007 at 2:14 AM
Heard from someone within the company that the guy did not win the case and circuit had to pay $38 to fix a wire. I'll try to get some more info but he didn't win from what I heard.




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: September 19, 2007 at 6:37 PM

I have a friend.... own's a used car lot, and a business called Transmission Engineering. (however you spell it) Trans rebuilder of the year 2 years running in the late 90's early 2000's.

He read the ENTIRE thread.  He wishes Mr. Buffalo all the luck in the world..... he said he will need it.

Until then..... we all wait and see!



-------------




Posted By: johnmax
Date Posted: September 20, 2007 at 12:11 PM

kassdog wrote:

Heard from someone within the company that the guy did not win the case and circuit had to pay $38 to fix a wire. I'll try to get some more info but he didn't win from what I heard.

Well thats good to hear. I'm tired of coincidental failures that are blamed on us. The the dealer just blames us with no proof, not even knowing how our systems actually function. Chalk one up for the 12 volt industry!





Posted By: throwback2332
Date Posted: September 21, 2007 at 5:12 AM
Ciruit city "professional". JOKE The only people I trust in my car is me and my buddy (15 years car audio and security seller and installer.) Best advice is to take it to a local shop who does car electronic's day in and day out, who know how to install or know who to call to get help.

Not circuit city, best buy, rex's or any franshise.

-------------
If it's not custom, then it's not you.




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 21, 2007 at 5:36 AM

throwback2332 wrote:

Ciruit city "professional". JOKE The only people I trust in my car is me and my buddy (15 years car audio and security seller and installer.) Best advice is to take it to a local shop who does car electronic's day in and day out, who know how to install or know who to call to get help.

Not circuit city, best buy, rex's or any franshise.

That is a very naieve way of thinking.

Custom shops make mistakes, too. 

Who would you rather work on your car, someone paid per hour, or someone paid per job?



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: extreme1
Date Posted: September 21, 2007 at 9:25 AM
KPierson wrote:

throwback2332 wrote:

Ciruit city "professional". JOKE The only people I trust in my car is me and my buddy (15 years car audio and security seller and installer.) Best advice is to take it to a local shop who does car electronic's day in and day out, who know how to install or know who to call to get help.

Not circuit city, best buy, rex's or any franshise.


That is a very naieve way of thinking.

Custom shops make mistakes, too.

Who would you rather work on your car, someone paid per hour, or someone paid per job?




that's stupidest thing I've heard, people paid per the job don't want things coming back so they make sure it's done right.

-------------
Shaughn Murley
Install Manager, Dealer Services
Visions Electronics
Red Deer, Alberta




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM
extreme1 wrote:

KPierson wrote:

throwback2332 wrote:

Ciruit city "professional". JOKE The only people I trust in my car is me and my buddy (15 years car audio and security seller and installer.) Best advice is to take it to a local shop who does car electronic's day in and day out, who know how to install or know who to call to get help.

Not circuit city, best buy, rex's or any franshise.

That is a very naieve way of thinking.

Custom shops make mistakes, too.

Who would you rather work on your car, someone paid per hour, or someone paid per job?




that's stupidest thing I've heard, people paid per the job don't want things coming back so they make sure it's done right.

I fixed a ton of alarms/remote starts from a 'custom' shop when I was an installer in Toledo, Ohio.  They got paid per job, and installed things just well enough to get the customer out the door.  When the customer complained, they told them they would have to schedule an appointment in 3-4 weeks when they have some open shop time.  That typically let the customer over to our bay, where they usually would pay us to reinstall the entire system.

Also, these remote starts would come with with voltage sense and no hood pin - something that is completely unacceptable from a 'professional' shop.

I'm not saying every shop operates this way, but IF the installer is paid per job there is a better chance he will cut corners to save time. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying take your car to Best Buy or Circuit City, my standpoint is it doesn't matter WHERE you have it installed, it matters WHO installs it.  The big box stores offer some unique features you can't get in a custom shop - like the ability to go to a completely different store to have things repaiRED / fixed/redone if you arn't happy. 

Anyway, like I said, I've seen FIRST HAND what some custom shops can do, so I stand by my statement, and I'm sure others on here will agree with my overall message.



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: extreme1
Date Posted: September 21, 2007 at 10:20 AM
KPierson wrote:

extreme1 wrote:

KPierson wrote:

throwback2332 wrote:

Ciruit city "professional". JOKE The only people I trust in my car is me and my buddy (15 years car audio and security seller and installer.) Best advice is to take it to a local shop who does car electronic's day in and day out, who know how to install or know who to call to get help.

Not circuit city, best buy, rex's or any franshise.



That is a very naieve way of thinking.


Custom shops make mistakes, too.


Who would you rather work on your car, someone paid per hour, or someone paid per job?




that's stupidest thing I've heard, people paid per the job don't want things coming back so they make sure it's done right.

I fixed a ton of alarms/remote starts from a 'custom' shop when I was an installer in Toledo, Ohio. They got paid per job, and installed things just well enough to get the customer out the door. When the customer complained, they told them they would have to schedule an appointment in 3-4 weeks when they have some open shop time. That typically let the customer over to our bay, where they usually would pay us to reinstall the entire system.

Also, these remote starts would come with with voltage sense and no hood pin - something that is completely unacceptable from a 'professional' shop.

I'm not saying every shop operates this way, but IF the installer is paid per job there is a better chance he will cut corners to save time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying take your car to Best Buy or Circuit City, my standpoint is it doesn't matter WHERE you have it installed, it matters WHO installs it. The big box stores offer some unique features you can't get in a custom shop - like the ability to go to a completely different store to have things repaiRED / fixed/redone if you arn't happy.

Anyway, like I said, I've seen FIRST HAND what some custom shops can do, so I stand by my statement, and I'm sure others on here will agree with my overall message.




I fix more installs by people paid by the hour than my own. Our company is 100% commission paid both on the sales floor and in the bay. I hold my staff to incredibly high standards (we solder even our deck harness'). We are good at our job and yes, we are fast but there isn't a corner cut ever. even on starters all have hood pins, tach hook up and parklight (I see other shops "forget" this step).

-------------
Shaughn Murley
Install Manager, Dealer Services
Visions Electronics
Red Deer, Alberta




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 21, 2007 at 11:24 AM

extreme1 wrote:


I fix more installs by people paid by the hour than my own. Our company is 100% commission paid both on the sales floor and in the bay. I hold my staff to incredibly high standards (we solder even our deck harness'). We are good at our job and yes, we are fast but there isn't a corner cut ever. even on starters all have hood pins, tach hook up and parklight (I see other shops "forget" this step).

I never said ALL shops cut corners, but a good % do.  A lot of installers are only interested in making money and they could care less about going 'the extra mile' to help a customer out because they won't benefit from it.

It is good to hear you recognize how important quality work is and that you hold your employees to such high standards, again not all shops do that.

However, answer my question honestly - if you had to take your car to a mechanic would you rather that mechanic get paid per hour or by the cars he turns out in a day?  What about your house, would you rather have a plumber that charges per visit or per hour?  Paying people per hour definately has it's beneifits - like knowing they'll be there until the job is done!

Please don't get me wrong, I know that there are hourly installers with poor work ethics, but that is why it is important for the customer to know WHO is working on their car.  The WHO is way more important the the hourly or commission.



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: Mad Scientists
Date Posted: September 22, 2007 at 9:49 AM
eurobink wrote:

As far as the heat transfer response, i suggest you go to the library and pickup a book on ohms law and kirchoffs voltage divider law.. then come back here and leave your words of infinite wisdom.


If you're still around, I'd like some clarification on this.. I don't see where either law has a variable for temp.. pretend I don't know anything.. use small words.

thanks..

Jim





Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: September 22, 2007 at 10:28 AM
Mad Scientists wrote:

eurobink wrote:

As far as the heat transfer response, i suggest you go to the library and pickup a book on ohms law and kirchoffs voltage divider law.. then come back here and leave your words of infinite wisdom.


If you're still around, I'd like some clarification on this.. I don't see where either law has a variable for temp.. pretend I don't know anything.. use small words.

thanks..

Jim


He lost me on this one, too.  The only thing I can think of is when you heat a wire the resistance changes.  By changing the resistence you can theoretically created a voltage divider.  I fail to see how this could ever effect a car though.

I would be more willing to believe that the 'tip to ground' voltage on a soldering iron would be more likely to trigger things in a car then simply heating wires.

I would be more willing to guess that he is just throwing out terms and has no idea of real world applications. 



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: init
Date Posted: September 22, 2007 at 7:42 PM

KPierson wrote:

...my standpoint is it doesn't matter WHERE you have it installed, it matters WHO installs it.

I agree 100%.  Though I did not work in the install bay at BB I knew the head installer and I know he did a good job.  I can't vouch for some of the others we've had, but after I left BB I heard he left too and I wouldn't trust some of the clowns that are back there now.

Funny thing is, one day I was talking to him behind the install bay during a smoke break.  He told me he was leaving in the summer and had I not been leaving too (for personal reasons) he would have requested that I take his place.  I told him that would probably not work as I not only didn't have any professional experience but I didn't have any certfication either.  He said despite that he'd rather have me than some of the people that he had back there.  Clearly, that says a lot about the other installers working there.

Today, the person that was the warehouse manager when I worked there is now the head installer.  He was an OK manager, but he wouldn't TOUCH my car.



-------------
I'm not a professional installer. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.




Posted By: CapSS92
Date Posted: September 24, 2007 at 5:26 AM
Sounds like the Audio Express shops we have in town where it only cost a buck to install anything. I've seen my share of these "installs" catch fire. LOL.




Posted By: wrenches
Date Posted: October 09, 2007 at 4:10 PM
mabuffalo wrote:

hawksbball25 wrote:

so i guess nothing happend or if something did it musta just been the trannies time to go cuz im pretty sure litigation doesnt take this long to occur but u are a professer so that might have something to do with with cuz school is back in session

Right on the last two points. Yes, the academic year has started and I’m swamped with my ‘day job.’ And yes, the case was decided late August. I’m sorry to keep everyone in suspense, but because I started this thread I reserve the right to post the first commentary regarding the outcome which I’m certain will start another flurry of comments. And not surprising to those of you who have been reading along, I have a lot to say.

Meanwhile, I’ve been running a special security package with my IE that was blocking the12-Volt; every time I tried to load the page, I got a blank. So much for “Haute Secure” that was highly recommend by “professional computer security experts.” Or was it the firewall included with Time-Warner’s security package that I recently upgraded. No matter, I finally got it working again, and I hope to post this weekend or early next week. Apologies again for keeping you in suspense, but I’m sure that most of you installers which enjoy the outcome and have a lot to say.

Cheers . . .


Bump.

What happened?

Inquiring minds want to know.





Posted By: extreme1
Date Posted: October 09, 2007 at 6:14 PM
slinked away hanging his head I guess...

-------------
Shaughn Murley
Install Manager, Dealer Services
Visions Electronics
Red Deer, Alberta




Posted By: kassdog
Date Posted: October 12, 2007 at 2:58 AM

I relplied a couple of days pages about this. It was solved and the guy got nothing but circuit had to pay something like $39 to fix one wire. Not sure which one but it was nothing big. Heard this from someone working on the store.

Also just an fyi for everyone, this is now the 5th most replied to post on the12volt.com





Posted By: johnmax
Date Posted: October 15, 2007 at 11:33 AM
Ha Ha good. I'm tired of being blamed for crap like this.




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 15, 2007 at 9:05 PM

I’m very sorry about the long delay in posting the outcome of the litigation. My intention was to reserve the first round of comments for myself, posting both the outcome and my initial comments at the same time. As mentioned earlier, this is a very busy time of year for me and fortunately I entered an intensely productive period immediately following the judge’s decision. And I also wanted to flush out a mole.

I was awarded $34.00 total compensation: $19.00 to cover the cost of another installation shop to “reconnect wires” and the $15.00 court cost. Not surprisingly, Circuit City hasn’t paid anything, so now I have to file additional paperwork to seize property they own in Erie County, New York. I guess I can shop around for $34 in merchandise at any of their local stores and have the Sheriff’s Department enforce my judgment (When they ask at the checkout, “will that be cash or credit card?” I get to reply neither; it will be the sheriff!). I can also file for a revocation of their business license based on their failure to comply with the court’s ruling. posted_image

Of course I’m not happy with the judge’s ruling, and of course I have a lot of comments to make about this case and the proceedings. posted_image  I learned a lot about aftermarket automotive electronics installation, about “big box” stores, about DEI products and the company, about the Better Business Bureau, and about small claims court in Amherst, New York. I will defer commenting on these topics until later and finish this posting with only two brief comments.

First, this was never about “the angry customer vs. the installer.” I thought the installer made an honest mistake, or perhaps I was unfortunate enough to receive one of those rare defective products from DEI (I know, several people have already commented in essence that DEI’s quality control is better than NASA’s quality control—to this I have no comment; you’ve left me speechless.). Circuit City and DEI both refused to even consider these possibilities and no one from these companies would examine the installation or the alarm itself. And yes, the transmission didn’t fail until I drove several minutes down the road, but it did fail within a HALF SECOND of deactivating the anticarjacking feature of the alarm while driving. Second, my feelings about the court proceedings can be summarized very succinctly—I was awarded the $19.00 charge from another installation shop for connecting to the proper ‘tach wire.’ In actuality, it was a single wire not “wires” as stated in the award and the cost was $19.00 PLUS 8.75% sales tax (totaling $20.66 charged by the other installation shop for reconnecting the wire not $19.00). I know this is going way over the heads of some readers, but hopefully at least a few will appreciate how carefully the judge presided over this case. posted_image  More details to follow . . .

Now, those of you who don’t understand why you should have wanted the customer to ‘win’ can start your round of hurrahs! I’ll try to explain later how Circuit City’s apparent victory may cost YOU business in the final analysis and to elaborate on the other subtopics spawned by this thread.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: October 15, 2007 at 9:14 PM

Thank you for taking the time to respond.  A lot of us were very curious as to how this would turn out, not because we had an interest in the case but because it's something that could happen at any time (coincidental failure or failure from installation mistake).

I still sympothize with your entire experiance with Circuit City.  Things should have been different.  I hope that the crew at that roadshop doesn't stick around long, as they truely don't know about customer service, the single most important aspect of working with the general public.



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: OhioMike1101
Date Posted: October 16, 2007 at 8:18 AM

After reading this in its entirety, I was concerned how you came about rationalizing that the alarm could cause this failure without hard proof.  

If the tach wire connected to the incorrect wire could cause the engine to idle incorrectly (which I could easily forsee), I cannot understand how it could destroy a transmission.   You would have needed to give hard facts that the wire controlled the tranny etc...



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South Side Audio
2501 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43207




Posted By: sarcomax
Date Posted: October 16, 2007 at 3:49 PM
They tax you on labor there? Cali labor is non taxable...

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Posted By: usabuilt
Date Posted: October 16, 2007 at 4:30 PM
The tach wire only reads a signal, I don't see how it can do anything to the transmission of the vehicle..or cause it to not idle properly when the key takes over, unless it is pinched somewhere..something seems fishy




Posted By: darth tater
Date Posted: October 17, 2007 at 5:58 PM
mabuffalo wrote:

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.)




I know I am jumping into this way late but butt connections are actually required over solder for automotive wiring repairs by just about every manufacture as they have proven to be more reliable of a connection and offer less resistance.

Also the aviation industry REQUIRES that all wires are repaired with butt connectors and are NEVER to be soldered.

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too many damn cars




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 17, 2007 at 6:26 PM
darth tater wrote:

mabuffalo wrote:

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.)




I know I am jumping into this way late but butt connections are actually required over solder for automotive wiring repairs by just about every manufacture as they have proven to be more reliable of a connection and offer less resistance.

Also the aviation industry REQUIRES that all wires are repaired with butt connectors and are NEVER to be soldered.

You're not butting in (posted_image) too late for me . . . I'm still learning and I appreciate the information. This is not my area of expertise and I'm evaluating the information as I read more about the topic.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: usabuilt
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 8:53 AM
Darth Tater has a good point, I allways say solder is for circuit boards only, and even then it is a skill that takes time to master..

giving someone a soldering iron without any experience or training on how to properly dress the wire is not going to make the job a professional one.

I think one big problem in this industry is not many have a basic understanding of electronics.

If you look at how the OEM connects two wires they use a c-clamp, which is like a but connector that is opened up and crimp then tape..soldering 2 wires can create a capacitance unless both wires are properly "dressed"..

Not to mention the toxic fumes you breathe under the dash when you solder without proper ventalation.




Posted By: extreme1
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 9:10 AM
are we going to have this argument again?

do you expect to cut every wire in the vehicle when installing a starter just so you can butt connect them together?

aviation uses alot of solid core wire, you cannot ever solder solid core wire.

and as far as oem wiring repairs, I've seen alot of these so called repairs, they are doodiee, you can easily pull them apart. A properly soldered connection cannot be pulled apart.

problem is there's alot and I mean ALOT of improperly soldered connections out there. Case in point I removed a starter from an 03 montana yesterday, I used my solder iron on 1 connection to remove it, they others I just unbent the starterwires and removed them, all the vans wires were solder free. disgusting.

-------------
Shaughn Murley
Install Manager, Dealer Services
Visions Electronics
Red Deer, Alberta




Posted By: darth tater
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 9:32 AM
extreme1 wrote:

are we going to have this argument again?

do you expect to cut every wire in the vehicle when installing a starter just so you can butt connect them together?


Did I say that? did anyone say that?

I believe I specifically stated a wire repair, which would then also mean when cutting a wire not just tapping into it.

[quote]
aviation uses alot of solid core wire, you cannot ever solder solid core wire.[/quote]

They state for all repairs.

[quote]
and as far as oem wiring repairs, I've seen alot of these so called repairs, they are doodiee, you can easily pull them apart. A properly soldered connection cannot be pulled apart.[/quote]

Actually a properly soldered connection can be pulled apart and it was tested by an auotomotive engineering magazine a few years back when VW and Audi made it mandatory that all wiring repairs be done with but connectors. They put a current through the wires simulating a short with a load of a strain gauge on the wire representing it being pulled around a corner or something they checked when the joint failed.. the solder connection failed every time.. the but connector never failed.

Having worked both on a dealer level and an aftermarket level I have seen my share of doodie as you say and there are far more turds coming from the aftermarket. Does that mean everyone in the aftermarket is bad or the dealer is good.. of course not I would never say that as its not true, but that doesn't mean all dealer work is doodie. And the checks in place on a dealer level are much greater then the aftermarket.

VW/Audi warranty requires the use those heat shrink with glue in them butt connectors. If done correctly with the tool they provide for crimping, which can be purchased aftermarket also (I have one of those), It will hold and chances are you will brake the wire before the joint fails.




-------------
too many damn cars




Posted By: darth tater
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 9:37 AM
usabuilt wrote:

Darth Tater has a good point, I allways say solder is for circuit boards only, and even then it is a skill that takes time to master..

giving someone a soldering iron without any experience or training on how to properly dress the wire is not going to make the job a professional one.

I think one big problem in this industry is not many have a basic understanding of electronics.

If you look at how the OEM connects two wires they use a c-clamp, which is like a but connector that is opened up and crimp then tape..soldering 2 wires can create a capacitance unless both wires are properly "dressed"..

Not to mention the toxic fumes you breathe under the dash when you solder without proper ventalation.


Oh the fumes.. Going on your solder is for boards, I have soldered in about 1000 eeproms for automotive peformance software while at one job. Company I work for now is all flash based through the OBD II port.

So I have gobs of board level solder work including repairing bad traces etc. Still I break out the crimper, heat gun and but connectors whenever I have to do a wiring repair or modification in a car.

The OEM comment is also key, no one really realizes that if you tke out an entire car harness there is not one solder connection anywhere.

companys that make $10K wiring harneses for race cars, thats just for the engine by the way, will not use one drop of solder anywhere.

-------------
too many damn cars




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 11:41 AM

extreme1 wrote:

are we going to have this argument again?

do you expect to cut every wire in the vehicle when installing a starter just so you can butt connect them together?

aviation uses alot of solid core wire, you cannot ever solder solid core wire.

and as far as oem wiring repairs, I've seen alot of these so called repairs, they are doodiee, you can easily pull them apart. A properly soldered connection cannot be pulled apart.

problem is there's alot and I mean ALOT of improperly soldered connections out there. Case in point I removed a starter from an 03 montana yesterday, I used my solder iron on 1 connection to remove it, they others I just unbent the starterwires and removed them, all the vans wires were solder free. disgusting.

Looks like the 'connector' topic has reemerged, eh? I wasn't quite satisfied with the apparent resolution from the last round. Or stated another way, when is the last time you saw a cable installer whip out their soldering iron when connecting your cable TV? The connectors on mine have to pass a lot of bandwidth with both digital and analog signals residing on the same line (e.g., multiple computers and TVs connected to the same cable feed). No problemo with their crimped connectors. Yes, but their connections don't vibrate you say. Well, what about those in California? Do they solder their connections there? OK, more seriously, the satelite trucks carrying broadcast-quality HDTV signals use the same crimped connectors!

I first started using crimped connections for some applications in the 1980s. I had previously soldered the amphenol pins used in my DB-style connectors on computer serial and comm ports. I was skeptical of the newer, crimped-style connectors and refused to use them for a long time. Eventually, I tried a few and they seemed to fail quickly. I then invested in a high-quality crimping tool (around $80 back in the 1980s) and learned to crimp 'properly' (i.e., practice, practice, practice) -- I eventually got it right. It worked for carrying these sensitive high-speed computer signals, so I suppose when done properly it should also work with simple automotive 12-volt applications. (FYI: I don't actually use butt connectors, but rather the C-spade type for making connections in my vehicles that might later need to be disconnected for maintenance of the installed device. I also use heat-shrink tubing including the fusible type.)

RE: Soldering solid wire. Gee, I don't seem to have a problem with this in carrying high-speed digital and analog signals. I would suggest reading the 12-volt's discussion on "how to solder" to improve your technique. Solid wire is the standard for on-board computer circuitry and for most experimental devices prototyped in state-of-the-art research facilities. Stranded wiring is used with stressed or some high frequency devices.

What (some? many? most?) automotive installers consider a soldered connection would be marginally acceptable in my research applications (yes, I saw the 'connections'). They are simply poor, high-impedance connections done without proper training in electronics but which usually suffice because of the simple nature of most automotive signals. I'm not sure that these same installers would be able to properly use a crimping tool, but in some ways that method is a bit more fool-proof than the poor soldering technique that is commonly used in 12-volt automotive installations.

Finally, I've sure that the aviation industry has lower standards than the automotive industry. posted_image This is like telling me that the reliability of DEI devices is better than NASA's quality standards and defies serious comment.

Have a good day, eh.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 12:18 PM

Finally, I've sure that the aviation industry has lower standards than the automotive industry. posted_image This is like telling me that the reliability of DEI devices is better than NASA's quality standards and defies serious comment.

Not really being a DEI fan..... I love this statement.   But I am learning. Astroflex (DEI of Canada)posted_image



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Posted By: sarcomax
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 3:21 PM

I have never had a bad dei product, but I have seen two space shuttles explode...

My research is done. NASA can't design ANYTHING. PSSSSSH... Rocket scientists...



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Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 4:22 PM

darth tater wrote:

Actually a properly soldered connection can be pulled apart and it was tested by an auotomotive engineering magazine a few years back when VW and Audi made it mandatory that all wiring repairs be done with but connectors. They put a current through the wires simulating a short with a load of a strain gauge on the wire representing it being pulled around a corner or something they checked when the joint failed.. the solder connection failed every time.. the but connector never failed.

Soldered wires can be pulled apart?  This 'test' is rediculous and not based around real world applications.

Here is a test for you:

Take a car with coil on plug ignition.  Cut two trigger wires within 12" of the coil.  Solder one back together and crimp the other.  Drive the car and see which cylinder fails first.  $1000 says its the butt connector EVERY time, IF both are done 'correctly'. 

Butt connectors don't fail due to stress, they fail due to vibration and corrosion.  Your 'weight' test fails to acknowlege this.  Also, how were the wires connected BEFORE soldering?  You should always make a solid mechanical connection (ie twisting) before soldering.  Was this done in the test?  I'm guessing they soldered the wires side by side, and the actual solder joint broke.  Soldering is NOT welding!



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 18, 2007 at 4:36 PM
sarcomax wrote:

I have never had a bad dei product, but I have seen two space shuttles explode...

My research is done. NASA can't design ANYTHING. PSSSSSH... Rocket scientists...


Well, you got half the point. posted_image



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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 9:26 AM

I'm installing a DEI remote start this morning.  Before installation I opened it up and traced out the tach circuit.

There is one component on the input I can't identify (small, brown surface mount) that I believe is a cap.  There is then a 100K resistor going in to an HEF4538BP.  The HEF4538BP is a monostable vibrator - a device used for signal triggering/filtering.  I quit tracing at that chip, and I assume its output goes directly to the processor. 

So, no signs of an opto-isolator, but evidence of a high impedence input.



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: darth tater
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 11:46 AM
KPierson wrote:

darth tater wrote:

Actually a properly soldered connection can be pulled apart and it was tested by an auotomotive engineering magazine a few years back when VW and Audi made it mandatory that all wiring repairs be done with but connectors. They put a current through the wires simulating a short with a load of a strain gauge on the wire representing it being pulled around a corner or something they checked when the joint failed.. the solder connection failed every time.. the but connector never failed.

Soldered wires can be pulled apart? This 'test' is rediculous and not based around real world applications.

Here is a test for you:

Take a car with coil on plug ignition. Cut two trigger wires within 12" of the coil. Solder one back together and crimp the other. Drive the car and see which cylinder fails first. $1000 says its the butt connector EVERY time, IF both are done 'correctly'.

Butt connectors don't fail due to stress, they fail due to vibration and corrosion. Your 'weight' test fails to acknowlege this. Also, how were the wires connected BEFORE soldering? You should always make a solid mechanical connection (ie twisting) before soldering. Was this done in the test? I'm guessing they soldered the wires side by side, and the actual solder joint broke. Soldering is NOT welding!





This test was conducted by both VW/Audi and Independent Engineers.

Whats funny is that vibration and corrosion were one of the main reason not to solder and to instead crimp. As proper seals crimp connections are shielded from moisture and vibration better.

One of the biggest problems with solder connections is actually one people THINK is a problem with crimps and that is a lack of stress relief area before the joint. Even if you heat shrink your wires you are more suspetible to corrosion as they do not seal as well as a good quality butt connector and also because a butt connector provides for a much better stress relief area much further away from the actual point where the two wires join.

Also lets get back to aviation and you want to say that the problems with butt connectors failing is vibration and corrosion? Do you think your car vibrates more then an airplane (well one of mine is probably pretty close :) ).

A proper crimp connection is much more reliable then a solder connection.

Also from the factory on a VW/audi wiring harness there is a crimp connecting within 12 inches of all of their coils on coil on plug applications. So your theory is highly flawed. Open up any car harness and show me a factory soldered connection, you will not find one only crimped.


Not really sure why you made that comment about soldering not being welding as it had nothign to do with the topic.. but I am also a professional welder so I am well aware of that :)

-------------
too many damn cars




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 1:21 PM
darth tater wrote:

KPierson wrote:

darth tater wrote:

Actually a properly soldered connection can be pulled apart and it was tested by an auotomotive engineering magazine a few years back when VW and Audi made it mandatory that all wiring repairs be done with but connectors. They put a current through the wires simulating a short with a load of a strain gauge on the wire representing it being pulled around a corner or something they checked when the joint failed.. the solder connection failed every time.. the but connector never failed.

Soldered wires can be pulled apart? This 'test' is rediculous and not based around real world applications.

Here is a test for you:

Take a car with coil on plug ignition. Cut two trigger wires within 12" of the coil. Solder one back together and crimp the other. Drive the car and see which cylinder fails first. $1000 says its the butt connector EVERY time, IF both are done 'correctly'.

Butt connectors don't fail due to stress, they fail due to vibration and corrosion. Your 'weight' test fails to acknowlege this. Also, how were the wires connected BEFORE soldering? You should always make a solid mechanical connection (ie twisting) before soldering. Was this done in the test? I'm guessing they soldered the wires side by side, and the actual solder joint broke. Soldering is NOT welding!




This test was conducted by both VW/Audi and Independent Engineers.

Whats funny is that vibration and corrosion were one of the main reason not to solder and to instead crimp. As proper seals crimp connections are shielded from moisture and vibration better.

One of the biggest problems with solder connections is actually one people THINK is a problem with crimps and that is a lack of stress relief area before the joint. Even if you heat shrink your wires you are more suspetible to corrosion as they do not seal as well as a good quality butt connector and also because a butt connector provides for a much better stress relief area much further away from the actual point where the two wires join.

Also lets get back to aviation and you want to say that the problems with butt connectors failing is vibration and corrosion? Do you think your car vibrates more then an airplane (well one of mine is probably pretty close :) ).

A proper crimp connection is much more reliable then a solder connection.

Also from the factory on a VW/audi wiring harness there is a crimp connecting within 12 inches of all of their coils on coil on plug applications. So your theory is highly flawed. Open up any car harness and show me a factory soldered connection, you will not find one only crimped.

Not really sure why you made that comment about soldering not being welding as it had nothign to do with the topic.. but I am also a professional welder so I am well aware of that :)

Are we talking about waterproof (sealed) crimp connectors or the much more commonly found basic blue / YELLOW/red barrel crimp connectors that installers use.  I have NEVER seen an install done with sealed crimp connectors. 

I have also never seen a solder joint corrode.  I've soldered every underhood connection I've ever made and I have never had to repair a single underhood connection because the solder joint failed. 

I'm not sure I follow you about the stress relief.  If you make a good mechanical connection before you solder you will have as good, if not better, strain relief then simply smashing a wire inside a metal crimp connector.

The point about soldering not being welding is that you can not expect solder to bond two wires together.  You must have a good mechanical connection before soldering.  If you simple lay two wries side by side and solder them the connection will most likely fail over time (as you are technically welding here and not soldering). 

I don't mean to get off topic here, but don't VW/Audis have a reputation for terrible electrical systems.  I'm not sure I would put much faith in what their 'engineers' claim.   :)

Anyway, I don't think you can compare a sealed OEM crimp with a field crimp, as they are two completely different things.  OEM crimps are precisely crimped and tested by million+ dollar purpse built machines.  Field crimps are crimped until the person performing the crimp feels that the crimp is sufficient. 



-------------
Kevin Pierson




Posted By: howie ll
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 2:42 PM

I'm with KP all the way here,let's take this a stage further and end this silly thread because all of the last few entries are right in their own way but:- join wire A from your alarm to wire B in a loom. Cut wire B strip 3/4"/19mm form each end, Strip A 1/4/6.4mm 11/2" from its end wrap one end of B VERY TIGHTLY around the stripped part of a and solder letting the solder flow*  use heat shrink or if under the hood, adhesive lined heatshrink to cover the joint , strip3/4"/19mm from A and WRAP VERY TIGHT around other end of B and solder and sleeve as above. CABLE TIE A to B's loom then cover with insulating tape. I guarantee that joint to last as long as the car because there is no strain at the joint and to me a proper solder joint with no contact resistance will beat every other joint.

2nd point You lot are so lucky not having to work on French and Italien cars, BUT VW and Audi have had ongoing engine management problems for the last 10 years or so, they decided 2 yrs. ago to cut down on their coil plug coil wiring to save money; you guessed it, misfiring cars 1999 onwards M/Benz, Autobox, instead of sep oil cooler rad, lets bury a pipe carrying trannie oil in the rad! Yes the dreaded Mercedes eats its own gearboxes in 2 yrs. syndrome; Bosch alternators, especially on Porsches kill themselves taking the battery with them, 1989 BM 5/7, the electrics had to be redesigned by Bosch; German designed GM (Opel/Vauxhall /Saab) engine bay looms to be redesigned because they were picking up inductive interferance from their alternators, BCM box in R/h kickwell gets waterlogged.

On a reliability track, statistically Clifford and now DEI product is far more reliable than the Space Shuttle, hands on hearts here people, have you EVER had a main unit failure that wasn't down to you?





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 2:51 PM

KPierson wrote:

Anyway, I don't think you can compare a sealed OEM crimp with a field crimp, as they are two completely different things.  OEM crimps are precisely crimped and tested by million+ dollar purpse built machines.  Field crimps are crimped until the person performing the crimp feels that the crimp is sufficient. 

And therein lies the problem. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the crimping tool I use for my professional work to crimp amphenol pins cost around $80 back in the mid-1980s. It is designed to use with one specific size connector and it forces the user to complete the crimping cycle with the proper pressure. One can still mess up the crimped connection, but at least the pin is crimped to the proper level. The crimping tool I use on my automotive work cost $3.95. It works too, but it requires a lot of practice to learn the 'feel' for making a proper crimped connection.

I personally think that properly crimped connectors might be somewhat 'stronger' than soldered connections, but I doubt if those working in typical aftermarket shops invest in the proper crimping tool and many probably haven't developed the skill necessary to perform an adequate job with the cheaper models of crimping tools. I would trust "KPierson" to solder my connections any day and would equally trust "darth tater" to crimp them. For practical purposes in automotive work, the question is not which is ultimtely the best but which is the best for the 'average' (often poorly trained) installer.

So, is it more likely that the average 12-volt automotive installer will make a cold solder joint or an inadequate crimp? Hum, I could see arguements either way. The couple of connections that I saw on my own alarm/remote start installation job showed solder connections perpendicular to the OEM wire with about a 2 or 3 mm solder bead -- certainly not enough to wrap the wire as "KPierson" emphasized is important  for a strong connection (and as I do in my own work).

Finally, as a third-party to the 'soldering isn't welding' discussion (and I don't weld anything except plasticposted_image), I agree that this is an important difference. I didn't interpret "KPierson's" comment as a sm'ass interjection. My understanding is that welding (properly done) is real solid, fusing the two metals and soldering on it's best day isn't even close to this level of strength.

FYI: To those who might grumble that this discussion is off topic, this has been one of the more interesting subtopics posted on this thread.

FYI(2): I'm having diffculting posting the the 12-volt; I have to lower my 'shields' (i.e., disable my firewall) for some reason and that prevents quick replies to some of the postings. I'll post my thought sand comments later regarding the main theme of this thread along with occassional remarks regarding subtopics as time permits.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: darth tater
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 2:53 PM
Yes of course I am talking about sealed heat shrink connectors as those should be the only kind ever used. While you may not have seen an isntall with it, that certainly doesn't discredit the ability of them to work better then a solder joint. I have never done an install without that type of butt connector or other terminal, and that would be in the field at my personal shop not at the dealer. Just because people are too cheap to use the proper type of connector doesn't suddenly make anther type of connection better. And you certainly can compare an original crimp (not the correct use of OEM by the way) to a field crimp as you have every bit of access to the same tools the PERSON assembling the factory wiring harness has. Infact I was just using one minutes ago.

As for VW Audi electrical problems.. They are difficult to understand to some, they are far from unreliable. I have worked for VW and I am a certified Audi tech so I have worked on probably more then a 1000 of them, electrical problems are probably the least common problem and if they do have one they are simple.

Twisting and soldering wires makes for one of the most rigid unstress relieved connections.

With a proper crimp you have the connection made inside the metal barrel. You then have a small amount of the metal barrel uncrimped that limits the movement of the wire. you then have 1/4-1/2 of heat shrink flexible tuning that is sealed with glue. so you end up with usually about a half inch of stress relief area. With a soldered connection this does not exist as it will bend and stress starting at the base of the solder joint. You may disagree with some of the other things I have said however this is not something I am stating as opinion now this is a matter of fact.


And no that would not be welding in anyway shape or form, it would still be soldering.. brazing if you want to stretch the definition I guess.


-------------
too many damn cars




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 3:16 PM

KPierson

I'm installing a DEI remote start this morning.  Before installation I opened it up and traced out the tach circuit.

There is one component on the input I can't identify (small, brown surface mount) that I believe is a cap.  There is then a 100K resistor going in to an HEF4538BP.  The HEF4538BP is a monostable vibrator - a device used for signal triggering/filtering.  I quit tracing at that chip, and I assume its output goes directly to the processor. 

So, no signs of an opto-isolator, but evidence of a high impedence input.

I always appreciate your thoughts and observations, KPierson. But one mans 'high' is another mans, well, not so high. I drive 12-volt signals through 75-125K impedance all the time and don't consider this high. For my brain stimulation work the nominal impendance is around 30K, but we can still deliver precisely regulated DC pulses in the microamp range when the impedance rises, as it often does, to the 100K range. For my work you have to hit the megaohm range before I would consider it a functionally isolated circuit. So, I'm not impressed with the DEI equipment. It's probably adequate for automotive work, but it's way out of range for most scientific work (including the space shuttle).

I haven't pulled the DEI unit out of my vehicle to bench test it yet. I did have to replace the battery in the remote, however. I noticed the day I went to court that the remote had a range of only about 50 yards in an open parking lot (well under the DEI specification) and suspected (hoped) the battery was bad. It was and I tried to open the battery compartment only to have the case split in half at the seam and the circuit board fly out across the floor. The glue they used on the case was weaker than the press-fit on the battery compartment door. Also, note the battery failed after less than 3 months of occasional use (defective, I presume, eh, hope).

I know that DEI never produces a lemon, but gee, I still suspect the unit could be bad. Unfortuantely, neither DEI nor Circuit City would look at it. Perhaps if they did they WOULD have to assume responsibility for my transmission failure.

Finally, it's interesting that the tach wire ties into a monostable vibrator. I told the judge that I suspect that the misconnected wire would have to drive the PCM into an astable mode resulting in oscillation to cause the damage to my transmission. (Remember, the Ford transmission has a fail-safe mode that locks it into 2nd gear if their is an electronics problem.) This was of course above his head (and my M.A. from RPI including coursework in biomedical engineering less 'expertise' than a two-week mail-order certificate that the installer probably even lacked -- OK, that was low, but I am a little psssssd). More on the court case later . . .

Cheers,



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MABuffalo




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 3:22 PM
Oops, forgot one more obvious point. On the 2 to 3 mm solder joints that I saw on my installation job, it was interesting how he made a proper solder joint without even melting the insulation. I can't do that without using heat sinks and then I loose some of the insulation that he apparently didn't compromise. The only evidence of soldering was the 2 to 3 mm solder bead, no melted insulation! (Sounds like a 'drop the solder on the connection' job to me, but perhaps there's a trick I haven't learned here.)

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 4:04 PM
mabuffalo wrote:

I always appreciate your thoughts and observations, KPierson. But one mans 'high' is another mans, well, not so high. I drive 12-volt signals through 75-125K impedance all the time and don't consider this high. For my brain stimulation work the nominal impendance is around 30K, but we can still deliver precisely regulated DC pulses in the microamp range when the impedance rises, as it often does, to the 100K range. For my work you have to hit the megaohm range before I would consider it a functionally isolated circuit. So, I'm not impressed with the DEI equipment. It's probably adequate for automotive work, but it's way out of range for most scientific work (including the space shuttle).

I haven't pulled the DEI unit out of my vehicle to bench test it yet. I did have to replace the battery in the remote, however. I noticed the day I went to court that the remote had a range of only about 50 yards in an open parking lot (well under the DEI specification) and suspected (hoped) the battery was bad. It was and I tried to open the battery compartment only to have the case split in half at the seam and the circuit board fly out across the floor. The glue they used on the case was weaker than the press-fit on the battery compartment door. Also, note the battery failed after less than 3 months of occasional use (defective, I presume, eh, hope).

I know that DEI never produces a lemon, but gee, I still suspect the unit could be bad. Unfortuantely, neither DEI nor Circuit City would look at it. Perhaps if they did they WOULD have to assume responsibility for my transmission failure.

Finally, it's interesting that the tach wire ties into a monostable vibrator. I told the judge that I suspect that the misconnected wire would have to drive the PCM into an astable mode resulting in oscillation to cause the damage to my transmission. (Remember, the Ford transmission has a fail-safe mode that locks it into 2nd gear if their is an electronics problem.) This was of course above his head (and my M.A. from RPI including coursework in biomedical engineering less 'expertise' than a two-week mail-order certificate that the installer probably even lacked -- OK, that was low, but I am a little psssssd). More on the court case later . . .

Cheers,


The 100K ohm resistor would limit current to 1/10th of 1 mA (0.0001A).  For all intents and purposes no load at all on the signal.  I browsed the data sheet for the component listed above but was unable to determine the actual components input impedence.

Keep in mind that the monostable vibrator fed the control units INTERNAL processor.  There is absolutely no way the output of the monostable vibrator could have backfed and caused the tranny to act erractically. 



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 4:12 PM
Yes, I did the math too. A 120 uA current is significant in my work, but I understand it's too small to affect anything in the automotive circuit. Again, I assumed the two events are related (i.e., the alarm/remote start installation and the transmission failure) because of probability theory and the type of malfunction, so I'm probing for a possible mechanism.

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MABuffalo




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 4:15 PM

I'm with KP all the way here,let's take this a stage further and end this silly thread because all of the last few entries are right in their own way

This gets my vote..... good God gentlemen.

That dead horse that people talk about beating....

Let him rest in peace. There is no more education possible in this thread..... (IMHO)

Just attitude and opinion.

Go ahead guys Im ready................. flame me!  I can take it!



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Posted By: KPierson
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 4:20 PM

darth tater wrote:

Yes of course I am talking about sealed heat shrink connectors as those should be the only kind ever used. While you may not have seen an isntall with it, that certainly doesn't discredit the ability of them to work better then a solder joint. I have never done an install without that type of butt connector or other terminal, and that would be in the field at my personal shop not at the dealer. Just because people are too cheap to use the proper type of connector doesn't suddenly make anther type of connection better. And you certainly can compare an original crimp (not the correct use of OEM by the way) to a field crimp as you have every bit of access to the same tools the PERSON assembling the factory wiring harness has. Infact I was just using one minutes ago.

As for VW Audi electrical problems.. They are difficult to understand to some, they are far from unreliable. I have worked for VW and I am a certified Audi tech so I have worked on probably more then a 1000 of them, electrical problems are probably the least common problem and if they do have one they are simple.

Twisting and soldering wires makes for one of the most rigid unstress relieved connections.

With a proper crimp you have the connection made inside the metal barrel. You then have a small amount of the metal barrel uncrimped that limits the movement of the wire. you then have 1/4-1/2 of heat shrink flexible tuning that is sealed with glue. so you end up with usually about a half inch of stress relief area. With a soldered connection this does not exist as it will bend and stress starting at the base of the solder joint. You may disagree with some of the other things I have said however this is not something I am stating as opinion now this is a matter of fact.

And no that would not be welding in anyway shape or form, it would still be soldering.. brazing if you want to stretch the definition I guess.

With all due respect, your claims are completely irrevelevent to this discussion.  Car alarm/remote start installers are NOT using high quality water proof connectors here..  This off topic debate is between soldering, barrel connectors, and T-Taps (the plastic ones without any sealant).  The barrel connectors are almost exclusively crimped with a $30 hand tool with no force settings.

I've honestly never used a water/weatherproof crimp in a car.  I wouldn't be against it, as long as there is something to isolate the metal crimping structure from the elements (like the glue you mention). 

As far as strain relief, once the solder joint is wrapped in tape the joint can not bend.  That is the point of wrapping the added wire with the host wire.  They become attached through the mechanical connection, through the solder, AND through the tape.  If you try to bend the added wire it will bend the host wire (and the connection joint) with it, thus providing strain relief.

You've got to be kidding me if you think the original equipment manufacturers are HAND building harnesses.  They are all machine built for speed and quality reasons.

How is 'OEM Crimp' not a correct use of the abbreviation 'OEM'?  It is, afterall, the original equipment manufacturer who is crimping this factory crimps, no?  Thus, making them OEM crimps. 



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Kevin Pierson




Posted By: howie ll
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 5:47 PM

What I forgot in my last post was I found that my Weller Cordless is hotter than my Weller gun and its nice to watch the solder flow into the joint also if it ain't shiny I go over it! Yes I have a £100 ($200) french "FACOM" ratchet crimping tool BUT I only ever do 2 types of crimps on an alarm/RS:- 1)Ring terminals for grounds and I scrape the metal bare and spray with a water retardent and heat shrink over the crimp. !/4/6.4mm Shielded receptacle for hood switch, taped along the length and again heat shrink at the crimp with water retarding spray, N.B. The back of the siren is also sprayed 'cause that's where water damage starts with DEI sirens. Taking it to giddy lengths in my own car I've used convoluted tubing everywhere and AMP sureseal connectors under the hood. NB Most manufacturers use these and molex with lithium grease under the hood.

Right to be controversial is STILL can't see where an electrical problem (and I've seen quite a few related to trannies) would destroy rather than failsafe a gearbox. Bet previous owner put some nasty muck in gearbox to quieten it down prior to sale.

Does this help me towards another star, I'm cheering for Gary and KP and Sarcomax.





Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 6:58 PM
peterubers wrote:

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 BBB drops out once a lawsuit is filed (i.e., case closed, records purged!). This is true regardless of who wins the litigation. Also, the incident never appears in the city where it occured but rather at the location of the national corporation's home office. So, if you checked with the Buffalo or NYS BBB, Circuit City has never had a complaint filled against them; you would have to check with the BBB in Richmond, VA. And even that complaint disappeared after the judicial system became involved.

Conclusion: The BBB is pretty worthless for consumer protection. It serves simply as a front organization for businesses willing to pay their fees. I suppose I was very naive here, but I really thought they afforded some degree of consumer protection/awareness supported by businesses that wished to police themselves. Silly me. Some people that I have spoken with were already aware of the BBB's lack of credibility (e.g., BBB membership means little more than the business pays a fee to display the logo).

OK, one topic down and 44 more to go. I have apparently started my commentary that was promised earlier. We might make 1,000 post yet.



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MABuffalo




Posted By: Mad Scientists
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 9:02 PM
mabuffalo wrote:

Finally, it's interesting that the tach wire ties into a monostable vibrator. I told the judge that I suspect that the misconnected wire would have to drive the PCM into an astable mode resulting in oscillation to cause the damage to my transmission. (Remember, the Ford transmission has a fail-safe mode that locks it into 2nd gear if their is an electronics problem.) This was of course above his head (and my M.A. from RPI including coursework in biomedical engineering less 'expertise' than a two-week mail-order certificate that the installer probably even lacked -- OK, that was low, but I am a little psssssd). More on the court case later . . .


Given what you've told us, I don't see how the judge would have been able to do anything other then what he did. Your opinion of what happened is based on what exactly? What relevance does your M.A. from RPI have? It looks to me like you didn't prove your case. Even if the miswiring was the actual reason for the failure, you still have to prove it.

The transmission will only lock into second gear, 'limp home' mode, under certain conditions. The damage to the gearset isn't what I would expect from a controls problem. Your statement that the remote start system worked seems to indicate that the system was functional. Your best proof would be to re-install the alarm system as was installed by Circuit City and see if the problem repeats.. if it does, you would have just about an ironclad case against them.

If  you are considering an appeal, I would suggest attempting either that or finding someone to use as an expert witness.

Jim 





Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: October 21, 2007 at 11:26 PM

Ya know what I think? Not that it matters one sticking ****g bit. You bought a used vehicle with a bad transmission, or at the very least, one that was on it's last mile.

Bad timing, and an awfull coincidence. All that pretty pink tranny fluid on a vehicle with how many miles. The fluid alone told ME that the tranny was recently serviced.

Either to solve,  investigate, or cover up a problem. Problem NOT solved, nor found... and you purchase the rig, AND it's unresolved problem. Neither you or the NASA rocket scientist that was made reference to earlier, can prove your case.  Like I said.... bad timing. Sorry.  Good day. I'm done, peace out. And may the good Lord forgive me!



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Posted By: usabuilt
Date Posted: October 22, 2007 at 9:11 AM
I have a few questions.

1) Is the remote starter still installed?

2) Is the transmission working fine now?

3) was the only wiring changed from the tach signal?

4) Is it possible that YOU put the van in 2nd gear instead of Drive when you left the shop?

5) Was a faulty soldering connection. t-tap connection or any other connection discovered in the installation?

6) Did you check the level of the transmission fluid at every gas fill up, or at least monthly.

7) How many miles are on the transmission and has the fluid ever been changed.

8) did you watch the installer remove the transmission and see what it looked like when he removed it? or did he call you with the results?








Posted By: init
Date Posted: October 23, 2007 at 11:32 AM

usabuilt wrote:

6) Did you check the level of the transmission fluid at every gas fill up, or at least monthly.

I've heard of checking the fluid at each oil change but I don't know anyone who checks trans. fluid or anything like that after a fill-up.



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I'm not a professional installer. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.




Posted By: KarTuneMan
Date Posted: October 23, 2007 at 12:41 PM
My 06 civic has 34K on it. I have yet to check the trans fluid!posted_image

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Posted By: mabuffalo
Date Posted: October 23, 2007 at 1:45 PM

There's a 'cultural' difference here that may not be apparent to both parties. The Brits tend to maintain their vehicles very well, or at least the owner's manual for my wife's TR6 suggested as much -- check the radiator and battery water weekly, the engine oil (seemingly) every time you drive, wash and wax whenever soilded, etc. Many Yanks tend to drive their vehicles until they drop. Some maintain them, especially engine oil changes, but many just drive until something breaks.

Relevant to the current thread (re. the transmission condition), the van was obviously maintained very well. I don't have the maintenance records, but I posted an exterior photo to show the general condition and found the next scheduled oil change with the oil specified as Castrol Synthetic. All other indications suggest all scheduled maintenance was performed, including transmission and differential lubricate changes. The transmission AFT had at least 2,300 miles on it from my trip from Phoenix to Buffalo. (And it's very unlikely that the dealer changed it just before the sale; they deal with high-end vehicles much more costly than this van.) Also, there was no sign of bearings or other components 'burning.' Finally, the PCM failed!!!! Now, you can speculate that the gear broke and caused the PCM failure, but the more likely senario is that the PCM failed and caused the eratic shifting among gears.

FYI: I personally don't do ALL of the preventative maintenance on my vehicles; the people that perviously owned this van probably had TOO much money. I have too many charities that could use the money instead.

Flame away . . . posted_image

Cheers,



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MABuffalo




Posted By: usabuilt
Date Posted: October 23, 2007 at 2:28 PM
I would be a hypocrite if I didn't admit, I hardly ever check my oil, let alone ck my tranny fluid level.




Posted By: sarcomax
Date Posted: October 23, 2007 at 3:54 PM

I leave it up to a doctor to check a tranny's fluids.

I check my transmission fluid every day...the bike uses the same oil that lubes the engine for the transmission. Fortunately for me if I don't take my bike out of second gear, I won't damage much.

Gotta go now, the mailman is finally bringing my 2 week correspondence certificate in car wiring! Now all I have left is my night school classes for learning how to tie my own shoes, and I am set. 



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Posted By: customak47
Date Posted: October 24, 2007 at 4:05 PM
My eyes hurt from looking through this thread.... did this guy ever say how many miles were on this van when it went into the shop? I asked wayyyyyyyyyy earlier in the thread, but never saw the answer. Friggin' customers....the smell from the dead horse is making me sick......





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