Monday, April 14, 2008

Still shorted

This evening I decided to make another run at the short. Yesterday I bought a multimeter so I could better isolate the circuit at fault. Before starting I made the mistake of looking up the cost of new gauges, about $3600 for the set. I don’t imagine the gauges are causing the short, looking up the price just a bit of macabre entertainment.

I laid out a moving blanket, some tools, and my new multimeter, which looks just like the multimeter my dad had when I was a kid. I decided against a fancy one with a digital display and got an old fashioned on with a needle. I removed the license plate light assembly and bulbs. Presto, continuity. Like I thought, or anyway like I hoped, there is a short somewhere on this circuit. What I still don’t know is if the license plate bulbs and the gauge bulbs are on the same circuit. For now I am going to assume they are not.

I worked my way back up the wire to a junction, disconnected the junction and tested the upstream end. Again the multimeter read a short. I continued working my way up the wire. Unfortunately, the air intake began to get in the way. I removed a small side panel and pulled the hose connecting the air filter box to the intake on the side of the car, behind the passenger’s ear. The hose is flexible and made out of fabric. Strange, further it takes an odd route from the intake vent near the front of the engine to the air filter box at the rear. I followed the bundle of wires as far as I could before they disappeared into the car. I did not find anything that looked or felt like a short.

Oh well, into the dealer. My only hitch came when putting the car back together. The panel I removed was held on with three allen head bolts. Each had a washer and I dropped the washer from the last bolt into the engine bay. On a regular car this would not be a big deal. The washer would bounce off the exhaust manifold and land on the garage floor. In the Ferrari it lands on the tray that runs from the front to the back. I considered leaving it there to fall out the next time I drove but that did not seem right so I took a coat hanger bent it straight and fished it out. Barb gave me an odd look as I went back into the garage with the coat hanger.

With the car back together I decided to test the circuit again at the license plate bulb. No short. Fantastic, maybe my wiggling of wires had temporarily fixed it. Then I remembered I had not reconnected the junction. Still shorted.

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