One more trip to the mechanic and I will have to re-mortgage my house.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

If you can solve my problem, I will be forever grateful. I have a 1985 Ford 150 Pick Up Truck. The directionals, heater, and back-up lights will not work in very cold weather unless I pound on the steering column. Once working, the engine can be turned off, and the above items will work until I depress the clutch to restart the engine. Then I have to pound on the steering column all over again. One more trip to the mechanic and I will have to re-mortgage my house and move in with my half sister who I had a big fight with two years ago. Help!

TOM: Gee Norm, this is a good one. My guess is that you have a wiring harness coupling that is just a little bit loose. When it gets cold, things shrink, and the connections are shrinking just enough to separate the contacts.

RAY: When you bang on the steering column, the vibration is probably knocking them back together--it may have nothing to do with the steering column itself. If you got out of the truck and whacked the left front fender with a baseball bat, you'd probably accomplish the same thing.

TOM: The upper part of the clutch pedal might also be brushing up against a wire that runs to this harness. Even if it just moves the harness a hair, it may be enough to separate the contacts again.

RAY: What you have to do is find and tighten the loose harness. Your mechanic can track it down for you. But before you take it to him, try unplugging and re-plugging every connection under the dashboard yourself. That may do it.

TOM: If that doesn't fix it, call Don King and have him set up a rematch between you and that half-sister immediately.

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