Aging truck or common problem?

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  #1  
Old 01-16-07, 01:35 PM
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Aging truck or common problem?

Hello all,
1997 GMC 1500 5.7 A/T @ 130,000 mi.
Could this just be 'truck getting older', a bad ground or what? I had an intermitted air bag light. I found that I could make the light come on and turn off by wiggling the fuse box (located on the left side of the dash where the door closes). I 'fixed' the problem by wadding up a small piece of tissue and wedging it in between the STOP/HAZ fuse and the PWR ACCY circuit breaker (top left). After months of this 'fix' it would not work anymore, the air bag light just stays on. A period of time later (ok, close to a year or so with the light being on) I received a check engine light in late December. It so happens I was out of town and had to drive over 500 miles with the light. When I got home I used my scanner to check the code and it was P0141 (O2 sensor heater circuit malfunction bank 1 sensor 2). To my knowledge the o2 sensors have never been replaced. I reset the code and have not received it since but I drive it less than 20 miles a week so I don't know if the computer has had time to complete a cycle or what. Another symptom has started to surface. Upon opening the passenger door, the overhead light works when it wants to. I have rocked the truck, manually pushed the switch and tapped the light - none of which resulted in a 'fix'. The light just turns on and off at will with the door open. My scanner says I have a direct serial interface for custom queries but I have never used it if that will help someone help me.
Any ideas out there? This just seems a common electrical problem other than an individual component failure to me but I know just enough to be dangerous sometimes.
 
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Old 01-16-07, 03:06 PM
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The fact that you can cause a problem to come/go by flexing the fuse block bothers me. It is obviously a bad connection and needs to be corrected. Besides the obvious indications, modern cars are dependant on the electrical system like never before, and there is always the potential for fire. But I doubt the O2 sensor warning is connected. Have you noticed any overheating or temp changes in the engine, poor power, etc.??
 
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Old 01-17-07, 05:59 AM
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The air bag light is designed to come on when electrical resistance in the circuitry rises above 2-4Ω. This is to alert the driver that there is either an open circuit or the contacts have tarnished and may reach a point that the air bag may not deploy when needed.

So, yes, it looks like your truck is getting older.
 
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Old 01-17-07, 07:32 AM
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Forgot a symptom

Sorry, I forgot another symptom. The volt meter in the dash reads between 15 and 17 volts. With the engine off using a hand held meter the battery reads a little above 12 volts, engine running it reads a little above 14 volts. The part of this symptom that bothers me is the headlights, dash lights and courtesy lights flicker which led me to the ground idea.
I have not noticed any changes in driveability, no overheating or other problems but realize when things change slowly they often go unnoticed.
Bill - I can't make the air bag light go off anymore by flexing the fuse box.
 
  #5  
Old 01-17-07, 08:53 AM
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I too drive old cars; my newest is 11 years old. Old cars have a lot of these niggling little electrical problems, often related to corrosion at the connections. Check the grounds on your vehicle wherever possible, especially under the hood. Clean them with sandpaper.
 
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