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Dodge Nitro Steering Column Repair

Steering Column Repair - Dodge Nitro

Seeing as I haven’t posted much here in a while, I’ll start things off again with a repair that I did to my 2007 Dodge Nitro today…

Steering Column Repair - Dodge Nitro

About a month ago I noticed that my steering wheel was starting to have up and down “play” in it, which seems to have gotten worse this past week. So, today, I decided I’d Google it in case it had already been discussed elsewhere.

Well, that payed off with this thread on What was also noted there was a clicking sound coming from the steering wheel / column — something I had noticed since driving my Nitro off the lot in April 2007. Something that I simply wrote off because it sounded like a spring clicking inside the column, which could have been normal.

Anyway, to make a long story short, here’s some images of how the repair was done (click on any image for a larger view);

Continue reading Dodge Nitro Steering Column Repair

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’03 Chevy Blazer — where’s my 4 wheel drive? (UPDATED)

chevy blazer

Well, today I fixed yet another problem with my 2003 Chevy Blazer 4 Wheel Drive — Friday past, my in-dash 4×4 controls stopped working and hence I could not engage 4 wheel drive. Of course, these things will always happen at the most inconvenient time.

I had to drive to Ottawa, ON (about 5 hours from me) last Friday and, as luck would have it, encountered an ice storm that made driving very treachurous. So, I thought it would be a good idea to engage 4 wheel drive… I pushed the 4 wheel high button and… nothing. No lights on the dash and no 4 wheel drive! What?

I pulled over and checked the fuse — everything was good there, but I decided to change it just in case. Still nothing. After trying everything I could think of, I just had to deal with it and continue on in 2 wheel drive. Every car I passed in the ditch, I just kept praying my 4 wheel drive would come on… but no such luck. The real pisser here is, I tried it that morning and all was fine… now, when I need it, nothing!

Anyway, skip forward… all went well last weekend, but I still had a broken 4×4 to deal with. And, as if Murphy hasn’t already done enough, it’s the holiday season and most places are only open a few odd days. That made things difficult when I found out what I needed to look for!

The problem, as I discovered, was corroded wires in the 4×4 module. The module is located behind the kick panel on the passengers side (see picture below). How did I know this? Every time I would engage my 4 wheel drive, I would hear a “click – click” coming from that area… never thought anything of it ’til now! When it stopped working, I went searching… first behind the glove box, but I could clearly see that the only relay (the things that make that “click – click” sound) there was for the signals (turning on the hazard lights confirmed this as you will be able to clearly hear the relay, not to mention feel the click if you put your hand on it).

chevy blazer
A shot with the kick panel in place
chevy blazer
Kick panel removed
chevy blazer
What we’re after… the TCCM

It only took a few minutes to locate the module and the problem was clearly visible after removing the module from the frame to have a closer look. The wires/plug connector were badly corroded on a few pins — which led to two broken wires (pin #1, grey w/ black and pin #6, orange).

chevy blazer
A shot of the wire harness showing corrosion

OK, so how the heck am I going to fix this? I can only imaging what GM would want to do (read as “harness replacement”… $$$$$$$$$$$$$$). And from asking around about obtaining a replacement plug, my only option would be a scrap yard. Upon talking to a couple yards, they apparently take these modules out ($$$$$$$) and simply cut the connector off and sell it with the module. So, that really only leaves me to a scrap yard that lets you walk around… and haven’t removed the module… don’t wanna go there. 😉

Plan B… I’ll try my local electronics store and see if I can get a few of the female ends (metal clips on the end of each individual wire… there are about 30 wires, I didn’t actually count). Again I hit some obstacles. I was told that the clips could probably be found, but they would need a sample to send off. I’ll keep looking.

At the last place I tried, I did find a female connector that would do the trick… it just didn’t have the tab to hold it in the main connector (each individual wire clips into a spot in the main connector). I thought I’d give it a try and see what I could do (the plastic bag you see in the third image contains a couple more spare connectors in case it ever happens again… I’ll know right where they are!).

After cleaning up the corrosion on all remaining wires, and cleaning out the main connector, I stripped and attached new clips to the two broken wires and stuck them in the main connector. OK, now I just need to make sure they don’t get pushed out when the connection is made… how? Hmmm… how ’bout hot glue? 🙂 I actually plugged in the main connector to the module (after sealing it all up with dielectric gel… which would have prevented this in the first place) and then inserted the wire into pin #1 and made the connection, and the same for pin #6.

I turned the key in the ignition… Houston, we have ignition! Yahoo! I pushed the 4 wheel high button and heard the familiar sound of the 4×4 module relay and the transfer case motor… wonderful sounds!

So, I have everything working… time for the hot glue. I put a dab of glue down the top of pins #1 and #6 to hold them in place, let it set and tried to pull them out. I was quite pleased when they held, that’s for sure! I mounted the module back on the frame, reinstalled the kick panel and my 4×4 was back in business.

Total cost — twenty cents (a little dielectric gel and about a half hour labour). I’d love to see an invoice for a comparable fix by the Chevrolet dealer!

When I get more time, I’ll tell you about all the other things that have gone wrong with my Blazer since the day I drove it off the lot, with 12 KM on it. It is, as so many other blogs I have read from Blazer owners on the web, the story of a lemon.

UPDATE (finally – 07/03/07) — added images

UPDATE (12/04/07) — added schematics

chevy blazer tccm connector pinout
chevy blazer front axle switch
chevy blazer 4wd front axle

Here are some more images of the TCCM.  They are not mine, but I honestly can’t remember who sent them to me at this time (I just found them while cleaning up the backend of the site and didn’t know they were there.).  If they are yours, let me know and I’ll post photo credits.  Thanks!

UPDATE!  They belong to user jstn998.