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Old 07-28-2019, 02:34 PM   #1
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Short circuit causes misc. lighting failures

TL;DR The wiring harness that goes around the Sportsmobile-installed slider window on the driver side was shredded by jagged exposed metal. Five wires were abraded and exposed, causing multiple short circuits and creating a fire risk.



Early this year, I got into my van to discover I had no instrument panel lights, no hazards, no brake lights, and the gear shift lock wouldn’t unlock. This all seemed fuse related so I started checking and replaced whatever blown fuses I found. My hazards came back and my shifter unlocked but I still had no instrument panel lights or rear running lights (the brake lights were fine). The vanity lights (behind the sun visors) and the dome lights had also never worked since I purchased the van over a year before. I thought those issues were unrelated.

Turns out everything was related.

I was able to use the van during the day. At night, I would duct tape bike lights to the tail lights. I identified that if I replaced fuse 10, I could intermittently regain instrument cluster and tail lights. However, the fuse would eventually blow and I’d be in the dark again.

I took the van to a mechanic and we started a process of elimination. We disconnected the headlights and taillights, took apart the trim and looked for striped wires. We weren't able to find anything.

I met up with Ray and he suggested that I start to take apart the paneling behind the couch on the driver side. The wiring harness in there likely had an issue it was just a matter of where.

It turned out to be a good hunch and luckily I found the problem quickly. I did not have to remove all the cabinetry in this walk through floor plan. Behind the top of the driver side seatbelt, where it connects to the frame, the wiring harness was sitting against jagged metal that had been cut away to accommodate the sliding glass window. The unfinished sharp metal edge had abraded away the harness’ outer wrapping and was about half way through 5 separate wires. A few of the wires also showed signs of smoldering.

Soldering new lengths of wire, wrapping the solder in shrink tube, and rebuilding the wiring harness fixed all my issues: tail lights, instrument panel, vanity mirror lights, and dome lights. I also think the door lock switch on the back door started working again too.

I've attached pictures highlighting the location of the issue and the condition of the harness and wires before and after the repairs. I've also included a PDF of the relevant wiring schematics:
  • 60-3 Instrument Cluster
  • 90-1 - Turn/Stop/Hazard Lamps
  • 90-2 - Turn/Stop/Hazard Lamps
  • 90-3 - Turn/Stop/Hazard Lamps
  • 90-4 - Turn/Stop/Hazard Lamps
  • 90-5 - Turn/Stop/Hazard Lamps
  • 92-1 - Exterior Lamps
  • 92-2 - Exterior Lamps
  • 92-3 - Exterior Lamps

I hope this post helps someone in the future. Shout out again to Ray for helping me with the diagnosis and repairs. I also hope that Sportsmobile takes note: unfinished jagged metal edges are a fire risk.

Avand
Attached Thumbnails
1 - Shredded Wiring Harness.jpg   2- Shredded Harness Exposed.jpg   3 - Location Overview.jpg   4 - Shredded Wires.jpg   5 - Soldered.jpg  

6 - Reinstallation 1.jpg   7 - Reinstallation 2.jpg   8 - Reinstallation 3.jpg   9 - Fuses.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: pdf E-250 Electrical Schematics.pdf (95.2 KB, 4 views)
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Old 07-28-2019, 04:18 PM   #2
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Sad this was left that way, but excellent finding it, well done looking repair.
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Old 07-28-2019, 06:30 PM   #3
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This is the type of knowledge that really helps people like me! Appreciate you sharing avanduh, and your pic's help create a visual of what to look for and location.

Although SMB may have changed some of the installation schematics through the years, This education prepares me better in case I ever develop similar gremlins down the line.
Thanks
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:13 PM   #4
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Sadly, this is not uncommon. Ramsey's van caught fire down in Baja for the exact same reason. Fortunately the damage was limited to some chared paneling and wires but had he not noticed the smoke right away, it could have been much worse. After that, I bought a second fire extinguisher.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanduh View Post

I've attached pictures highlighting the location of the issue and the condition of the harness and wires before and after the repairs. I've also included a PDF of the relevant wiring schematics:

Avand
Having an EVTM for reference specific to you year E-Series is one handy thing to have if you're doing repairs or troubleshooting like this. They're readily available in printed or CD-ROM/DVD formats---no real good reason to NOT own one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
This is the type of knowledge that really helps people like me! Appreciate you sharing avanduh, and your pic's help create a visual of what to look for and location.

Although SMB may have changed some of the installation schematics through the years, This education prepares me better in case I ever develop similar gremlins down the line.
Thanks
As I mention having an EVTM is very helpful--worth looking into acquiring one if only for factory vehicle wiring issues.
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