Question about 1994 Nissan Maxima
Interior dash and running lights went out. I was able to locate and replace the fuse that controls both. It has blown 2 more times in the past 2 weeks. Any ideas why? Thanks so much!
I recommend that anyone should have an inexpensive multimeter for troubleshooting such problems.
They can be bought at electronics supply and auto parts stores for under $20, come with Chinglish instructions for the novice and can make a difficult problem such as yours fairly easy to find.
You probably have a cable that has been worn through to the copper conductor inside and you may pull all your hair out before you find it unless you equip yourself a little. If it doesn't come with clip leads, buy those too, you will be happy to have them for this problem.
Once you have one, remove first the negative (ground) cable from your battery, then the positive. so the battery is no longer in circuit. Turn on the defective circuit (running lights). Remove the fuse and check continuity from the fuse clip to the positive battery clamp so you know which side of the clip is attached to 12V when the lights are turned on.
Once you have found this, move the clip from the + fuse terminal to the other (empty) one; this is the point at which the overload circuit will show itself. Attach the free clip to any bare metal handy; this will be ground or negative.
You should measure some fairly low resistance between those points but nothing like what you read on the lowest range when you put the two clips together; this is 'lead resistance.'
Keeping the meter display visible, turn off the switch for the lights to look for a change. If there is none, it could be because the switch controls a relay and the relay is isolating you from the problem circuit. If this is the case, you will have to beg, borrow or buy a service manual from Haynes or Chilton containg the electrical diagrams, or rope someone else into doing the work for you ;-)
If you do see some change when turning the switch on and off, then leave it on and start annoying cables under the dashboard while watching the meter display; if this doesn't change the display, you will have to start moving cables under the hood, and perhaps even in the rear of the car around the tail light assemblies.
There is also a brute force way to find it without using a meter or any intelligence (yeah, ok, I've done it, but only ONCE), you can substitute a heavy piece of copper wire jammed into the fuse holder and look for smoke; that's where the wire is shorted to ground. On this last suggestion - you didn't hear it from me-
Posted on Dec 11, 2008
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