My headlights have been shorting out for a while and I have replaced then multiple times. My wipers come on when I use the right blinker, my horn will stay on for hours, and my flashers come on periodically. Recently while I was driving home something smelled as if the wires under the dash were burning and my headlights went out first, then the parking lights and tail lights, then the dashboard lights and interior lights. The gauges continued to work though and so did the brake lights. I took it to a local mechanic and he told me that I had a short under the dash but that it would be a labor intensive job and the car wasn't worth the time needed to do the work. This is the only car I have and I have a friend that will help me fix it. He says I need a complete interior fuse box wiring harness kit but I can't seem to find one online and I'm not even exactly sure that I'm looking for the right parts. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
My car has 119000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
I don’t know what the resale value is of your car, but I tend to believe the mechanic that advised you is correct. Keep in mind you are about to undertake a complicated project that only the most experienced among us should tackle. But if you’ve decided you must take on this project, you should get a harness from a wrecking yard.
Some wrecking yards require you to remove the parts off of the old cars yourself and others will remove them for you. Of course, any labor they do will increase the cost to you. When picking out a harness, make sure the car you are removing it from has all the same accessories as the one you own. Tachometer, speedometer, stereo, A/C and heater controls configuration, manual or automatic transmission, etc. Even after doing this, the harness you purchase may not have everything you need or it may have more. With projects such as this, it is not out of the ordinary to need to add wires to the harness for accessories the harness does not have as well as to have wires that you will not use.
Most likely, the easiest approach to this repair, once you have found a wiring harness, is to remove the entire dash, including the steering column. I would do this before you go to the wrecking yard because in the process of disassembly, you will discover other components that were damaged when the short occurred. You may want to purchase these from the wrecking yard as well.
The hard part of this repair is not the disassembly and reassembly, it is fixing everything that the short damaged once you have a harness installed.
There is a distinct chance that the component that caused the short could short out the new harness. So during reassembly and during disassembly, you will want to keep a look out for the source of the problem to begin with. I have seen projects like this done only to watch the same thing occur right after. It is a sad thing to see.
Keep in mind that this is not an easy project. The time and effort it takes could be better spent figuring out how to get another car.
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