Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kenmore Elite Dryer Stopping Mid-cycle

My Kenmore Elite gas dryer was occasionally stopping in mid cycle, especially when using the hot setting. I found that the thermal cutout was being triggered. (You can check this by putting a volt meter across the terminals of the cutout switch. If it reads anything other than zero volts, the cutout has opened up, indicating overheating.) I replaced the cutout switch which did NOT fix the problem. Conclusion: the dryer really WAS overheating.

I replaced the electronic contoller board (due to a different problem) and there was no change in this problem.

I figured that the thermistor must be bad. I took out the old one and I found that it was coated with lint! The lint was sort of greasy and difficult to remove. I cleaned it off and put the thermistor back in, and the problem was fixed.

Clearly the coating of lint was insulating the thermistor enough that it was not registering the temperature of the exhaust air properly. Since the temperature never appeared to reach the threshold expected by the controller, the flame was never turned off and the dryer was overheating.

Yes, we have been using Bounce fabric softener sheets. No more! They apparently cause the sticky coating that attracts a film of lint.

2000 GTI VR6 Engine Knock at 2800 RPM

After about a year, my 2000 GTI VR6 started knocking between 2700-3000 RPM when accelerating moderately hard. (Using premium gas.) It was under warranty, the dealer replaced the coil, and the problem went away.

Some months later, it happened again. I found that cleaning the ignition wires with alcohol made the problem go away. After a couple of rounds of this, I bought some "Blue Injector" aftermarket wires, hoping they would last. After about 9 months, the knock is back. (The original wires are better. It's hard to remove the aftermarket wires from the plugs without pulling the wire right out of the connector. The original wires have plastic "handles" that help to get them out.)

New wires from the dealer did the trick. Not only is the knock gone, but acceleration above 3000 RPM seems improved. had factory wires for $114. The factory wires are preferable to the Blue Igniters because they have the built-in "handles" that allow you to remove the wires without risking pulling the wire out of the connector. I also think they lasted longer.

I first cleaned both old sets and tried them, with no luck. Spraying with a mist in the dark showed leakage in the wires near the coil area. I suspect that cleaning the wires may sometimes help, but once the spark has caused microscopic holes in the insulation then the wires are toast.

Adding an LED indicator for heated mirror on VW Golf or GTI

It it very easy to leave the heated mirror on when it is not needed, and then it will eventually burn out.

I added an LED indicator that will light when the mirror heater is ON. Here are a few notes.

I put the LED in a hole near the bottom of the small speaker that is just inboard of the driver mirror.

The whole door panel has to come off (section 70-13 in my book). You do NOT have to disassemble the mirror shell.

There is one Torx screw on the bottom of the speaker enclosure. Next to it is a snap-in connector, and another is near the top. Pry carefully. There is foam behind the speaker that tends to be sticky. You will want to trim some of it to make room for the LED and wires.

I found an old LED and put a 400 ohm resistor in series. (The long lead was the positive lead.) Test it with the battery before installing it. I think some LEDs have a built-in resistor and others MUST have a resistor in series. Ideally you will adjust the resistor to the best value, checking in both day and night conditions.

On my 2000 GTI, the positive side of the LED goes to the white wire that goes to the mirror assembly, and the negative side goes to the brown wire. The relevant wiring diagram in my book is No. 27.5 on P 97-216.

One more thing: BEFORE you remove the door panel, mark where you want the LED on the speaker housing. The panel covers quite a bit of the bottom of the housing, so you will need to drill the hole about 1/4 inch below the "grill" part of the speaker housing.

Coolant temperature sender on my 2000 VW GTI

Here is how I replaced the coolant temperature sender on my 2000 VW GTI VR6. I wrote this up because I could not find anything about it on the web. Then I found Arthur's useful post here, but since I have some additional info, I thought I'd post it, even though it repeats much of what Arthur says.

I was getting this DTC on VAGCOM:
17704 - Error in Mapped Cooling System (usually temp sensor or thermostat)
35-10 - - - Intermittent
Also, about one time in ten, when I tried to start a hot (190 degree) engine I had significant difficulty, but eventually got it started after perhaps a minute of cranking. (Usually a second try at starting would be successful.) These episodes were accompanied by a smell of gas.

I planned to change the "G62" temp sensor and went to a VW dealer. They could not tell me which part to get! I bought the "standard" part, 059-919-501A, green plastic for about $6 just as a guess. I also ordered another part on-line (P4036-84658 from, color blue. The part itself is unmarked, but the box is marked 078-919-501B ) The wiring connector for this part is obviously very different from the 501A part, though the sensor end looks the same as the green one.

I put things off until I got another hard hot start when the car then ran horribly and hobbled home stalling repeatedly. The same 17704 showed, but this time not intermittent.

Replacing the part is NOT easy. It is on the left (driver side) of the engine, pointing forward, a bit in front of the spark coil, surrounded by lots of plumbing and other mysterious parts. Very hard to get at or even see it.

I removed the battery. I removed the left front portion of the plastic manifold cover (one Torx screw.) I also removed one end of a large coolant hose, but that didn't help much because the nipple for the hose was still in the way. (To the outside of the sender unit is a rubber plug in a hole apparently the same size, held in with the same U clip as the sender.) Don't drop anything in this area because it will land on a plastic tray at the bottom and be a pain to retrieve.

I pulled up on the U clip for the sender, and HALF of it pulled out (shaped like a J). Then I noticed that the leg of the clip on the right side of the car is held captive by part of a mounting bracket that would be VERY difficult to remove. It's hard to even see it.

Then luck was with me--I was able to wiggle the sensor out even with half the retaining clip in place. It was still very difficult to disconnect the wiring connector. The old part was colored black and numbered 078-919-501C. I replaced it with the green 501A part. Several places on the web mention that the A part is an improved version of the C part. (The blue "B" part is obviously wrong). I measured the ohms of the two parts, and they were close (Green: 779 ohms A to B, 1749 ohms C to D. Black: 836 ohms A to B, 1700 ohms C to D). I'm not sure the old sensor was even bad.

I was able to get the new sensor back in place, even with the broken clip. If I had to do this again, I would consider LEAVING the old sensor in place and putting the replacement in the hole where the dummy rubber plug is sitting. (This is much easier to reach.) There would still be the difficulty of getting the wiring connector off the old unit though.

Needed about a gallon of coolant to refill.

After all this, I noticed the following DCT in the Instrument section on my VAGCOM:
01039 - ECT Sensor (G2)
30-10 - Open or Short to B+ - Intermittent
where ECT stands for Engine Coolant Temperature. I had not looked under "instrument" before. I suppose this was an old code from before the fix.

Six weeks later, no more DTC codes and no leaks. I guess the old part was bad, even though the resistance seemed OK. Probably intermittent.
This is a test to see if Google can find this. Search for Mark Stephen Dionne.