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1997 Sidekick JX 16V 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

My right rear brake light and reverse light haven't been working since I bought the sidekick. It's a 97 4 door JX in case I forgot it in my signature....

I tracked it down to a break in the wires between the plugs at the left tail light and the right. No continuity in the positive wire for the brake or reverse light going between the two corners. I think the wires were Green/white stripe for brake and red for the reverse lights.

Anyone have first hand experience pulling that whole harness out? I thought I would either pull the whole thing and find the break or run two new wires in typical hillbilly fashion. I prefer the stock method but I couldn't figure out how to pull that harness.
 

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You’re right about the wire colors. There’s a 12 cavity connector behind the rear wheel well on the left, where the wires for the right side combination lights branch out from. So you have 12v there? It’s not a difficult job, although you may find that even when you find the break, you may need to run new wires.
 

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I don't know where the wiring runs on a 97, on my 98, it's down the left side floor, splits to go to the left lamp, whilst the right side goes through the floor and across to the right side behind the bumper structure - I suggest you pull the right side lamp and follow the cable and see what route it takes.
 

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The 91 does the same thing - the wiring goes behind the bumper. The last connector is at the left rear tail light/wheel well, and then goes straight over to the right tail light behind the bumper.
 

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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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Pulling the whole thing out is not difficult, and might make your job easier. The only time consuming part is temporarily removing the other pieces/covers to get at it. But it's pretty easy. Just keep track of those screws!!!
 

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Pulling the whole thing out involves a whole lot more disassembly than is required to do a proper repair, and if attempted will probably double or triple the work & time required.

You don't need to remove the whole harness - just the section across the back, between the light connectors - unwrap the tape, either find the break & fix it (splice, solder, heatshrink), or cut the damaged section out and replace it - then rewrap the harness and re-install.
 
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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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I agree.

If you have smaller fingers and like to work in "close-quarter" with solder, I say GO FOR IT.

I don't, so I prefer to take the slow and easy route -- and check my work.

There are many ways to "skin a cat".
 

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1997 Sidekick JX 16V 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I do have power at the left rear housing/cavity (all lights working there) and have determined there is a break in the wires running from the left tail light area to the right. I already did find the connector there to separate out the harness that goes between the two housings. I had both housings out and can see that the wires go through a cavity in the rear of the body/bumper.

All I'm proposing is just pulling the harness that goes from left to right, nothing going forward into the cabin. I just couldn't figure out how to access that cavity in the bumper? I'm sure I can figure it out if I spend a couple more minutes with it. I was annoyed when it wasn't as simple as a bad ground or burnt bulb.

I'll report back with findings for the next person who does this. Might even snap a couple pictures since I know most folks like visual aids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not questioning how to make the repairs, I can do that. I was hoping someone might have a "best approach" or "look here" tip for removing that short section of harness. I'll take a better look later.
 

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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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Those harnesses can be a problem. If ONE contact breaks/cracks/etc. You are stuck. If it is an the side, you might try a manual fix with some glue -- like I've done. If it's "in the middle", you can remove the problem wire and reconnect it to the other end -- with a little work.
 

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That’s why, IMHO, it may be easier to run new wires. Take your new, wrapped wires, attach them securely to the end of the existing harness that goes from the left tail light to the right, then go to the right tail light, and carefully pull the harness out through the cavity. Voila. You’re new wires have been thread through the cavity.
 

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1997 Sidekick JX 16V 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I finally got around to digging into this since I'm also trying to figure out an ECU/TPS issue and it's parked in the garage. That wiring loom runs through the bumper cavity for about a foot before going through the body down by the gas tank. There's a seal/grommet hooked to the harness at both points where it passes through the body panel and there's also square plastic access hole covers about halfway between the seal/grommet and the tail light cavities.

I lowered the gas tank just enough to get my hands in there and undo the 3 zip tie things that hold the loom against the body. Then there's 3 separate plugs that go to stuff on top of the gas tank. Where the loom splits, the pigtails going to the other plugs was laying on the main loom going to the RR tail light and wore through insulation on some of my wires.

See below:

IMG_0766.JPG
IMG_0764.JPG
IMG_0772.JPG
 

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So just any idea of what was causing the "rubbing through "said wires?
 

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1997 Sidekick JX 16V 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So just any idea of what was causing the "rubbing through "said wires?
One of the looms that goes above the fuel tank was running against it. You can see the looms in one of the above pictures. I can’t understand how only one loom was damaged. The other had a different protective shield, but I would expect it to have SOME sign of wear and it didn’t. I guess 24 years of rubbing/vibration will do that???
 

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thats pretty wow... in motorcycles you can see that happening near steering neck, because constant turning left right, but on stationary wires? very odd...
guess accumulated mud is a good grinding paste, amazing how it slowly wore through the complete wire, metal and all.
one more reason to pressure wash those pesky hidden areas like top of the tank once in a while.
 

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Be very careful with a pressure washer around automotive electrical wiring - the connectors are water resistant, not waterproof, they are not designed to withstand a 3000 psi blast.
 

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1997 Sidekick JX 16V 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I will say that the other looms/pigtails were resting perfectly in the grooves they had worn. I actually felt those spots on top of the loom before I saw them when I was tracing the route by feel.

I’ve got the loom spliced and checked all wires for continuity. I’ll probably cut back the shielding on the pigtail looms and verify nothing looks damaged before I reinstall everything. It will be nice to have all working brake lights.
 

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As the grey/red wire presumably runs through this damaged area of your wiring, it’s possible that this wiring issue is connected to your loss of the 5v reference.

Edit - just to advise I saw your response on the 5v thread, which responded to the above....
 
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