Agent orange and electrical machine elves

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Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by PiaggioLux on Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:59 pm

Hi all,

Just joined as I am new to the micro-van experience and my Bright Orange 2015 Piaggio Porter has a couple of interesting "features". I bought the van used in September last year and it was running perfectly but sometime during the cold European winter this year it developed what I can only describe as a few strange electrical issues. Two, in particular.

1. The horn works intermittently. Some days it works perfectly, other days it doesn't work. Relay seems fine. Seems to work better in cold weather.

2. The rear parking sensors also work intermittently. Some days they work fine, other days they don't work at all. The parking sensors seem to work in the cold weather but when it warms up they stop working.

I'm pretty decent mechanically, but not so much electrically. I don't know where to start with either of these issues. Has anyone experienced anything similar or can anyone suggest where to begin in sorting this out?

Thanks!

PiaggioLux
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Re: Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by biofos on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:06 am

You must have the post S85 type Porter which is popular in Europe but, unfortunately is only manufactured in LHD version so, although available in (RHD) UK, has not found huge sales.

I'd start by checking the earth at the battery end. Remove, clean off the gunge, give both surfaces a good rub with emery cloth to brighten the metal, cover in petroleum jelly and replace tightly.

Is the horn operated by a button in in the centre of the steering wheel? If so, all I can suggest is to check the little brass sprung arm that earths the horn button - it may have weakened and is not earthing all the time. You will need to remove the horn button to see it.

Bad earthing is an innate feature of Porters  Sad
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Re: Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by PiaggioLux on Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback. The horn is activated by pushing on the centre of the steering wheel. There is no button, the whole centre part of the steering wheel moves - like on most cars (at least like on my Mini). The version I have is the "extra" window van:
http://www.piaggiocommercialvehicles.com/en_EN/models/porter/Porter-Van/

I had a chance to check the battery. It's in good shape, no corrosion whatsoever. I am starting to think that it is an electrical problem. Somehow or another the horn now works flawlessly, but the parking sensors remain intermittent. Usually if I start the van after it has been sitting, the parking sensors work. Once I move it out of reverse though they never work again until the van sits for a while. Is there a switch related to the reverse gear that makes the sensors function? I think the actual sensors mounted in the rear bumper work fine (or at least at times they work fine).

If there is a switch for the parking sensors, would it be near the transmission? I checked under the gear shift and didn't see anything except for the gear change cables that connect to the transmission.

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Re: Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by kernowjon01 on Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:31 pm

PiaggioLux wrote:

I had a chance to check the battery. It's in good shape, no corrosion whatsoever. I am starting to think that it is an electrical problem. Somehow or another the horn now works flawlessly, but the parking sensors remain intermittent. Usually if I start the van after it has been sitting, the parking sensors work. Once I move it out of reverse though they never work again until the van sits for a while. Is there a switch related to the reverse gear that makes the sensors function? I think the actual sensors mounted in the rear bumper work fine (or at least at times they work fine).

I think you misunderstand biofos reply. The wire from the battery Negative connects to the bodywork (the EARTH WIRE) every electrical component has a LIVE Positive feed and connects to the bodywork for the earth return. Your Horn has a LIVE FEED - turn on your ignition crawl underneath find the horn and put a volt meter between the feed wire and the body should be 12v. The other wire to your horn is the earth return it goes up to the Horn Push in the centre of the wheel - when you depress the horn push you operate a switch completing an electric circuit.
You could open the horn push and spray the contacts with Contact Cleaner.
The Parking Sensors will be activated by the same switch as operates your Reversing Lights - this is screwed into the gearbox. If your Reversing Lights work then the sensors should be being powered up - again the likely problem will be the EARTH connections - I assume they are in the rear bumpers so there will be EARTH wires. and also check the wiring connectors - undo them put a smear of brake grease Copperslip on the contacts - this improves conductivity and reduces / prevents corrossion.
Jon
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Re: Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by PiaggioLux on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:09 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I checked the ground connection from the negative terminal to the body and it is in perfect condition. Connection is tight and the wire is not frayed or anything.

I do, however, have an update. The radio had a long-running issue and I finally replaced the radio with a new Pioneer unit. The reverse sensors now work perfectly and the reverse light comes on. On the other hand, the horn has returned to its intermittent behaviour. I am going to get the voltmeter out and check the voltage to the feed wire. I will update once I have some information. Could it be the horn itself?

Strange and frustrating problems!

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Re: Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by PiaggioLux on Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:29 pm

I can put this one to rest now.

Had the Piaggio up on the lift at my Mini dealer to identify a small coolant leak. While it was up in the air I checked the reverse switch on the gearbox for the parking sensors and reverse light. It was just hanging on. Clipped it back into place and the reverse light and parking sensors are working just fine!

Thanks for all the help!

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Re: Agent orange and electrical machine elves

Post by Raggy on Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:46 pm

Excellent result! It’s always the simple fixes that just take ages to find.
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