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Relay Sockets Issues

jfcupolo

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
10
Location
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782
Corvette
1994 Dark Red Coupe - Automatic
I don't know if this problem has ever been addressed but since it took me 2 years and $2,000.00 to find I figure it might save someone a whole lot of grief. I have a 1989 coupe, my first Vette, bought with 100,000 miles on it and all original and it still runs great. I began having the following symptoms;

- check engine light would come on and go off at random times
- when it did, sometimes nothing noticable would happen
- sometimes the engine would begin to misfire or run rough or stall at idle

I went through the entire gamit of possible causes starting with the relays and engine management systems and computer chips, lions, tigers, and bears.
Nothing solved the problem and I eventually one by one changed every possible part that cold be involved from relays to throttle position sensors to disassmbling the wiring harness and inspect and rewrap it. Now I should mention here that I am a fairly good mechanic and a better than average trouble shooter. In desparation I took it to a Corvette Guru outfit here in Tampa Florida having conceded defeat and willing to pay anything to solve the problem on my beloved "Cher." A waste of time and money lets just say to be kind to the idiots that call themselves technicians at this joint.

Still this problem was elusive. One day after a weekend 8 hour session with no luck, while the engine was running in the garage, I allowed the hood to close with it's full force and the engine died. I restarted the car and repeated the motion and it died, 4 out of 5 times. I concluded it was a loose connection or corroded connection and went at this demon with renewed vigor.

I finally found the problem and repaired it. The problem was an issue I would think would be common on a high mileage daily driver like mine. The two relay sockets on the firewall that now had new relays looked fine but the contacts where the blades slid into the socket is designed with a strip of metal in each one that folds over creating a little spring pressure to push the contact point against each blade of the relay. Over the years the little spring contacts had begun corroding under the bend on each one until the contacts looked fine and even cleaned up fine from the view where you insert the relay but when you poked at them to test their structure they simply fell apart or some broke instantly at the bend or just had lost all their tension to make good contact.

The quick fix was to remove the socket and attach a female spade connector to each wire and slide them on to the proper relay blade individually. It has now been 4 months and over 20,000 miles with no issue. The only problem now is where do I get new sockets? I don't want to get ones from a salvage yard that are well on their way to developing this same issue. So any help with this need would be greatly appreciated folks.

I sincerely hope this helps someone currently pulling their hair out over a similar problem and I apoligize if this is a redundant explaination that is listed somewhere else.

Joe Cupolo
 

Fast Freddie

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
178
Location
Owensboro, Kentucky
Corvette
1991 White Convertible
I always love to see threads like this. Its usually the small things that are SO hard to find. This give me one more bit of information to be used in routine automotive troubleshooting, as I'm sure the problem is present on other types of vehicles.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
1,441
Location
Staten Island, NY
Corvette
1999 Torch Red Coupe
Joe

If Radio Shack doesnt have them in the catalog or a web search turns up nothing I would consider just soldering them in to the wireing harness directly.

I have come across problems like that in the past. I soldered about 6 inches of wire (similar guage) to each terminal of the relay with a 35 watt soldering pencil and then the pig tails to the wireing harness.

I started with a pair of new relays, those I could find at the time.
 

jfcupolo

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
10
Location
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782
Corvette
1994 Dark Red Coupe - Automatic
I'm sure I can find sockets that fit this relay setup, they are the most commonly used type of relay for all kinds of equipment. For instance I know the ones used in the Onan gensets control boxes are very similar, they fit the relays and will mount on a vertical surface. But I am on a quest to be sure the car stays original except for the powerplant, exhaust, and wheels. In my experience so far if Ecklers doesn't have it usually no one does. They are the kings of special hard to find repop items for Vettes.
I will check with Radidio Shack but for now the slide on spades do a nice job and if I find the sockets I can install the current relays in them because they are as purchased....except they're NAKED!!!
 

jfcupolo

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
10
Location
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782
Corvette
1994 Dark Red Coupe - Automatic
From what I have seen this type of relay socket setup is used on most if not all TPI cars GM makes.
 
T

tonylong

Guest
Great Post!
And many thanks for sharing. Posts like this are pure gold for fixing those strange problems that drive us nuts.
 

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