• Announcements

    • steve k.

      Introducing FAQ Memberships   04/17/2017

      I would like to introduce everyone to the FAQ memberships. A fun way to fund the site and to contribute for those who are interested.    Everyone starts as a Solex Member.  This membership is free and not much visible is changing (I limited the personal message storage to 150).   Kugelfischer membership.  As a reward for your donation of $20.02 per year, you will not see any external advertisements, the site will look cleaner and run a bit faster. You will also get a couple of BMW 2002 FAQ Stickers.   Turbo Membership.  As a reward for your donation of $50.02, you will not see any external advertisements, the site will look cleaner and run a bit faster.  You will also get unlimited Personal Message storage, ability to create Private and Restricted Photo Albums. You will also get a couple of BMW 2002 FAQ Stickers and a Bottle Opener.   Alpina Membership.  As a reward for your donation of $100.02 per year, you will not see any external advertisements, the site will look cleaner and run a bit faster.  You will also get unlimited Personal Message storage, ability to create Private and Restricted Photo Albums, and an ability to upload Movies to the gallery. You will also get a couple of BMW 2002 FAQ Stickers, a Bottle Opener, and discounts on our accessories at the store.   There is also a fancy title that comes with each membership.  
Rocan
Rocan

Fuse Box Restoration Guide

As many of you know, the original ceramic fuses used in our car are a bit troublesome. The small contact areas mean that they are extremely sensitive to corrosion, and although the fuses are covered by a clear shield, they are still very exposed to the elements. I had enough of turning my fuses in the sockets and scrubbing at the contacts every other month. This, in addition to restoring the connections throughout the wiring harness, will greatly improve the electrical system in your car. You will notice brighter lights, more stable gauges, and for those of us running EFI, a more stable voltage in the system. 

 

Notes: This guide uses a fuse box from a 1976 USA car. Your fuse box may be slightly different, but the same process still applies. Be sure to disconnect and remove the battery before doing any electrical work in order to eliminate the possibility of component damage or personal injury. 

 

 

The first step is to remove the fuse box from the car. It is held in place with one sheet metal screw, and simply lifts out. Be careful to not damage any of the wires as you pull the fuse box from the cutout in the fender. You will likely only be able to pull the harness out a few inches; take note of where the connectors attach (they can be attached more than one way, but only one way will work), and be sure not to miss any of the individual connectors. If the connectors are difficult, you may pry on them GENTLY using a flat head screwdriver. Make sure they come off evenly so that they do not bind. 

 

With the box out and on your workbench, take a picture to note which way the color coded insert goes. 

 

20141114_130612_zpsk6ny6hmq.jpg

 

Remove the card. Be careful; it is very delicate and tears easily. While it is out it is not a bad idea to laminate the card in order to insulate it and protect it. I don't know of anyone making replicas, but one of us should. In addition, it would be a good idea to determine which years and models had which cards; there is some variation. 

 

20141114_130757_zpsinutakpu.jpg

 

Remove the fuses, and take a picture of the contacts before doing the work so you can see just how big the difference is later.

 

20141114_130804_zps5cmxcvnm.jpg

 

Begin by giving the fuse box a good cleaning with some mild soap and water, just to get out any dirt or grime that is present. Don't bother trying to clean the contacts now; you'll be wasting your time. 

 

Sneak yourself a bowl from the kitchen, and steal the vinegar out of the pantry. Any kind of vinegar will do, but a white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) will be a wise choice. While you are in there, grab the baking soda and salt as well. 

 

Begin by placing the fuse box in the bowl, sprinkling some salt on it, and pouring in the vinegar. 

 

20141114_131050_zpsvpeqmjsi.jpg

 

Stir it up, and shake the fusebox around in the mixture for a few minutes. The acidity of the vinegar and the abrasiveness of the salt will quickly work together to remove the oxidation from the surface. 

 

20141114_131734_zps9fwchlwa.jpg

 

Let it sit for a while in the salt-vinegar mixture while you prepare a baking soda neutralization bath for later on. Mix about a table spoon of baking soda and a cup of water. The concentration of the solution is not crucial. 

 

20141114_131349_zpsurhcsjtn.jpg

 

Once the neutralization bath is made, we can go back to the fuse box. After sitting for this long, much of the oxidation has already been removed. We can do better though. Grab a chunk of steel wool, and start scrubbing. 

 

20141114_131805_zpsqw0pue8m.jpg

 

Halfway through, the improvement is obvious. 

 

20141114_132220_zpsqyn2zjpz.jpg

 

With the scrubbing done, it is time to rinse the fuse box multiple times in water (deionized is preferred, although tap water will do just fine), rinsed in the baking soda bath, and then given one final rinse using water to remove the baking soda. Thoroughly dry the part using compressed air (or set out to dry if you don't have compressed air available). 

 

20141114_132737_zpsuo0r9uqx.jpg

 

Now it is almost time for re-assembly. Grab your di-electric grease. If you really don't have any available, vaseline will do, but you are really better off using the grease as it is far more durable. 

 

20141114_133347_zpsxcde7qcj.jpg

 

 

Get your fuses. ONLY USE OEM GERMAN FUSES. Mercedes has fuses available for a fair rate; I grabbed a bag on ebay for cheap. They are the proper, high-quality ceramic units. Not only will they operate far better than anything else, they will outlast other fuses and look correct in the fuse box. Now take your nice, new fuses and throw them in the acid (vinegar) to remove any oxidation that has collected on them while in storage. You WILL notice a difference. Remember to neutralize them afterwards! 

 

20141114_133932_zps7bakmf1d.jpg

 

This looks better. 

20141114_134141_zpstsuejp2m.jpg

 

Tighten down the prongs so that they hold the fuses VERY snug, but do NOT deform the tangs. Bend the curved section of the tang, do NOT bend the whole tang as you will weaken the base. Make sure they all look about even, and coat either end with grease. Insert the correct fuses into the correct slots, being absolutely certain that the bases are sitting properly in the holes at the bottom. When the fuses are all installed, smear some more grease across the bridge in the fuse in order to coat the exposed copper section. 

 

20141114_134837_zpsdktp6ycu.jpg

 

Reinstall the card on the back, and cover the nice, clean connectors with more di-electric grease. 

 

20141114_135120_zpsz3mqvvpy.jpg

 

Go back to your car and using a flat head screwdriver (as shown) deform each connector in the socket SLIGHTLY. Too much will damage the connector and prevent the male prong from entering easily. Only do enough to give the connector a fresh surface to bite onto. 

 

20141114_135253_zpscj7ovxeb.jpg

 

Re-install everything and pop on a new cover while you are at it and enjoy your improved electrical system. For that finishing touch, find some compressible water-proof foam to replace the seal between the fuse box and the shell that has completely rotted away. This will greatly improve the life of the fuses and the performance of the electrical system. Short of converting to blade fuses, this is the best thing you can do. 

PRO-TIP: If you can soak the connectors in the vinegar bath (and then neutralize using the baking soda solution), even without scrubbing, you will improve the connection. This is a good way to quickly clean many connections in the car. 

  • Like 4
  • Upvote 2


User Feedback


Great write-up...

added to my to do list!   PO drilled a hole in the plastic case to add alarm system without sealing the hole...  

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now