Fusebox Repairs

This weekend, I had some fusebox repairs to make on bowtie6…  But first, some background…

Some time ago,  I found evidence of squatters under the hood.  Sure enough, I found a critter taking residence inside the main engine fusebox.  Undoubtedly our new resident found his way in via the opening for the PCM harness.  There I found several wires feeding the relay bases had been damaged.  On several the outside casing had been chewed almost through and on others, the casing was just damaged.  Great!  All that was left to do was evict the critter.

So, I made a quick repair by wrapping some 3M black insulation tape around the most damaged wires and decided to leave the proper repair for later.  “Later” finally arrived this weekend, and I made plans to properly repair things.  This is what some of the damage looked like:

I got started by sorting things out, and assessing what needed to be fixed.  The more I looked at this, the more I found “wrong”.  And as usual,  a small job turned into a more elaborate repair.  I found certain wires just did not look good, others were not long enough and the fuse block needed relocating.

So, after getting the wire cutters, crimpers, soldering gun, solder, shrink wrap, hot air gun, and assorted tools, this job turned into a major redesign.  Funny how the hours just stack up when you are having fun!  Fortunately the weather was perfect, had some good tunes playing on my vintage 70’s stereo and all was good.  This is what the fusebox looks like now…

Fusebox lid…

All damage repaired…


So what do we have here?

  • On the left with the three big plugs is the engine PCM.  You can see the main engine harness top left.
  • On the right are the seven purple relays.  Ignition, starter, lights, horn and radiator fan controller.
  • And the two fuse blocks.  They feed various PCM circuits.  Some of these are hot all the time; others are switched.
  • Below the relays we have 6 breakers, each have a little black button used to reset them in case they get tripped.

Relays, hot breakers, and fan controller…


On the left is insulated hot post.  That post is wired direct to the battery’s hot lead.  And from there, power feeds the bank of red breakers.  In the middle is the radiator fan controller.  It is fed by the temp sensor and it has an adjustable knob that controls when you want the fan to kick in.

Fuse box from another angle…


And so it goes…  I probably have 6 hours on this “repair”.  Lots of time spent cutting, splicing, replacing connectors, soldering and adding shrink wrap.  Oh and towards the end, a few tie-wraps to make things tidy.And before you start making comments about how “busy” it might look, then I’ll ask:  have you ever wired a car before?  This is all home-made and this stuff takes time.  Finally, this box is not that big so working all the wires through is a pain!

Is it over-engineered?  All those relays and circuit breakers and stuff.  One could argue this could have been done much simpler, but then what fun is there in all this?  😉  At the end of the day, I plugged the relays back in, re-connected the battery and…  No smoke and all works as expected.  Overall this was a good weekend!

2003 Honda S2000 for Sale – SOLD!


On 05/27/2022 – the S2000 has been sold!


Sadly, the day has arrived to put my 2003 Honda S2000 for sale.  It is time to let someone else look after it and enjoy is as much as I have.
This AP1 is listed for sale at Bring-A-Trailer.  To see the auction CLIK HERE.  Current mileage is 17,000.

There are a number of posts here about my S2000 from the day I bought it, to well, now.  I’ve had the car for 10 years, and the car is in exceptional shape.

This S2000 is one of 223 S2000’s made with Sebring Silver Metallic and an all red interior.  Either you love it or hate it, but it is very unique.  This is the last of the AP1’s – meaning it has the original 2.0L engine with a 9,000 RPM redline.

The front lip is OEM Honda as well as the rear spoiler…

Here is some more info about what is included with the car:

* Keys – Three (3) black keys and one (1) gray valet key. The valet key prevents VTEC from engaging. And there are 2 fobs in working order.

* Carpet Mats – You will see in the photos two sets of carpet mats. The original set that came with the car and an aftermarket set. The original set is rather small and only covers the footwell area. The aftermarket set is longer and covers the structural beam on the floor in front of the seats. Usually that area of the carpet is exposed and gets damaged – in this case, it is not.
You can see the beam and the aftermarket carpet details here:
Oh and the small organizer works great! It will be included with the car.

* Tonneau cover – the plastic tonneau cover used to go over the soft top has never been used. It is in as-new condition.

* Rear spoiler – I bought that OEM from a Honda dealer. It came with an extra torsion spring that enables the boot lid to spring up a bit when opened. I did NOT install that but that spring as well as the special tool used to install it will be included with the car.

* Seatback pockets – these took me a LONG time to find and I paid dearly for them. I have two – one for each front seat back. On the inside back trim of the cabin are two hooks behind each seat. That is where the seatback pockets hang. Since space is so limited, these come in handy to store papers, manual, etc. They also look cool and are in included with the car.

* Battery – I replaced the installed battery with a new Honda battery.
That original battery was installed by the previous owner – Not particularly fond of aftermarket stuff so that is why I bought the Honda battery.

* Oil changes – Oil has never gone over 3k miles. I’ve always used Mobil1 and OEM factory Honda filters specific for the S2000. And yes, I have replaced the crush washer on the drain bolt every time. This is where that orange threaded funnel comes in handy – if you look at the red valve cover in the pics, there is no evidence of any spillage.

* I have replaced the cabin air filter once. It was not dirty at all, but I figured why not.

* Shift knob: you see in the photos the OEM Honda aftermarket titanium shift knob. I like the knob better than the original one and it looks cool. The original shift knob is in pristine shape, including the small leather trim. That will be included with the car and is shown in the photos.

* Owner Manual – There are some photos with all the documentation including the 2003 Owner’ Manual and some other brochures. There is also a little booklet with a “get to know your car info” material – it includes the factory radio’s security code.

* Books –
FIRST: the Daniel Carney S2000 book – this is out of print and hard as hell to find – there is a copy available on Amazon – look it up and you will see what I mean. It will be included with the car.
SECOND is a limited edition Honda book with a serial number. I believe these were available at dealers but not 100% sure – if anyone has info about these please let me know. I paid dearly for this copy and it is in pristine condition – the only issue is a little bump on the edges from when it was mailed to me. The sleeve is perfect though and the book has some really cool pictures.

* Covercraft windshield sun screen – this is a perfect fit sun screen. And no – the sun visors are not damaged in any way. I made two tabs from hard plastic to hold the sun shield so the visor would not be damaged in any way. The tabs hold the sun shield in place.

* The soft top – when I first bought the car, I read the soft top frame came from the factory with small imperfections that would cause the top to wear and tear. I went over the frame and sure enough I found the “bumps”. I’ve removed them and this has kept the top from tearing in the usual places. The top has been treated regularly with “Ragg Top” dressing and this has prevented fading.

* In case you are wondering, I have inspected all four springs on the car and have found NO rubber spacers! When the cars were shipped from Japan, rubber spacers were inserted in the springs and some dealers never removed them.

* There is a picture of the trunk well showing the jack and tools. The jack has never been used; ditto for the tools. Every time the wheels have been off I have been present and the lugs have always been torqued by hand with a torque wrench. Never with an air gun.

* In the 10 years I have owned the car, I can honestly say I have never driven the car in the rain. I wish I had a lift so I had been able to get better pics of the underside, but you can see there is not mud or stains from having driven in the rain. The car has been garage kept the whole time I’ve owned it.

Ecotec Timing Chain Guide Bolt

Timing chain guide bolt cover (circled in red)

The other day, I found an article about the poor design of the Ecotec timing chain guide bolt.  Specifically, how prone the bolt is to backing out.  In extreme cases, the bolt can get tangled in the timing chain and shear off.  Needless to say, having bolt fragments fall into the timing chain of a contact engine, could potentially cause rather expensive damage.

If I am not mistaken, the 2.4L Ecotec powering bowtie6 is the same engine currently installed in the Polaris Slingshot – so if you happen to own a Slingshot, then you might want to read on…

The Fix

Amazon has the replacement bolt made by Dorman – about $20.  Here is what the label on the box looks like:

Dorman Timing Chain Guide Bolt replacement part number 917-954

The factory bolt is tiny and you get to it by removing a “plug” on the front of the engine.  You can see that cover plug in the top photo on this post (i have added a red circle around it).  Once you remove this plug you can insert a long 10mm socket and take the bolt out; be careful though because you don’t want to drop it!  This is what the pair looks like once they come out:

Bolt on the left, cover on the right…

Here is the front of the engine with the bolt cover removed:

Removed the plug…

And this is what the new bolt looks like:

and replaced it with this…

Finally, this is what the new bolt looks like installed:

Replacement bolt securely in place…

Moral of the Story:

When my original bolt came out, it was not exactly “tight”.  I am afraid had I ran it longer it would have eventually backed out.  And this would not have been a happy time.  Some things I have learned from this:

  • Replace the Ecotec timing chain guide bolt – it is cheap and it is easy.
  • If you own a Polaris Slingshot, do yourself a favor and read up about this.  For a mere $20 you will save yourself a lot of grief.
  • I wanted to show more pictures of the new bolt but I am afraid of copyright issues.  Please, if you have read this far check out the Dorman Ecotec timing guide chain bolt page.  There is a wealth of information there; even a video.
  • NOTE:  I don’t get a penny from Dorman about this  I also very seldom endorse folks.  But, I have read enough (and watched a few videos) about this kind of failure and figured it be best to do a PSA about the damage potential running the original bolt.

As always, be safe and hope all is well with you.  If you have any questions, let me know…

Mobil1 Oil in a Cheap Wine Box

Cheap wine box full of Mobil1

Mobil1 Oil in a cheap wine box?  Yes.  You are reading this correctly.  Let me explain…

Today was oil-change-day for my wife’s Equinox and my Camaro as well.  I headed early this morning to Wally-World to see what was available.

The Equinox takes 5 quarts; the Camaro takes 8 quarts.  So normally I would buy my favorite 5 quart containers but today, i found something new…  Turns out some genius at the Mobil oil marketing department, came up with the brilliant idea of packaging 12 quarts (yes a dozen) of Mobil1 in a cheap wine box.

For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, head out to the wine section of your favorite  local grocery store and find the “boxed wine” shelf.  That is where you can find the cheap wine packaged in a heavy cardboard box holding a “bag” full of wine.  Even comes with a nifty spigot that helps dispense the product.

I am a bit of a wine snob and this is the ultimate insult for what Galileo called “sunlight trapped in a liquid”.  No matter how humble wine is, it should be respected enough to be properly bottled.  But no.  The cheapest of the cheap has to suffer the indignity of being packaged in a plastic bladder stuffed in a cardboard box.  And now, they have done this to Mobil1.

What made this worse for me was that I didn’t realize the box contained a plastic bag full of oil.  No.  I learned of this when I got home and noticed the box had a “don’t cut this box with a knife” warning.  That is when I realized you have to carefully open a flap on the front of the box, then reach in the box, grab the spigot and gently pull it out.  Then after that, diligently place the spigot it in the proper position.  Made me think of something else you have to carefully grab and gently pull out before you can put it in the right position. 😉

The Good:

All this wonderment for $49 and change.  Not too bad, right?

But the deal goes downhill very, very quick from here.  I did buy a 5 quart bottle and fortunately that jug came with a handy with a way to measure off individual quarts by looking at the tick marks on the side of the plastic container.  So I dispensed the 5 quarts in the container first, and used the empty container to help figure out how much I had to use from there.

The Bad:

And here is where the “deal” goes south even more quickly.

Dispensing expensive synthetic motor oil should not be from a plastic bladder.  You see, that spigot in the picture above is not at the lowest point in the bag.  This means that when you think you have dispensed every drop of goodness…  Think again…

Open the “empty” box and we find this…

Too much Mobil1 to waste…  But how can we get this out?

Yep.  Quite a bit of expensive oil is still in the bag.  Surely you don’t throw this away!  So, I had to get pair of scissors and very carefully open an exit for this bit of oil.  Of course, if you don’t get it just perfect you end up making a mess.  Oh and that is not the only way to make a mess…  The spigot leaks every time you open/close that valve!

Take Aways…

You might ask why I am making such a big deal out of something so trivial.  Especially when there are so many things wrong with the world today.  Well, this is an epic fail on the part of the Mobil oil company.  Just think of the thousands of folks out there that don’t read the directions and cut into the box just to have 12 quarts of oil go everywhere.  Expensive lesson (to the tune of $49) to learn, huh?

The 5 quart plastic jug is the hands-down winner.  You can use it as a measuring device (thanks for the tick marks on the side) and it is easy and convenient to use.  I suppose the ultimate solution would be to save 5 quart jugs and refill them from a “cheap wine box of Mobil1”.

But no.  There is something very wrong about fumbling about trying to pull the spigot out of that box…

Any guess on what kind of ratchet we have here?

Michael Collins

Today, I read a tweet from Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) about the passing of Michael Collins…  Another of my childhood heroes passed on today; he was 90.

Ad Astra, Michael Collins.  God Speed….