When it comes to electrical bugs in your Corvette's wiring system, the thought of having to follow a wiring diagram or purchase an expensive component is enough to make even the bravest amateur mechanic's skin crawl. In this article, we'll show you an easy, no-cost way to repair many such maladies.
Intermittent problems with electronic modules or circuit boards are often the result of a cold-solder joint. Cold-solder joints are quite common in remote-keyless-entry fobs, electronic climate-control units, ABS/traction-control modules, digital dashes, and the part we'll be repairing today-the seat-control module.
The term "cold-solder joint" refers to a solder connection that wasn't heated enough during manufacturing, was cooled too quickly, or had its component pins moved before the solder had a chance to solidify. With time, cold-solder joints can become problematic due to vibration, repeated thermal cycling, or constant exposure to high temperatures.
When diagnosing a bad solder joint, try tapping on the suspect component. If this causes it to work temporarily, you'll have a pretty good indication that you've found the problem. For example, when trying to determine why one of the seats in our C5 wouldn't move forward and back, we found that hitting the top of the cushion briefly rectified the glitch. This led us to deduce that the seat module located under the cushion was the culprit.
You can repair cold-solder joints without knowing anything about circuitry. Use a light and a magnifying glass to examine components for hairline cracks in the solder around the pins. Fixing them will require a low-wattage, pencil-style soldering iron and some rosin-core solder, which can be found at any Radio Shack or auto-parts store.
Apply a small amount of solder to the heated iron, then use the tip of the iron to heat the joint and apply the solder at the same time. The solder should flow evenly on the joint, repairing the connection. This process should only take a second or two. Any more, and the heat from the iron could damage the circuit board or the component itself. Repeat as needed, soldering any and all questionable connections.
Repairing cold-solder joints can fix many of your Corvette's intermittent electrical problems, so don't be afraid to try this simple repair. Remember, the components in question are already broken and would normally be discarded. You have nothing to lose by trying.