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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2004 (new model style) Spectra EX. It has developed the following electrical problem that has progressively worsened:

When it is cool, cold or damp, the following electrical components do not work: tail lights, dash illumination, power locks, power windows, rear window defogger, intermittent windshield wipers (wipers still work in low and high settings), keyless entry, remote trunk opener and possibly the seat belt warning chime (not sure about this).

Initially, this problem occurred when it was extremely cold in the morning; once the car warmed up, all of the above components would come on simultaneously. The problem has progressed to the point that it occurs now during the summer when it is either cool or damp. For instance, the above items usually don't work in the morning or at night. But, if the car has been parked in the sun all day, they all work. If these components come on while I'm driving, the seat belt warning light will flash 6 or 7 times (even though I'm wearing my seat belt).

Any ideas what the problem is?
 

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Your BCM (ETACS) module is where the problem lies..
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jpzQZLGNBHM5ZqrIetlqWjF07TOhOqnlHe_kEgugvZI/edit

To rule out the whole module check for 12v at fuses
Hazard 10A
ROOM 15A
A/CON 10A
CLUSTER 10A
When problem is acting up...
Check for voltage on these fuses in the cab fuse box (behind plastic door to the left of the steering wheel) and post here... You should have 12v on ALL of these fuses..

Effected areas located in BCM [x]=yes
[x]tail lights,
[x]dash illumination,
[x] power locks,
[x] power windows,
[x] rear window defogger,
[x] intermittent windshield wipers (wipers still work in low and high settings),
[x] keyless entry, remote trunk opener and possibly
[x] the seat belt warning chime (not sure about this).

Also controlled by BCM (ETACS)
turn relay
key hole illumination
door warning switch
trunk open switch

It is located behind the
There is a plastic panel on the dash that the drivers door closes on to.
This panel is held in place by friction fasteners and will pop loose.
When removed it will expose two screws that holds the plastic panel under the steering wheel in place on the left side. Remove them..
Now below the plastic steering wheel panel there will be two more screws. one to the left of the steering wheel and one to the right...Remove them.
This panel will now be removable after the top is pulled out (two more friction fasteners).
The BCM (ETACS) module is located behind where the panel was...
When you get this far post here..
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dave,

Thank you for your informed, thorough and easy to follow answer. There is voltage at the "Room" fuse and the "Cluster" fuse. The 4-way flashers and A/C work, so it seems fair to assume that there is voltage at the "Hazard" and "A/CON" fuses. However, I checked all of this when the problem was not occurring. (It is a warm, dry summer day here, the only type of weather when the problem does not occur!) So, perhaps, I cannot move forward with troubleshooting until the problem returns?

In case I can move forward, I removed the panel under the steering wheel (I would have never found those two screws hiding behind the panel in the door jam without your help!!!).
 

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Putting back together a "salvage" 06 KiA Spectra has it's perks :)
I had to remove the "rack and pinion" that was damaged and the steering wheel had to be dropped and disconnected from the pinion..
You might want to look for the ground wire (usually black in color) coming off the BCM and bolting to the firewall.. That is "common" to all the problems involving the BCM and ground problems are pretty common in KIAs. Corrosion at grounds will make a very intermittent beast... There are two BOLTS that mount the BCM in place...they may also be a ground return.. Check them to make sure they are tight. Vibration over time could loosen them.

Keep us posted...You're getting closer...
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dave,

What does the BCM look like? The only thing I only see after removing the panel under the steering column is the fuse block.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I pulled the fuse panel out. The ground wire connection to the fuse panel looks fine. The ground wire runs up into a cable harness that runs up behind the upper dashboard. Impossible to trace.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I put everything back together again to use the car, but now it won't start; it cranks heartily but won't turn over. Any idea why?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok. The car wouldn't start because I missed a step: I had neglected to tighten the two bolts in the center of the fuse block, the bolts you referred to earlier as mounting the BCM in place. (It is easy to overlook this step because the bolts are captive and therefore remain in place after being loosened.) After I tightened these two bolts, the car started right up.

Now this has me thinking: you'd also mentioned in an earlier post that these bolts "may be a ground return." I recall now that when I originally loosened them, the upper bolt was VERY tight, but the lower bolt was not. So, I am hoping that you were right and that my intermittent electrical problems associated with the ETACS/ETACM/BCM (or whatever it's called) were due to this semi-loose bolt. A few days of driving around in less than perfect weather (mother nature will be cooperating for this step of the troubleshooting process) should provide the answer as to whether or not tightening that lower bolt solved the problem.

I hope so!!

Thanks for you help Dave.
 

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I hope it was a loose ground bolt...
I believe that connection is aluminum where the bolts contact...

Aluminum has a bad history of oxidation.. Alcoa made "all aluminum" model homes as well as well as other's made mobile homes with aluminum wiring... Lot's of fires.

In a car you won't find that (because of the low voltage) but you can find bad connections (and some heat).

They make an anti-oxidant paste that is used on the AC feeds into house fuse boxes as most outside power feeds (wires) ARE aluminum and "if" they get loose at the breaker panel oxidation can cause BIG problems...

PLEASE keep us informed so others may benefit from your findings..
Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No such luck. Tightening the bolts in the fuse block did not solve the problem. Tomorrow, I will remove the entire dashboard in search of the other end of the ground cable to see if there is a loose or corroded connection.

Interestingly, I contacted the parts department at the local Kia dealer to get a price for a replacement BCM/ETACM. Several days later, I still have not gotten a price quote.
 

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Go to the local bone/salvage yard for the BCM... not the dealer.....I'll post more later ...gotta go.
Dave
 

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Had to run with my wife to drop off 2 of our 5 dogs for grooming...
A BCM/ETAC from a "donor" car will work...but your key fob won't after replacing
it... The price should be a fraction of a new/re-built one at a dealer.. This would allow
you to confirm/deny the failure of your BCM..If your problems continue then reinstall the old one. If your problems are cured then have the dealer reprogram the donor BCM for your current fobs...
Check out ebay also for prices and availability..
They should be very reasonable as the seldom fail...You could be one of the few with a bad one.
Dave
 

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There is one at...
2005 Chassis Control Box(not Engine)
Kia Spectra Theft/Locking, (Keyless Entry Cont, R. dash), (2.0L), from 11/25/04 RESTOCKING FEE 100%
A1201 $25 Brewster Auto Salvage, INC. USA-NY(Brewster)
Request_Quote 845-279-9364 Request_Insurance_Quote
93 miles from Cropseyville..
Ask if this is the one with the fuse panel attached before buying.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, after tightening the two bolts in the middle of the fuse block last Tuesday, I returned the car to its prior condition; no better, no worse. So, yesterday I began my search for a loose or corroded ground connection. My plan was to remove the dashboard so that I could get a decent view of the wiring behind it. I didn't get very far. I removed the panels in both front door jams, then removed the lower crash panel (the dash panel under the steering wheel), replicating what I did last weekend to get to the fuse panel and BCM/ETACM. Then I removed the two screws above the instrument cluster. I removed two screws from each door jam, thinking they secured the dashboard, but discovered they just held the vent cover assemblies in place. I removed two screws at the top of the inside of the glove box, then concluded that they did not secure the dashboard and replaced them. At that point, the dashboard was still firmly in place and I was out of ideas on how to remove it. I did some web search without success and got no furhter yesterday.

My wife needed to use the car today, so I put the lower crash panel back in place. But, when she went to use the car, there was no power whatsoever. I replaced everything I removed yesterday and, sure enough, absolutely no power. I checked the battery with a multimeter and got plenty of needle movement; got the same at the cable connectors connected to the battery posts. Tried jumping the car just in case; nothing. Took the cables off the battery and cleaned them and the battery posts with sandpaper, then reconnected. Nothing. I looked for any loose connections at the fuse panel or on the lower crash panel (since that's the only thing that I tinkered with since the car previously ran); nothing. When the key is turned in the ignition, there is no sound. No click as there is when the starter is bad.

The problem has just escalated from bad to catastrophic. And I have no idea what to check next.
 

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I would look at the 80~120A fuse under the hood and the other fuses in that area..
You probably blew one poking around in there... Don't feel bad we all have done this...
With your volt/ohm meter check for voltages on common fuses on the inside fuse panel.
If they are missing...start looking at the under the hood fuse panel for blown fuses.
The inside panel IS fed from the outside one. It's not catastrophic...just a setback.
Buddy I feel for you... Got a wife also :)
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dave,

I really appreciate all the time you have put in to help me. I checked the 120A fuse and it is okay. So I checked for voltage across the fuse: none. I then checked for voltage on the lead in to the 120A fuse (by touching both probes on the lead in): nothing. So, this suggested that the open must be somewhere between the battery and the lead in to the 120A fuse. This sounds like a wicked coincidence. I don't see how my poking around the cabin fuse box would have resulted in an open between the battery and the engine compartment fuse box.

Tom
 

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Tom you need to ground the black lead on the meter and put it in 20v dc mode.
You can't put both probes on the same point as there will be no voltage read.
You read voltage in reference to ground (car body).
I have added the power distribution image to this post to help you find where the 12v is and where it isn't...
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B-YuNuTyh57XVzkzUnVCR3ByaVU
This is a Microsoft Word type document that you should be able to print. If you read from the negative terminal on the battery on this diagram to the fuses connected to the (+) side of the battery you should be able to locate where the +12v is and isn't...
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow! Can I be stupid sometimes! My inability to apply Ohm's law (V = I x R) to a simple practical situation is rather embarrassing. For those of you reading this thread who aren't laughing hysterically at me yet, voltage is current times resistance. If there is no resistance ("load"), then there is no voltage. With constant voltage, current increases as resistance decreases (as in a short circuit) and current decreases as resistance increases (in an open, the resistance is virtually infinite, so there is no current). I was measuring for voltage between two points in the circuit between which there was virtually no resistance, however the current through that conductor was determined by all of the resistance in the circuit. Simply put, the current in the circuit times no resistance between the two measuring points equals zero voltage.

So, when measured voltage properly, I observed voltage at the engine compartment fuse box.

So, my next suspect is the main relay. Do you see any problem with temporarily replacing the main relay with a jumper wire to see if there is any voltage beyond it in the circuit? I guess I could just spend the $13 and buy a replacement relay and see if it fixes the problem. Repeatedly troubleshooting that way, however, can get costly if you're a bad guesser like me!
 
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