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Trouble shooting your vehicles gremlins.

June 27, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur Trouble shooting your vehicles gremlins. - image Capture-38 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

When travelling in remote areas, you will find a time where you have to get your mighty stallion back up to health, with next to no outside assistance!

When diagnosing any gremlins, on your vehicle, the source of the problem can be obvious, but with the right frame of mind you can easily diagnose any dramas, on the side of the tracks in next to no time!

With all of the accessories available on the market, it’s easy enough to get your accessories delivered to your door and with so many accessories being designed to be DIY installed, you may happen to have some gremlins showing up from time to time!

So, if you are looking at installing a set LED Driving Lights or installing a brand new UHF Radio to keep in contact on the tracks, or even your dual battery system to keep all your power running smoothly you should know a thing or two about how to make your brand new accessories keep running!



12v Gremlins!

Starting with your electrical gremlins, these issues often scare people the most, the first step in electrical fault diagnosis is to start with the one tool that is indispensable with getting to the bottom of all electrical gremlins that is a reliable multi-meter.  This will help you check continuity of a wire, just to see if there is a fault or break in the line, it will also tell you if there is enough voltage in your battery, and even if there is enough voltage at the thing that is not working.

Starting out with your diagnosis, you must always start at the source, set your multimeter to stun… just kidding, set it to read DC voltage – in the 00.0 range. And check that the voltage is 12.6V or above, it is also a good idea to check your fuses (if you have a blown fuse, there’s your problem… well sorta), if all you do is replace the fuse, you’ll find it blown again in no time… and if you are crazy enough to increase the fuses rating, you are asking for trouble, with the most common outcome being a potential fire!

With the availability of dozens of 12v accessories you can add to your 4WD it is inevitable that you’ll, eventually run into trouble with your setup, particularly if you installed the electricals yourself, with next to no experience.

Below is a diagnosing flow chart that can help you with all of your D.I.Y. electrical installations;


Check the main circuit fuse – is the fuse good? NO
YES Replace Fuse
Check to see if a relay (switch) is present in the circuit – is the relay good? NO
YES Replace Relay
Check for power is 12V present? NO
YES Fault is on the power Supply side of the circuit. Check the battery isn’t flat, terminals are tight and there are no broken wires.
Compare voltage at component to battery voltage – Is it within 5%? NO
YES Voltage drop indicates a loose or corroded connection on power supply. Check battery terminal, wiring and fuse box wiring is tight and undamaged.
Check earth is clean, tight and has continuity to the battery NO
YES Clean, repair and tighten earth
Is the internal fuse on the device good? NO
YES Replace internal fuse
Re-check operation. Is it working now? NO
YES Don’t give up take, your time. Check the last thing you touched and refer to the workshop manual.
Crack a cold one and pat yourself on the back!


If you are going over your wiring and want to improve your 12v wiring, you need to consider the top 10 wiring tips!

  1. Always replace fuses with a fuse of the same type size and current rating.
  2. Always scrape the paint off underneath a wire to chassis connection and grease to prevent corrosion.
  3. Always use a ‘star’ washer between a wire terminal and the chassis.
  4. Always use the correct sized crimp terminal according to cable size.
  5. Never remove wire strands to make a wire fit into a crimp connector that is too small for it.
  6. Make sure you strip the correct amount of insulation from a wire before crimping.
  7. Always use the correct tool for the job, e.g. Hex crimping tool (not pliers) and wire strippers (not side cutters)
  8. Avoid quick crimp cable connectors.
  9. Relays should always be installed with the pins face down, to prevent water ingress.
  10. A relay with a higher current rating can always be used in place of a relay with a lower current rating but not the other way around.


Next up is the mechanical faults!

Whilst you don’t necessarily have the same “multimeter style” tool to analyses your vehicles mechanical faults, by plugging in an Engine Data Scan you instantaneously gain access to all of your 4WD’s internal sensor information as well as access to your computer’s error data which makes sure you can always check for exactly what fault codes your vehicle may be throwing.

To get to the bottom of these engine codes all you require is an OBDII port of your 4WD, this standardized port enables you to discover everything that might go wrong with your vehicle. With massive computing power, a Scan Tool Gauge that can interpret and clear your fault codes. An EDS computer also outputs all the digital gauges you could possibly imagine, with all of the data being input into the EDS you can also record information like a trip computer, giving you accurate information on fuel economy and distances traveled etc.

The EDS can even be CAR BLACK BOX, recording things like max speed, acceleration and deceleration as well as a time and date for each trip.


Whilst the EDS can tell you a lot about, what is happening under the bonnet, the process of trouble shooting with other mechanical issues is sometimes as simple as stopping and listening – when listening trouble will show itself extremely quickly, and the more you narrow down the sound, the more you can diagnose what is wrong without even undoing a bolt.

We’ve found when the sound is internal, you can use the butt of the handle of your through tang Adventure Kings Screwdriver from your 4WD can act like a stethoscope allowing you to hear the inside of your motor and identify issues like rattling tappets, whistling bearings and the like and identify the severity of the issues!

Trouble shooting will help you get your wheels rolling again – all by yourself, no matter where you are stuck.