Excursion and Electrical woes.


Seven years later and we have our first significant issue with the Excursion. 🙁

Yesterday C informed me that she didn’t have any brake lights (nor turn signals). I asked her to stop at an auto parts store and check the fuse for the brake lights. Sure enough it was blown. Problem was as soon as you put another one in it just popped. If course she didn’t know, according to her replacing the fuse didn’t fix it.

The fella at the auto parts store suggested it was probably the Flasher Relay, but they couldn’t figure out where that was.

When I got home I took all of the tail lights apart and looked for any visible shorts. I disconnected the trailer adapter just in case. There was a front marker light out but no visible signs of a short. So, yeah, let’s try the flasher relay.

I stopped by a couple different auto parts stores to find one. Finally did, picked up a bunch more fuses (for testing) and started the hunt for the relay. The Haynes manual says it’s mounted to the right of the steering column. That’s a lie, it isn’t there. Somewhere I read on the web that it was under the dash behind the cubby. After much searching and tearing a good portion of the dash apart I was able to find it hidden in a box under a cover, behind the cubby. Just about cost me my arm though trying to get up in there. I finally got it replaced, but the fuse still blows about 2 seconds after insertion, regardless if the brakes or turn signals are pushed.

We’re going to drop it off at the dealer tomorrow morning. I have a felling this isn’t going to be cheap. 🙁 But locating a short within that wiring harness is beyond my patience threshold.


Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t that bad after all. Something was ‘leaking’ onto the brake switch. What? Well, the tech didn’t elaborate, which had shorted it out.

They didn’t charge us full price for diagnostics on this since there was a recall they needed to perform anyway.

They did however talk me into the 100,000 mile service which included:

Coolant flush and fill, air cleaner, oil change, 8 new plugs and plug wires, transmission flush, etc.

We also elected to have them install new shocks front and rear.

The Excursion has been a very good vehicle for us. It’s paid for now and we plan on putting at least another 70,000 miles on it. The only difference now is that instead of a car payment we’ll have to start maintaining things that are wearing out. 🙁

We certainly hadn’t budgeted for all of this ($1200 worth) but it needed to be done.

It’s always something isn’t it?

Today I had the joyous task of putting a new alternator, and while I was at it a new serpentine belt, on the Excursion.

All in all this was simple as pie.

It all started a couple weeks ago. The battery light would come on every once in a while but only during harsh acceleration, like getting on the freeway.

Last night, Claudine got stranded on her way to the gym. The battery light came on and stayed on and the battery didn’t last nearly as long as it should have.

Seeing how everything was original (110,000 miles and 6 years old), I figured it was time for a new battery and if that didn’t do it, an alternator too.

I picked up Claudine and we went to NAPA and grabbed a new battery. This got us home but didn’t take care of the underlying issue, the alternator.

I did a little digging on the web trying to figure out just how much of a pain this was going to be, and honestly I couldn’t tell. There were reports of needing to cut the fan shroud to get the serpentine belt out, and/or loosening up the radiator and moving it around. Oh joy.

The alternator on the beast wasn’t cheap either. $208 for a new one as no remanufactured ones were anywhere near us.

Popping off the serpentine belt on the modular 5.4 liter v8 was simple. Loosen the tensioner with a ¾ ratchet and cheater bar and it slid right off. The way this thing is routed didn’t require me to cut anything or mess with the radiator or fan.

Replacement took about 40 minutes total, 25 to get things off, and 15 back on.

It’s ready to go for another 6 years of service.