Frozen controls

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87e30
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Frozen controls

Postby 87e30 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:48 pm

I've known since the beginning of winter (or whenever the hell it first started getting cold this past season) that my right blinker doesn't work until it warms up. The left one gives me trouble once in a while if it's REALLY cold. This morning I found out the hard way that my horn isn't happy with the cold either. Driving to work this morning I'm going past the school around the corner from my house where there's cars everywhere dropping off their kids. The way I'm going has no stop sign at the corner where there is USUALLY a crossing guard that lives 2 houses away. Luckily I was driving slower than most people in that area, because when approaching the intersection a big white passenger van decided that instead of slowing down and stopping at the stop sign that he should floor it and make a left turn in front of me without even signalling. I swerved into oncoming traffic and laid on the horn, but the horn only beeped twice for like 1/100th of a second each time even though I was holding the button for at least 2 seconds. I feel bad for those kids that have to ride in that van. That driver is gonna end up killing all of them.

So anyone else having problems with any controls getting frozen in the cold? Any ways to prevent it from happening again?
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325is (newest project)
Arktisblau 5-speed 86 325e (current DD)
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325e (parts car/LS1 swap?)
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby Yoshi » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:37 pm

That's a new one. I'd call it a relay issue. Try your hazards and see if that does anything. If your hazards work fine but the blinkers don't, the issue is with the switch itself.

For the horn, Usually it's a sign either the horn is dying or the horn isn't grounded well. Replacing my horn fixed my issue.
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby 87e30 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:40 pm

It's definitely the blinker switch. The left blinker only acts up when it's like 20 below 0 outside. The right blinker acts up if it's below like 40. Sometimes if I wiggle the blinker stalk around it helps it "warm up" quicker, so I'm guessing I just need to take it apart and clean the contacts.

The horn has never given me any issues before. It was like 20 degrees when I left for work this morning. When I hit the horn button it actually felt like it was stuck. Either some crap got in there, or maybe frozen condensation.

After being almost 80 degrees last week it's back in the 20's to 40's this week. Yesterday even my locks froze! When I finally got the key to turn and unlocked it my drivers door was frozen shut.
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325is (newest project)
Arktisblau 5-speed 86 325e (current DD)
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325e (parts car/LS1 swap?)
Gazellenbeige automatic 85 318i (70,000 miles)
Alpine white 5-speed 87 325is (my first e30, possibly for sale)
99 Suburban
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby M20_fever » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:13 pm

The blinker stalk on my old 325e did that. I sprayed CRC electronic cleaner into the column where the stalk goes it and moved the stalk in and down a few times and it would work better, but eventually it just died and I had to replace it. Had the horn do the same thing on that car too, cleaned the horn ring contacts and it fixed it, then the horns themselves died. In my case it wasn't related to outside temps since it happened in the summer, but your probably correct in assuming condensation is making the issue worse. Huge temperature swings like that can be hell on electrical connections. That's why I use dielectric grease on everything when I have to touch it.
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby pr0craztinazn » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:45 pm

Horns in general act oddly when outside temps drop significantly below freezing. The switches for our turn signals and wipers aren't very robust when compared against similar Japanese cars (that aren't Mazdas) from the same era. Metal contracts a wee bit when your temps hit the low teens (degrees F), and for parts that have 25+ years of wear on them, that can translate into no connection being made when you need it.

My experience with my '87 was that the relays would get sticky in 0F weather, and the horn was non-functional until the car hit around 20F. The '90 has been babied since the chassis has north of 350k miles on it, so I can't tell if the late model stuff is more robust.
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby 87e30 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:46 pm

I haven't driven my car in 8 days, but it's nice and toasty out today, so I'm about to find out if the controls work perfectly on a warm day now. As far as I can remember I didn't have any problems with the wiper controls on the coldest of cold days, but I shall expect to see that next winter... Or next week if the weather keeps up like it has been. 2 days ago 86 degrees in Michigan and predicting snow by the weekend.
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325is (newest project)
Arktisblau 5-speed 86 325e (current DD)
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325e (parts car/LS1 swap?)
Gazellenbeige automatic 85 318i (70,000 miles)
Alpine white 5-speed 87 325is (my first e30, possibly for sale)
99 Suburban
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby Yoshi » Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:17 am

We got snow and 80 a few weeks back. It's that time of the month for mother nature apparently lol.
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Re: Frozen controls

Postby 87e30 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:35 pm

Yoshi wrote:We got snow and 80 a few weeks back. It's that time of the month for mother nature apparently lol.


rofl I guess so.

Actually seeing 70's and low 80's in the same DAY as major snow storms isn't that rare in Michigan because of all the wind coming off the great lakes, but it's been crazy all over the country lately.
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325is (newest project)
Arktisblau 5-speed 86 325e (current DD)
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325e (parts car/LS1 swap?)
Gazellenbeige automatic 85 318i (70,000 miles)
Alpine white 5-speed 87 325is (my first e30, possibly for sale)
99 Suburban

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