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Pickup’s warning chime irritating

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — EAR TOM AND RAY: This past year, I got some kind of fungus in my ears caused me to need hearing aids. It is great being able to hear again, but with one drawback: I drive a ’97 Ford F-150 pickup, and when I open the door, the warning bell reverberates in my hearing aids and drives me crazy. My regular car mechanic says he’s afraid to try to disconnect it. What can I do to get some relief? – Gary

TOM: It’s not easy, Gary. You should see if one of the guys from the local bomb squad moonlights. He can probably handle it.

RAY: We know it’s not easy because we tried it once for a customer with a similar Ford truck.

TOM: We took the simplest approach, which is to remove the thing that makes the noise. We located it way up under the dashboard. And after a great deal of difficulty, one sprained elbow and two dislocated shoulders, we removed it.

RAY: Only once we removed it, something else important didn’t work … like the headlights, or some other lights.

TOM: The problem is that that same chime is also used to warn you when, for instance, you leave your headlights on. And it turned out all that stuff was wired together.

RAY: So if you want to kill just the door chime, you’ve got to perform a more surgical operation.

TOM: The wiring module that controls this thing is in the steering column, so start by removing the steering collar.

RAY: On the left side, you’ll see a little plastic junction box with colored wires. You want to find the black and purple wires, and carefully cut them.

TOM: Be careful. If you cut the red wire by mistake, Harrison Ford may have to come in and rescue you.

RAY: The real reason to be careful is that it’s much easier and cheaper to cut these wires than it is to put them back!

TOM: Also keep in mind that the chime is there because lots of morons like us have locked their keys in the car, or left the headlights on.

RAY: Try dulling the chime first. If you find the chime itself up under the dash, try wrapping it in some sound insulation. That may mute the sound, while still leaving a barely audible warning chime in place.

Got a question about cars? Email Click and Clack by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.

 

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