Fuse keeps blowing (driver power seat)

Tiny
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  • 2001 SATURN L300
  • 2.2L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 120,000 MILES
So, the driver's power seat stopped working. Checked and found its fuse (20A) blew. Replaced fuse and seat worked just long enough to move it so I could at least fit in to drive, but then blew again. Bought some fuses and replaced it again. This time it was blown before I could even move the seat at all (key not in, seat normally works with out key). Had lots of fuses so tried another. Blown.

Bleh.

So now I've been researching how to track down a short. But I keep getting confused.

First I thought it may have been the power seat switch (because my multimeter's continuity gave different tones when testing the 8-way plug after I removed the switch completely). But a new-ish switch I bought off eBay also behaved exactly the same way on multimeter.

Now I'm trying to use multimeter to narrow down where short is happening.

Question: if I disconnect negative cable from battery, should I get ANY continuity reading at all when testing between the neg/pos holes of a cigarette lighter connector plug? Because I do. Even though it's not full continuity as you get when touching the multimeter's probes together. It's close though.

I couldn't understand why that should happen, so I tried the same test elsewhere. Pulled the light bulb out of the passenger's door, and tested either side of the plug it went in. Same. Seeing continuity with neg cable off battery (pos. Cable still attached).

Shouldn't there be no continuity between neg and pos points on a device plug? Especially if neg. Battery cable is detached.

What to do? Test between power seat switch plug and fuse holes?

Thanks.
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 AT 4:56 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It sounds like you have a seat motor that is pulling to much voltage to work. Try disconnecting the seat electrical connector and see if the fuse still blows?

Please let us know what you find.

Cheers.
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 AT 6:54 PM
Tiny
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That's what I was thinking. Grr. Something must be wrong then.

Well, I fiddled some more testing a few different scenarios to see if fuse would blow. Finally put the seat switch back in. Tested it. And it's working, and not blowing fuse. But I still don't know what was blowing it in the first place. I've heard continuing to hold the button down when seat can't move anymore can overload it. (Which sounds dumb). But then again, that wouldn't cause it to immediately blow again on 2nd fuse. Possibly cigarette lighter causing it, or DVD player in middle console (which seems to be running again, suspiciously). Hmmm

dunno. But it's working for now. So I'll cross my fingers.

However, since I did seem to get continuity on both sides of a socket (removed light bulb, probed each side of plug). Does that mean we have a slow power drain?

Could that cause issues with our clock perpetually running faster and faster. Been doing that for years.

Thanks for reply.
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 AT 8:37 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Well, I don't think it would cause the clock issue, but it does lead me to believe there is a short to power somewhere in the system. As far as an electrical draw, have you checked for one? Have you ever had trouble with a battery going dead over night?
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Thursday, May 15th, 2014 AT 4:50 AM
Tiny
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Nope. Have had the car over 3-4 years and never had a problem with battery going dead.

I'm just unsure if understand enough about how it works.

What should the result be for the following scenarios:

1. Both POS & NEG cables CONNECTED to battery. Test for continuity on any device's two contact points (e.G. Disconnect cigarette lighter socket and test connector plug, or remove light bulb and test contact points).

2. POS cabled DISCONNECTED, NEG cable CONNECTED. Same continuity test. (Note: I've done straight continuity. Sometimes don't get a tone, but if I switch to Ohms I can see it does have lowered resistance, i.E. Some continuity.)

3. POS CONNECTED, NEG DISCONNECTED. Same test. Should there be a difference?
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Saturday, May 17th, 2014 AT 10:18 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:

Sorry for the delay, I had to take a trip all the way to Cleveland Ohio. Ugh!

As far as the test, when you check continuity, you are doing nothing but checking to see if there is a continuation of power through a conductor (the wire). Honestly, that shouldn't change.

If you remove a light, for example, you have opened the circuit and there should be NO continuity from one contact to the other (battery connected or not), Is that what you are seeing?
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Sunday, May 18th, 2014 AT 7:51 PM
Tiny
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I should go test it one more time now that everything is put back together and running "normally". But, yes, my multimeter registered "some" connectivity between two contact points of an empty cargo light socket on the passenger door (as well as on a cigarette lighter plug for the back seat, on back of center console).

Don't remember if it actually beeped on continuity setting, but did show a charge in ohms on other setting.

Also, I do seem to recall an odd response when testing [something, I forget which device, probably one of these two]. On continuity, it would beep but the tone would immediately fade out. What would cause that, a weak battery in multimeter? Same continuity test elsewhere, however, like touching probes together, would produce solid tone.

One other thing. When fiddling with loose cigarette lighter socket on center console, I attempted to remove console to better inspect lighter wiring. Couldn't successfully remove console but loosened it, and the process seems to have reawakened our forgotten about dvd player which sits atop center console (driver's arm rests on it). Don't think it's been running for some time now. Maybe short is in wiring in console?
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Monday, May 19th, 2014 AT 5:30 AM
Tiny
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By the way, if anyone needs a working power seat switch for a 00-03 Saturn L300 (may fit other models too?), I'm putting the one I bought off eBay back up for auction since the switch wasn't the problem after all.

POWER SEAT SWITCH for Saturn 00-05 L series (L100, L200, L300)
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Monday, May 19th, 2014 AT 5:44 AM

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