VW used this same style of fuse holder but didn't seem to have this problem. Perhaps they used a better grade of phosphor bronze for the contact clips which maintained better spring force. The only thing that happened to VWs is that occasionally the contact surface would tarnish and go to high imepedance. The fuse block was easily reached under the front hood, out of the weather. One could reach in and spin each fuse a couple of turns without even getting dirty.
I don't understand why the author went to the trouble of replacing these fuseholders when he could have simply stretched a strong rubber band across each one.
I agree, Chuck. The maddening part of this problem is that it will certainly happen again and again because of the fuse-holder design. This isn't incidental. This will happen every time the fuses are taken out and replaced.
I bought an Opel Kadette that used the same fuse holders, received a warning to have the car inspected because the lights were blinking as the car went over bumps.
Over rode the euro fuse with the SAE fuses - no blinking.
My 65 MG Midget used the SAE fuses - just two 30 amp fuses guarding all the circuits. None of the wires were suitable for 30 amps, but it got by. The car had little body rot on it, turned out the positive ground (earthing) slowed corrosion to the point of non-visible. I would have kept that car if the transmission didn't have a problem in first and reverse thanks to my brother who was learning how to drive a stick shift. Great car, only 35 mpg, and light!
I had a similar problem on my Saab 99 Turbo that had the same style of fuse holder. I had it overheat in downtown Seattle, in December with the outside temperature below freezing. This was my first trip to Washington to meet my new wife's extended family, and she was not impressed. I discovered that neither of the twin cooling fans were running. I checked the fuse and discovered it was ok, but when I touched it the fans started up. The ends of the fuse were a little corroded so I replaced it.
Over the next year I had the same thing happen again multiple times. It turned out that the fuse holder had gotten corroded as well and there were only a few points of contact left that quickly corroded the end of a new fuse. The contacts on the holder were tined and the corrosion had exposed the copper underneath, accelerating the corrosion. I finally replaced the entire fuse block and the problem went away.
Not as bad as all that -- and perhaps poorly described. The 'edge' is a lip within the front compartment, not in the wheel well, thus it is indeed a protected and always-dry area. Any rain which flows nearby is directed away via a typical channel (think - same as around the trunk of your car), and any items kept in the front compartment remain dry. Yes, somewhat atypical of a Brit car, but that's how it is.
"under the edge f the inner front fender" is still in the area that gets a lot of saltwater spray for at least 4 months of the year, at least in a good part of the northeastern US. So are most of the areas that are forward of the passenger compartment. That is why many cars now have some well sealed enclosures for all of the more delicate electrical components. That salt spray will cover everything that is not intentionally adequately protected. Just being in the shadow of a fender is not nearly enough protection for a relay.
Everyone thinks that Lucas had a quality problem... They were just ahead of their time. It is called "Planned Obsolescence" an Idea that the various US manufacturers have plyed with to varying degrees of success or failure. Though for the British motor industry, the standardization to Lucas parts made the problems universal rather than manufacturer specific. It is interesting that this "single vendor" mentality had a large part in the ending of "The British Auto Industry". When Leyland bought the sole company doing sheet metal bodywork it just finished it off...
Probably the only thing that has kept the US auto industry going is that the market is large enough that the individual car companies can support the multiple supply chains so every car doens't have exactly the same problem. And because of this there is some competition because there is something to compare your car against, as the different vendors don't all have the same design weaknesses.
Colin Chapman had one overriding design philosophy which, in this case and perhaps a few others, worked to his detriment: No component was allowed to do only one job. Thus he was probably thrilled with the concept of integrating the fuse holder with the relay. Had the concept been soundly executed, a great idea; but in the implemented design, not so much...
At least with the modification, that 'integration' is to a certain extent maintained, and the in-line fuse holders are actually much more 'sealed' than their predecessors which featured totally unprotected contacts.
Peter (who doesn't drink beer, warm or otherwise...but has the T-shirt)
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