Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby speedy57 [OP] » September 24th 2011, 6:56pm

Looking for the Best way to handle sensor and their wiring connectors cleaning and long term protection. I know that there is elc. spray cleaners for spraying but is that all you have to do is spray the sensor & connector or do you have to physically clean the two and after cleaning the two is it wise to put some die-electric grease in the connector? Also is it wise to use WD-40 as a cleaner and protect ant for corrosion? Thanks in Advance!!!
If it's Older than Dirt I can work on it :)
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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby Lumpy » September 24th 2011, 7:31pm

Probably depends on the type of "sensor". Oil pressure sensor would not be the same approach as an O2 sensor or a Vehicle Speed Sensor. Generally, I'd think that the business end of the sensor, any sensor, shouldn't require any kind of cleaning.

I use dielectric grease on every electrical connection in the van.


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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby speedy57 [OP] » September 24th 2011, 8:52pm

I'm just asking about the elc. connection side of sensors.Would putting Dielectric grease in connectors cause a problem in the future if it dried out causing resistance and causing a code? :think:
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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby throrope » September 24th 2011, 10:25pm

Yes, definitely clean the connectors first. IMHO, you will not improve the connection without getting rid of the crap. The crap creates resistance, resulting in heat, resulting in more crap, resulting in melted plastic and ultimately loss of connector.

2X on Lumpy. Dielectric grease is recommended for marine applications and I expect will do just fine with automobiles. I don't expect it will ever dry out.

Someone told me petroleum jelly is about the same.

I used the spray type battery terminal protector before with good results. It creates a barrier between the the metal surfaces and air, water, etc. that protects from corrosion. I think it is a little messy for other applications.

High temperature connectors like Lumpy's O2 sensor are a different ball game and any grease will most likely burn off.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby RECox286 » September 25th 2011, 12:18am

As far as electrical connectors go, any product that will keep water from getting into the connection is a plus. Whether you use dielectric or petrolatum (vasolene) the end result is the same.

Of course for spark plug wire ends and heat sink applications, use dielectric grease . Any other connection (ie: 12v or less) use either treatment.

Cleaning: there is an electronics cleaning product out there called "QD" which is excellent for MAF sensors and electrical connections., Any electronics cleaner or electric motor cleaner in a can will work just as well

for general electrical connection applications.


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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby Lumpy » September 25th 2011, 12:54am

OK. For just the elec connectors, FB (that means 'Fine Business' in morse code) to all of the above.
Electrical contact cleaners tend to be largely alcohol. The alcohol and the high pressure aerosol
tend to blow dirt and grease off of the brass/nickel/tin terminals. Then it evaporates quickly.

Then dielectric grease probably does a couple of things.
1 - It displaces oxygen and water from the surface of the metal contacts
2 - It provides a "filler" (the actual dielectric properties) within the plastic/rubber housing and between
the adjacent metallic contacts to make the assembly more "solid" to fight vibration
3 - It lubricates the plastic/rubber so that you can remove and reinstall it later (esp spark plug boots for example)

Clean 'em. Grease 'em up with dielectric grease. I'm inclined to use stuff made for automobiles.
It's probably more heat/vibration/solvent resistant than stuff made for things like coaxial cable
connections. In fact, I've used the same stuff I use on radio tranceiver coax in automobile situations.
It tends to get dried out and shrink away from the connectors. The tube of stuff I buy for $5 at
Checkerpepzone doesn't. A tube of it lasts approximately eleven lifetimes, or just slightly longer
than a tub of wheel bearing grease.


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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby speedy57 [OP] » September 25th 2011, 3:00pm

So there's no problem using Dielectric Grease for PCM and thru Firewall connection's on vehicles just put it in all low heat exposed connector's?
If it's Older than Dirt I can work on it :)
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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby RECox286 » September 25th 2011, 3:31pm

YEP

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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby Lumpy » September 25th 2011, 10:23pm

I'm not even sure if "low heat" is a consideration.
Can't get much hotter than spark plug boots.

Even the O2 sensor has a pigtail and the connector is a few inches away
from the hotsie totsie.

Worst it could do would be melt the stuff out of the connector.
Even then I bet it would still leave the thing lubricated so you
could get it apart.


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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby speedy57 [OP] » September 25th 2011, 11:05pm

I guess I'm Hard Headed :banghead: But it seems like it would add resistance to the connection if you put a Dielectric Gease on the contacts themselfs :think: Tell me please that I'm Hard Headed :banghead: :lol:
If it's Older than Dirt I can work on it :)
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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby RECox286 » September 26th 2011, 1:29am

Yep.

The "lubricant" in this case is there to simply keep errant water and air elsewhere. The connector pins are in direct contact with each other, and the goop neither adds nor subtracts any ohmic value to the circuit.
You would be correct to assume the opposite if the connection worked more like an air gap, such as at the working end of a spark plug. There are no such connections used in automobiles that I'm aware of, other
than possibly in the horn, and even that is a working end, and not considered to be a "connection".

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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby Jasen » September 26th 2011, 2:14am

From Wikipedia

Dielectric grease
Dielectric grease is a nonconductive grease. As such, it does not enhance the flow of electrical current. Thus electrical conductors should not be coated with dielectric grease prior to being mated. Dielectric grease is, however, often applied to electrical connectors, particularly those containing rubber gaskets, as a means of lubricating and sealing rubber portions of the connector.

The widest use of dielectric grease is in high-voltage connections associated with spark plugs. The grease is applied to the rubber boot of the plug wire. This helps the rubber boot slide onto the ceramic insulator of the plug. The grease also acts to seal the rubber boot, while at the same time preventing the rubber from becoming stuck to the ceramic. Generally spark plugs are located in areas of high temperature, and the grease is formulated to withstand the temperature range expected.

Another common use of dielectric grease is on the rubber mating surfaces or gaskets of multi-pin electrical connectors used in automotive and marine engines. The grease again acts as a lubricant and a sealant on the nonconductive mating surfaces of the connector. It is not recommended to be applied to the actual electrical conductive contacts of the connector because it could interfere with the electrical signals passing through the connector.
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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby RECox286 » September 26th 2011, 3:06am

Understood. However, I believe you will find that even though it is not recommended to coat the actual electrical terminals, the effects of keeping the water and air from automotive connections, thus

decreasing the effects of corrosion, far outway the effects that the "grease" would possibly have on the circuit itself. Since there is a fair amount of mechanical resistance when installing the two parts

of a connector, do you feel that there is any doubt the electrical parts are in physical contact with one another ? (Not to forget that Wiki can be written, and edited by anyone, authority or not.)

In the end, it may or may not be a good idea, but a little chicken soup never hurt.

Real world: I, RECox, swear that I have never had bad things happen to any automotive connector that could be traced to the application of dielectric, or any other water displacement treatment.

So, you will have to decide for yourself whether or not to join the club and learn the secrete handshake. Ha ! (Just trying to keep this light as well as opinionated.)

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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby Lumpy » September 26th 2011, 11:15pm

speedy57 wrote:...Tell me please that I'm Hard Headed :banghead: :lol:


First, go down to the Slauson Cutoff and...

Perhaps the physicists and chemists in the group will come along and
give the details. But I think the concept is...

When the metallic parts of a connector are doing their thing, they are "touching" but with
a molecular space inbetween the two pieces of metal. Even when you solder two objects,
there's a microscopic space between the solder and the contact. That space is a "dielectric".
It has properties of both an insulator and a conductor. When you use dielectric grease, you're
simply replacing that air space dielectric with grease dielectric. That's why it's probably important
to use stuff specifically formulated to be a dielectric. Toothpaste, monkey snot, old fruitcake probably
don't have predictable dielectric properties.

The exclusion of air from the contact surfaces is probably more important than any femto-ohms of resistance
that may be present with the grease in the space. Air leads to oxidation which, in nearly all metals (except silver?)
is highly resistive compared to clean metal, wet metal, heavy metal, death metal, whatever. Clearly BILLET METAL
is the best kind of metal to use in any automobile setting. I know that because I get catalogs that sell
billet cupholders and billet coil brackets and billet license plate bolts...And they cost like eleven times
that of the non-billet versions.


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Re: Sensor & Connection Cleaning ?

Postby Jasen » September 26th 2011, 11:21pm

Bob, that's why I stated it was wikipedia.
I've used it on many a troublesome running light bulb without much concern about getting it on the contact points, without any problems.
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