The $2000 Penny

A 1999 Ford F250 4WD 6.8 LTR came into the shop with a complaint of no tail light function, no dome light function, and then no dash light function. In the beginning of the diagnostic process, we found indications of numerous system failures and codes. Tracing the systems led to the discovery of a defective GEM module, improper grounds at the dash, and a failing driver’s door switch. These issues were repaired (GEM replaced, wiring repaired, and switch replaced), and there was still a symptom occurring, so we had only discovered secondarily-affected components and hadn’t yet reached the root of the problem (this happens a lot in advanced computer systems and diagnostics…it’s like pealing off layers of an onion). With those issues addressed, it took the blinders off (as it were) and through further investigation we found a penny wedged inside a kick panel on the passenger side after dismantling to expose the wiring we needed to see for testing purposes. The penny had somehow found it’s way into the dash or the door (funny the things kids will do!) and had traveled around until it got lodged in a switch, which short-circuited numerous systems. The penny had two very obvious burn marks on it (if we can find it in the archives, we’ll post a picture), and once that was removed and the fried switch was replaced, it cleared up the issue.

Because of all the components that got affected electrically, that one cent created a $2000 repair.

That’s one expensive penny.