A matter of perception – 2015 Ford Transit Connect ambient air temperature sensor replacement

So, I’ve had an issue with my van that’s been bugging me for a while. The outside air temperature reading on the center console display would fluctuate wildly, especially in hot weather, which wouldn’t be that bothersome on its own… Unfortunately the air conditioning system uses the same sensor as the information center, and when the temperature reads below around 32 degrees it will no longer operate to cool air. So, I’d be driving around in the summer baking while the car thought it was -20 outside and refused to run the air conditioning.

This seems to be a pretty common issue on 2010s Fords, apparently these sensors have a high failure rate. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to solve. There are a bunch of videos out there showing how to access this sensor, but none of them is great, so I decided to post some pictures of where exactly this thing is and what you need to do to get to it.

Parts and tools wise, you don’t need much. You’ll require a trim tool, and a T30 Torx. For the replacement sensor, I went to O’Reilly and they looked up Standard part number AX352 as the correct one for this vehicle. The exact Ford part number on the sensor I removed was AU5T-12A647-AC, but it looks like a bunch of different Ford part numbers correspond to this same sensor, and it’s a generic thing used across many models.

To access the sensor, you’ll need to remove the plastic front splash guard that mounts up under the bumper. To loosen it there are several push-in plastic fasteners to remove with your trim tool, and a few T30 Torx screws. Once those are all removed, pull one side of the splash guard toward the rear of the vehicle, you might have to push the edge of the front bumper cover out slightly to get it to clear. Once you have one edge loose you should be able to easily slide the whole thing out. Keep it horizontal while you’re doing so, because there’s probably a bunch of road debris on top of it that you don’t want to pour all over yourself.

With the splash guard out of the way, you’ll be able to look up inside the bumper cover on the driver’s side, and readily see the sensor’s location. It mounts right up next to the lower air inlet in the bumper cover. Pop the sensor out of its mounting holes with your trim tool, push in the tab on the connector and pull to remove, install your new one, and you should be good to go. As you’re doing this check the pins in the connector for corrosion. If they’re looking nasty you may need to use some contact cleaner or replace the connector, as these sensors can be sensitive to connection issues.

Once you’ve got everything buttoned back up, take the vehicle for a test drive. The new sensor reading won’t show up on the info center display immediately, I think it starts off from whatever it read last time the vehicle was run, and then takes a rolling average of new readings as you drive. It took about twenty minutes of driving for the computer to catch up and read the actual outside temperature and hold steady.

Another weird old computer from the Bins – Crown TEF-12

Saw this weird box with the Crown logo on it in the reject bin right by the checkout as I was leaving and turned right on around to check it out more closely. Once I figured out how to open the front (push the two ‘top’ feet inwards!) I saw it was an old luggable in an interesting format. Bought it without hesitation for the perfunctory price asked, and took it home to dig in further…

The front is pretty familiar as far as early 80s luggable computers go.

The back gets interesting. Bunch of audio I/O that very unusual.

And inside we find this built like a tank modular machine with all kinds of extra audio handling functionality.

I haven’t researched it thoroughly yet, but it looks like it was capable of pretty groundbreaking acoustic data collection and visualization for its time. I’ll leave the specifics to another post by someone who used one of these things to great effect back when it was new: https://www.tvtechnology.com/opinions/audio-breakthroughs-with-tef-analysis

Castelli DSC 106 part II – Reupholstery

One of my first posts on this blog was about a Castelli DSC 106 I picked up at City Liquidators. That was ah, a while ago. 2012 is further in the past than I’d like to think about. But without dwelling on that too much, here’s the long due followup!

Since it’s been awhile, here’s how that originally looked. Lots of split seams, cracks in the vinyl, and splotches in the color… Not great!

I’d originally intended to ditch the vinyl entirely and just paint the underlying plywood. But, after having it all apart, seeing the condition of the wood, and trying some experiments with refinishing, I decided to back off on that idea and reupholster it.

I picked apart the old covers, patterned out new ones, and set to the task of putting it all together.

The zipper on the backrest made things a little complicated but I was able to get a decent result. I did a trial run with some scrap material and ran into issues with fitment, but once I added the foam padding in all of that cleared up nicely.

The final seam of the seat was put together with staples originally, and I attempted to duplicate that with my BeA 71. I ended up with a few spots where I estimated the stretch of the material wrong and had some rippling. Fortunately this part of the work is decently hidden on the underside, with the cross-bar between the side supports over top of it, so I didn’t feel the need to tear things back apart and try to achieve perfection.

Once I had everything stitched and stapled back up, final assembly was a matter of quality time with a mallet and screwdriver. I banged on the thing futily for a while before I tried using the screws to draw things tight and found success with that, clearly the way to go. Also had some added difficulty with the plywood having warped a bit during its nine years on the shelf, but I was able to finesse everything into place.

Clearance was much, much tighter than I expected and I found myself cursing the fact that I went with a thicker vinyl than was originally used. I used a plastic wedge to carefully push the vinyl into the channels of the supports when it would bunch up. In one spot some staples actually started to pull up due to the amount of force on the material. I knocked them back down with a pin punch and slowly got everything where it needed to be.

All in all, pretty good result! I’m pleased with how it looks, and confident I could do even better next time, though I might be loathe to take on another of these now knowing what a pain certain aspects of the job are.