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Discussion Starter #1
This is car related, but is equally applicable to all electrical connectors.

04 Oldsmobile Alero 3.4 V6, 86k miles. I've been having problems with no-starts and misfiring, and I believe I've traced it back to the power supply cables to the distributor cap. It will turn over, but not fire. If I unplug and replug the cables, it will start no problem. But since I've started using this quick fix, it has been misfiring intermittently. Sharp drop in RPM and power for a split second, picks right back up.

I have already sprayed contact cleaner in them both. I have some dielectric spark plug/terminal grease, but I was wondering if I were to accidentally smear some grease across two different wires, will it cause a short? There are no labels on the package stating it is conductive grease, but it doesn't mention the possibility of shorting.



 

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By definition, a dielectric is an insulator. So... No it won't short


It may help to bend the pins in that connector ever so slightly so they connect more securely against the plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I figured, but with all the trouble I've had with this thing (GM products from this era, lol) I wanted to make sure. I guess I was also confusing conductive grease with dielectric. In my mind, dielectric was to aid in the electric connection, but it really is an insulator as you said.

I may be using the wrong terms, so I'm not sure what you're telling me to bend. Common sense says not the pieces in the female connector (I'm calling those pins). Do you mean make the slots in the male connector tighter?
 

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The pins in the plug in the second pic. If you bend them down slightly they will connect better with the female plug. Every time you make and brake that connection it will loosen a bit. It's worth a shot and won't hurt anything
 

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You'd probably be better off just replacing the ignition module. Thats what the coils are bolted onto, which is also what that plug goes into. Those terminals look pretty good, from what i can see in the pic. Its not that hard of a job and that part is readily available. It would also be in your best interest to check the coils to make sure, but usually when a coil goes bad, it stays bad. Typically they dont fail intermittently. Thats all assuming your spark plugs and wires dont have a ton of mileage on em.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think it was from all of the snow and salt we got. It hasn't given me problems since.
 

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Dielectric grease is more of a long term preventative measure. With new or freshly cleaned contacts it helps it resist oxidization. Over time or in harsh environments contacts/terminals can corrode to the point they build up resistance between the contact points. Resistance is an electrical load so that then becomes a point where heat and carbon can build up to the point you get poor electrical connection. If you clean your contacts (in some cases just unplugging/replugging clears a minor issue up) then the grease will help the problem from returning at that spot.
 
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