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Thread: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

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    E500E Guru JC220's Avatar
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    Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Hi All,

    Many of us are all too familiar with the need to change w124 fuses due to corrosion. Most of this will stem from dissimilar metal corrosion due to most of this fuse type being made from aluminium and the fuse contacts being brass or copper plated(?)

    Copper/ ceramic fuses last longer but not forever either I've had failures as early as 18 months later.... needing all new fuses and cleaning up again.

    Anyway - my question is could the addition of a dab of silicone grease or copper grease prolong the life of the new fuses? Or maybe better - a light coating of silicone spray just after the new fuses are installed? Opinions please

    Picking up a "new" C124 tomorrow and need to carry out this task again
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Personally, I would never use silicone spray on anything electrical. Many manufacturers promote silicone as a "wonder" chemical with all sorts of beneficial properties. I have found it to be the bane of troubleshooting electrical circuitry, as well as that of accomplished paint and body people for its ability to mess up paint jobs.

    Some years back I used to buy, refurbish, collect and sell electromechanical pinball machines and arcade games. My favorite thing to hear from a seller was that they had encountered problems with a machine, after which they promptly got a can of silicone spray and liberally hosed down the banks of relays in the cabinet. That meant I had a fairly easy job of resurrecting the machine after I got it home. That encompassed hosing down the relays with contact cleaner to flush all of the silicone off of their contacts, and then manually operating the relays and steppers a number of times to get them making contact again. More often than not, I ended up with a perfectly functioning game after maybe 30-60 minutes worth of work.

    If you're really interested in burning a lot of calories in pursuit of keeping fuses from corroding or developing bad contact at the fuse holder, get a tube of dielectric grease, remove each fuse, apply grease to both ends, and reinsert into the fuse block.

    Dan

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    E500E Guru JC220's Avatar
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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Quote Originally Posted by LWB250 View Post
    Personally, I would never use silicone spray on anything electrical. Many manufacturers promote silicone as a "wonder" chemical with all sorts of beneficial properties. I have found it to be the bane of troubleshooting electrical circuitry, as well as that of accomplished paint and body people for its ability to mess up paint jobs.

    Some years back I used to buy, refurbish, collect and sell electromechanical pinball machines and arcade games. My favorite thing to hear from a seller was that they had encountered problems with a machine, after which they promptly got a can of silicone spray and liberally hosed down the banks of relays in the cabinet. That meant I had a fairly easy job of resurrecting the machine after I got it home. That encompassed hosing down the relays with contact cleaner to flush all of the silicone off of their contacts, and then manually operating the relays and steppers a number of times to get them making contact again. More often than not, I ended up with a perfectly functioning game after maybe 30-60 minutes worth of work.

    If you're really interested in burning a lot of calories in pursuit of keeping fuses from corroding or developing bad contact at the fuse holder, get a tube of dielectric grease, remove each fuse, apply grease to both ends, and reinsert into the fuse block.

    Dan
    Thankyou for your insight! No silicone spray it is. I have never used it for much of anything so it's good to know it's not a wonder product.

    Maybe I'll just do the usual and keep an eye on them every year or so. Not a big deal. I do have a tube of dielectric grease so maybe a small dab of that on the ends of each new fuse won't hurt
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Just been googling for some dielectric grease; some references state it is a "silicon based" grease! How does one square that hole?

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    With a round fuse?
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    I polished all fuse box contacts on my cars, relay males and wire plugs and lightly coat with DG, and install. I have not had any electrical issues since 2012.
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    One car I got from Florida (high humidity) had all sorts of weird electrical issues. Turns out some of the problems were caused by a dab of some type of grease on the fuse ends. I don't know what was used, it may or may not have been dielectric, but many gremlins were immediately cured by wiping off all the grease and making the contacts dry. I would be reluctant to apply anything to the fuse contacts, just keep them clean and dry.

    Joe, what specific failures are you encountering after 18 months with new ceramic/brass fuses?

    Klink, any input here?

    Dave M.
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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Dave I mean that the flosser fuses will corrode again at the terminal ends given as early as a year. It does not help that our climate here is damp and that my w124's are unfortunately not daily drivers so don't see much use. This compounds the issue for me which is why I'm curious If the addition of a suitable grease etc will stave off corrosion for longer.

    It starts with the all too familiar electrical gremlins and when I inspect the fuses I can see the corrosion. The c124 im picking up tomorrow has badly functioning electrics but I know it will benefit from new fuses
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    On just about the smartest automotive website I know of, I continue to be amazed at the general lack of understanding about electrical conductivity and dielectric grease...

    Should be humbling:
    http://sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm
    '92 300CE Black/burgundy Sportlined
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    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    In my opinion you're overthinking this.

    As part of the weekly/monthly maintenance on any car I've ever owned with bullet type fuses, whether it be a Mercedes, VW, whatever, I have made a habit of going into the fusebox and turning the fuses in place just a little. If you do this maybe every month it more or less renews the contact between the fuse ends and the clip that secures them. It also allows you to quickly identify a fuse that might be corroding or the cap cracking or breaking off the fuse element portion, too. In some of the older MB models like the W123 and W126 that had some circuits (blower motor) that tended to run on the high side, this was a good way to find those fuses that were suffering from thermal stress as they would often break or fall apart with the "twist test".

    Takes maybe 1-2 minutes to do, and is a good inspection job in my humble opinion. And I just hate the idea of slathering something all over a fuse box or any other collection of exposed electrical connections.

    Dan
    Last edited by LWB250; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:10 PM.

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Quote Originally Posted by northNH View Post
    On just about the smartest automotive website I know of, I continue to be amazed at the general lack of understanding about electrical conductivity and dielectric grease...

    Should be humbling:
    http://sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm
    Thankyou for that it's a good read! I'm thinking I'll try that next time and just put the tiniest of dabs at the end if each new fuse before fitting it home on freshly cleaned contacts.

    That's the sort of product and information I was curious about. It makes sense that being able to take up that small gap and air space where it matters most will help to maintain a better connection.

    It is not my intention to slather the fuses as such - as I say just the tiniest whif where it matters can't hurt.....
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Agreed, based on the write up and common sense, clearly a no-slathering zone...

    Conduct and protect makes more sense than just protect.
    '92 300CE Black/burgundy Sportlined
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    Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Quote Originally Posted by northNH View Post
    On just about the smartest automotive website I know of, I continue to be amazed at the general lack of understanding about electrical conductivity and dielectric grease...

    Should be humbling:
    http://sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm
    Is this not the smartest automotive web site you know of?

    (Shedding a tear)

    Agree 100% with LWB250 on his actions, process and frequency.

    Periodic rotating of fuses (I do it about twice a year on my vehicles, except the G-wagon which uses spade fuses) and NO GREASE OF ANY KIND, along with ceramic+copper fuses is the way to go. Will eliminate 90% of fuse and contact issues.

    LWB is getting up there into “exalted” status along with GSXR with his practical & no-nonsense advice.

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    This is the sort of condition an unkempt w124 fuse box gets into. Is it any wonder this c124 electrics are all but dead? A sweetie wrapper appears to have been used as a past “repair”

    20181030_203209.jpg
    1987 w124 200 - 3.6 AMG build | 1990 w124 300E-24 | 1992 w124 500E

    1994 320CE Sportline | 1997 w140 S280 | 2007 w211 E220CDI

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    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Is this not the smartest automotive web site you know of?

    (Shedding a tear)

    Agree 100% with LWB250 on his actions, process and frequency.

    Periodic rotating of fuses (I do it about twice a year on my vehicles, except the G-wagon which uses spade fuses) and NO GREASE OF ANY KIND, along with ceramic+copper fuses is the way to go. Will eliminate 90% of fuse and contact issues.

    LWB is getting up there into “exalted” status along with GSXR with his practical & no-nonsense advice.
    <blush>

    Gosh, thanks for the compliment, Gerry.

    I guess I'm all about KISS and not looking for the "majik remedy" for this sort of thing. While I know that gsxr is getting ready to cash out his 401k after I sent him the Mercedes catalog of fluids and chemicals this morning, there are a lot of things out there that are really unnecessary for many of us based on the limited amount of work we do. If I was flush enough that I could have a cabinet full of this stuff, fine, but for the most part I can get the same results with a minimal amount of effort and expenditure.

    And yes, this is the smartest automotive web site I know of, bar none.

    Dan

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Quote Originally Posted by JC220 View Post
    This is the sort of condition an unkempt w124 fuse box gets into. Is it any wonder this c124 electrics are all but dead? A sweetie wrapper appears to have been used as a past “repair”

    20181030_203209.jpg
    I can’t tell you how much I see this at the wrecking yards, but I’d say on perhaps 25% of 124s and 126s there.

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    I have seen copper wire threaded between the two terminals, twisty ties too.
    1994 E500
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    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    I have seen copper wire threaded between the two terminals, twisty ties too.
    Machine screws with the heads cut off or not.

    Dan

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    Re: Silicone spray to prolong Fuse box life?

    No real opinion. Use copper/ceramic fuses if you can find them and keep the stuff clean and dry. I have been screaming since forever that "dielectric" materials are INSULATORS at automotive voltage levels, and hence should NOT be applied to conductor interface surfaces, such as fuse ends, light bulb sockets, etc...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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