Application Note 20 - Automotive Service
- What is Stabilant 22?
- Stabilant 22 is an initially non-conductive block polymer which when used in a thin film
between metal contacts becomes conductive under the effect of an electrical field. This occurs
at an electric field gradient such that the material will remain non-conductive between adjacent
contacts in a multiple pin environment. In addition, Stabilant 22 exhibits surfactant action,
as well as lubrication ability providing a single component resident solution to virtually all
When applied to electromechanical contacts, Stabilant 22 can provide the connection reliability of a soldered joint without bonding the contact surfaces.
- Can Stabilants be used on an automobile?
- Sure, for example electronic ignition systems can benefit from its use. Both the main power connectors as well as the individual sensor connections can b treated with the Stabilants. Often a "sensor malfunction" error message on a diagnostic computer occur because of a faulty connection to the sensor. We're sure that if you service this type of equipment then you've replaced sensors only to have the same error message re-occur. In cases where a heavy grease has been used to t and waterproof the connection this should be removed with kerosene, isopropyl alcohol and/or cleaner before applying the Stabilant.
- Can Stabilants be used on instrument clusters?
- Malfunctioning lights or instruments on/in an instrument cluster are often caused b poor contacts, and this can be cured by the use of the Stabilants. Uncoupling the Tab TM type connectors sometimes breaks the wire where it is crimped to the connector, especially in older cars. You can use Stabilant 22a to penetrate the connector without having to uncouple it by applying a couple of drops to the coupled-up connector, it will 'wick' into the contacts by itself.
- What about fuses?
- While the new blade type fuses are more reliable than the older 3AG/AGC types, the use of the Stabilants will reduce the possibility of fuse contact heating which ca cause an fuse to blow below its rated current on a circuit that is O.K.
- Is it useful on dome lights and courtesy lights?
- Again its good practice to use Stabilants when replacing dome and courtesy lights. Ignition switch lights are often quite difficult to get to, and the time involved in changing a light in an older car often makes it a job where the cost of the work is not appreciated by the customer.
- Do heater, A/C controls, thermostats and electric motor switches pose any problems?
- Caution should be used when using Stabilants on any switch contacts which switch an inductive load. A good rule of thumb is, if there's enough inductive kick to make the switch spark - don't use the Stabilants as the material would break down under the heat of the spark! However it is OK to use the Stabilants in the wiring harness connectors in these circuits.
- What about electric rear-view mirrors
- The tab connectors inside the doors are susceptible to contamination from some of the oil/wax rust-preventative sprays. Usually a drop of Stabilant 22a per contact is all that's needed to restore reliability.
- Is it useful on solenoid door & trunk Locks, and power windows?
- The same problem as above occurs with solenoid-operated lock mechanisms. Some cars rely on the hinge/door latch to provide a ground return for these circuits (which is why on many older cars the power windows only work perfectly when the doors are open and on the "detent") and it may be necessary to run a separate ground wire to restore proper function.
- Can Stabilants be used on horn circuits?
- Nobody likes servicing these because of the possibility of recurring problems. Use Stabilant 22 to prevent having to do the job all over a second time.
- It seems obvious that it might be used on tail lights, parking lights and headlights!
- Although the current through the contacts is usually high enough to burn-off the contamination on contacts in these circuits, there is often a voltage drop that causes the connectors to over-heat. A little salt contamination with this high-heat condition hastens the corrosion process. Use Stabilant 22 to stop this and increase the lighting level by the elimination of these undesirable voltage drops. Don't forget to treat the external Tab-Type connectors on the headlight relays. (Don't use it on the relay contacts if there's any sign of sparking when they open!)
- Can it be used door activated switches?
- Everyone has run across automobiles where the dome-lights don't function when the doors are opened. Stabilants on the switch connectors will usually cure these problems.
- Is the material used on radios, cassette decks & speakers?
- It's tough when stereo speakers start to go out of balance because often it's not the fault of the radio or power amplifier, but the interconnects or speaker leads. Several hundred thousand dollars of the Stabilant concentrate is used each year in the home audio industry just to ensure reliability and reduce distortion.
- What about batteries and starter lugs or terminals?
- While it is an unusual application, many automotive electricians prefer to "seat" the battery connections using Stabilant 22 rather than petroleum jelly or electrical grease. A much better contact results. They then apply grease over the coupled connections to prevent battery-acid corrosion.
- Can Stabilants be used on voltage regulators and alternators/generators?
- Again, Stabilant 22 is very useful on these devices contacts. Often alternators with bolt-on voltage regulators suffer because of their close proximity to the exhaust manifold, additional heating due to localized contact problems can lead to erratic regulation or premature failure of the voltage regulator. Stabilant 22/22A applied to the lug type and-tab type connectors can result in better regulation and will help prevent dead or dying batteries due to insufficient charging current from the alternator or generator.
- Isn't it expensive to use?
- Not when you consider the time it saves! How long does it take you to take off a door panel to get to the contacts inside, or pull an instrument cluster for that matter? Have you timed the removal and replacement of a headlight lately? There are about 900 drops in a 15mL Service kit of Stabilant 22a and each drop could save you 5 minutes.
- In what forms is Stabilant available?
- The Stabilants are available in several forms. As a concentrate (Stabilant 22), an isopropyl
alcohol-diluted form (Stabilant 22A), and an ethyl alcohol diluted form (Stabilant 22E).
For example, a given size container of Stabilant 22A will cost about one-fifth the amount of a
container of Stabilant 22 as it contains only one-fifth the amount of the concentrate. Another form
of packaging is available. Stabilant 22S packages the concentrate such that it occupies one-fifth the
volume of an otherwise empty container. This allows the end-user to add his own diluent, and thus saves the
added costs of shipping the diluent (e.g.: isopropyl alcohol), as well as allowing the end-user to use an
alternate diluent such as one of the Freon-based solvents.
In addition a 0.5 ml vial of Stabilant 22A is available for manufacturers to include with plug-in circuit boards
- What is the difference in use of these materials?
- Stabilant 22 is most useful where the connections are out in the open - such as card-edge connectors or where the lubricating properties of the material are useful -such as an aid to installing microprocessor IC's or on switches. Where the connections are not too easy to get at or where the user wishes to apply the material to something such as a socketed IC (without removing the IC from its socket), it is easier to use the alcohol diluted form (Stabilant 22A or Stabilant 22E). The alcohol diluent serves ONLY to carry the concentrate into the connector.
- Is it available in a spray can?
- No. Why waste the material? We would like to think we are environmentally responsible and safety conscious. This ruled out
the use of either a chlorofluorocarbon or highly inflammable mixture of butane and propane as a propellant.
In addition even Stabilant 22A for example, has only about 71200th the solvent impact as conventional contact cleaning solvents, over a three year time span. As Stabilant 22 contains no solvent it has absolutely minimal environmental impact and is, therefore, becoming the treatment of choice for many service organizations!
- Is Stabilant 22 just another contact cleaner?
- No, Stabilant 22 is a resident potentially electrically active material which through a synergistic combination of effects enhances conductivity within a contact without causing leakage between adjacent contacts. Thus large quantities of the material do not have to be "hosed" on, as is the case with cleaners.
- Just how much should be used?
- Normally, a final film thickness of from 0.5 to 2 mils of the concentrate is all that it necessary. In other
words, you want just enough to fill up the interstices between the contact's faces. When using Stabilant 22A,
or Stabilant 22E, use enough so that once the isopropyl alcohol (or ethyl alcohol), evaporates the desired
0.5 to 2 mil film of Stabilant 22 remains.
In applications to moving surfaces, such as in slip-rings or potentiometers, film thickness should be minimized to the point where "hydroplaning" won't occur.
- Is Stabilant hazardous to use?
- Stabilants have very low oral toxicity. Under normal workplace conditions no skin sensitization effects have been noted. In the undiluted form, it is non-flammable although if heated above 200° Celsius the decomposition products would burn. And Stabilants are environmentally friendly materials.
- Can Stabilant be used by untrained personnel?
- Thousands of applications of the consumer version of Stabilant 22 have been made over a period of several years now without any reported problems.
- Does the action of Stabilant deteriorate with age?
- In some field trial applications lasting over fifteen years Stabilant 22 has shown no sign of reduced effectiveness. With a high molecular weight and a very low vapor pressure, little is lost by evaporation. Unlike some other contact protection oils, Stabilant 22 will not cross-link when exposed to free machining materials such as high sulfur brass, or when used on contacts where agents used to promote cross linking of thermosets or elastomers are present in the environment or in the actual connector components. Unlike non-saturated oils, Stabilant 22 does not "varnish".
Stabilants™ are a product of Dayton Wright research & development and are made in Canada
NATO Supply Code 38948
15 ml of S22A has NATO Part # 5999-21-900-6937