[DML] A strange and disturbing issue
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[DML] A strange and disturbing issue

On my way home this evening, it was raining. I pulled into my garage,
turned the headlights off, opened my driver's door and shut down the
engine. I was enjoying a song and left the key on "accessory" for 30
seconds or so. I then realized that I still had the mode switch in
"defrost" and the fan blowing, so I flipped the mode switch to "off"
to save my battery.

I then heard a new noise that I hadn't heard before. Every 15-20
seconds or so, a relay would click somewhere behind me and my interior
lights would dim slightly. The relay would stay energized for 2 to 3
seconds, then go off. I could hear a weird "buzzing" noise behind my
head when it was engaged. After a few rounds of this, I shut the radio
off but left the key in "accessory". I got out of the car and found
where it was coming from, but I have no idea how or why.

With my door fully opened, the upper rear (closest to engine) corner
of the driver's side door comes into gentle contact with the roof
t-panel. When this relay - whatever it is - engaged, it was causing an
electrical short between the t-panel and the door! Since the car was
wet from the rain, the sound I was hearing was water being vaporized
from a few cm or so around that contact point! I observed this through
several cycles of the relay to be positive of what I was seeing. 

Further troubleshooting:

- I partially closed the door to eliminate the contact with the
t-panel and waited for the relay to engage. It did so, this time with
no water vaporization. All I heard was the click of the relay. Letting
the door back up, it went back to vaporizing water.

- I turned the key to "off", then back to "accessory." The relay did
not continue to engage every 15-20 seconds. I did not restart the car
to test as I was now in my closed garage and was also eager to come
write this post before I forgot the details.

So, questions:

1. What could this relay be?
2. What could be causing it to short against the door like this?

I believe something is wrong here.


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