I just busted my knuckles breaking the oxygen sensors free in hopes of swapping them to see if the problem stayed on the driver side or went with the sensor. Only to find out the connectors are different on driver and passenger side.

Why oh why did GM decide it was a good idea to have unique connectors on each side? Is there any reason I can't depin and repin them as long as I carefully track the wire colors?

  • While I can appreciate the appeal for sanity in a world gone mad, it's not clear exactly which question you're asking. Are you trying to adapt one O2 sensor to a different fitting? Or are you really wondering what demonic spirit possessed the design engineers at GM? – Bob Cross Mar 14 '15 at 21:03
  • In my moment of rage, I'm just wondering what technical reason led to the decision not to use the same connector from side to side. I can only hope there's some completely logical explanation that will quell my rage. The reason I'm asking this question is that I was getting a P0430 and after data logging discovered the rear sensor looked a little noisy. I wanted to swap them side to side and see if the problem moved to the other side with the sensor or stayed on the side with the potentially bad catalytic converter before I throw money at it. – mkaatman Mar 14 '15 at 21:05
  • This question will likely get votes to close since it's open-ended and hard to definitively answer. For that sort of open-ended "what's wrong with X that they would do Y?", might I suggest the chat: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/340/general-discussion We're a lot more loosey goosey about what we talk about there. – Bob Cross Mar 14 '15 at 21:09
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    Since I am basing this on anecdotal evidence I'll leave it as a comment. I have seen in industrial applications where sensors have an identical function but are set up so that they can't be accidently misconnected. You can imagine the confusion troubleshooting the drivers side if it was plugged into the passenger side, – mikes Mar 14 '15 at 23:49
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    Agree with @mikes. It is fairly nice for a mechanic not to have to figure out which plug is for which, they all just sort of line up. You'd be hard pressed to find two connectors which fall anywhere near each other which you could cross-plug. The plugs which are industry standard will of course be alike (like light bulb plugs), but everything else is pretty much different. From a mechanics POV, it's appreciated. For the guy under the car just trying to troubleshoot ... yah, kinda sucks. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 15 '15 at 1:01

Just thought I'd bring this in to an answer to allow it to be accepted:

This, while not ideal for you in this situation, is to prevent accidental connection to the wrong sensor. This solution is used in any number of applications, on ships, aircraft, even buildings - and in a car you will find many examples.

It's one of the reasons I always read the manual before removing or tweaking anything in the car, even when it is as simple as part of the audio system.

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