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1988 ram battery good all of a sudden no power to dash lights and wont turn over when turn key

Discussion in 'Pre-1994 trucks, commercial vehicles' started by upser145, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    i can get it to fire up from jumping it off the relay even if its in gear however if i unhook the wire thats supposed to ground it to the neutral safety switch it won't fire at all in gear or neutral or park. does this point to a possible NSS issue?
     
  2. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by "won't fire at all"? (1) Does this mean you turn the ignition switch to the START position and the starter does not engage? (2) Or does this mean you turn the ignition switch to the START position, the starter spins the engine but it will not fire / start and run under its own power?
     
  3. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    Nothing happens when i turn ignution switch i replaced the box part of tbe switch no difference i can jump it from starter relay wires
     
  4. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    Gauges dont work when i turn key to acc or whatever its called but if i jump it off starter relay they all kick on
     
  5. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    No power coming out of steering column wires and ive replaced ignition switch on lower column so im thinking its got to be the key switch will report back after i change it out in the morning
     
  6. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    I would avoid replacing parts until you can trace and diagnose the real problem first.
     
    AllanC likes this.
  7. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Typically when the ignition is in the ACC (accessory) position, there is no power to the gauges. This is normal.

    I agree 110% with I C and his opinion: do NOT swap parts until you have accurately isolated the problem area / component. With the information you have found to this point, go to that link I posted on Thur July 6 and look at the wiring diagram. You are not getting power to the ignition switch.

    In the diagram there is a red wire and pink wire at the ignition switch. These wires should always have 12 volt potential from the battery at all times. If no voltage then trace the wires back until you find the fusible link. The link could be causing an open circuit. If the fusible link(s) show continuity then trace the wire to the bulkhead connector at the firewall. Several have indicated this is a potential problem area. This is a tedious process but the only way to determine exactly the source of the problem.
     
    ImperialCrown likes this.
  8. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    alright thats my next step. Tested fuses with ACC key pos im getting no power to fuses #4 (radio and clock power) #5 (turn signals snowplow control, trans, oil temp light) #12 (brake warning lt, seatbelt lt and buzzer, fuel gauge, oil gauge, temp gauge, oil n temp lamps, speed control. To clarify if they key in lock pos is position 0 and every move foward is 1 more position what im calling ACC would be position 2 right before you would turn it to kick starter on. I could have positions confused but I think not sure all those fuses wouldn't be getting power in ACC position? i thought gauges like fuel gauge would kick on in accessory position like i say not sure though
     
  9. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    assuming im right thinking you mean the ignition switch mounted on lower column and not key switch pink is getting power nothing from red wire
     
  10. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    also worth noting the harnesses running out of the steering column like coming out of the actual wheel are getting no power at all not sure if that would point to key switch or if it could still be a wire further back t words the engine
     
  11. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Yes. The ignition switch is separate and mounted on the lower part of the steering column tube. The key lock is on the side of the steering column and immediately under the steering wheel. The key lock is for locking the steering wheel and transmission selector. It also provides movement to the slide contacts in the ignition switch.

    If you look at the key lock switch on the side of the steering column, the position furthest in a counterclockwise rotation is ACC. Moving clockwise the positions are LOCK, OFF, RUN, START. So the position you are calling ACC immediately before START is actually RUN position.


    The diagram I presented in a previous post is vague as it does not show the output circuits for the input red wire and input pink wire. Are you suee about the RED and PINK wire at the ignition switch and which one has power?

    I am questioning that because I checked several Chrysler factory service manuals in the 1980s era up to and including a 1988 Caravan service manual. All used very similar if not identical ignition switch assembly. The RED wire input provides power to the radio, turn signal and wipers in the RUN and ACC position. In the RUN and START position it provides power to the ignition col and ignition system. You indicated that you can jump the starter relay and the starter engages and the engine starts. That would not be possible unless there is 12 volt power at the RED wire at the ignition switch.
     
    #31 AllanC, Jul 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
    Bob Lincoln likes this.
  12. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    Ive tested it multiple times im not getting any juice at the harness going into the ingition from the red wire, if its not that I'm assuming it must be the key switch could it be sending power to starter relay and have a break before ignition switch?
     
  13. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    If no 12 volt power at the red wire connector at the ignition switch, then follow that wire back through the firewall and into the engine compartment. From the diagram I posted on July 6 there is a fusible link in that wire. Either the link is open circuited or there is a problem at the firewall connector. I do not know where the fusible link is in the wire. It may be under the dash or it may be in the engine compartment.
     
  14. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    You just hit the nail on the head after i finally decided to start checking wire continuity i figured out that fusible link was a dead spot it was by the battery i cut it out and the last quarter inch had no wire at all. Im thinking it was probably cause by the bad ground i discovered
     
  15. pt006

    pt006 Active Member

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    upser; I'd start by checking the large tan colored connector behind the battery. If ok, then check the 50 plug connector located on the firewall left side. It should be in the top row, second one in. It's a larger red wire next to a larger pink wire. Good luck!
     
  16. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    I am glad that it was an easy task to find the fusible link in the wiring. I suspect you cut and removed the fusible link and just spliced the wire ends together. For safety reasons and prevention of an underhood fire, I strongly suggest you install a stand alone fuse holder in the location of the former fusible link. Use a 25 - 30 amp spade fuse (no higher amperage). In that way the wiring is still protected if you have an intermittent short. If the fuse does fail it will be easy to locate and replace. An inline fuse holder with protective cap can be purchased for a few dollars at an auto parts retailer.
     
  17. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    well on the way to work this morning battery moved and hit motor it died reconnected battery fired right up multible times got to work no crank my temp gauge seemed to be going crazy also
     
  18. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Battery "moved"? As in, there is no working hold-down clamp for the battery? :eek:
     
  19. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    There was and is now my help took it off and i never noticed
     
  20. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    The engine compartment is rather large compared to a front wheel drive smaller car so there is ample space around the battery. The battery sits in the left front corner of the compartment and behind the left front headlight. The negative terminal is closest to the radiator header and the positive terminal is oriented towards the brake master cylinder.

    I suspect the battery rocked sufficiently for the positive post to contact a brace or the underneath side of the hood. Look for a blackened, scorched area on the underneath side of the hood adjacent to the positive battery post or on the positive battery post itself. The sudden electrical drain through the direct short of the positive battery post caused the voltage regulator to sense this, the alternator went to full field and alternator output (volts and amps) went "off the chart" and this caused an open in a wiring circuit somewhere.

    Hopefully no electronic components were damaged by a voltage spike. There is electronic circuitry inside the voltage regulator and hall effect pickup in the distributor. You dodged a potential bullet since this is a carbureted engine and you do not have a PCM (powertrian control module).

    I know this might sound like you are being reprimanded (not my intention) but an unintended short is the reason why it is necessary to have circuit protection for the replaced fusible link that you removed. Check the red and pink wire from the ignition switch feed harness back through the firewall and you will find the problem.
     
    #40 AllanC, Jul 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017

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