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Discussion Starter #1
dang litle buggers. They have chewed my wires or are jsut shaking them?

Car: 1968 Newport Custom 383, added an edlebrock, 4bbl avenger, custom dual exhaust, flamethrower coil, pertronix II ignition, replaced distributor shaft

Story: Let me defend my car by saying I bought it over 5 years ago and it has done great. Until this year.
Started earlier this year. One day while driving it just died. Flat out died. Everything stopped. I waited 45mins and it started working fine.

Ok, so a month or so went by and went out to start it for work and nothing happened. I mean NOTHING. 3 days later it started working fine, I hadn't touched it.

Ok, a month or so after that (yes I think my car is a girl and is having her time of the month at this point) it started acting up. Or just not acting is more like it. I replaced my coil with a flame thrower. Replaced my points with a pertronix II. Yes jumped over the ballister. Replaced my distributor shaft and distributor. Gave up my 67 stamped shaft for a 87 stamped shaft. Got shafted. haha

Did fine for a month. Then acted up so I replace my starter relay. Cleaned the CRAP out of the contacts and lasted a week.

The problem: When I go to start it I will hear a very high pitched whin from under the dash. Then once I shift it into gear, the moment it hits 'R' it dies. I don't just mean the engine dies. It flat lines. No juice. No brake lights. No trunk light. No radio. No ignition light, well on my car only the 'OIL' light coems on with ACC. Horn, the horn works. Not even the bally flashers work but the horn works. I guess that is so when it while driving I can honk at people before I kill them cause I can't turn.

The mechanic: Said every time he checks it out, 3times so far, there is juice to the relay and the starter then it always turns over for him. He said to clean the starter relay contacts. Done. Cleaned the freaking crap out of them.

The Bad: If this keeps up the wife is SO NOT going to let me keep her!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is it just one of those 'need to see it' sort of things? Cause this morning it worked just fine and took me to work. Let's see if it takes me home or leaves me stranded. In which case might be selling her.
 

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Thinking it is just a bad connection. My newer alternator and new voltage control must put out some gawd awful dirty power. If it makes things whine and lights pulse visible to me. Geez.
 

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Sounds like bad battery connections to me. Especially if lights are pulsing. It's the battery's job to smooth out the noise and fluctuations from an alternator. Check the terminals carefully. Remove them. Clean them. Tighten them. Then check the ground. Make sure one heavy ground wire goes straight to the block. Remove the bolt at the block and clean it with sand paper. Clean the mating surface of the block the same way. Then make sure you have a smaller ground wire going from the battery to the body. Lots of people don't reinstall this wire when they install new terminals. This wire is important to make sure the body is properly grounded. The engine ground is not enough. After that, check the power wires at the starter relay (usually on the firewall). Sometimes accessories are tied in here. Unhook the battery terminals at the battery then remove the nut on the relay and clean the terminals, reinstall wires and nut, hook battery back up. Do not work on that relay without the battery unhooked!
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Yesterday. It go me to work. It made it back home.

TODAY: It started up then died. Flatlined. Sigh.

Battery tests with voltage.
Voltage gets to body.
Voltage gets to starter relay.
Voltage gets to starter.
No brake lights, headlights, dash power, and key does NOTHING.

When I jump the starter relay the starter works.

I replaced starter relay last month.

Might be my issue still I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Last couple years have never used a negative straight to block from battery. Just from body to block/engine should be ok. Cause that part used to work. ? I think. Not an engineer myself.
 

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Do you actually have an amp gauge in the dash? If so, what is it doing? There is a large red wire (10 or 12 gauge I believe) that runs into the bulkhead connector, and from there to the amp gauge and then to the fuse block. Check all these connections, explains all the dead items, and quite often the bulkhead connection gets corroded and problems start there. The buzzing noise could be a feedback because the power has been lost via bad connection and trying to connect or feeding back as searching for a ground, there are several things that could be allowing it, but start with this big red wire all the way to the fuse block.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Do you actually have an amp gauge in the dash? If so, what is it doing? There is a large red wire (10 or 12 gauge I believe) that runs into the bulkhead connector, and from there to the amp gauge and then to the fuse block. Check all these connections, explains all the dead items, and quite often the bulkhead connection gets corroded and problems start there. The buzzing noise could be a feedback because the power has been lost via bad connection and trying to connect or feeding back as searching for a ground, there are several things that could be allowing it, but start with this big red wire all the way to the fuse block.
I do have an ammeter in dash. It works fine when car works fine. Haven't watched it when it acts up. But when it dies yes the ammeter dies too.
So it goes from starter relay to ammeter to fuse block? Good to know!
Will go find 'Big Red' after work! =? haha
 

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Get yourself an online free wiring diagram and trace that red wire first, then go from there.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Good so far! I removed the 3 connector blocks going into my firewall/bulkhead. Wow, some of those were WAY corroded!
I spent about 3 hours cleaning them. Vinegar first. Dried that and like half a sheet of sand paper torn into little strips. One connector I replaced cause it was so bad off.

3 days so far an no problems starting it!

You guys rock!
 

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Part of the reason this is the best site on the internet! Good to hear things are starting to shape up.
 

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So my fix was to bypass the ammeter. I used a stranded 12ga wire with a 12ga wirenut holding the ends together in case I wanted to add an ammeter.

Slowly it started to melt the electrical tape. Slowly it then started to melt the wirenut. I didn't even know it would melt like that.

It melted two other wires in my dash now. I traced and replaced them but not after my radio died. =/

My guess is my newer alternator and 50AMP voltage regulator is letting too much current go through?

I don't want to rewire the whole harness! Have only rewired four wires but am in fear it will melt more.
 

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All of the current that flows in the car goes through the ammeter. 50 amps through a 12-gauge wire with tenuous connections is like turning your car into a Ford or Jaguar - making a sure victim of electrical fire.

12 AWG can handle 25 amps at 60C (140F). Melting the wirenut and electrical tape probably meant you were around 80C to 90C, which means you were flowing about 30 amps. To get the wire down to a safe temperature for, say, 50 amps, you should be using 6 AWG wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Doh! 2 x 12GA is the same right? I might have something thicker at home. Not sure. haha Making fun of Ford. My dad said they (old Ford FE engines) run better hot!


But seriously, how many wires do I need to upgrade!?
 

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No, 2 12 gauge wires isn't the same. You need to use a 10 or even 8 gauge wire for this red wire, it is the main power wire into the fuse block and everything else goes off it, so it has to be heavy to remain cooled down. Oh, and from the bulkhead connector to the amp gauge and then the fuse block. Somewhere along the line you may have a short that is causing the problem after cleaning everything that is making the alternator spike. These are old wires and they do wear out, the amp gauge itself is quite often a culprit, the insulating material will beak up over time and cause a short starting right there. I had the wiring melt and short in my 68 Charger and all kinds of gremlins happened before I identified a pigtail touching the body in the trunk (someone stole a lightbulb from me while I was gone for six months), and she ran fine, just had weird lights and wires melted together here and there. Luckily I found it before I plugged in the new dash harness, a melted connector gave the search away.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Joking about 2 12ga. =P
I bypassed the ammeter.
So if I replace the bulk head and then to fuse block I SHOULD be ok?
There might be a short. Will take out my defunct radio first since it dies that could be part of it.
My back doesn't enjoy taking out the fuse block. But have to keep her running.
 
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