Electrical Problem...HELP!
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Thread: Electrical Problem...HELP!

  1. #1
    Southern Red Neck My location BQS4's Avatar
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    Electrical Problem...HELP!

    OK, till just recently the wife's 74 Sportwagon was doing perfect. Then when first started up, you could let it run a moment and turn on the lights. Well, turning on the lights would shut the car off, like turning off the ignition switch. She put it down towinter cold. So, she would go out and start the car and let it warm up (about 15 minutes) and it would be fine. Last night, leaving work, she let it warm up, and headed home, the car totally shuts down. I figured the alt had died. Went and jumped started the car, turn on the lights, it dies. Had it towed home. Got home after work, and swapped the alt, jumped started it and now the battery light, on the dash stays on and again, turning on the lights, or anything electrical shuts down the motor, like turning off the key. I haven't had time to do any real searching, but, what or where do I need to look?
    "Yes, I do have a rifle rack in my Sportwagon"

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    Site Founder My location Gary's Avatar
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    Three things come to mind.
    1. Bad battery, swap it out and see if anything changes.
    2. Voltage regulator?
    3. Alternator ground wire?
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    7,000 Post Club My location wrench459's Avatar
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    Gene try running a jumper cable from engine block to negative battery post and see if it does the same thing.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum "If you want peace, prepare for war"

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    Opeler
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    My first thought is a compromised ground. Wrench 459's idea is spot on to identify the issue.

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    7,000 Post Club My location wrench459's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biglefti View Post
    My first thought is a compromised ground. Wrench 459's idea is spot on to identify the issue.
    Are you thinking what I'm thinking? That the dist. breaker plate ground strap broke.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum "If you want peace, prepare for war"

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    ggl
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    Bad ground would be my first choice as well, had a fairly similar issue with my old Lancia Beta and I did what Dan suggested and it solved it. I actually ended up running it with that jumper cable in place as I never could get that car properly grounded, probably because the "steel" the body was made of was about as conductive as cardboard .... and had roughly the same structural strength too
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    Tennessean Site Supporter My location hrcollinsjr's Avatar
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    I knew someone with a Dodge truck back in the '80's that had the same issue. It turned out to be a bad ground.

    Harold

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    Opel Key Master My location opelspyder's Avatar
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    Why when the lights are on, it triggers the car to shut off?? Doesn't sound like a ground to me as the car starts up, but something is breaking the ignition current from the coil. A neutral safety wouldn't do it, once it is started, it is on the starter side and would not interrupt. This is a 74...meaning it has that dumb logic control box under the dash, by the relays. Could this be on the fritz??? Seems Vickie Gage had a faulty one, where it wouldn't even start. Just throwing this out there.
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    Über Genius My location First opel 1981's Avatar
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    Another thing to toss out there is the voltage regulator.

    If it was a GT then I would think to check the headlight wires. If the hot side is grounded to the car then as soon as the headlights turn "on" then the car would die. But it's not a GT so why check the headlight wires, right?

    Perhaps a bad resistor wire to the coil that barely fires the coil so the minimal drop in voltage when the headlights turn on robs the coil of enough voltage to fire.

    The coil itself failing and the same scenario as above. (Quick check. Try hotwiring the coil with 12V and turn on the headlights.)

    I have to admit to knowing nothing about the sportwagon though.
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    Southern Red Neck My location BQS4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opelspyder View Post
    Why when the lights are on, it triggers the car to shut off?? Doesn't sound like a ground to me as the car starts up, but something is breaking the ignition current from the coil. A neutral safety wouldn't do it, once it is started, it is on the starter side and would not interrupt. This is a 74...meaning it has that dumb logic control box under the dash, by the relays. Could this be on the fritz??? Seems Vickie Gage had a faulty one, where it wouldn't even start. Just throwing this out there.
    Keith
    Actually, anything electrical, wipers, blower motor, turn signals, brakes, makes the car shut off. This has been a gradual thing, as it used to not do this. You could run everything, and it would run perfectly
    "Yes, I do have a rifle rack in my Sportwagon"

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    Tennessean Site Supporter My location hrcollinsjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrench459 View Post
    Are you thinking what I'm thinking? That the dist. breaker plate ground strap broke.
    Is it that important IF you're running a Pertronix Ignitor? I didn't think it made any difference UNLESS you were still running points.

    Harold

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    Opel Key Master My location opelspyder's Avatar
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    A little more info

    1. Is the car an automatic?
    2. Does it have the rallye gauges below the dash as the sportwagon came?
    3. When the car lights are turned on (or other electrical) do they work? Do the lights come on, but the car dies? Or does the lights and everything shut down?
    4. Does it have the Pertronixs
    5. Are these too many questions?

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    Southern Red Neck My location BQS4's Avatar
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    @ Wrench Dan, I did check the braided wire in the dist last night and it's still intact.


    @ Opelspyder Keith, yes to all the questions
    "Yes, I do have a rifle rack in my Sportwagon"

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    Project 1450 supporter... Site Supporter My location RallyBob's Avatar
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    Headlight switch could be bad...
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    Southern Red Neck My location BQS4's Avatar
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    Here's one note, I "borrowed" a 35 amp alt from Tony's car (reg Bosch unit, my goal was to upgrade the wife's car to guyopel's 105 amp system) I also borrowed his battery. I jump started the car, pulled the light switch, it shut off, but, whereas before you could not even get it to spin the starter over, Tony's battery got enough of a charge to let me restart it without jump starting it.
    "Yes, I do have a rifle rack in my Sportwagon"

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    Cunning Linguist Site Supporter My location tekenaar's Avatar
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    Red faceOften overlooked . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by BQS4 View Post
    Actually, anything electrical, wipers, blower motor, turn signals, brakes, makes the car shut off. This has been a gradual thing, as it used to not do this. You could run everything, and it would run perfectly
    . . . or simply forgotten when troubleshooting electrical problems is the basic principle of Direct Current flow - 'DC' current flows from Negative to Positive, not the other way around.

    Grounds are the common denominator to everything electrical even when it seems there's not an actual "ground wire" connected! Every device must be "grounded" in some manner to function at all. The ground connection must be of sufficient conductivity, read current capacity, for it to function properly as designed!

    Everything Gene mentions above has Positive leads going to them for "power". However, NONE of them will function without completing their circuits by GROUNDING them either by an actual wire or mounting them to a grounded surface!

    I still vote for some sort of ground problem!


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    Member My location Vanjoe's Avatar
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    Fuse Box Connections ?

    My short term memory left me so I can't remember what my current GT looks like.... but back in 1979, my first GT had bad connections near the fuses. I seem to recall two nuts that seemed to be main connections that would get hot . The car would not start hot. I was used to having to push start it. Could you have a similar thing happening? Warm connections there? Causing a bad electrical connection?

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    Tennessean Site Supporter My location hrcollinsjr's Avatar
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    Is the short brown 10(?)ga. wire coming off of the ground terminal at the battery the ONLY chassis ground? For the more 'modern' design of the 50 series cars THAT looks like a potential problem to me.

    Harold

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    Senior Contributor markandson's Avatar
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    Run a temporary ground direct from the battery to the engine block. If that doesn't fix the problem start tracing the coil power wires back through the system. It doesn't take much to get the car to run so fixing this problem should not be difficult. Fixing all of the lights and other circuits might be a real PITA if they are the real culprit, but I doubt it, especially since you say the problem has been getting worse and worse. You have a bad ground somewhere for sure that has been deteriorating over time.
    Jeff

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    Tennessean Site Supporter My location hrcollinsjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markandson View Post
    Run a temporary ground direct from the battery to the engine block.
    The Manta's don't ground like the GT's. The battery should be grounded directly to the engine block with the main battery cable and a short 10 ga. wire from the battery terminal to the firewall for the chassis ground.

    Harold

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