Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Re: 1996 camaro 6 cyl goes dead
...I touch the positive and neg poles of the battery and power returns...?
I hope you're not touching the positive and negative poles together
Sounds like a classic bad connection despite what new parts may be in there. My 2002 Z28 just went dead one day the moment I turned it off. No lights, no cranking - nothing. I went under the hood and measured between the battery (-) and chassis ground - turned on the key and saw nearly zero volts (good). I did the same test between the battery (+) and a large positive stud near an under-hood fuse panel. This time I saw anywhere from 2 to 6 volts (bad). I was loosing voltage in a bad connection.
Turned out the positive cable clamp had develped a bad connection (fall-out from a former leaky delco battery no doubt). I buffed up the clamp and reinstalled it and it's been working fine every since.
I've seen plenty of lead clamp cables develop a bad connection between the lead clamp and copper wire.
Best advice is to get a digital volt meter and find out where your 12V is getting lost. Using a voltage drop test like I described above, you should be able to verify the integrety of all the wiring and connections in the power circuit. It's either bad wiring or a bad battery.
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI