I Don't Get It ! - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old May 29th, 06, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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I Don't Get It !

I hope someone can explain this to me, I am not a mechanic, but I get things pretty quickly.

I am having a serious electrical issue. My car has been eating up batteries like gas. I have gone through 1 Yellow Top Optima, 2 Red Top Optima's and one cheap Kragen battery. I have also replaced the Starter, Alternator, and Distributor...(now I have an HEI dist.). As a precaution, I have also disconnected the alarm system that had an electronic cut off that use to disturb the system. I have also had a new cable connect to the negative of the battery with a switch that cuts off any power to the battery. And it still it dies ( I think ...keep reading it gets interesting).

I have had two different mechanics check fuses, the alternator, and see if there is an improper ground and all of them have agreed that everything is fine.

The only thing that one mechanic came up with is that when the amplifier ( I do not have a sound system, its a small amp that boost up the sound a bit so I can hear it) draws a small amount more from the battery when plugged in. He disconnected it and then it when to a normal pull when the car is off. He said since the amp really did not take much power, lets install the negative cut off so there is no draw what so ever. So we did that and it still died.

So right now, I drove it. I got gas and a sandwich and within that time the car died....so I thought....so after 5 minutes of "Oh God, I have to tow it again this month " I messed with the shifter and then attempted to start the car. This time it choked for about 3 seconds so I stopped. Then did it again and then it started. " WHAT THE ? "

Normally, when the car dies there is no choke, the key turns and then there is nothing...why did it do it now ?

Can someone explain that to me as if I am a 5 year old whats going on ?

Sorry for the book, but since I have been on this site I have learned so much, I figured if I gave all the info this may help us figure things out !

THANKS !

Jay
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old May 29th, 06, 07:24 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Sounds to me like a loose wire/cable/connection somewhere. Check the junction block under the hood.

Christropher

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old May 29th, 06, 07:39 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

neutral safety switch?

Does anything electric work when it dies? Lights? Radio?





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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old May 29th, 06, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I Don't Get It !

The radio, clock, and lights all work...now the funny thing is one time the headlights went on and the center console gauges went completely off.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 12:14 AM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Do you check the batteries before you replace them to see if they are at least holding 12 volts? I bet you they are. As suggested, you have a loose connection at the battery or somewhere along the way to the Bulk head connector. Grab a test light and check the connection at the juction box and the red wire. Also, what's the condition of your battery cables? Check the negative cable to make sure that it is making a good connection. Start there.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 12:17 AM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Sounds like you've got a faulty/improper ground after all.
Turn on the lights and the gauges go off? Ground issue. (I had the same, the only thing was that the fuel injection kept pumping gas into the engine as soon as the ignition came on.)
If you'd been running with an older style ignition system, I'd also suggest you check the capacitor as they tend to make things freak out as it heats up..including making your engine stop.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I Don't Get It !

The condition of the batteries were brand new until about the third time I start the car...so about 2-3weeks old. Then they were drained.

We did do a test on the box and the cable, it turned out fine. Now all the mechanics have said there is not improper ground.

The cables are in good condition, not new, but they are better than my newer suv. One of the clamps was bad, but that was replaced.

Again, thanks everyone for the advice so far.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 01:26 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

First, be sure to disconnect the battery when you are not at the car to avoid fire!
Ok with battery connected, hook up a volt meter and have someone pop the fuses out one at a time while you look at the meter for changes. If you have a short, the meter should change allowing you to atleast know what area in the wiring to check.
Kev
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 02:11 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Definately sounds like a grounding issue someware or poor switching.

As cars get older, wires can also break down...this is oxidisation on the surface of the wires...electons do not flow thru the copper strands but on the surface of the wires.
Clean all grounds thru the car and place a relay in the starter circuit instead of direct wiring.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 02:47 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Is this car a 69 with a floor mounted automatic shifter? If it is, make sure the lower portion of the steering column (near the dash) is rotated fully counter clockwise when the shifter is in "Park".

John
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Thanks everyone....I will keep these notes as We work on getting it fixed. I will sure let everyone know the results.

If anyone else has more possible solutions please keep it coming !

FYI.... This one is a 67 rs/ss(clone) with a floor shifter. It has a 396 and th400. It is a true RS. It has a center console and and aftermarket gauges attatched.

J
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 05:10 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

I think if you disconnect the negitive cable at the battery, take a 12 volt test light and connect to the cable and the negitive post on the battery it should not light at all unless you have a currant draw. If you do this and it dose light, the first thing to disconnect is the radio, or pull the fuse. The clock and station memory will draw some currant but once disconnected you should see no light/currant draw. If you still do, start pulling fuses like someone else said, pull fuses until the light goes out and you found your draw. I also think you have a short or grounding problem, possibly in your new starter, just because there new don't mean there any good. Phil

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 05:41 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

I agree with the others here: usually when a car has "weird" electrical problems, it can be traced back to originating with a ground problem some~where. it would probably help to know if this car still retains the stock charging system w/ voltage regulator, or if it has been converted to a self-regulating (commonly called a 1-wire) alternator.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 06, 08:35 PM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

just to add... battery's don't die. At least not 3 of them. Only way to kill a battery is to freeze it (not counting plain old age)

If you have 2 "mechanics" telling you that 3 new battery's failed to the point that they could not be recharged, get a new mechanic or do it yourself.

Tomorrow, buy a battery disconnect switch (it goes on the battery terminal, and has it's own "terminal" that the battery cable goes on) and a battery charger. When you're not driving the car, turn off the disconnect and hook up the charger, on automatic or it's lowest setting. If you do this you will not buy another battery any time soon.

While battery's don't die, they can go dead. This is a temporary condition, dealt with above. Trick now is to find out why it goes dead. Could be a current draw, could be that it's not being recharged by the car.

If you want to fix fix it, buy a $35 digital voltmeter, and post back when you have it.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 06, 08:32 AM
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Re: I Don't Get It !

Don't forget to have the alternator checked. We were having a similar problem and it turned out there was something inside the alternator that was drawing down the battery. Another place to check, if you have the external regulater, are the points inside the regulater. They can pit just like ignition points until they finally stick together. They are cheap to replace but in the 'totally broke' days a point file would get it going again. The positive cable can also corrode inside out of sight and will not allow full current capacity to flow. Keep us posted. Good luck.
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