Full power not getting to the fuse box - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 10, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Daniel
 
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Full power not getting to the fuse box

My Camaro hasn't been running for awhile during my engine upgrade. I kept the battery charged up and its holding a constant 12.8V. My battery is in the trunk and I tested the voltage at the starter and alternator and getting 12.8V there as well. I checked the master fuse and all fuses in the fuse box, all good. I checked all engine compartment grounds and they are good. I tested the system by taking one fuse out at a time with the same problem remaining. When the key is turned to run, the voltage gauge only shows 8V after doing a slight jump and when key is at start it goes to the lowest point. The horn isn't getting enough power, signals don't work, hazards draw all power away from the dome light and it blinks out but the hazard lights arent lighting, the headlights don't work at all, same with other higher power things such as the starter solenoid, radio, wipers. When the key is set to start, the dome light and horn correctly go off.

I triple checked all engine compartment wiring which is the only thing I disconnected during my engine upgrade. I don't know what to do now, anyone have any insight for me?


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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 26th, 10, 11:03 PM
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Re: full power not getting to the fuse box

If your horn relay is still there, it's the power junction that feeds the main fuse panel. It's bolted to your radiator core support on the left side. You should see the 10 AWG power wires screwed to the bus bar on it. Sometimes corrosion will build up there. You can try cleaning it up, but a new one is less than $30 at AutoZone or similar parts store.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 10, 05:47 PM
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Did you move the battery to the trunk during this upgrade? Or was the voltage fine before the engine swap? Did you add/reinstall a/the ground from the block to the frame? I am talking about a large gauge wire from the block to ground to "replace" the ground wire from the battery to the block. Having only the radio ground wires to the block is probably not enough. The whole car use to be grounded through the engine (basically)...

My guess...


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 10, 06:24 PM
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

When you tested for and got 12.8 volts at the alternator, slowly work your way from there to the interior where the other gauge is getting power and at points you should find lower voltage readings (you may find out the other gauge reads differently than your meter which is going to happen some times).

It could be a connection on a wire (like on the terminal on the wires at a junction block/horn relay), a connector to another connector (like how power or signal is trnasfered from one side of the firewall bulkhead connector to the other side), and so on.

With a meter you should be able to trace it down.

One thing you may notice is let's say the ground of the body is poor to the relationship of the engine block and/or battery negative terminal. If there is a ground difference having the meter grounded on the block while doing tests under the hood and then switching the ground on the meter to a spot under the dash the meter could show lower voltages. What I've done before is make the negative wire on my meter long to allow it to be at one constant point and then do voltage checks using this as a constant and using the other test lead attached or probed into other spots to see what voltages I have and then change the ground over to another spot. If the ground of the car body is the same as the battery ground and the engine block then all voltage check points should be the same with just this ground moved. If not then something is not grounded well.

Most factory terminals are not soldered to the wires and while they may look good and be mechanically strong, the electrical flow could be diminished due to corrosion.

Thinking about this is might just be a poor connection at the battery. The meter does not draw much power at all but when other things get turned on like the ignition, headlights, and so on the voltage could go down due to a simple battery cable connection problem.

Jim

1974 Spirit Of America Nova (being restored), 1973 Nova Custom, 1968 Chevy II (Garage Find 2012)

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 10, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Oh I should have elaborated on my setup a little more! I have a trunk mount battery since I rebuilt the car in 2005. I have a 18 circuit painful wiring system installed. I have two grounding braids to the engine, one on each side and attached to the firewall. My horn relay, turn signal is mounted to a blade type fuse block in teh factory position, the hazard relay is under the dash seperate from the fuse block. The battery is grounded to my trunk floor panel and the positive cable is 2 gauge, or 1 gauge I forget, anyways I've never had a problem with it until now.

Only the alternator, starter, distributor, elec. choke and engine ground wires were removed. I installed oil baffles, crankshaft studs, crank scraper, ported my manifold, changed the carb booster, installed cylinder heads and new exhaust manifolds and painted my brake booster / master.


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 10, 09:16 PM
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Jim has a ton of good ideas.

If you are only running those two braided grounds from your block to ground, I would consider a heavy gauge wire, as well. Lots of amps get drawn when trying to start a tight motor...

As far as the problems you are seeing, you may also want to check the connections (again?) at the starter... But many weird things happen w/ bad grounds. So, as you probe around, also check for proper connections - meaning positive lead/wire to positive posts, negative to negative, ign. to ign., etc. I imagine you are calling Painless "painful" for a reason? lol

Don't let it ruin your sleep! ;-)


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 10, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

I found out another thing, one of my mini testers is going haywire! I used my other one and getting voltages that actually make sense, I'm actually getting 12.99V at the battery, 12.98V positive post to chassis. Up at the front of the car I'm getting a measly 8.6V from the + battery cable on the starter to chassis or engine ground and the same at the alternator to engine or chassis ground. The battery was connected all night so I know I'm not getting a short anywhere as the voltage is the same as yesterday but the interior light isn't even coming on now. Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to short the starter solenoid directly to the power post, it should be able to power the solenoid at least.


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 10, 11:41 PM
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Try getting your jumper cables, clean the frame a little, and clamp the front and rear frames together and see what you get up front.

'69 Camaro
Dart 400-AFR 195-224/224 HR-Powerjection III TB with F.A.S.T. Sportsman XFI
TKO 600-Moser 3.42-Detroit Truetrac
500hp/538lbft

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 12:03 AM
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Did you take these measurements before the engine swap? Could just be "normal" losses due to "small" positive cable from trunk to starter... Oh and what do you have running from positive to the junction block?


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

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Originally Posted by Steiner View Post
Try getting your jumper cables, clean the frame a little, and clamp the front and rear frames together and see what you get up front.
ok ill try that if my cables reach. I didn't actually remove the engine, just lifted it in place. That battery cable is big, about 7/16 diameter of wire. I don't really have a junction box, just a 50 amp fuse after the starter positive to both the alternator and fuse block...Going to try a few more suggestions.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

ok so my engine grounds are just fine and its not my other tester. When I tested the voltage at the front I am only losing 0.1V between the front and back. I went to start the car and nothing....THEN the voltage at the front dropped down to 1V and it slowly climbed up to 4V.

I disconnected the positive feed to the starter and the voltage testing only the battery cable went back up to 12.6V. Then I held the 10 gauge red power wire which connects to the same post on the starter to the battery cable, tested the voltage and it dropped down to 6V, again, the voltage is still slowly climbing back up regardless of power to the system or not, its like my main system is acting like some kind of capacitor. I disconnected the alternator (1 wire alt) cable and no change so its not the alternator causing this.


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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Ok for ****s n giggles, I tested the voltage between the battery cable and the 10 gauge wire to the alternator and harness, getting a full 12.6V where it should be 0.0V...I still don't know how the entire car is acting like a capacitor but now I know I'm getting a full ground from the fuse block ~somewhere~


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Daniel
 
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

So I pulled all the fuses, the turn signal relay, the horn relay and I'm still getting a full ground somewhere. The fuse block main power wire is only ziptied with the rest of the engine harness wires and it hasn't been altered at all, I inspected it and it has a clean run into the fuse block. How is it possible that this wire is getting grounded with all the fuses and relays out and the wire is in good shape? Also, howcome the battery isn't dying from this short?


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 06:53 PM
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Steiner
 
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

You said it only shorts when you turn the key on, right?

'69 Camaro
Dart 400-AFR 195-224/224 HR-Powerjection III TB with F.A.S.T. Sportsman XFI
TKO 600-Moser 3.42-Detroit Truetrac
500hp/538lbft

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Apr 28th, 10, 07:07 PM
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Re: Full power not getting to the fuse box

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetblue69 View Post
ok so my engine grounds are just fine and its not my other tester. When I tested the voltage at the front I am only losing 0.1V between the front and back. I went to start the car and nothing....THEN the voltage at the front dropped down to 1V and it slowly climbed up to 4V.

I disconnected the positive feed to the starter and the voltage testing only the battery cable went back up to 12.6V. Then I held the 10 gauge red power wire which connects to the same post on the starter to the battery cable, tested the voltage and it dropped down to 6V, again, the voltage is still slowly climbing back up regardless of power to the system or not, its like my main system is acting like some kind of capacitor. I disconnected the alternator (1 wire alt) cable and no change so its not the alternator causing this.
I still think in the long run you should put a heavy gauge ground from your engine to the frame. Those two little grounds are fine for most stuff. But will probably get pretty hot when doing some heavy cranking to start the engine.. Also, they are fine for testing w/ a volt meter as very little current is being generated... I also wonder how the rest of your car is getting power?

The weird voltage readings seem to point to a bad power to ground loop. I don't know about the single wire alt. set ups. Since you diconnected your starter and ingition (coil, etc.), again, I would start there. If nothing else was changed or added, how could it not be somewhere there? Did you say you tried another (good) battery? Maybe this one is near it's end?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetblue69 View Post
Ok for ****s n giggles, I tested the voltage between the battery cable and the 10 gauge wire to the alternator and harness, getting a full 12.6V where it should be 0.0V...I still don't know how the entire car is acting like a capacitor but now I know I'm getting a full ground from the fuse block ~somewhere~
It all matters how you have the power coming from the battery to the rest of your car. You are probaby measuring voltage across an open ignition switch at that point? Try measuring w/ the ignition in the run position. Wait, do the battery cable and 10g wire go to the same terminal on the starter?

Again, I really don't see how you are getting power to the rest of the car. I meant to say Junction Block, not box, if I said that. When the battery is in the engine compartment in it's tray, a wire (fusible link?) runs from the positive terminal of the battery to a little piece of plastic w/ a stud on it that is right behind the battery. From there, it is normally routed to the horn relay, voltage regulator (yours is now internal to the alt.), and alt. The power to the rest of the car continues on from there... I'm pretty sure the red wire on the starter solenoid just powers the solenoid.

OK, it's not so fun anymore... I don't understand how it was fine before removing a few wires and now it's not! Either it's wire put back on correctly, bad grounds or connections, or the battery?.?. I don't know, man. I feel like I'm guessing or making stuff up, now (second guessing myself)... Maybe I should stop "thinking out loud"...


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