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Discussion Starter #1
guys,

This is hopefully a simple question and simple fix. Thinking battery is just low.

patient: 69 camaro SS396 convert.

symptom: no juice

scenario: car (still a work in progress) was driven a few times last fall before putting away for the winter. Had running, all front lights, clock and most of the guages working. Was having problems with the center console guages (U17) and tail lights were not yet working. Due to weather and other commitments, I disconnected the neg. cable, covered the car in the garage, and let sit. Now, I had time to return to the problems at hand and when i hooked up the battery (which shows a 11 volt charge), the clock works, however, when I turn the headlights on, no lights and the clock stops. Turn the ignition switch on, same thing. Turn the light swith off, clock runs backwards for a few seconds and then goes forward......I now have the charger on the battery and will check after work this evening. Is this a simple as the battery being so low that this is happening?? If so, my bad and the charging the battery will fix. OR am I missing something? Thanks for any input and sorry if this is so basic and a dumb question. I can do just about anything on a vehicle including body and paint, however, I always stumble with the electrical gremlins.

Regards,

Doug
 

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You have a very dead battery. It would be a miracle if it made the engine turn over on 11 volts.

By the way, if your clock is the original one, you may want to disconnect it while you play with the battery. A low voltage may cause the points to stick and burn the winding coil, which I believe is a major cause of these clocks failing. The high voltage from the battery charger would not be beneficial either, so you'd better disconnect the clock or remove the fuse.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thank you! Just what i thought. Also, i will pull the clock fuse as you suggested. Didn't know about it as a problem

Cheers

Doug
 

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A battery sitting slowlt discharges....storage of batterye should have a trick charge charger on them...
And better still use them for something else...electric fence or out door lighting with a charger on it.
Often a battery left to long sitting will slowly discharge, then when it comes to recharging will not hold a full charge for long even only a couple hrs, or may have a very reducuced storage capactity...has full charge use once or twice and then dead.

The reliable check is the old fashioned hydrometer, looking for a cell that is quite different to the rest.
Even so such a battery that charges up and doesnt hold much is still good for setting up the electrical system with a chargewr attached
Rather than buying a new battery and continusly dis charging re charging it...which also shortens it life.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks steptoe

I had most things working again briefly, then no power again. I tried a different battery and same results proving what you said. (three batteries sitting around, now dead).

Still having difficulties with the center console guages (U17). I had only one of the lights working and cannot seem to get the rest. oh well, it is patience, patience.... with electrical

Thanks again

Doug
 

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Get one of those portable battery jump starters
It has a cig lighter port on the side..good for a portable florencent trouble light under the dash
Also good to hook into yor cig lighter to check circuits that by pass ign
and make an adaprter to go from the main cable to aligator clips...the hook into either side of where the fuse goes.

And great when go camping, the floecent light hangs in the top of the tent, a switch in the cable attached to the door pole.....and a small solar charger on the roof of the tent.....and runs the pump for the air beds.
 

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There is a junction block by the battery and the horn relay has a buss bar.
Remove the red wires and wire brush everything, including the buss bar, and reassemble.
New battery installed, or a fully charged newer battery, and the car might work longer than several minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for the input guys!

Here is where I am now. Please help as I have run into a wall.

The headlights and tail lights work. high beams work and the running lights work. I have power to the center guage lights, (U17) however, they only work when I touch the side of the bulb to the console guage cluster side metal (indicating to me that there is a ground issue). When I install the bulb fixture all the way into the cluster, they do not work (again, I am thinking ground). The ground wire that goes to the "hump" (travels along the orange and white wires that go to the rear of the console for the light), gets VERY hot when I assemble everything. I removed it (the bolt) and nothing changes, except the risk of fire from the hot (black) ground wire. Please help. when I touch the bulb fixtures to the center console metal, the light(s) stay on even with the ignition off and the headlight switch off. Not good. Hope this explains the scenario.

Thanks for any help. I am going on 9 years with this project and actually drove the car for the first time just before winter. I am excited that if I can get past this, and a few other electrical issues, like the wipers, I can (legally) drive the car on the road.

Doug
 

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If a ground wire gets hot it means there is to much resistance in the circuit, drawing to much current
Bad grounds and dry joints cause this
Dry joints is when the wire goes into places like the lamp holder, and are not crimped/soldered well or just plain dirty/corroded

Using an under charge battery can cause wires to run hot...the cicuit still wants to draw the same watt, the voltage is down, so pulls more current.
A bad ground on the battery, and bad grounds between engine/body/chassis can also caus similar...check the grouding straps .

As a side note:
If one blows say a rear tail light or brake light for example, chances are the glass on the blub is a little 'silvered'
This is caused as described above...the bad ground/join drwas too much current thru the blub, it runs too hot, the filiment over heats and slowly 'evaporates' desposting the metal on the glass.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Amazing info Steptoe! Thank you

One last question if you are still following this, what would cause the lights to stay on in the console when the headlight switch is off. when the bulbs/sockets are installed into the console, they do not light, not even when the headlight switch is on. they will light when i touch the bulb, while in the socket, to the metal on the console. If i can get by this, I can reassemble the console and I am on my way...............hope you can help.

Thanks again,

Doug
 

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You have a secondary path for power to the lights. A wire is misplaced if you can touch the socket to ground and the light lights.
 

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There is a real stupid mistake...one of those things that one just feels silly afterwards, and I bet a hell of a lot of the guys here have done it lol
either have the interior lights turned off ..twist of the knob or turned right down...or have it turned on, and forget about it....
I cant rem but this had me chassing around in circles for ages....till the missus came out with a coffee and in total ignorance suggested it...lol.
As to this affecting you , Im not sure, but be aware of it...

Its not the missus pointing it out thats an issue, its when the kids for the next 20 yrs remind you " Dad go ask Mum she sorted your wiring out before"
And do it with all the guys around lol.
Do we really love our Kids?...or just want to shoot them sometimes?
 
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