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1968 Camaro SS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was going to check and adjust timing today and pulled the 68 Camaro outside to warm up for a drive before checking. The car started perfectly, and was idling fine, when it suddenly died. I went to see if I could restart it and there was no voltage, gauge cluster movement, and no sound from the electric fuel pump.

Battery Voltage is 12.88
Starter 12.88
Horn Relay 12.88
Fuses 8.7 - losing 4 volts at the bulkhead
Pulled the bulkhead connector, voltage is 12.88

The upper half of the bulkhead connector appears to be melted. I suppose this could be caused by a short, by extra resistance due to corrosion or poor connector fitment, or something else beginning to break down somewhere.

Is this a clean everything up and see what you get situation, or is it time to go all in on a complete harness replacement?


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Liquid Ingredient Fluid Recipe Cuisine

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I was going to check and adjust timing today and pulled the 68 Camaro outside to warm up for a drive before checking. The car started perfectly, and was idling fine, when it suddenly died. I went to see if I could restart it and there was no voltage, gauge cluster movement, and no sound from the electric fuel pump.

Battery Voltage is 12.88
Starter 12.88
Horn Relay 12.88
Fuses 8.7 - losing 4 volts at the bulkhead
Pulled the bulkhead connector, voltage is 12.88

The upper half of the bulkhead connector appears to be melted. I suppose this could be caused by a short, by extra resistance due to corrosion or poor connector fitment, or something else beginning to break down somewhere.

Is this a clean everything up and see what you get situation, or is it time to go all in on a complete harness replacement?


View attachment 295955 View attachment 295956
View attachment 295955
I’m not a rocket scientist, but that looks bad.
 

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If you are familiar with working these connectors, you could remove the wires from the connectors to see if the wires are damaged. It of wires are damaged, replace the harness.

If wires are not damaged, clean terminals, and replace all damaged ones. Get new connectors for harnesses in engine bay. BUT look at the entire harness for each connector before deciding to repair any. There may be more reasons to tilt you to a replacement

You will have to replace the fuse box harness, as there is no way to fix the fuse box.

This is time to look at mods you might want for the car and order harnesses that support the mods.

If you go for replacements, save your old harnesses. You never know when the used good connectors bodies come in handy for other used harnesses on your car or to help someone else, especially with the Camaro unique ones.
 

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As stated above, the grease used to moisture insulate the connector can dissipate after many years, and cause corrosion, resistance to increase at the connectors. As stated, make wire it is melting, and not displacement of the grease.

There are also new fuse boxes, and connectors available, too.

New connectors are available form any GM dealer, just have to tell the parts drone to look for them in the "paper catalogue", not the parts fiche. Tell them it is "all old skool".
 

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It looks like someone filled the cavity with grease in the first photo. When they installed the connector, the excess grease squeezed out through the holes were the wires are shown in the second photo. What a mess. The excess grease on the outside of the connector is now a dirt magnet. The other half of the connector does not have any grease.

Clean all that old grease out. Use dielectric grease sparingly. Just put a thin layer over the bare metal connections. If you use more than an 1/8 of tube, you used too much.

None of the copper terminals appear to be overheated. There are definitely no melted spots on the terminals. No pitting or discoloration.

The pink (red) wire insulation appears to be split. The insulation might be pink heat shrink tubing that has been cut and slipped over the wire. There are no brown or black marks on the insulation slit or wire to indicate that it overheated.

One or more of the connections are loose or broken. That is why you are experiencing the voltage drop. If it was excessive current dragging down the battery voltage, something would be getting hot and smoking.

You need to divide and conquer the problem. At this point no one knows where the bad connection is located. Take the bulkhead fitting off of the firewall. Measure the terminals at the point where all the grease is gobbed on in the first photo. If it is low there, then the problem is in the firewall bulkhead connector or somewhere in the engine compartment.

If it checks good, remove all your fuses and reconnect the bulkhead connector. Check the voltage under the dash at the fuse block. Eventually you will find the problem.
 

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Interesting. I've installed 5 or 6 AAW Classic Update kits and none came with any grease or instructions to use grease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It was a busy work week and I didn't get back to the car until today.

I cleaned the bulkhead connector and fuse panel with some QD cleaner and brass brushes. It turns out the part I thought was melting was simply the unused connector holes underneath the grease. On the fuses, they were so corroded I broke a fuse puller and two fuses getting in there to clean everything up.

Once reassembled, voltage is good and steady and everything is working as expected. The car fires up and runs fine now. I also noticed that the battery meter does not fluctuate as much with headlights or turn signals turned on.

While inspecting everything inside, I did notice several splices, random disconnected wires, and wore nuts. So even thought it seems to be working for now, I did order the classic update kit from AAW as I figure that will be better for the long term and a good winter project anyway.

Thank you for the all the inputs.
 

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Before you do anything I would consider taking the bulkhead off, examining the connectors and looking for corrosion, wire damage then evaluate the condition and proceed with a plan.
The substance GM uses is probably something like this.
And remember some of the posts/ advice you get on the information highway sometimes might not be correct so use your better judgement when deciding what to do.
 
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