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Discussion Starter #1
This is the first time anything like this happened.

Sorry for the long version, but I think you need to see the full sequence of what happened.

Went outside to warm up the car. Started fine.
Let it run for about 5 mins - was waiting for my nephew to get here, he was slower than I thought, so I turned the car off.

Maybe 10 mins later, went to start the car.
Ran for about 5 secs, then totally died. Didn't sputter of slowly shut down. It just flat out died...like someone cut all power to the car. Like someone shot an EMP in my garage....dead.

Tried to turn the key...nothing. Not even the dreaded clickety-click sound.
Lights didn't work. Radio wouldn't turn on. Overhead light not on.
The only thing electrical that was present was the buzzing sound from having the key in the ignition.

Checked the battery with a meter. 12v.
Took out the battery to have it tested at AutoZone...battery checked out fine.

Got home about 90 mins to 2 hours later.
Put the battery back in the car and connected the cables. Cleaned off the battery posts and the connectors.
No lights, no power to anything.
Tried to start car...nothing. No sign of any power at all.

Checked the fuse box...seeing if there was some type of master power fuse. Nothing burned out and no sign of a master fuse.

Scratched my head.
Few WTF explatives blurted.

Put key in the ignition.
Turned to the right. Nothing.
Turned to the left. Nothing...BUT THEN...overhead light came on (I had the door open) and I heard the headlight doors cycle open & closed (RS grill with electric doors).
Turned key to the right...fired right up.

What the hell?

Does all power for the car run through the ignition switch?


Nothing fancy in the engine bay electrical or ignition wise.
Pretty standard electrical system. No MSD boxes, computers or anything fancy. The fuse panel is even pretty standard stuff...glass fuses with the metal bands in them.
 

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Horn relay buss bar and the two red wires connecting to it.
Disconnect battery cable, preferredly ground.
Remove mentioned two red wires and wire brush all components
Reassemble.
Horn relay, the silver box, is located under the voltage regulator on drvr side of radiator support.
Do the same wire brush drill to the junction block next to the battery and to the ground pigtail on the fender.

Nice ride, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think I may have found the problem.

It happened again today (at a friend's house). I had the car on a lift working on some things. I couldn't find any type of horn relays in the spot mentioned (the car has probably been rewired at some time). When it did, I pressed the horn...it worked fine, so I don't think it's a horn wiring issue.

When it did happen, wiggling the ignition switch did nothing.

While looking for anything that could be a loose connection, I saw the bundle of wires coming through the firewall ( below the brake booster ). It looks like they are in some type of connector that attaches to the fuse box. I pushed them in, and immediately heard the lights cycle. Saw the interior light was on too. Car started right up.

Later today, at home after the car was sitting for a few hours - so it's not a heat related issue - it happened again. I was moving the car back and hit the brakes. Car died. Got out and firmly pushed in the connectors - electrical system came to life...car started right up.

Somehow, it seems like those connectors are staying tight enough. It's strange though because they come looks for no reason. How could I drive the car home from my friends and have no issues at all....but just tapping the brakes in the garage would jar things loose.

I'll have to look to make sure the fuse panel is secure...but it sure feels like it when I push on that bundle of wires, there's no movement of the fuse panel.

This sucks....but at least I know how to get it running right away if I get stranded.
 

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I presume we're talking about the 68 in your signature.

There is a bolt in the middle of the connctor on the engine compartment side. I think it's a 7/16". Don't over tighten it though. I just needs to be tight enough to keep the connectors mated.
 

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Horn relay buss bar and the two red wires connecting to it.
Disconnect battery cable, preferredly ground.
Remove mentioned two red wires and wire brush all components
Reassemble.
Horn relay, the silver box, is located under the voltage regulator on drvr side of radiator support.
Do the same wire brush drill to the junction block next to the battery and to the ground pigtail on the fender.

Nice ride, btw.
I bet this is why my driver's side headlight is dim.
Thanks for the tip.
 

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I think the connector was working loose the entire drive home, but never lost connection, just needed a little more to do it, and it came of at home. Had you lived 5 miles further away it would have died.
Or it comes loose when in reverse or while starting.

I would bet the headlight is dim because of a poor ground.
I think both left and right headlights are powered by the same lead of the fuse box.
 

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Yes, each headlamp is poweered by the same fuse/power.
Each lamp socket has its own ground connection.
Remove and clean.

It still doesn't hurt to wirebrush the horn relay buss bar and its components - just like Mom's chicken soup.
 

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Corroded or loose power connection not handling an amp draw. Had the same issue with my '68 Caprice. The car sat for 16 years previous to me and got moisture inside, corroding many electrical connections. Once I got it running I would have one thing working and then it would kill if any other electric source drew power. Can make you nuts until you realize what's happening. Same thing can happen if you use crimp connectors under the hood. *Always solder electrical connections under the hood. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Big thanks to Dave (dnult). Ever since I tightened up that bolt that holds the connectors to the fuse panel, everything's been fine.

Took the car on a long trip yesterday (about an hour & a half each way) and even went through some heavy rain and no issues at all.
 

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It sounds like you have an idea where the problem is. However, for the group I had a similar issue but mine turned out the be the battery cable connectors. They had corroded to the point of no connection at all. Very odd since I drive it regularly and I am always under the hood doing something. I just didnt notice the corrosion until it wouldnt start.
 
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