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Archive through March 26, 2006

The Early A-Body Forum » General Discussions » Archive through March 25, 2007 » Adventures in wiring... » Archive through March 26, 2006 users admin

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Nh_cuda
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 27
Registered: 6-2005
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 6:14 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I spent a couple hours ripping out the rats nest of wiring that was left over from an alarm that some idiot installed at some point on the 66 ragtop.

After I finished with that part of the cleanup, I started to trace down all the wiring to the cluster since I was missing a wire to the alt.

Discovered that it was the wire to the fusable link. Discovered it had been cut at the bulkhead connector. Checked the other end, yup, cut. Traced this extra red wire that I had with no place to go, through the firewall and spliced into the fusable link. Aha, progress.

Hooked it up to the cluster that Don sent me with new led bulbs and my speedo swapped over. Results were mixed. The gauges are lit up nicely but the bulbs behind the speedo are a no go. Don, when you had this in your car did those work? Do you remember?

The other issue I now have is that at some point, I lost all tail lights. I think it's a cluster issue since I did have some lighting back there
earlier. Will trace down that wiring today to see what I can find. Any ideas?

It's been an adventure.
Donc1965
Senior Member
Post Number: 90
Registered: 1-2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 7:40 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Hi Daryll, I don't remember if all the cluster lamps were working. The cluster I gave you was a combination of parts left over. I'll take a look at my manual and see if the speedo bulbs are on a seperate circuit (don't think they would be). Is your fuel guage working now?

Don
1965 Barracuda Commando V8 (non Formula S)
Rocky Hill, CT
Donc1965
Senior Member
Post Number: 91
Registered: 1-2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 8:04 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
One more thought. Does the high beam indicator work (it's below the 60 mph indication on the speedo face)? Looking at a picture of the back of the speedo, it looks like the is a 1/4 screw which would ground the three bulbs used for the speedo and high beam indicator. If this was loose or tarnished, you would have no lighting in this area.



Don
1965 Barracuda Commando V8 (non Formula S)
Rocky Hill, CT
Nh_cuda
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 28
Registered: 6-2005
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 11:19 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Hi Don,

The screw is there. I tried cleaning it up and hooked it up again and same thing. It frustrating. I hook up my old cluster and those are the only bulbs that do light. I also get tail lights with my old cluster, well the passenger one anyway, but get nothing with the cluster that you sent me. It's obvious that it had a major meltdown at some point, there are a few repairs and new wires spliced in. So far though, they appear to have been done correctly.
Nh_cuda
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 29
Registered: 6-2005
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 2:58 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Well, here is where I stopped at today.

I swapped in another headlight switch that I had and the problem is unchanged. The switch works backwards. With the headlight switch off, the cluster lights are lit. When I pull the switch to the first position, where it should light the cluster, it goes off. It then stays off when I pull the switch to turn on the headlights. The headlights, high beams and blinkers all work fine. I get nothing out back. No tail lights, no brake lights, no blinkers.

I did have one tail light with my old cluster but can't get any of the cluster lights to work with that cluster.

Honestly, I am not sure if the cluster issue and tail lights are from the same problem. Would be nice if it were.

It's obvious that there was a meltdown as one point. The fuseable link has been replaced and I have found a couple areas that show signs of a meltdown.

Now, one of the meltdown wires that was replaced is off the headlight switch and my theory is that it was wired into the wrong splice. It looks ok but until i get in and unwrap that slice, who knows.

I am at the point where I think I may spring for a dash harness from year one.

Has anyone bought one from them? How complete are they?
Mojack
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 22
Registered: 2-2002
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 5:03 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
OK, I'm getting in over my head now. I should know more about these wiring systems before offering this thought, but I remember on an old 1970 Ford truck that the brake lights ran through the signal controls in the column. I looked for a long time and finally found a meltdown in the signal switch...that's why my brake lights didn't work!
Donc1965
Senior Member
Post Number: 92
Registered: 1-2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 7:36 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
When I get my service manual back and look at the wiring for the light switch, I'll have a better idea of what's going on. It feels to me like your missing a ground connection somewhere. Do you have experience using an ohm / volt meter?

Don
1965 Barracuda Commando V8 (non Formula S)
Rocky Hill, CT
Nh_cuda
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 30
Registered: 6-2005
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 8:25 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I forgot to mention that the two prong connector on the emergency blinker flasher is broken and only one wire is hooked on. The other wire is no where to be found. That could be part of the problem...

Don, it'll be on it's way back tomorrow.

Thanks
64ragtop
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 21
Registered: 1-2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 8:31 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Well, that cluster is a bit different from the ones I have worked on for my '64 dart and '73 motorhome, but the principles are the same. I'm thinking that the problem NH_Cuda is having with different problems occuring two different clusters is a ground issue while troubleshooting. DonC mentioned the ground screw, which connects the circuit trace to the metal body of the cluster. BUT is the body of the cluster firmly grounded to the body of the car. The factory cluster ground is created by the mounting screws when the cluster is installed, _I believe_. This leads to all kinds of problems when troubleshooting, because the various circuits are "looking" for a ground return, and finding it where they can, depending on switch settings and other wiring conditions. I believe that if NH will attach a ground lead to that screw and to a good body ground he will see some sanity return to his testing.

I got so frustrated with my motorhome dash wiring and instrument cluster that I ran a seperate ground wire from the cluster to a bolt in the aluminum firewall and from the other side of that bolt on the engine side of the firewall to the battery negative terminal. That solved several intermittant problems I was having with metering and turn signal and brake lights.

The fact that two metal parts are in contact is not a guarantee that there is good electrical contact between them. Over the years our vehicles have been running, screws have gotten loose, welds have cracked, corosion has built up, and any combination of them leads to ground problems. There's NOTHING like a good solid ground for all control, lighting, and metering circuits to reference to.

The factory built 'em to work as sold, and did not figure that they would be still be running in three decades or more.
Nh_cuda
Advanced Member
Post Number: 31
Registered: 6-2005
Monday, March 20, 2006 - 5:10 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
"The factory cluster ground is created by the mounting screws when the cluster is installed, _I believe_. "

If this is the case, I'm an idiot. Rather than reinstalling the cluster for each test, I have it sitting out side the dash, hanging outside the dash actually.
Neilb
Administrator
Post Number: 305
Registered: 12-2001
Monday, March 20, 2006 - 7:39 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Yeah, you're right about the mounting screws being your ground. I had the same problem when I first got my Barracuda.

You could rig up a wire I guess?
'65 Barracuda Formula S
Ottawa, Ontario
http://cuda.enbcom.com
64ragtop
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 25
Registered: 1-2006
Monday, March 20, 2006 - 4:37 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I Wrote:
"The factory cluster ground is created by the mounting screws when the cluster is installed, _I believe_. "

in response to NHCuda's dilemma and he resopnded:

"If this is the case, I'm an idiot. Rather than reinstalling the cluster for each test, I have it sitting out side the dash, hanging outside the dash actually."
..............................

And that is exactly the mistake I made when I first tackled my motorhome cluster. It's nowhere near the same as the early A body clusters, just uses the same gauges with point-to-point wiring, but everything that gets power must have a ground return path. The part that gets confusing is that what is normally considered "hot" wiring can also be a ground path if a good solid ground is not provided. With your cluster hanging on its' wiring and sitting outside the dash so you can play with it, it has no solid ground, but the voltages supplied are "trying" to go home to the battery's negative terminal. They'll get there any way they can, and if by chance your cluster body does contact the metal of the dash housing, they;ll go that way. Then the cluster moves, and the electrons have to look for another route home. What happens then is the symptoms you were looking at when the cluster touched the housing will change. That's what makes you (or ME) _NUTS_!!!

I think if ya ground that screw solidly to the body sheet metal your wierdnesses will get a whole lot less wierd, and your two clusters will behave the same. Or, at least each one will behave the same each time you test it.
64ragtop
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 26
Registered: 1-2006
Monday, March 20, 2006 - 4:44 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
The first rule in any electronic testing is to eliminate the variables that may effect the test results. I've done this stuff for a living for a lot of years, and automotive circuitry still fools me, because I forget the one basic truth: You've GOT to have a good solid ground if you expect stuff to work properly!

The other basic truth is that all this stuff works on smoke! If you let the smoke get out, it will not work anymore!!!
Nh_cuda
Advanced Member
Post Number: 36
Registered: 6-2005
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 12:56 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Well, I hooked the cluster up completely. Screwed it in tight. The cluster lights did not stay on as they did earlier when the switch was off. Instead, I got the right side of the cluster lit when I pulled the switch out slightly, they would shut off and the other side would come on if I pulled it out further and the headlights would come on one pull earlier on the switch they they should be. I've taken the cluster out and am now checking wire for wire to make sure they are correct.

Don, the emergency brake light has two wires coming off of it. Both, light blue. One to the switch and one to the fuse box. Mine had BOTH going to the fuse box. One was black and obviously not original. WTF!

Never got anything out the back and when I swapped clusters, i got totally different results, headlights stayed on all the time!

(Message edited by nh_cuda on March 25, 2006)
Njcudanut
Advanced Member
Post Number: 40
Registered: 2-2002
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 2:15 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Maybe your headlight switch is defective, I had a lot of wierd things happen to me until I replaced that switch.
Donc1965
Senior Member
Post Number: 107
Registered: 1-2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 6:39 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Have you ever tried the instrument cluster with conventional bulbs in it (not the new led ones)? Just wondering if the LED bulbs might cause a problem. According to the wiring diagram, it looks like all the instrument cluster bulbs are tied together, that's why it seems strange that half would be lit with the headlight switch pulled out slightly, then go out as the other half of the lights come on when the switch is pulled out futher. Might be an intermittent headlight switch. Have you checked the fuse for the tail lights?

Don
1965 Barracuda Commando V8 (non Formula S)
Rocky Hill, CT
Nh_cuda
Advanced Member
Post Number: 37
Registered: 6-2005
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 8:58 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I will swap the bulbs tomorrow but I plan on checking every wire first. I'll report back...wish me luck
64ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 36
Registered: 1-2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 9:38 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
NH, your emergency brake warning is a really simple series circuit. Needs a wire from the fuse box (or any 12 volt source that's off when the key is off) through the light socket and the switch to ground. It doesn't really matter which is first, though I prefer going to the switch first, And, of course you know the electrons don't care what color the wire is. The partial lighting of the cluster lights that changes with the headlight switch position, but not at the detent is very strange! I've gotten them to work fine with a liberal spray of contact cleaner into an opening into the case followed by a vigorous working of the switch through all of its positions, and the same treatment to the wire coil that controls the cluster lights when you rotate the knob. just spray the heck out of it and work the knob back and forth maybe fifteen or twenty times!!! I've "saved" three or four of 'em, and had one obviously grind to a horrible mechnaical and electrical death. Well, that removed the doubt, and I found a replacement switch at Autozone (or maybe it was O'Reilly's). The switches are quite ruggedly built, but a little corrosion or trash inside will mess 'em up good. There's no need to treat 'em gently, and if they break, replacements are still pretty cheap! Believe it or not, you\re closing in on it. Let us know!
Nh_cuda
Advanced Member
Post Number: 38
Registered: 6-2005
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 9:47 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I really don't think it's the headlight switch. I lost the wipers as well and at one point I could actually effect the cluster lights with the wiper switch. You really don't want to know what I was saying at that point.

The only reason I mention the black vs blue wire in the emergency brake flasher was to point out that it was a patch. That light stayed all ALL the time, by the way, as soon as i hooked up the battery. I actually flipped the hazard light switch and it flickered off and then dimly lit again. That's when I looked further and found the thing had both wires running to the fuse box. Would that be the source of all my issues? I have no idea. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Thanks for all the advice and insight guys.

(Message edited by nh_cuda on March 26, 2006)
64ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 37
Registered: 1-2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 10:00 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
DonC, is the picture in your post fromn the 19th of a '66 cluster. It's different from my '63-65 clusters, all of which have the instrument voltage regulator inside the gas gauge. (Brilliant, just BRILLIANT!!!) The operating principles and the ammeter and temp gauges are the same, I think. five cluster lights and indicators for hi beams and oil pressure, right? I wonder it there might be a crack in the copper trace to the cluster lights???