TOPICS . TREE-VIEW . SEARCH . LAST: 1 | 3 | 7 DAYS . HELP! . PROFILE . REGISTER . CHAT  

Adventures in wiring - continued

The Early A-Body Forum » General Discussions » Archive through July 03, 2007 » Adventures in wiring - continued users admin

Author Message
66ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 34
Registered: 4-2006
Monday, May 07, 2007 - 6:07 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Guys,

I am at a loss. The car is a 66 Valiant ragtop. I
continue to have electrical issues with the cluster.
With the car started and the lights off, I get a very
faint glow that pulses on the cluster lights. The gas
gauge does nothing. The temp gauge has a mind of it's
own, it seems to pulse higher and then lower and when
I turn on the headlights, it pegs.

I've already run an extra ground from the cluster to
the steering column.

I checked the grounding at the headlights and it
appears to be fine.

This is a brand new dash harness that I installed
yesterday. I had these issues with the old harness and
since it had been hacked and I had other issues with
that harness, I just replaced it.

I have one question, the ignition switch that was in
the car had one extra pin on it that is unused. It's
marked ground. The new switch that I bought is the
same. There is nothiong on the new or old wiring
harness going to thet connector.

Could this be part of the issue? I'm thinking not but
am at a loss now.

Do I have the wrong ignition switch? Should I run a
ground wire from that connector?

Any help would be appreciated!
Valiantmike
Advanced Member
Post Number: 45
Registered: 1-2006
Monday, May 07, 2007 - 9:34 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
One thing to check(replace) is the amp gauge. They are nothing but problems, with indications similar to what you are getting. Most experts recommend replacing with a volt meter. Theres an article somewhere on it. I'll search around and see if I can find and post here. Mike
Valiantmike
Advanced Member
Post Number: 46
Registered: 1-2006
Monday, May 07, 2007 - 9:40 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I found the article. Check it out. Many Mopar electrical problems are attributed to the amp gauge, and maybe it might be what your problem is. Good luck, Mike
http://www.madelectrical.com/electricaltech/amp-gauges.shtml
64ragtop
Senior Member
Post Number: 141
Registered: 1-2006


Monday, May 07, 2007 - 5:27 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I don't know why so many folks get in such a hurry to replace the ammeter when they usually work quite well, unless damaged by some ham handed repair person. And, yes, I'll plead guilty to having been that ham handed klutz more than once! Of course, if ya LIKE the look of a non-functional ammeter and a tacky add-on voltmeter, hey, it's YOUR car! OR, it you're bucks UP, contact Redline Gauge Works:
http://www.redlinegaugeworks.com/sretro_mopar.asp

As a general rule, the ammeter will handle the current from a stock or higher powered alternator as long as any extra high current loads are tapped off the alternator before the ammeter, NOT kluged onto the stock fuse panel.

RE: 66ragtop's problem, the big warning is the gauge pegging when the headlights are on. Despite what I just wrote, I would check the ammeter in this case. I would remove the cluster from the dash and carefully inspect and clean the circuit board and the studs and insulators that hold the ammeter in place in the cluster. What is happening is that there is a "backfeed" overpowering the regulated voltage to the gas gauge. I'm thinking that the 66Valiant did NOT have the Instrument Voltage Regulator. Once the cluster itself is cleaned up and repaired as needed, this article: http://www.allpar.com/history/mopar/electrical2.html Shows how to replace the guts of the old style Instrument Voltage Regulator.

The MADELRCTRICAL article Mike referenced shows the results of an overheating ammeter mounted in the PLASTIC gauge cluster of a later model Dodge truck. I wonder what loads they kluged onto the fuse panel to make the ammeter overheat like that? Our early A's have a metal cluster and won't do that. If the ammeter opens, the fuse panel will be dead. If one or both of the insulators that hold the ammeter in place on the cluster are damaged, 12 volts gets applied to the metal frame of the instrument cluster Which is NOT a good thing, possibly destroying the bulkhead connector, the wire from the alternator to the ammeter and any other wires that happen to be in near proximity to those.

Last point: DO NOT attempt to start this work withoug FIRST disconnecting the battery! I've made that mistake, too! It wasn't pretty!!!
Neilb
Administrator
Post Number: 726
Registered: 12-2001


Monday, May 07, 2007 - 5:34 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I don't get all this electrical stuff. It hurts my brain.
'65 Barracuda Formula S
Ottawa, Ontario
http://cuda.enbcom.com
66ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 35
Registered: 4-2006
Monday, May 07, 2007 - 5:40 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I will try to get to it later this week.

I'll report back.
Keith_mopar
Senior Member
Post Number: 78
Registered: 1-2006


Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 3:26 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
One thing you can do is just by pass the amp gauge if you think it is giving you trouble. Like 64ragtop said most of the problems are everything but the gauge. Just take both wires one in and the out wire and put them both under one stud, if this fixes the problem its the gauge. If it dosn't help put the wires back and keep looking. You must remember which way the wires were, if you mess them up the gauge will read backwards.
Keith Mopar
99-Ram 96-Avenger 91-Shadow 91-Daytona 89-Shadow 74-Duster 65-Cuda 92 Lebaron convertible
www.moparmagic.net
66ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 36
Registered: 4-2006
Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 5:16 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Keith,

That was my plan. I'm getting pretty familiar with the wiring diagram (I have nightmares about it) so reversing the wires is not a worry.
Guppy
Advanced Member
Post Number: 32
Registered: 3-2007


Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 8:44 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
uote: I have one question, the ignition switch that was in
the car had one extra pin on it that is unused. It's marked ground. The new switch that I bought is the same. There is nothiong on the new or old wiring harness going to thet connector.


FWIW, I replaced my ignition switch and wondered about that extra ground tab on the new switch. I have not hooked anything up to it and have had no problems. Hope that tidbit helps!
www.tdiclub.com
Online club for VW diesel enthusiasts
Daily driver: 1999 VW Golf GLS TDI
49 mpg / 143hp / 273ft-lbs
66ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 37
Registered: 4-2006
Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 9:29 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
That does help. Thanks!
64ragtop
Senior Member
Post Number: 142
Registered: 1-2006


Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 2:51 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I haven't been looking at replacement ignition switches, but I would bet that the extra pin is connected to the metal body of the switch. If it is, it would be a ground for the switch when the switch is mounted in a non-conductive panel, or the panel is not solidly grounded.
Valiantmike
Advanced Member
Post Number: 48
Registered: 1-2006
Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 8:17 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
With all due respect to 64Ragtop, I beleive replacing ammeter with voltmeter is sound advise. Running all electrical systems through ammeter is unsound and potentially dangerous, especially on a 40+ year old vehicle. Bypassing ammeter and adding voltmeter is an easy cure to a problem that anyone that has had older Mopars, either has had, or will have. JMO, Mike
64ragtop
Senior Member
Post Number: 144
Registered: 1-2006


Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 10:52 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Aren't differences of opinion wonderful! I recall when I was a kid, one of the TV stations used to sign off with a preacher who said something like "You go to your church and I'll go to mine, and we'll walk there and back hand in hand."

For the record, though, I have not recommended, as Mike stated "running all electrical systems through ammeter". In a previous post in this thread, I wrote: "As a general rule, the ammeter will handle the current from a stock or higher powered alternator as long as any extra high current loads are tapped off the alternator before the ammeter, NOT kluged onto the stock fuse panel.

In my car, I have no extra loads at present, when I add some high powered lights that I want for avoiding the deer that wander into the Texas Hill Country roads, I will power them and the headlights as well via relays directly from the alternator, bypassing the alternator as well as the bulkhead connector. (which, I believe, has caused at least as much grief for moparites as has the ammeter)

I am not opposed to someone replacing their ammeter with a voltmeter in their car if they choose. In MY car, I like having functional gauges with the only "add on" gauge being the tachometer attached to the steering column like a bunch of folks I knew back in the day had on theirs. When I hit the lottery, I may well have Redline Gauges redo a panel for my ragtop with a voltmeter substituted for the ammeter, but 'till then, I suppose I'll stick with what's in the stock instrument cluster, with the change to a solid state Instrument Voltage Regulator replacing the regulator built into the gas gauge ( a true stroke of engineering genius if I ever saw one NOT)

I always try to keep in mind that there is more than one way to skin a cat - but there are none that the cat will enjoy!

All the best!

BC
Valiantmike
Advanced Member
Post Number: 49
Registered: 1-2006
Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:39 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Point taken. No disrespect intended. Mike
66ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 39
Registered: 4-2006
Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:57 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
No update as of yet. I've spent all day today stripping the car down. My bodyshop guy called and said he has a window where he can take me if I can get the car to him in the next day or so. So, I've been busy pulling all the trim off the car.
It leaves for the body shop in a couple of hours.

I will get back to the gremlin when i get the car back....
64ragtop
Senior Member
Post Number: 145
Registered: 1-2006


Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 8:24 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Congrats on getting it to the body shop, and never fear, the gremlin will be waiting when you get it back. The good news is that you have the collected wisdom and varied opinions of this group to make your task so much simpler.
66ragtop
Advanced Member
Post Number: 40
Registered: 4-2006
Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 4:50 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Bob,

I sure have. Tearing the car down yesterday was fun. Only snapped one retainer. When I pulled the rear trim though, I saw just what kind of a hackjob the shop did last year when they installed the new top. I have a guy who has been doing tops for 42 years that is going to correct their butchered install. After I get it back from the paint and top guys, I'll be back to chasing the gremlin.