1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins - Chevelle Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems.

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  • 1 Post By 658Chevy
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 16, 4:25 PM Thread Starter
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1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

Intermittent symptoms:

- The gas gauge needle dips when the headlights are turned on.
- The high beam blue light sometimes works, sometime doesn't.
- The dome light intensity varies.
- Both turn signals will "glow" with varying intensity.
- The gauge lights' intensity varies.
- The windshield wipers usually work normally, but every once in a while will go at fast speed when the switch is in the slow position, and when the switch is in fast position, the wipers will park and then then jerk up and down in the park position. When this happens, the high beam blue light is bright even with the headlights in the low beam position or off.

Temporary cure:

- If I push really hard on the plastic dash carrier directly to the left of the head light switch or wiper switch. Sometimes this completely cures the symptoms, but only for a short while. This usually gets things working about 80% correctly. Every rare while, I have to push on that spot hard and repeatedly so that the wipers aren't acting as if they're possessed.
- Sometimes, if I open and slam closed the glove box door things will improve.

Probable cause:

- Bad ground. I believe that the dash ground strap that houses the wiper and headlight switches isn't secure. I've tightened the one bolt above the headlight switch behind the dash and it cured everything for a few months, but then the problems came back. Next, I'm going to make sure that the three bolts for the wiper switch are tight, although I doubt that's the problem as the switch itself has no wiggle to it. I looked at the plastic dash carrier mounting screws in front and all of them are present except for the top left. The dash carrier is probably aftermarket and that hole doesn't quite line up with the hole in metal dash frame. The top hole of dash ground strap is probably unsecured and the dash strap is making partial and intermittent contact with the metal dash frame, creating a poor or non-existent ground.

Possible permanent cures:

- I could drill a new hole in the aftermarket plastic dash carrier to line up with the factory hole in the metal dash frame and insert a screw. That may not work if the dash ground strap isn't lining up with the hole in the metal dash frame.
- See if I could wedge a washer or any other piece of metal between the top of the dash ground strap and dash metal frame to bridge the gap and create a strong ground.
- To avoid any marring of the aftermarket plastic dash carrier, I could run a ground wire from any hole in the dash ground strap (wiper mounting bolt, etc) to a solid spot on the frame.

Any opinions on whether the diagnoses is correct and what the correct fix is? Thanks for any insights.

Last edited by 658Chevy; Feb 21st, 16 at 5:07 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 16, 6:33 PM
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

The top left dash carrier screw is your major problem. And you don't want to tighten it too much or you'll crack your new carrier. So instead of using the grounding bar at the top left of your carrier, you can bend that metal ground bar back slightly, and add a new ground wire attached by a screw and star washer. Run the other end of the ground strap to your e-brake. There should already be a ground strap attached to your e-brake on the top. Just use the same screw for the new ground strap.
Then just gently attach your carrier to the dash at the top left.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 16, 7:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Phoenix View Post
The top left dash carrier screw is your major problem. And you don't want to tighten it too much or you'll crack your new carrier. So instead of using the grounding bar at the top left of your carrier, you can bend that metal ground bar back slightly, and add a new ground wire attached by a screw and star washer. Run the other end of the ground strap to your e-brake. There should already be a ground strap attached to your e-brake on the top. Just use the same screw for the new ground strap.
Then just gently attach your carrier to the dash at the top left.

Thanks for the info!

I like your suggestion but I've done some research on the amount of time required to remove the dash pad or carrier and hope to do this by just removing the vent and headlight switch and working from there under the dash.

If I drill a new hole from the outside under the carrier it wouldn't be too noticeable as you would have to be looking at it from the bottom. Also, if I drill a new hole, I don't think it would matter whether or not the screw makes contact with the carrier, only that it pulls the ground strap in and snug against the dash frame.

What do you think of anchoring a ground wire to some other attachment point on the ground strap, like one of the wiper mount screws?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 23rd, 16, 5:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

So, I drilled out a bit of the upper left hole of the carrier and put a screw in place. It fixed everything. Gauge lights and dome lights are bright, the fuel gauge is consistent, and no more gremlins. The previous owner had left out a couple of other screws along the carrier, but I sure wish he would taken the time to put this one in.

The fix took only about five minutes, but before that it was hours researching posts on this board and studying the assembly manual. Time well invested as I could only imagine the amount of time and effort it would have been to remove the carrier and then chase my tail and even then probably never figure it out.

Thanks again for your input, 68Phoenix.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 23rd, 16, 10:04 PM
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

On my 69 El Camino, I ran a couple ground wires to the dash from my gauge cluster and grounded the wiper and light switch with dedicated wires to the dash frame.. I used #16 stranded wire and zip screws...
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 23rd, 16, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydro462 View Post
On my 69 El Camino, I ran a couple ground wires to the dash from my gauge cluster and grounded the wiper and light switch with dedicated wires to the dash frame.. I used #16 stranded wire and zip screws...
Sounds like a good fix, and I was headed that way. Luckily, all that was missing was that one screw, and that due to a typically misaligned hole on an aftermarket part. I wouldn't have ever thought that one screw did anything more than hold up that part of the carrier. That's why I'm glad resources like this board and reprint manuals exist.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 16, 6:28 PM
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Re: 1969 Chevelle Dash Ground Gremlins

You are most welcome. When I was new here I got great help for years and years from terrific folks... many of whom are dear friends now. I just happen to have had the same problem and that stupid screw is critical for 68 gauge clusters. I just decided to ground the cluster without using that screw so I never had to worry about it being too tight that it cracked the plastic carrier.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 658Chevy View Post
So, I drilled out a bit of the upper left hole of the carrier and put a screw in place. It fixed everything. Gauge lights and dome lights are bright, the fuel gauge is consistent, and no more gremlins. The previous owner had left out a couple of other screws along the carrier, but I sure wish he would taken the time to put this one in.

The fix took only about five minutes, but before that it was hours researching posts on this board and studying the assembly manual. Time well invested as I could only imagine the amount of time and effort it would have been to remove the carrier and then chase my tail and even then probably never figure it out.

Thanks again for your input, 68Phoenix.

pete
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