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Discussion Starter #1
Iam fed up with al wires! it is so unorganized, wires cut and just twisted to many other wires, i dont know whats going on. i also have a chronic drain somewhere, my battery is lossing charge. Iam thinking of riping out my engine harnesses and dash, and putting in all new! am i heading for a nightmare? i want to buy from factroyfit.com, so is it easier to rip everything out or replace piece by piece? remove the old fusebox and put a new one in.
any suggestions will help.
thanks,
Frank
 

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Changing out every harness in the car may not fix a battery drain problem. Usually changing out harnesses fixes intermittent opens or bad connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think i have bad connections everywhere, i think once all wires are organized, if i still have a drain problem, it will be easier to find the problem? when i look under the dash now its a disaster, so many wires going in all direction, wires cut and tied together. can i use a modern fuse box instead of the old style fuses? has anyone ever herd of a ground coming off the negative terminal to the fender? i was told to connect the piggyback ground wire coming off my cable to a ground source, and this will stop my brights from blinking on and off when actuated? it does work, but why, i dont want to keep this like this, it doesnt look good at all.
 

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Originally posted by Frank66:
I think i have bad connections everywhere, i think once all wires are organized, if i still have a drain problem, it will be easier to find the problem? when i look under the dash now its a disaster, so many wires going in all direction, wires cut and tied together. can i use a modern fuse box instead of the old style fuses? has anyone ever herd of a ground coming off the negative terminal to the fender? i was told to connect the piggyback ground wire coming off my cable to a ground source, and this will stop my brights from blinking on and off when actuated? it does work, but why, i dont want to keep this like this, it doesnt look good at all.
Fixing the wiring may or may not do anything to correct a drain but may help the charging system and that could be your problem (who knows at this point).
To check for a drain, disconnect the battery negative or positive post cable and insert an amp meter inline to see what kind of current is being drained off of the battery. If it's O or less than 0.02A then you should be fine. I would then connect the battery back up and measure the battery voltage with the engine and key off. Let's say it measures 12.5 volts. Once we start the engine it should jump up to 13.5 volts minimum. I've always tried to get one volt over the battery's nominal voltage to recharge it and it's worked for me. If the voltage stays the same, engine on or off then you need to track down why this is happening. It could be connections or bad components.
As far as the pigtail off of the battery negative terminal, this is your main chassis ground unless there are other ground straps or cables between the engine and the chassis of the car. Even though you have a big negative cable going to the block there is really no other good electrical connection to the chassis of the car except for that pigtail or other grounds from the engine to the chassis as the engine is on rubber motor mounts, the tranny on a rubber mount, and a poor connection is through the shifter linkage, speedometer cable and emergency brake cables.
You can use a newer style fuse block but if you get a new old style I would think it would work just as well unless you are adding other circuits later that the old style box cannot support.
Jim
 

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I think i have bad connections everywhere, i think once all wires are organized, if i still have a drain problem, it will be easier to find the problem?

Perhaps. Is the drain problem inside the car, under the hood, or back in the trunk?

when i look under the dash now its a disaster, so many wires going in all direction, wires cut and tied together. can i use a modern fuse box instead of the old style fuses?

If you are thinking of a factory style harness they will come with the older style fuse block. The fuseblock is part of the dash harness.


has anyone ever herd of a ground coming off the negative terminal to the fender? i was told to connect the piggyback ground wire coming off my cable to a ground source, and this will stop my brights from blinking on and off when actuated? it does work, but why, i dont want to keep this like this, it doesnt look good at all.

The car came from the factory with a negative cable that had a pigtail. These are available at the auto parts store. Pigtail lead attaches to the right inside fender and provides a ground for everything that is not tied to the engine block.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks john and jim, so if i can figure a way to connect the engine to the chassis with a ground strap should do it? how do you guys have this pigtail set up? justing hanging out there attached to the inside fender bolt? the only amp meter i have says Milli amps on it. thats not a high enough reader right? i dont really understand how to check if the alt is charging the battery, can i do this at home. i dont have a battery back up? not sure what you mean there. so to find this drain, would i have to go to every RED wire source, or positive, and see what is drawing current while the car is off? this sounds very difficult? i will test to see how much volts are coming back to my battery with car off by disconnecting the terminal from neg side and putting a volt meter in between, i believe this should read less than .5volts right?
 

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Originally posted by Frank66:
Thanks john and jim, so if i can figure a way to connect the engine to the chassis with a ground strap should do it? how do you guys have this pigtail set up? justing hanging out there attached to the inside fender bolt? the only amp meter i have says Milli amps on it. thats not a high enough reader right? i dont really understand how to check if the alt is charging the battery, can i do this at home. i dont have a battery back up? not sure what you mean there. so to find this drain, would i have to go to every RED wire source, or positive, and see what is drawing current while the car is off? this sounds very difficult? i will test to see how much volts are coming back to my battery with car off by disconnecting the terminal from neg side and putting a volt meter in between, i believe this should read less than .5volts right?
I would connect the pigtail off of the battery negative cable to a clean spot on the fender. Remove all the paint so you have a nice clean bare metal spot. Put a ring terminal on the end of that pigtail and attach it to the fender preferably with a star washer and a nut and bolt so it's good and secure and making good electrical contact. After you get done (and this is what I have done for years with car audio) is to cover that connection with some black silicone. This will slow down and oxidation and keep the connection good longer. If you ever have to get at the connection the silicone will peel right off.
As far as testing the battery voltage you set your meter to the DC scale (0-15VDC) and the one meter lead (black) will need to touch the negative battery terminal and the other meter lead (red) will touch the positive battery post. You will now get a reading on the meter as to the voltage of the battery. Write that down or remember it. Now start the car and measure it again. This number should be 1 volt higher than with the car engine off. If it's low increase the idle speed a little to around 800-1000 RPM and see what it reads. If you have a super low idle, the alternator may not be spinning fast enough.
Now to check for current flow it requires a different meter setting and connection. The meter must go inline on the circuit whereas before it was in parallel. Set the meter to it's highest Amp setting and change the lead locations on the meter if needed (some meters have different holes that the test leads go into) and now disconnect the battery cable off of the battery and touch the meter test lead (red) to the cable end and the other test lead to the battery positive post. The meter will now show if any current (Amperage) is flowing through the meter. DO NOT try and start the car, or have the door open so the dome light is on, etc. Depending on the meter if you try and pass too much current through it you will either damage the meter or blow a fuse inside of it. If you are unsure of this, ask more questions or see if someone else can do it for you while you stand and watch.

One last thing you have to watch out for is even though you are grounded to the fender this does not mean there is a good connection to the rest of the car as the fender could have been painted before it was installed or not making good contact to the firewall and in this case you may still have to add other ground jumper cables.

Jim
 

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Jim got it almost nailed for you except there's another way to chase the drain. I'd still do this before I would change the harnesses out. It's cheap and easy to do.

1,Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery.
2, With the car turned off:
Add a test light between the negative battery cable and the negative terminal on the battery. You can use a light bulb and socket if you don't have a test light.
3, See if the test light bulb lights up. It should not.
4, If it does, disconnect one lead of the test light. Do this for safety reasons every time you repeat this test. Follow the steps until the light goes out and you can isolate it to an item.
5, Any aftermarket stereo wires plugged into the fuse block? Unplug those and repeat the test.
6, Car have a clock? Pull the fuse for that and repeat the test.
7, Disconnect the large red wires on the horn relay. One comes from the battery. One goes to the fuseblock and the third goes to the alternator. Repeat the light bulb test.
8, Attach the wire from the battery back on the horn relay. Repeat the test.
9, Attach the wire from the alternator and the wire from the battery to the horn relay. Repeat the test.
10, Attach all three wires back on the horn relay. Repeat the test.
11, Pull fuses one at a time. Repeat the test.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i did do the light bulb test already, it does light up, but ther should be some volts coming back right?. i found a wire that is attached directly to the battery from the radio? it looks likes the accessery line for the clock? the radio does not turn on when the car is off. i disconnected this line yesterday morning, and last night i checked by volts and it was stable, i didnt recheck the neg light bulb test though, i will do that tonight. is that acc. lead hooked up wrong? it appears someone ran a green lead directly from the radio all the way to the battery? this cant be correct, where should this acc. lead go for the radio memory and clock?
thanks
Frank
 

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“i did do the light bulb test already, it does light up, but ther should be some volts coming back right?.”

I don’t understand volts coming back but that doesn’t matter. The idea behind this test is to see what, if anything is making the test light come on when the car is off. If the light comes on, something is drawing on the battery with the car off. Some things are OK, others are not. Idea is to find out what things are using power when the car isn’t running.


“i found a wire that is attached directly to the battery from the radio? it looks likes the accessery line for the clock? the radio does not turn on when the car is off.”

That’s one method for adding in a higher output radio. Temporally disconnect that wire and leave it off to do the tests. From what you describe it shouldn’t change anything.

“i disconnected this line yesterday morning, and last night i checked by volts and it was stable, i didnt recheck the neg light bulb test though, i will do that tonight.”

Don’t worry about checking stabile volts. This series of tests is to try and make the light go off.

“is that acc. lead hooked up wrong? it appears someone ran a green lead directly from the radio all the way to the battery? this cant be correct, where should this acc. lead go for the radio memory and clock?”

For the moment disconnect it so you can continue testing. A better place for the radio memory line, in the end, would be the BAT terminal on the fuseblock.
 

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Not to get you sidetracked as it looks like John is getting you through this but if there is a wire going directly to the battery, PLEASE make sure it has a proper size fuse on it right at the battery. If it's a small power wire then it may be able to be relocated to the fuse block but let's get this through your original problem first.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Okay so this green wire is disconnected and the bulb does not light up, thats a memory line for the radio, that does light up the bulb. but shouldnt there be volts or to run the clock and memory - this should light up a small tester bulb?
 

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Memory or clock are the same thing. What makes the memory light up and display numbers is a different issue.
If the test light doesn't come on with the memory line disconnected, there is no drain on the battery. The radio memory line will draw power but it would take months to drain the battery.
Are you sure this is a good battery? You charged it up with a battery charger and it was dead in a couple of days?
 
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