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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was cruising my 69 Chevelle to work yesterday and hit a small rainshower. I was using the headlights and wipers at the time when all of a sudden the thing lost ALL power! It just shut down and I was coasting!
After a ride on to work from a state trooper, I got a friend and we went back and did nothing more than handle a few wires actually, battery leads, ignition wires, etc. The headlights or nothing would work at first, and then all of a sudden it decided to crank. I drove it on to work and parked it. (I work night shift)
I went out to crank it later, and she fired right up. But when I reached down and pulled the headlight switch on, it shut the whole engine and everything down again! This thing is dead and will not crank. No headlights, will not turn over, nothing!
I feel there is a short somewhere or something, but was hoping someone can help me shorten an already lengthy and frustrating search for the problem. Thank you.
 

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Don,

This is a shot in the dark, but are your battery cables in good shape and tight against the battery posts? I had a similar problem one time in an old Impala and Chevelle, and the battery cables were just loose and/or corroded. When I would put on the radio or any accessory, it would seem to overload the system, and I would loose power.
Again, it's a shot in the dark, but a quick, cheap and easy check! Hope it helps!

Matt
 

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Look where the small hot wire from the battery connects to the junction block behind the battery (it's behind the battery on my 68). Also check the connections on the horn relay for tightness and corrosion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply guys. I am at home now and headed in to work early to try and work on the thing. (I can't stand leaving it up there in that parking lot!)
My battery terminals appear good, but not really the best, so I'll stop on the way and purchase some new ones and check the things you suggested. Thanks again!
 

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Bryan has good advice. Your starter draws 10 times more current than anything else so I suspect the battery cables are OK. But as Bryan pointed out all your other circuits are sourced by the terminal behind the battery. You may have a loose connection at this terminal or the horn relay.

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Steve Strasemeier (70SS 396, Fathom Blue/White Stripes)
 

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Don,
Remove the wires from your metering block, found on the passenger side behind the grill next to the battery, and clean ALL of it's connections thoroughly. Then be sure to tighten them down securely. Hopefully this will cure your problems.

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Fred
Madness takes it's toll, please have exact change.
'70 Chevelle
www.geocities.com/motorcity/shop/9385/1970Chevelle.html
 

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The same thing happened on my 68 malibu. I had some either loose or bad fusable links of the battery wires. I replaced those after going crazy, pulling hair out for a week and it started perfectly and has run ever since. And while your at it, as they told you, clean those battery posts. Lots of problems start and end with corrosion.

-Joe Y.
 

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Check your alternator, too. Couple of years ago, the alt was not loading, drained the battery, left for help, came back, it started! For a while all was good, then again same thing... Turned out to be a fried relay in alt. The battery recovered a bit during the stay, enough to start the engine etc, but then dead again soon...
 

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Battery Cables, Battery Cables Battery Cables Battery Cables. This is exactly what was happening to my car before. The car would be fine go to turn the key to start, voltage plumetts with a new bat and starter, would be dead for up to 5 min or more. The going dead temporarily part got me convinced. I still have my old cables and they seem just fine. But the car works now.

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Frank W
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73 Malibu Coupe
http://hometown.aol.com/folingo/myhomepage/auto.html
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Check your engine harness also. The wires that go from the alternator to the starter could have a break in it. I have had my share of elecrtical problems mostly due to bad wire harnesses. If you still have your original harnesses,Do yourself a favor, replace them. you'll be a lot happier



Jeff

[This message has been edited by JSL (edited 08-18-99).]
 

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For it to go dead while it was running tells me you lost your system ground to all electrical stuff at one time. If it would not turn over starter but ran accessories, I would suspect only the battery cable for reasons stated above. I'd say you have other problems as well, since the alternator system should keep the motor running and lights burning after cranking. Consider the following to check.
1. Alternator re-build needed? With motor running, turn on acc. one by one and monitor voltage drop at the battery. Does the alt. keep up with the additional loads? If I remember correctly, the voltage should not drop below 13.5 Volts DC with all acc. on.
2. By default, check the voltage regulator, not sure how it does it thing, though. Anyone else, chip in here.
3. Ground strap kit. Remember those copper mesh straps from the frame to the fender and cowl to the engine, etc.? Make sure they are there and making metal to metal connections. I think there are a total of three, not sure where the third goes, but if you need to know I'll break out the assembly manual.
4. Battery cable gauge. Most replacement cables are probably gauge 6. Ask for gauge 4 from the guys at the parts counter, they will have them, just a few more bucks.(larger bundle of copper strands). Really helps in hot weather.
John Walker
 

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As everyone said above... Check out all of it... Once you have cleaned everything up nice'n tidy apply a little dab of diaelectric silicone on your contacts. Keeps the water out and the juice flowing. It helped me a lot in the past and so I use it all the time now.

Hope it Helps

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The proud owner of a Canadian 64-SS with ZZ4 Power!
Team Chevelle Gold Member #37
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[This message has been edited by Canuck64ss (edited 08-19-99).]
 

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that all seems to about cover everything but i was wondering when you first lost power had you turned on your lights in the rain storm? if that is the common act that caused the power loss the second time it might be worth taking a closer look at the switch? also is there any leaks down the inside of the fire wall on that side? my first guess would be the block behind the battery. good luck john
 

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I'm thinkin' check the ground straps. They get forgotten and go bad and you never think to look at them.

I had this same problem once on my '85 Merc. I had just bought it and was on the highway, hit the brights, and the whole car went dead! I hit 'em again, it sputtered and roared back to life. Very weird. It never happened again though (so this story is totally useless in helping you with your problem!).

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Tom H.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wanted to thank all of you for your help and share what the problem was. Yes, it was the small metering/relay box located (on my car) on the driver side behind the headlights. Apparently someone added after-market steering and clipped what I assume was the wire to the horn, leaving it hang loose from this relay box.
This very short wire was always hot and would sometimes touch the body and short everything out. It was truely a PITA to locate but the search was shortened due directly to the help from you folks. This site is too cool and has actually made me enjoy working on the thing more. Thanks again!
 
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