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1972 Chevelle 396
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Discussion Starter #1
(this happens a good 1/5 times) whenever i turnoff my car and come back in a few minutes, i try to start car. as soon as i turn the key to start it, all the dash lights and power to the vehicle turn off as if the battery dies. i found that if i disconnect the battery and wait 5 minutes, then the car will start back up (as if it recharged???) could this be my alternator? if so what a good alternator for a 396 chevelle? something that will be able to run ac and a nice sound system in the future.
 

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1970 Chevelle SS396
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How old is the battery? Do you have a multimeter...if you do check the voltage and see what it says. That should tell you if the battery is low.
 

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Wow if it was a new car I would say its a Body Control Module. Are you running new technology in this Chevelle?. If not this is a good one for sure. Does everything die? Nothing has power until you disconnect and let it sit 5 minutes?
 

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Check your voltage on your battery with the engine off. Next time it does the thing, check the voltage at the battery. Regular fully charged battery voltage with engine off should be about 12.6 volts with no load.

I doubt the issue is the alt. You can test the alt by checking the voltage with the engine running. You should see 13.7 to 14.7 volts with the engine running.

I don't suspect the battery, but do the tests to rule it out.

Check and clean the connections to the battery.

Follow the smaller wire off the positive post to the radiatorsupport terminal and check and clean that connection. This wire runs across the radiator to the horn relay bussbar. Check and clean the wires and screws on the bussbar below the horn relay. You may find a fusible link between the battery positive post and the radiator support terminal. Check it and see if the wires feel mushy.

When the car fails to start, check for power at the horn relay bussbar. If there is none there, the issue is between the horn relay and the battery connection of the smaller wire on the positive post.

From the buss bar, there is a black wire with a fusible link then the wire turns to red in color. If you have power at the bussbar but the car wont start and you have no power to anything in the car, this fusible link is probably the issue. Sometimes you can see the wires at one end of the fusible link are burned or mushy. Sometimes the only way to tell if the link is bad is by testing for power at the circuit. But, it may pass voltage until you put a load on it.

Sometimes when you put a high load on a poor connection or bad fusible link, the connection will fail. Wait a minute and the next try it might make the connection. Complete failure will eventually occur.


Bottom of horn relay. The bussbar is just a piece of metal the creates the circuit between the red wire coming in from the 4 way splice that leads to the battery and the black wire with the fusiblelink that turns into the red wire which feeds everything inside the car. It also a place for other circuits to get battery power.

When it won't start, you can also check the batt term/lug on the fusebox. If there is no power there then you know the issue is from there back to the battery somewhere. If there is power there, the issue may be the ignition switch.

708604


This is the bulkhead terminal, I called it the radiator support terminal because it's on the radiator support just in front of the battery.
708605
 

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1972 Chevelle 396
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Discussion Starter #5
How old is the battery? Do you have a multimeter...if you do check the voltage and see what it says. That should tell you if the battery is low.
i think the battery is getting drained from somewhere. This is why i disconnect the battery everytime i park it knowing ill be gone for more than 10 minutes. the first battery that came with the car dies 2 weeks in from having the car, the second battery failed (im assuming because it sat for 6 months in the cold) so i got a new one from walmart, and this battery i recently got, maybe 1 or 2 months ago. its a $120 battery. I really think its the alternator because it looks old and somewhat rusty.
 

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1972 Chevelle 396
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Discussion Starter #6
Wow if it was a new car I would say its a Body Control Module. Are you running new technology in this Chevelle?. If not this is a good one for sure. Does everything die? Nothing has power until you disconnect and let it sit 5 minutes?
Heres what happened today. I connected my battery and left to get gas from a gas station half a mile away from me. I parked and turned off the car, filled her up, and when i tried to start it it went chck and all the dash lights went out, the car wouldnt start. after pulling the key back from start, and from run, to take the key back out, the lights on the dash came back on, i tried starting the car and it did it again, then again, but the third time when i pulled the key all the way back as if i was about to take it out, the lights on the dash didnt come back on. i got out the car and disconnected both sides of the battery and watched a youtube video on how to use a self jump starter (because i have one in my car that ive never used) and i went back, connected the battery. and tried to start it without the jump starter, and it started right up.

The previous time i had just got back home from my dads house. i pulled in my moms driveway and ran in the house to see if she wanted anything from the store and we talked for about 5 minutes. I ran back out to start the car and the same thing happened. so i disconected the battery and tried again in the morning, to have the car start right up as if nothing happened.
 

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The car an automatic or a standard?
 

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It is not an unusual condition for a starter to get hot and not start. Very common and replacing the starter usually fixes it especially it it has headers. However you keep saying the dash lights up. Are you using an aftermarket digital gauge cluster? However you also make statements that sounds like you have an ignition switch problem and that is also very likely for your situation. My guess would be a starter issue but the dash thing has me confused. What is not stock with this car? We are gonna need to start doing some serious troubleshooting and you will need a voltmeter.
 

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1972 Chevelle 396
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Discussion Starter #9
Check your voltage on your battery with the engine off. Next time it does the thing, check the voltage at the battery. Regular fully charged battery voltage with engine off should be about 12.6 volts with no load.

I doubt the issue is the alt. You can test the alt by checking the voltage with the engine running. You should see 13.7 to 14.7 volts with the engine running.

I don't suspect the battery, but do the tests to rule it out.

Check and clean the connections to the battery.

Follow the smaller wire off the positive post to the radiatorsupport terminal and check and clean that connection. This wire runs across the radiator to the horn relay bussbar. Check and clean the wires and screws on the bussbar below the horn relay. You may find a fusible link between the battery positive post and the radiator support terminal. Check it and see if the wires feel mushy.

When the car fails to start, check for power at the horn relay bussbar. If there is none there, the issue is between the horn relay and the battery connection of the smaller wire on the positive post.

From the buss bar, there is a black wire with a fusible link then the wire turns to red in color. If you have power at the bussbar but the car wont start and you have no power to anything in the car, this fusible link is probably the issue. Sometimes you can see the wires at one end of the fusible link are burned or mushy. Sometimes the only way to tell if the link is bad is by testing for power at the circuit. But, it may pass voltage until you put a load on it.

Sometimes when you put a high load on a poor connection or bad fusible link, the connection will fail. Wait a minute and the next try it might make the connection. Complete failure will eventually occur.


Bottom of horn relay. The bussbar is just a piece of metal the creates the circuit between the red wire coming in from the 4 way splice that leads to the battery. It also a place for other circuits to get battery power.

View attachment 708604

This is the bulkhead terminal, I called it the radiator support terminal because it's on the radiator support just in front of the battery.
View attachment 708605

thank you ill give this a shot in the morning. but there something i forgot to mention... the first time this happned was after i noticed something. On monday before i went to my dads house to put on new shocks i noticed that there was a small black wire that came off my big black wire (negative wire) for my battery, i noticed the small wire was (im assuming) grounded to the car with a regular screw. The wire had previously been repaired in the middle of it with a yello crimp, but on monday i noticed the crimp disconnected from it. I told my dad because he shortly arrived after i noticed it and he said i would be fine and the car should start right up, so i started the car and i did noticed it seemed to strugle to start unlike anytime before. we drove to his house, put on new shocks and the next day came home back to my moms. this is where i was explaining in the reply above "The previous time i had just got back home from my dads house. i pulled in my moms driveway and ran in the house to see if she wanted anything from the store and we talked for about 5 minutes. I ran back out to start the car and the same thing happened. so i disconected the battery and tried again in the morning, to have the car start right up as if nothing happened." that morning i ended up going back and taking off the old crimp and crimped the two wires from the crimp (the small wire) back together. I then looked at the positive battery cable and saw that it had a small wire coming off of it, but it was connected to nothing! what are these small wires for? could this be the cause? maybe i didnt connect the small wire back together correctly. sorry if i rambled to much, heres a picture of what i was talking about
708612



i dont think my car has a radiator support terminal, theres nothing on my radiator that look like what you have, the closest think i found in my engine bay is this (the car was a factory small block and the previous owner swapped in this big block 396, he said he never got around to finishing the car so i still dont know what all is missing from the car)
vvv
708610
708611
 

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I had the exact same problem and it turned out to have zero to do with anything electrical. It turned out to be the linkage in the shifter to the parking pawl in the automatic transmission. The shifter was on the column and if it was hangin down just a little I'd get the same symptom. Click.
I'm chargin the battery checkin the alternator putting a tester on the battery checking for draws ...name it lol I checked it all.
What in the hell is goin on here ??!
Starts wont start starts wont start. Battery is good alternator is good. No draw anywhere.
Cant remember what made me think to try this but somthin made me think to try this .lol
Held the column shifter up high more in the park position and it fired right up every time .
Droopy linkage and shifter .
 

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66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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yeah that.
 
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Did anyone say check the grounds thoroughly?
 

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1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
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I've seen a bad connection act like an old battery then when the connection made an arc the battery spun the motor fine, I actually seen a ground connection that would have been under my MC seat start a small flame on a newly built bike, wasn't getting a good ground through the powder coat on the frame, looked like a match flame, I had the seat off
 

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Check your voltage on your battery with the engine off. Next time it does the thing, check the voltage at the battery. Regular fully charged battery voltage with engine off should be about 12.6 volts with no load.

I doubt the issue is the alt. You can test the alt by checking the voltage with the engine running. You should see 13.7 to 14.7 volts with the engine running.

I don't suspect the battery, but do the tests to rule it out.

Check and clean the connections to the battery.
Disconnect both battery cables and leave it disconnected until you are done here:

Clean the battery terminals and the battery cable/connector...thoroughly. Make shiny, re-connect. A small wire brush or some emery cloth works great. Do this with your grounds as well, especially the large black/negative cable that goes to your engine block. Dirty connections will have you chasing your tail.
 

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1967 Chevelle SS
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Well, if it turns out you do need a new alternator, I have a new-in-box Powermaster 8002 100A 12SI alternator sitting on my shelf I’ll take $100.00 for (shipped).
 

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Since it's hard to see electricity flowing inside a wire, a test light and/or volt meter will be your best tool choice.

On your year, you have the main battery cable going down to the starter and then at the starter have a smaller gauge wire, probably with a fusible link, that then connects to a 10 gauge wire routed up to the horn relay buss on your firewall. Off of the one stud on the horn relay buss, there is yet another large wire that then goes to and through the firewall bulkhead connector and then into the car where it branches off to different things like the headlight switch, ignition switch and fuse block.

It's possible taking the battery cable off and then back on created a better connection there at the battery or the movement of the wire has now affected another connection down at the starter.

If you think it's a battery cable connection or a ground off of the battery then when things go off and the motor does not turn over, see if the headlights and/or dome light also stop working. If the headlights and/or dome light still works, then it could be the ignition switch but if everything is dead, then it's not an ignition switch issue as the ignition switch does not control the headlight or dome light operation.

When checking things, go over all of your connections and clean if necessary and the use a meter or test light to see where it's getting lost.

With a meter too, this can tell you what the battery voltage is with the motor off and then with it running. Engine off the battery voltage should be 12.5V or so and then when the car is running you need to see at least 13.5V or slightly more. If the voltage stays the same there are alternator issues.

Jim
 
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