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dead in the water!

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by jlsanborn, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. jlsanborn

    jlsanborn Member
    Messages: 34

    I head out of my driveway and romp on it, make it about 100 feet and it just drops dead..........totally. I coasted to a pull out and try to crank it over...........nothin. Headlights won't even burn. Batt leads are intact to the alt. bracket and to the starter term. No broken wires evident (with a flashlight).
    What in the heck is going on here?
    I recently put motor and trans mounts in after driving several months with the junk just about flippin upside down under power (plenty of slack in the wire).
    Most of you hard cores will probably see this before my first (PST) coffee. I am going to sleep on it. I sounds like something obvious but I am scratchin at the moment.
  2. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Double check the connections (batt +) at the starter.They can seem tight,but corrosion can build up,and it will not make contact.You may need to remove it and clean it.Same goes for neg cable at upper alt bracket connection.

    Other thing to check would be the fusible links down at the starter,and the ones at the junction block on the firewall.
  3. jlsanborn

    jlsanborn Member
    Messages: 34

    Your all over it!
    I had a chance to throw a meter on the batt after chow.
    12.8V from the lead on the + batt term to the core support. 0.1 ohms from the lead on the - batt term to the core support. I noticed earlier today that it would crap out when I wound it up in low gear. I was thinking vapoorized fuel due to 100 degree temps today. Now that I think about it, the thing would gag then.. whap whap whap...like an ignition miss.
    Is there one primary fuse from the starter terminal to the fuse block? It must be on the fuse block end of the wire?
  4. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    There are usually two fusible links right at the starter batt + connection,and one or two at the firewall junction block.The starter + connection at the solenoid acts as a junction for most of the power in the truck.When you have a no crank,no headlights,no ign,it's usually a problem right there.Even if that connection look tight,take it off,and clean it up to be sure.You can check the fusible links while your in there.Lookl for corrosion,or a blister in the insulation,indictaing the link has blown.You can also pull gently on them,as if they have blown,you will see they are very stretchy,as they wire is no longer inside.

    I'd advise against poking wires with a test light,especially down at the starter.Once you poke a hole,corrosion will begin to form inside the wire,and it will rot off.

    Check the basics first,and if you need more info,I'll walk you through it.If you really want to do it right,you can rewire the starter and related wiring with an external solenoid,so the starter is not longer hot all the time,and all your power connections will now be up at the battery.If your interested,let me know,and I'll explain further.
  5. jlsanborn

    jlsanborn Member
    Messages: 34

    Fusible link between alt and bat was burnt. Some yo yo assembled the alt in the wrong orientation which pinched the wires on the rigid fuel line. Rubbed through - short.
    twisted the case halves to the correct orientation.
    What gauge fusible link would you recommend?
  6. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I believe the original ones were 12 or 14 gauge.I usually use 12 gauge,gives you a little more room before it burns out.

    What I would do while your in there,is to rewire the starter,and power feed circuits,Ford style.Much simpler,safer,and easier to work on.This will make the starter hot only when cranking,and eliminate the fusible link and solenoid wire which can be troublesome with corrosion and heat.

    Get a regular Ford style starter solenoid,the heavy duty one.Mount it on the pass side inner fender.Remove the starter,and make a sheet metal jumper (or wire,12 gauge) to connect the large "batt +" stud to the "S" or solenoid stud.Reinstall starter,and connect old battery cable to starter like before.Remove the little steel heat shield tube that the starter wiring runs through,and pull all three wires (two fusible link,and one solenoid wire) up through the top.Run them across the intake and down over the rocker cover to the solenoid.The factory solenoid wire will connect to the "S" terminal on your new Ford starter solenoid.The other two wires will connect to one of the big studs.Install your new fusible links now.Connect a new short battery cable (0 gauge) from the battery + to the same large stud.Your old battery positive cable will now connect to the other large stud.You will either have to crimp and a new ring style stud terminal,or maybe consider a new cable to the starter.Your done !

    So now,the only thing that is hot all the time is the batt + cable to the solenoid.The starter is dead until you crank it.You know have all your connections up away from the heat and corrosion,and it's easy to work on.It also helps hot starting performance,as you now have full battery power to the solenoid,instead of running from the ignition switch through a much smaller wire.

    If you have any more questions,just let me know.

    I have some pics somewhere,I'll see if I can post a few later.
  7. jlsanborn

    jlsanborn Member
    Messages: 34

    Thanks Chris,
    The heat shield tube is not even in there. The wires are butt spliced, twisted and looking shabby anyway. There are no fusible links. Sounds like the way to go.