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94 silverado Z71. instrument gauges acting goofy

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by unit28, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    Hi y'all,
    Just brung home a Z71 and the guages are all going goofy like a bad ground wire or something. It's also not starting after a short drive. When I turn on all the accesories the battery guage drops severly low. The wipers start going by themselves. When I turn on the blinkers the battery gauge jumps back and forth.. When bought it and drove it home, it all was good. 3 weeks later...now I got problems.

    Another thing is when I now try to start it, it acts like it has a dead battery but will start unless I drive it for even a short distance then it won't restart.

    All the accessories work except the hazard lights.

    Had the battery and alternator tested and they're good.

    350 TBI automatic 4x4 ext cab short box power locks, doors...some rust
    engine looks clean.

    my question is.....How many ground straps do I need to look for, locations of them too
    if anyone can help I really appreciate it.

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  2. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    You have a poor ground for sure. Start with checking/cleaning the original grounds but it never hurts to add a couple extra new ones from the engine to cab, engine to frame and frame to radiator support.

    There's a few factory ground locations. The main cable from the battery will be either on an intake bolt or attached on the accessory bracket below the A/C compressor/idler pulley. Of course that ones critical. There's also an engine to cab cable, should be on the passenger side at the rear of the engine and is the one that usually rots off and causes strange issue like you have. Should also be one from the negative battery terminal to the fender or radiator support.
  3. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    well then there it is.. cab one is rotted off

    I'll go get some new ones.

    Have a good one.
  4. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    Thanks for the help B&B

    I've fixed the ground strap
    but the spedometer is stuck wide open
    Is there a solution for this?

    Thanks for any one that chimes in.
  5. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    What happens when you smack it with your hand? Sounds crud but you'd be surprised. :D

    If no luck throw a scanner on it and see if it shows a speed indication. If it's ok then there's an issue with the cluster or gauge itself. Sometimes just removing the cluster and cleaning the contact pins will restore it.
  6. fordmstng66

    fordmstng66 Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    I had this problem with my brothers mini van, speedo flipped 360 I was able to take the clear plastic cover off the cluster and flip the needle back to original position.
  7. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    well I smacked the column...as per instructions.

    then turned the key to start, the starter barely could spin,
    and then a puff of smoke came out of the column.

    checked under the hood before going further and a different ground wire/ strap had burned in half.

    It was the frame to cab wire.

    So took it off, and of course I broke a bolt on the cab side

    also, Took off the wire I originally fixed and noticed there was no bare metal on it's contact to the cab.
    I took it for granted that it did, and it cost me another lesson. The original wire may not have gone to that bolt and I just tucked the wire under the washer. lesson learned.

    So,I took bolts out, ground off some rust and paint here and there for the bolts and new straps to contact
    good metal.

    Got them back on and crossed my fingers that I didn't burn up the ignition switch. I tried the key again,
    this time I was armed with a fire extinguisher and a BFH.

    I turned the key and the spoeedo jumped back to 0 and it fired up
    simple things are just a pain sometimes.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  8. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    And often the most overlooked. Some good lessons learned today that you'll remember and use again...so it was time well spent. :nod: