Electrical Problem driving me crazy!

Tom Laferriere

New Member
Gentleman,

Got a problem with a 1962. The whole car loses power, but the engine will turn over with the solenoid button. Cleaned all battery connections and changed solenoid to a known working one. Cleaned connections on regulator. For no consistant reason, the whole car dies and there is nothing I can "jiggle" to make come back on. Then, it just powers up again when it feels like it. There is no bilge blower set up.

Has anything similar happened to anyone here?

Thanks,
Tom Laferriere
401.651.2295
 

Ed Price

Member
_____

From: Tom Laferriere [mailto:]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 12:18 PM
To: edprice@cox.net
Subject: [General Amphicar Discussion-t-20119] Electrical Problem driving me
crazy!


Gentleman,

Got a problem with a 1962. The whole car loses power, but the engine will
turn over with the solenoid button. Cleaned all battery connections and
changed solenoid to a known working one. Cleaned connections on regulator.
For no consistant reason, the whole car dies and there is nothing I can
"jiggle" to make come back on. Then, it just powers up again when it feels
like it. There is no bilge blower set up.

Has anything similar happened to anyone here?

Thanks,
Tom Laferriere
401.651.2295



Remember that electrical problems are always a "circuit" problem. For the
electric to do its stuff, it has to be made to flow where and when we want
it. Everything starts at the battery, and it all has to also flow back into
the battery. Two ideas:

1.

If the engines dies, is it really "the whole car?" No headlights? No
brake lights when you step on the brake? If the whole car goes off, then the
problem is in your very primary power distribution, probably the battery
terminals, battery connectors & leads, battery ground or first common power
distribution point.
2.

If the engine dies, but you still have all your auxillary stuff,
like horn and lights, then the problem is in the ignition circuit. That runs
from ignition switch to coil to breaker points to engine block and back to
the battery. Take a voltmeter when this happens and see how far the power
goes. Is there power to the high side of the coil? Is there power to the low
side? Are the points open or closed? If open, the voltage should drop to
near zero when the points close (or you short them with a screwdriver).
Common problems are bad switches, broken or intermittent wires, bad coil
(can short across the terminals, can short to case, can go open), bad points
or bad capacitor (condenser).

Most all of these problems are also vibration and temperature dependent;
that is, they wait for the right temperature or bump, then act up, and
temporarily fix themselves after a bit of cool-down or another bump. You
have to be ready to start diagnosis quickly, then move along methodically,
without causing much disruption yourself, until you find the bad part of the
circuit.


Ed Price
El Cajon, CA USA
61 Rust Guppy
 

gzink

Member
My guess, on the opposite side of engine firewall from battery, there are a series of connectors that plug together. I had an intermitent problem like yours and jiggled those connectors and would be going again. Eventually I replaced one- believe it is the top one that controls main power and have been good ever since.
Greg Z. (Michigan)

--- On Sun, 8/17/08, Tom Laferriere <> wrote:

From: Tom Laferriere <>
Subject: [General Amphicar Discussion-t-20119] Electrical Problem driving me crazy!
To: g_zink_us@yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, August 17, 2008, 7:18 PM







Gentleman,

Got a problem with a 1962. The whole car loses power, but the engine will turn over with the solenoid button. Cleaned all battery connections and changed solenoid to a known working one. Cleaned connections on regulator. For no consistant reason, the whole car dies and there is nothing I can "jiggle" to make come back on. Then, it just powers up again when it feels like it. There is no bilge blower set up.

Has anything similar happened to anyone here?

Thanks,
Tom Laferriere
401.651.2295
 

gzink

Member
3 different bilge plugs?

I have something that it appears even Gordons has never run into. Wondering if anyone knows or has an opinion. When I got my car, it was missing bilge plug- screw in type so I went to hardware store and got steel plumbing plug and it was exact fit so I have used for several years always meaning to buy the brass orginal. Finally I did buy it and found the Gordons one is just slightly smaller a diameter by 1/16 to 1/8. Threads do not even meet. I contacted Gordons to see if I could exchange for the right size and was told there is only one threaded plug. I am absolutely sure my hull is original and the threaded hole is from the factory. There is no evidence of any welding or that it is anything but stock. Have I found an anomoly no one has yet encountered or has anyone else ever seen this?
Greg Z. (Michigan)
 
3 different bilge plugs?

Greg, I can't answer your question, but I got a 64 from a guy in Michigan and it has the threads on the outside with a plastic plumbing cap screwed on to it. I suspect it was modified.
Larry
in Ohio**



----- Original Message ----
From: gzink <>
To: larrydepasquale@yahoo.com
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 6:51:14 PM
Subject: RE: [General Amphicar Discussion-t-20119] 3 different bilge plugs?


I have something that it appears even Gordons has never run into. Wondering if anyone knows or has an opinion. When I got my car, it was missing bilge plug- screw in type so I went to hardware store and got steel plumbing plug and it was exact fit so I have used for several years always meaning to buy the brass orginal. Finally I did buy it and found the Gordons one is just slightly smaller a diameter by 1/16 to 1/8. Threads do not even meet. I contacted Gordons to see if I could exchange for the right size and was told there is only one threaded plug. I am absolutely sure my hull is original and the threaded hole is from the factory. There is no evidence of any welding or that it is anything but stock. Have I found an anomoly no one has yet encountered or has anyone else ever seen this?
Greg Z. (Michigan)
 

jfriese

Active Member
Greg,

If you can, post a close up photo of your bilge plug opening. Perhaps someone here can figure it out by appearance. I suspect is was altered by someone at sometime. Perhaps he was a really good welder.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 

mike_israel

Amphicar Forum Admin
Staff member
3 different bilge plugs?

My guess is that PO either lost original bilge plug or somehow cross threaded it.* They then used a large tap and rethreaded it to a non-metric fitting.
 

Propcar50

Member
Tom,
I had a similar problem. Turned out to be the ground straps, both battery and from the transmission to the frame. Clean all connections.

Randy
Blue '67
Maryland


-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Tom Laferriere <>
 

Midwest Amphicar

Worlds Largest Amphicar Destination
Was the rear qtr fixed? many have wrecked harness through welding and long screws for trim. Later Dave the Wave
 

Tom Laferriere

New Member
OK, to clarify, the whole car loses power. This morning, while getting my coffe, the car was running wonderful. Then, on my way to home depot, the car started acting up again. Frustrated, I closed the door harder than I normally would and presto, instant power. When the power kicks out, seems like I could "turn" the power back on by opening and closing the door. This is killing me! I have a swim in 3 days. All connections and leads cleaned.

I dont have a wiring diagram. Where is the first power distrbution point? Main power goes to the regulator, but where does "the car" get its main power from?

Thanks
 

amphi_sc

Member
Did you pull the ignition switch out (as I previously suggested) and take a good hard look at it? A bad contact inside there or bad solder joint there will kill the "whole car". And sometimes, jiggling the car (such as rough bumps when pulling off onto the shoulder of the road when it quits) will make it come back to life again for a short time. Let me know if you have ruled out the ignition switch.
 

Tom Laferriere

New Member
When the problem occurs, I jiggle the ignition switch and its wires, as I have easy access with the glove box removed. Nothing. However, I open close the door and power up.

I have not pulled it out, but maybe I should if a bad switch will cause whole car power loss.

Thanks everyone...please keep suggesting.
 

chasgould

New Member

gzink

Member
I still say it is where the main harness branches out on the driver's side firewall. I have had this happen. You might need to remover the engine hood to get at it. This seems especially likely given your door slamming comment. Turn ignition on, then watch for power on the dash as you take two hands and push the connectors together at this junction box. The top, or 2nd from top controls main power. Voltage reg. will only cause a charging issue, not complete power outage.
Greg

--- On Mon, 8/18/08, Tom Laferriere <> wrote:

From: Tom Laferriere <>
Subject: RE: [General Amphicar Discussion-t-20119] Re: Electrical Problem driving me crazy!
To: g_zink_us@yahoo.com
Date: Monday, August 18, 2008, 2:04 PM







When the problem occurs, I jiggle the ignition switch and its wires, as I have easy access with the glove box removed. Nothing. However, I open close the door and power up.

I have not pulled it out, but maybe I should if a bad switch will cause whole car power loss.

Thanks everyone...please keep suggesting.
 

jfriese

Active Member
Hello,

When I was restoring my first car, Hugh Gordon told me to change ALL the terminal ends that go to the connector block on the left side of the engine compartment. He told me those clips go bad and will cause annoying intermittants. I thought that seemed a bit extreme and just replaced one bad clip. Over the next several months I had numerous intermittant electrical problems and all of them ended up being more of those terminal clips. It turns out that the old brass clips become brittle with age and split down the sides. When they split they lose the pressure required to make good connections. I was in electronics all my life and had never seen connectors fail this way but he was right. I removed the hood, put a piece of cardboard on the muffler and spent an afternoon replacing all the clips with new ones. That ended all the intermittant problem I had and 7 years later, all is still fine. Here's a tip; since the wire is short using normal shrink tube on the wires was difficult to do, I found that there is a 4 to 1 shrink tubing sold by Eastwood that can slip over the clip after you have soldered the new clip onto the wire. This worked fine and looks original. Since all the power going from the back of the car to the front goes through these terminals, I suspect that's causing your problems.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 

DavidC

Amphicar Expert
Yep, Greg is right, that's the place to look. Muffler heat and splash water kills those connections, then follow that big lead back to where it gets power from a tab on the regulator which in turn is via a short lead from the starter solinoid. Be careful however as a lot of that isn't fused. If still probs it could be loom damage as Wave suggests. It's not the ignition switch as the lighting circuit doesn't go near there.

I love the simplicity of the Amphicar wiring. I recently spent half a day trying to find a 12v ignition controlled feed for SatNav in a new Volvo - nightmare, most of the wiring is CAN bus. That uses different voltage levels on the same wire to control devices, it reduces wires (which is important given the quanitity of electronics in a new car) but even for those of us that have spent their workling life in electronics and computers it's a real headscratcher - a problem in there and I'd probably just sell the car !

David C

----- Original Message -----
From: gzink
To: david@manbus.com
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 4:12 PM
Subject: RE: [General Amphicar Discussion-t-20119] Re: Electrical Problem driving me crazy!


I still say it is where the main harness branches out on the driver's side firewall. I have had this happen. You might need to remover the engine hood to get at it. This seems especially likely given your door slamming comment. Turn ignition on, then watch for power on the dash as you take two hands and push the connectors together at this junction box. The top, or 2nd from top controls main power. Voltage reg. will only cause a charging issue, not complete power outage.
Greg

--- On Mon, 8/18/08, Tom Laferriere <> wrote:

From: Tom Laferriere <>
Subject: RE: [General Amphicar Discussion-t-20119] Re: Electrical Problem driving me crazy!
To: g_zink_us@yahoo.com
Date: Monday, August 18, 2008, 2:04 PM







When the problem occurs, I jiggle the ignition switch and its wires, as I have easy access with the glove box removed. Nothing. However, I open close the door and power up.

I have not pulled it out, but maybe I should if a bad switch will cause whole car power loss.

Thanks everyone...please keep suggesting.
 

chasgould

New Member
In a message dated 8/18/08 3:31:04 PM, writes:



> He told me those clips go bad and will cause annoying intermittants. I
> thought that seemed a bit extreme and just replaced one bad clip. Over the next
> several months I had numerous intermittant electrical problems and all of them
> ended up being more of those terminal clips.
>
There is even a more immediate reason why you should have a careful look at
these. I have seen at least two cars, where the rust had mushroomed to a larger
diameter than the original surface area of the connector, and in both cases,
the rust mushroom had shorted out against the mounting fastener for the
terminal block to the car, which caused a direct short on a main feed wire, which is
live all the time, even with the key in the off position. Both of these cars
burnt a wiring harness while shut off in the driveway, and both cars may have
gone up in flames if the owner was not nearby enough to notice the smoke and
odor of the short and disconnect the battery in time. Both cars required a
replacement of several wires in the harness which had melted. My car was one of
these, and it was a 468 original mile unmolested example!
Chas


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