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Discussion Starter #1
The other day for no reason at all my 86 Elky would not start, just a click at the sol. New battery, new alt., new fan belt. I put a charger on and after 5 min. on fast charge it started. Checked alt. and it was putting out 14.86 volts at idle. After the battery was back up I put a load test on it and it is fine. I put 20 miles on it and parked it over night, the next morning same stinkin thing. While bat. was charging I went over ALL the grounds, took everything apart, cleaned everything up and put it back together. When bat. was back at full charge I put a voltmeter from the neg. bat. post to the neg. cable, with the key off I showed a 12.87 draw. I pulled the body plug at the firewall and the draw went away, now I know the problem is from the firewall back. I plugged the ignition plug back in and there was no draw. I plugged the light, horn, etc. plug in and had 12.87 volt draw. Went inside and started pulling fuses, draw went away when I pulled courtesy/clock fuse. I left the fuse out overnight and tried to start the car in the morning, started right up. Pulled bat. cable and checked and low and behold I show a 12.87 volt draw even though the fuse was in my fat little fist. I put the fuse back in and the draw is still there, take it out and same problem. I have checked lighter, door switches (courtesy lights), dome light, etc. still have the problem. Of course when I pull the csty/clk fuse I take power feed for the radio. The ctsy. lights do not work with or without the fuse and the bulbs are all good.
Does anyone have any ideas before I buy a gallon of gas and put the car out of its misery:smileyb: Climbing under the dash at my age is really killing me.
 

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Check the wire going into the back of the fuse box. The way I read your post you have a draw even if the fuse is out of the fuse block so I would look for the short right behind the fuse block. All the wires for that block sit in almost like a raised little box between the fuse block and the firewall and I've found its common for people to tie into the wires right there to feed extra not factory stuff like radios. if they tied into the power going into the fuse right behind the block to power something stupid sometime in the past and someone took whatever it was out the splice is probably still there and may be where the powers bleeding off. Good luck with it :beer:
 

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did you check the glove box light ? do you have an external amp for the radio that is staying on ? is it a factory radio or aftermarket maybe wired incorrectly. i had a pioneer in my 86 for a while it took a crap and the amp stayed on and would kill the battery in about 4 hours. i put a stock cd player in and the amp is now powered through a relay and no more issues
 

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you will have some draw for the memory in the ecm. you will see some draw but no real amperage draw. unplug the radio and ecm and see if the draw goes away if not you need to start checking the wireing and components under the dash for shorted wires or components. also depending on the type of alarm you have you will also show a draw.but the normal draw should be in the milliamps and should show up but not drain the battery overnight.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the ideas, I'm having a cup of coffee before I head to the garage to start on it again.
I'll answer a couple of questions before I go back at it.
The ECM is on the shelf, no polution stuff on the car any longer. I installed an aftermarket radio/CD player 4 yrs. ago, there is no external amp. I also replaced the engine with a 350, along with dist., intake, carb, etc. I removed the A/C over a year ago. As I said this started a week ago out of the blue. The only work I have done lately was replace the mufflers 3 weeks ago, so I don't think that would have anything to do with the problem, but on the other hand, who knows.
I am going out there now and start with the ctsy lights and the fuse block and see where that leads.
Thanks again guys, I'll keep you posted.
 

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Did they do any welding near the starter ?? They Could have got some heat near the starter wires !!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update

To bring it up to date and answer questions. I have already done all the grounds. No welding on the car in over 2 yrs.
When I went out this morning to start on it again, engaged the bat. disconnect and got in to start it, wouldn't you know it the ctsy lights worked. Flipped disconnect and hooked up meter, shows a 12.89 v draw. Tried to get fuse panel out but not enough room to move it more than an inch, used a mirror and everything looks good behind it. Pulled the car apart and was unable to find anything, checked everything. Put the dumb thing back together without solving anything. I am about ready to sell the thing or set fire to it. By the way, I don't have ctsy lights now. I may just pull all the wiring out and get a generic harness and start over.:neutral:
 

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" replace the mufflers 3 weeks ago" Did ya replace the muffler bearings at the same time????:poke:

I shouldn't be joking about this, as I went thru a short for about 2-3 weeks before solving the problem. Used a 30A long-legged ckt brkr, and when it started to smoke, I could trace what wire and where. If you use this method, be very attentive, or you will melt wires together.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, in fact I bought a new set of chrome moly muffler bearings:smileyb: There is alot to be said about keeping a sense of humor in times like this.
My big problem is I can't see much in and around the fuse panel, and when I pull fuses doesn't make a difference in meter reading. Years ago when I worked at a Buick dealership I had something very similar, drove me crazy for almost a week until I found a light staying lit in the trunk. Last night I went out when it was dark and lowered the tailgate but didn't see and lights on.:smileyb:
Thanks for the idea, I'll look into that tomorrow. I also thought that I might pull the instrument pod to get a better look in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update: After 40 hours of work the problem is still there. I pulled the instrument pod, glove box, and anything else that got in the way including the driver's seat so I could get to the wiring. I went over every circuit, including grounds with a Power Probe and could not locate the problem. I did manage to fix some other things in the process such as burned out light bulbs in dash, removal of seat belt alarm wiring, but couldn't locate what was draining the battery. I don't blow any fuses and nothing gets hot, so I am thinking it has to be something not turning off, but I can't find it. Until something major happens to point to the problem I will use the disconnect at the battery every time I park the car. Thanks for all the suggestions, and I am still open to any ideas.
 

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IIRC - courtesy lights are powered off the headlight switch. On my 66, the courtesy lights always have power going to them. The door jam switches provide the ground to turn them on. The headlight switch also provides a ground when rotated full counter clockwise.

Could it be something in the courtesy light assembly itself?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
With all the trouble I had with them (first off, then on, then off, now on) I am leaning towards that circuit. I used contact cleaner on the light switch in the hope I would gain control of brightness in dash lights (no such luck). I am now thinking I will just replace the headlight switch and see what happens.
 
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