Author Topic: Problems..  (Read 8764 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Problems..
« on: November 25, 2009, 10:08:22 PM »
Well a while ago, I had an issue with my car going dead after sitting a day or so, so I had a shop rewire my positive back to the starter and alternator. Well a couple of days ago I wander out into the garage to head to school, hop in my car, turn the key, dead... Tonight after having to charge up the battery all day to get her to start, my dad and I go for a cruise since he had just gotten in town for the Holiday. Well it starts up, but we have issues. We smell a weird smell coming from some place. Smells like something's burning, bad... We rush home and park it. Well now I'm really getting concerned because I know obviously this isn't safe. I'm honestly considering getting a new wiring harness for the whole dash and having the shop check it out again. I know the guy who had the car before me really screwed around with the wiring, and new I'm paying the price.. So I'm looking into this place http://www.wiringharness.com/ for a reproduction harness for the Bird. They make a perfect reproduction of all years makes and models so I think that's what I'm going to do. Not to mention, I think I should replace the harness to prevent any issue down the road from wiring. After all, I've sunk a lot of money into this thing it'd be a shame for it to just catch on fire. Something I've got to do, but let me know what you guys think. I think it's the best strategy for now. Get a new harness, have it wired up and have them fix my battery/dead problem. I'm getting sick and tired of this crap, and I think I'm about to do something about it.

I've got a lot on my plate right now, a 400 block in the machine shop, a transmission that slips and this electrical crap. One step at a time, safety first. This electrical crap first, then transmission then fun stuff like the engine. Gotta take it one step at a time, but money is a little scarce so getting a new harness, then having it installed will empty me out, but I figure I have to do it.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 10:14:29 PM by Anastasiofan92 »
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline jphillips3333

  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4809
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Problems..
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 10:14:28 PM »
I'd really try to get a handle on the existing issue - the electrical smell.  If it were me I'd probably take a look at the new cable that was routed and check for signs of a burnt casing around the positive cable.  That's the most recent change so I'd look there first.

As far as totally rewiring the vehicle, I'd defer to someone more knowledgeable on that - I've never attempted it.  I have heard of painless during the commercials of the arm chair mechanic shows.

http://www.painlesswiring.com/
John

                                 1 of 1107                     1 of 37,015                    1 of 1817

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 10:16:27 PM »
As you know I don't have a lot of money, only 17 and going to college next year so it's one thing at a time. That electrical crap is going to get fixed Friday, I'm going to give them a call get my car there and show the receipt from the work they did a few months back. I'm considering heavily now getting a new harness all together before I do anything else... I've got to get priorities straight with this thing and I figure wiring smells and dead batteries consistently come first.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline jphillips3333

  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4809
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Problems..
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 10:22:02 PM »
Absolutely - get the mechanicals/electricals in order.  It might be worth jacking up the car, putting a jack stand or two under the car and checking the routing of the cable to the solenoid on top of the starter.  Make sure it hasn't been exposed to and exhaust manifold or other sources of heat.
John

                                 1 of 1107                     1 of 37,015                    1 of 1817

Offline ta78w72

  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6297
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Problems..
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 10:21:30 AM »
Check the field wire to the alternator.  It runs from the alternator to the bulkhead connector and then to the ignition switch.  It shares the slot with the thick orange wire.  That brown wire has a tendency to burn.  Then the alternator won't charge the battery.  That's where I would start.

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2009, 12:54:27 PM »
Where's the bulkhead and the ignition switch?
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline ta78w72

  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6297
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Problems..
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 01:01:36 PM »
Don't worry about the bulkhead yet.  The ignition switch is on the bottom of the column...passenger side.  You'll see the thick orange wire....next to it, in the same slot is the brown wire with a white stripe....that's the field wire.  Visually check it for burning both at the ignition switch and the alternator.

If it appears OK, you'll need to check the fusible links for signs of burning.

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2009, 04:39:56 PM »
Yeah I always see him posting in electrical so I figure he's the electrical guru around here.

By the way I'm gonna head out to the garage and post pictures for you guys in a sec
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2009, 10:03:22 PM »
Got distracted, my dad's cousin showed up with his 2010 Harley Softtail classic, with custom gold flake paint and airbrush. Anyway, I got distracted, had to go to my mom's family's thanksgiving, but I'll do it tomorrow. Sorry.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline 78ta

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 970
  • The 8 track and gauge/stereo console adapter guy.
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Problems..
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 01:30:54 AM »
Your battery going dead could also be due to a short somewhere or a light staying on all the time such as the glove box or trunk light. I've also heard of the dome light staying on ever so dimly because the ground wire for it was barely touching metal somewhere.
One way to trouble this this sort of thing if you don't have a meter or know how to use one is by disconnecting the positive battery cable and, with the car in a dark place, touch the pos cable to the pos post and see if there is a tiny blue spark just before the connector touches the battery post. Make sure you have disconnected any aftermarket items that may be drawing current all the time like a stereo. The factory clock always has power so you might want to unplug it.
The idea is basically that with everything that draws current ALL the time unplugged, you should NOT have any current flowing. If you see a spark, you've got current flowing somewhere. The next step is to remove all of the fuses in the fuse block and then touch the pos batt cable to the pos post again checking for spark. Reinstall a fuse and keep doing this until you find the circuit that sparks. Then check all the wiring on that circuit. This will at least narrow your search down to hopefully just one circuit. As you mentioned, someone has messed with the wiring in this car so you could possibly have more than one circuit with an issue. Be sure that your battery is well charged before doing this so that you get the best spark possible.

As far as the burning smell, I'd jack it up and check how the new cables were routed. They may just have routed one such that it is too close to the exhaust manifold or exh pipe. If that's the case, do as you mentioned and take it back to the place that did the work. They key here is knowing in advance what is wrong so they can't BS you and tell you it wasn't something they did wrong and charge you more money for "fixing" it.   
Randy

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 12:15:28 PM »
Yeah man I agree. I'm just so tired of stupid a$$ people who have no respect for these old cars and working on them. Pisses me off something awful. By the way on the fuse thing, we've tried that a while ago, and we had an issue with actually getting the fuses out. Our fuse puller just broke some plastic piece of crap and we haven't messed with that since.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2009, 01:02:01 PM »
Ok here's the situation. Just went out and took the dash panel out, done. Checked everything, because I know how it all comes apart cluster wise,so I noticed that from the last time I messed around in there, I had left the dome light ground metal piece off from the chassis where I guess it grounds the switch. Well I undid the screws and fastened the ground metal back onto where it should be. Now when the door is closed and I use the dome light switch it actually works like it used to before I messed around. My battery's on the charger now so hopefully the problem is fixed.. Would that have accounted for the burning smell? Hopefully it's fixed, but we'll see.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline ta78w72

  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6297
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Problems..
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2009, 02:59:43 PM »
Are you talking about the headlight switch ground?  That little metal tab?

Offline Kevin

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2243
  • Kevin
  • Referrals: 0
    • www.78ta.com
Re: Problems..
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2009, 03:38:47 PM »
Yeah that.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Offline SavingTheBird76

  • Adv. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1887
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Problems..
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2009, 03:46:06 PM »
Make sure your grounds are clean and correct.
The engine should be grounded to the firewall,along with the battery grounded to the engine.
HAVE YOU SMOKED A MUSTANG TODAY?