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Old 02-13-2011, 10:16 PM
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37 Ford Wild Rod electrical question

So here's the problem...

Just bought a 1937 Ford Wild Rod, all seemed fine, but I drove it today(about 5 miles) and once I got gas battery was dead. I jumped it, started right up. Got it home, dead again.

You probably would guess that the alternator is not charging the battery, but after a voltage meter test, it's fine.

Now here is the weird part... The horn is the only thing that wont work. HOWEVER...if I put the battery charger on "engine start" and let it sit, it sometime works.

My assumption is I just have battery that is on it's last legs, and needs replaced. You agree?
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:09 PM
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Being it's a glass car.. I would make sure you have good grounds... Bad or no grounds will cause things to go crazy..
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:56 AM
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What motor and where is the battery located? There are two general problems with GM wiring scheme and street rods. Both are sort of generally directed at poor ground. If the battery is in the trunk or located some distance from the starter, then you must run the positive lead to the big post on the starter and the negative lead to one of the starter mounting bolts. Also use at least a 10 gauge wire from the alternator to the big post on the starter in order to "push" an adequate charge to the battery. Frame needs to be grounded to the same bolt that the battery negative lead is attached to. Now you can use all the grounds as needed to the frame or engine. If you have a glass car, it is not a bad ideal to install a grounding bus that is grounded to the starter bolt and then route all your grounds to it.

Trees
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:43 AM
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Battery is located under the passenger front fender, a few feet from the starter. I also thought about a ground, and plan to look it over, but everything else seemed to work fine/properly. I haven't even owned the car 48hours, so I'll go over it, but the battery and horn thing was/is bothering me.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:35 AM
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First thing to do is remove the battery from the car and place it on a charger for an overnight charge at a reduced charge rate. Then take the battery and have it checked. If the battery checks out OK then you must start a search for whatever is pulling it down. I would start by removing every fuse from your distribution panel, disconnecting the alternator and any other sources of potential draws. Once you have completely eliminated any discharge from the battery (checking with a DVM on current mode) then one at a time start adding back your circuits. Once you add something that produces a draw on the battery find out what it is and correct it.

Vince
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:19 PM
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Vince is write but that said it will not take but a small amount of juice to blow the horn. My ground wire in the steering wheel keeps coming loose. I hope to fix that and some ball joints this week now that its got warmer.Yes I know buy cheap and get cheap. good luck.

OLDROD
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:24 PM
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If you are sure the alternator is working and it starts right up with a jump then most likely the battery is junk. I don't think you have a ground issue the jump fires it right up. If the battery is that dead you need to change it or you will be buying an alternator as well.
As mentioned above, pull the battery, have it charged and tested. I think you will find it is dead.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:29 PM
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Wire in the column should be hot and when you press the horn button it connects it to ground (the column) and allows the horn to blow
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetskibob1
You probably would guess that the alternator is not charging the battery, but after a voltage meter test, it's fine.

I think this would rule out the alternator...
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:47 AM
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Sounds like you have a bad horn circuit, it will ground it's self sometimes causing the battery to drain. If it has a fuse, pull it and see if the battery still drains etc..... while your batt may be on it's last leg, that doesn't explain why the horn only works sometimes.....
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:26 AM
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I think it is 2 separate issues. If the wire leading up to the horn button shorted out it would cause the horn to blow.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-bucket23
I think it is 2 separate issues. If the wire leading up to the horn button shorted out it would cause the horn to blow.

You are wright the horn button grounds and make the thing blow BUT if THE WIRE comes loose then no horn. As to what ever is draining the battery good luck as it could be lots of things that is IF the battery if good to start with. The ground wire to the battery will spark if you take it off then touch it back to the post if some thing is grounded OR you have inside lights or some thing that is hot all the time,door locks,popers ECT. IF you got the wiring book from the first owner so you can follower the wiring you are ahead of the game if not Vince gave you the answer you needed pull all the fuses and check for a spark with the ground wire to the battery just remember the horn has a relay (probably on the fuse panel)then start running the wires down. Good luck

OLDROD
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:59 PM
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If the wire leading from the horn to the horn relay, grounds out, the horn will not blow. If the wire inside the column grounds it's self then the horn should blow. As stated above I'd go the fuse route 1st, if that doesn't pan out, I'd find the horn wire from the column and do a contitunity check with a ground to see if it's shorted, following that all the way to the horn...... far fetched but the horn wire may be shorted some where and the horn it's self has partialy burnt up and only sounds every once in a while...... mean while it's trying to sound all the time hence the drained batt........ remote possibility.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:11 PM
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I had a custom cheby van back a few years ago. The customer said it seems ok, but when he blows the horn the car will die and then after a while it comes back.Ended up being the hot feed wire at the bulkhead connector was melted/corroded. Blowing the horn obviously aggrevated the problem.
I hardwired it through the bulkhead and soldered/ shrinkwrapped it and it never gave him a minutes trouble after that.Just a thought.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:03 AM
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UPDATE!!!!

OK... It's not the battery(tried a brand new one). But I do have a MAJOR short somewhere. I hooked up a test light between negative batt terminal and neg cable. Removed EVERY fuse in the fuse box in sequence and the light never went out.

I had an optima red top battery in it, replace it with a traditional battery. Now when I hooked up the battery one of the wires on the started started to cook! Actually melted some of the sheathing.

So, I guess this weekend I'll be tracing more wires!!

Any suggestions??
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