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Old 02-15-2004, 08:27 PM
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Unhappy chevy dually electrical problems

Hi folks!

well i am the current owner of a 1979 chevy 1 ton dually that is in need of desperate advice. I bought the truck about a week ago and the previous owner said it just needed a new battery. He jumped it and I limped it home. I bought a brand new battery and placed it in the truck. It started up fine on demand for about 4 days and it has went downhill fast. One morning I started my truck up and it ran fine. I tried to drive it to school but my truck completely died while i was driving. When i tried to restart it, nothing happened. It was like a ghost truck. I attatched jumper cables from it to my mom's truck and it took approximately 30 minutes to get it to start. Then i drove it to a shop (by the way, the truck ran great going there), and they said they don't do any electrical work on a truck that old. Then, I decided to take it home, i had to jump it off again. it started in a few minutes. When i was driving down the road, the truck backfired like crazy, about 10 times only going 40MPH in 3rd gear. The last pop, the truck completely shut off, and i limped it to a nearby hotel. I jumped it again from my friends car to park it in a space. I tried to start it again, nothing happened at all. since then, i charged the battery, replaced the alternator, ignition switch, and tested the starter which tested great. But nothing i did helped the truck. By the way, when it was raining like crazy at the shop, i lifted the hood and a little bit of water got on my motor somewhere which could have contributed to the backfiring. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-15-2004, 08:52 PM
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Sounds like you have more than one problem
do you have a multimeater? you could take one battery terminal
off and see how many volts it's pulling with the truck turned off.
if you don't have an aftermarket stereo/CD it should not pull any.
If it is pulling power from the batt, you have a short somewere.

and it shouldn't make any spark if you toutch the terminal to the batt.

Oh and do not go to that shop anymore. 73-87 Chevy trucks
are VERY easy to work on.

Shane.

77 Chevy truck.
85 Honda Prelude.
37 Willys sedan.
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Old 02-15-2004, 09:09 PM
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i really appreciate your advice shane. i won't take the truck to that same shop, but there is a shop within 2 miles where i live and the guy up there said he wouldn't mind looking at it monday morning. by the way, my fusebox is very loose under the hood and below the dash. and i mean it is so loose i could jiggle it. it even looks ancient (very old), so that may be the problem, or one in the future.
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Old 02-15-2004, 09:14 PM
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No problem, glad to help out
That mat very well be your problem. mine is mounted inside the
firewall, and dosn't move eny at all.
when you said 'under the hood and under the dash' do you mean
theres a fuse box under the hood too?
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Old 02-15-2004, 09:19 PM
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oh no its just the screws and nuts on the outside of the firewall that helps mounts the fusebox on the inside to be secure. it is so loose on the inside it is unbelievable. and that could be the problem right there. Plus it may need to be replaced sinced it is dirty and dusty. but all the fuses are fine and not blown (ive checked them earlier)
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Old 02-15-2004, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chevyman85
oh no its just the screws and nuts on the outside of the firewall that helps mounts the fusebox on the inside to be secure. it is so loose on the inside it is unbelievable. and that could be the problem right there. Plus it may need to be replaced sinced it is dirty and dusty. but all the fuses are fine and not blown (ive checked them earlier)
LOL the fuse box on my truck looks like a artifact, still works good.

What kinda engine you got in there?
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:11 PM
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oh just a stock chevy 350 4 bolt main. it runs darn good and does not smoke at all

forgot to mention the granny 4 speed and 4.11 rear end. kinda low geared but a great medium duty set up. wish i had a 454 big block and a turbo 400, but that is my desire. my cousin told me my setup should be fine for now
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:30 PM
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I say keep it too. I had a 79 Suburban 454 TH400, that thing was
a dog, and it gulped gas.
Just install some headers from JCWhitney or Summit, and you will have all the power you need, for less than $100

If you have AC then you will need a AC compresser bracket that
bolts to the header/head, cuz you won't be able to use the cast
iron one that you have.

I got my JCWhitney...Flowtech headers, $89.95, AC bracket,
$11.98.
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:24 PM
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yea, it seems to be a great truck to restore and everything. its a flatbed dually. also, it has a new power steering pump, which is awesome. You could drive it with your pinky if you tried. my friends opt the idea that i should go for straight pipe for exhaust. I want to dual it out with glasspacks. It has good brakes on it, maybe another master cylinder/brake booster unit in the future. It runs great and there is no reason i would want to get rid of it. It is emissions exempt from texas because it is 25 years old. i also have an 84 gmc but it has a rotting 305 and it has no emissions on it whatsoever. the state couldn't pass me on that one! lol
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:45 PM
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Yea Dallas changed how the test is done, we have to put 80 and
up cars on a dyno with the probe, and LOTS of people have been
failing, and it's all just a big scam
it's just a way to force people into newer cars.
but did you know that building a car makes like 10 times more pollution than keeping a older car on the road!

Hey, about how far are you from Dallas? cuz there is some good
junkyards over here with alot of 73-87 Chevy trucks.
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:51 PM
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im approximately 200 miles south of dallas. but houston is only 40 miles south of me. im planning on getting my doors/fenders and hood from jc whitney. people keep telling me that there are better places than jc whitney though
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Old 02-16-2004, 12:16 AM
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Heres a good one.

73-87chevttrucks
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Old 02-16-2004, 12:26 AM
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awesome site


im astonished. according to the vin number, what was originally in the truck was a 292 inline 6. but that was swapped out with a 350 4bolt by the company or someone (it was a southwestern bell truck) Now i am understanding some of the truck's history
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Old 02-16-2004, 08:52 AM
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Troubles

Yeah that water probably got into some place it shouldn't and caused a lot of those problems.

I agree that you have more than one problem.

The first thing to do, in my opinion, after buying a vehicle is to give it a good tune up and bring everything up to standards. That includes new:

Spark Plugs
Plug Wires
Distrubutor cap
Rotor
Oil Change & filter.
Flush the radiator/cooling lines and put in fresh anti-freeze and distilled water.
Tranny filter change and flush

I know this is not cheap, but probably a lot cheaper than what you are going to pay a mechanic and he will likely place at least one of the above parts anyway and charge you more than you would have paid for the part.

THEN, put a multi-meter on the battery while running, make sure it measures 14 volts at the battery. If it don't check the wire that goes from the alternator to the battery, and have the alternator checked.

Make sure battery cable terminals and terminals on the battery and other end are clean. Make sure the alternator belt is tight.

Steve
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Old 02-16-2004, 02:47 PM
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i just got it from the shop, had to pay the towing, diagnostic, and labor fees. What apparently happened is that the starter was not properly grounded off to the block because of crud and some rust. The "mechanic" just evaluated that the problem came from the starter, so he took it off and inspected it. he said that it should ground properly to the block metal to metal and the rust and oil interfered with the ground connection. Boy, if i took some time to look at the starter when i took it out of the truck yesterday for the bench test and figured out that could cause a problem. The starter tested great on the test like i mentioned earlier, but the truck could not start. Well i learned a lesson with old vehicles that when they break down, you must take into consideration that there could be something simple that is causing the problem. Check the battery posts, cables, wires at solenoid, carb adjustments, spark plugs, or even fuses depending on which problem your vehicle causing. I drove it from the shop and it drove great! no backfiring or anything, just drove it 60mph, and the truck drove fine. headlights work fine and even the alternator light came off (it used to stay on even when the motor was running). Im glad the problem is solved. Now i need to work on cosmetics
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