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Old 07-10-2007, 08:46 PM
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Firebird Lights Gone???

I was driving home tonight and the headlights, dash lights and turn signals went out on my 74/80 firebird. It has 74 front end, engine & drive train with a 80 body. So the electrical in it is 80. So I got picked up & phoned the CAA. Hopped in my truck to meet the guy and when I got there my lights were on??? I had him tow it home anyways. So now I have it home and I start the car and the lights work but when I put the brake on both turn signal lights stay on while the brake is being depressed. Also the interior lights flash like the turn signals would. This is very confusing. Any help on this would be most appreciated.

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Old 07-12-2007, 09:25 AM
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I'm thinking something has shorted together. Find a wiring diagram and find what the circuits have in common and start there. I'm thinking head light switch. Brian
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:26 PM
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Yea I was thinking along the same line. I have the wiring diagrams I'll need and I think I have a used light switch somewhere in the garage for the car. Just got to find it if I need it. Thanks Brian for your info.
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:40 PM
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Doc here,

The first thing you need to do with a grafted front end is a proper ground buss system through out the car..

For your Ground Buss, Set it up as follows:

BE sure First, You have A 4 gauge Cable (for stock battery location, OR , 0/0 or 0/1 Cable for a trunk location) from the battery, to any handy bolt at or NEAR the starter on the block .

Using a short run to something like a seat belt bolt, or body bolt just adds resistance, the body is insulated..(has road paint and sits on rubber mounts) this , makes for a "Poor or no" Bonding situation..
  • that makes resistance..
  • Resistance makes Heat..
  • heat melts things and further insulates the bond,
  • which makes more heat..and so on..until you no longer have a good bond..

To install a proper ground buss system, This MUST be done:
  • 1 ) Run a properly gauged (0/0 or 0/1) Ground cable from the battery in the trunk, Or A 4 Gauge cable for a stock located battery, to any handy bolt at or near the starter on the block. From that same bolt get a 4 gauge Battery cable at the parts store, that has two 3/8 ring terminals on each end and attach it there and to the Frame. Make this run as short as possible.

  • 2 ) Next get some 10 gauge wire and ring terminals, run two wires from your bolt on the block, to the Firewall, Burnish off all the paint, grease or oil or dirt from the area, Install a sheetmetal or Self Drilling Tech screw using a star washer as well as a lock washer.. and the other 10 gauge wire to the Alternator ground lug, bracket or mount bolt and attach with star and lock washers.
  • 3 ) Next get some Wire Braid, (expensive! about $10 for 5 - 6 inch pieces! ) Check Radio Shack for this, OR cheaper yet, get some RG 8 Coax cable, about 10 feet. Should run you about 15 cents a foot.

HOW TO MAKE WAY DURABLE CHEAP GROUND BRAID:
--------------------------------------------------
  • 1 ) carefully Slit the insulation from the cable with a Talaban Boarding pass (box knife) .


  • 2 ) Peel away the insulation until you just have the center dielectric and braid left, then carefully press the ends of the coax cable BRAID together like a Chinese "Finger puzzle"


  • 3 ) Slide the dielectric and center conductor out. remove it and toss it..


  • 4 ) On a work bench, Flatten the Braided shield out, use a round weight like a full paint can to roll over it.
------------------------------------------------------

This will be your braid cable, just Cut to smaller length's as needed, and tuck the cut ends into a crimp terminal and crimp the ends on..

IF you can Solder, Tin the ends before you tuck the ends of the cable into the terminals, then Tin the barrel of the terminals, then insert the cable and crimp..

Then heat the terminal and braid, feed some solder into the opposite end as the heat is being applied, let it melt and FLOW or WICK toward the heat..until the terminal barrel is filled and is smooth and shiny..

that is a good joint..gray and rough is a "Cold Joint" and you'll have to start over..
  • 4 ) NEXT, install braid from the radiator support to the frame, Fenderwells to frame , hood to firewall, Doors to door posts, gas flap to body, tailgate / Trunk to body. Install a cable or Braid From the Fuel tank Ground lug where the sender, Fuel line is to the frame..burnish the frame, use star washers and sheetmetal or Tech (self Drilling screws) on the frame.

  • 5 ) At each point the wire is grounded, Burnish ALL the paint and grease off to bare metal. Use a proper star-washer and lock. Use sheetmetal or Tech screws where no screws are available.


It sounds like a lot of work, but after you assemble all the parts, it's only a few hours to do..and you'll end up with a system that will work reliably for many years to come..and can eliminate that from your troubleshooting list.

Remember: GROUND is the other Half of your 12 volt circuit AND is equally as important as having POWER to the device!

DON"T SKIP A STEP! without proper ground busing, your just shooting yourself in the foot looking for power..

Doc
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:50 AM
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Hey budthespud, follow along with what DOC has said........yeah I know it's long............Doc's like that. But he wants to make sure you have thorough and accurate information. Print it and take it out to the car with you and take his suggestions. You'll be way ahead of the game if you do!! Brian
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Old 07-13-2007, 10:43 AM
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Thanks Doc I'm going to take a look at it this weekend. I just printed what you said and I'll take it with me. Thanks again hopefully I can solve this. Summer isn't half over yet!!
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Remember: GROUND is the other Half of your 12 volt circuit AND is equally as important as having POWER to the device!

DON"T SKIP A STEP! without proper ground busing, your just shooting yourself in the foot looking for power..

Doc
It amazes me how people overlook the ground side of circuits. A bad ground will sure make circuits do some weird stuff. Brian
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Old 07-14-2007, 06:23 PM
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Doc here,

This is an 80 Body..




After you set up your new ground buss, If the headlamps are still dark, the most likely suspect is the Hi/Low switch or relay..Check there..Follow the yellow brick road..

I don't think were in Kansas Anymore Toto...


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Old 07-14-2007, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by brian0605
It amazes me how people overlook the ground side of circuits. A bad ground will sure make circuits do some weird stuff. Brian

Doc here,

You are Sooo Right about that!

Especially after Frame off Restos, or Grafted body's, and "Body Shop" babies..

You usually have brand new paint, Road insulating paint, primer, New rubber grommets supporting body/frame parts, and Body guys don't get too picky on reinstalling old ground straps..

Always: Burnish to metal, install the wire/strap, use star and Lock washers, and when done , Continuity test the car Nose to tail..the ground potential MUST be the same throughout..1 ohm can screw it up...

Doc
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:45 AM
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Thanks Doc I'm going to take a look at it today. Its a sunny day and I have nothing on my "Honey Do" list. Pretty much perfect!!!
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:44 PM
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Doc here,

Keep us updated!

It's 90 Degrees here...

Doc
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:44 PM
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Well all fixed!! Doc I did what you said to a "T". I Connected the motor to the frame via a 4 gauge 2 eyelet 15" battery cable, reconnected the ground to the rad support and cleaned the ground for the lights and reconnected it. Connected the frame to the body. I changed the 20amp fuses for the lights and signal lights and she now works beautiful. I've never been one to put too much attention to electrical, just the basic stuff. But I new that I had to learn more especially for this problem and my truck project. I'm going to purchase that Electrical Handbook by J. Horner in the future weeks.


Thanks Doc!! Sometimes you look at things that seem difficult but if someone just passes a little info on it really can make life easier and be a great help like it has for me!!
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by budthespud
Well all fixed!! Doc I did what you said to a "T". I Connected the motor to the frame via a 4 gauge 2 eyelet 15" battery cable, reconnected the ground to the rad support and cleaned the ground for the lights and reconnected it. Connected the frame to the body. I changed the 20amp fuses for the lights and signal lights and she now works beautiful. I've never been one to put too much attention to electrical, just the basic stuff. But I new that I had to learn more especially for this problem and my truck project. I'm going to purchase that Electrical Handbook by J. Horner in the future weeks.


Thanks Doc!! Sometimes you look at things that seem difficult but if someone just passes a little info on it really can make life easier and be a great help like it has for me!!
Doc here,

Fine Job!

Good to hear it was easy, and the best part..Cheap!

The Book as well as internet research are good assets..there is a world of information out there!

Thanks for the Compliment! I try to put things in "Basic Terms" so everybody can understand what was said..novice to pro..Hopefully I have achieved that talent here. It's nice to help out other Folks..

Doc
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by docvette
Doc here,

You are Sooo Right about that!

Especially after Frame off Restos, or Grafted body's, and "Body Shop" babies..

You usually have brand new paint, Road insulating paint, primer, New rubber grommets supporting body/frame parts, and Body guys don't get too picky on reinstalling old ground straps..

Always: Burnish to metal, install the wire/strap, use star and Lock washers, and when done , Continuity test the car Nose to tail..the ground potential MUST be the same throughout..1 ohm can screw it up...

Doc
I did just that when I upgraded all of our 6v to 12v in our 54 ford. I thought my father in law was gonna stroke out on me when I broke out the 80 grit and sanded a 1" circle on the lower part of the fire wall. But as you said you have to have clean metal if you want a good ground. Once I was done it looked like a factory connection and he was pleased. I finally made him believe I knew what I was doing the day he left his lights on and killed his battery. I told him after we jumped him off," when you get home put the battery on charge". "He said the alternator will charge it." So I tried to explain it and he got all pissy so I said fine what ever it's your nickle. He ended up jumping it off two more times that week. By the weekend He was calling me because his alternator light was on. DUH!!! So yes I said told you so!!! 65$ battery and 120$ alternator later and all was right with the world again. Need less to say I don't have to tell him to charge a dead battery at least 4 or 5 hrs or longer time permitting and type of charger. Brian
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