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Old 11-04-2010, 07:28 PM
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Help from Electrical Genius needed

My buddy and I talked about his new 383 he put into his '72 Chevelle. It starts and runs good but he can't drive it because the engine dies when he put's it in either Reverse or Drive but runs okay in 1st...

He put in an MSD-6AL box with the MSD 'ready to run' distributor he had from before. I'm guessing the box is losing either it's power or it's 'run' signal from the ignition switch with is in the steering column, right ?

I understand the wires in the column could be shorted or something, but could it be anything else ? The hot 'run' wire that originally went to the points and now goes to turn-on the MSD box doesn't go through any 'gear dependent' switches does it ???

This is a mystery I'm hoping won't require a new steering column, we could use some help... This info was gained over the phone as my buddy is in Washington and I'm in South Dakota.

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Old 11-04-2010, 07:39 PM
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You might try connecting either a voltmeter, or a test light to the "hot" wire on the distributor, and see what happens when the engine dies. It's going to be a process of elimination to find your problem. Good luck.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:39 PM
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I would have to say look at the ignition switch wiring. It is on the column. should not be to hard to do.Maybe things are floppin around or some sort of wiring problem someone created with the nuetral switch.
Does it still have the column shift? Maybe look at the wiring near the shift arm at the base of the column under the hood.
Could even be a missing ground wire from the frame to the body or the engine to the body...or both.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:45 PM
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His car does still have the column-shifter.

Right, the neutral-safety switch is used so the car only 'starts' or cranks in Park or Neutral right ? So if someone re-wired something and got that switch in series with the power-wire going to the MSD box 'on-trigger' or the hot-wire to the distributor by mistake that would allow running in park or neutral but not reverse, drive, 2, or 1 right ?

May have to have him get a voltmeter or test-light on the MSD distributor wire & box-trigger wire...
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:49 PM
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good idea about the ground-strap from engine to body or body to frame also... Troy, check that will ya !!
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:54 PM
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check out this post for some good info from docvette
72 chevelle ignition switch assembly problems

it sounds like a ground problem
if that doesn't work, i think you may have a mechanical problem with your ignition switch linkage
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:14 PM
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That's a good post even if it's old. Love the guys who reversed plug wires 5 & 7. I always check everything too, messed it up too many times.

Is it just me or is it easier when confused to just yank all the plug-wires and start installing them one at a time 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 ??

It's looking like he'll need to check the various things mentioned in the post about the column pins and more importantly all his grounding systems i.e. straps from engine to frame...
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:07 AM
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Gentlemen, thank you for the help. Docvette's post about grounding issues is what nailed it. My buddy read what he said about how easy it was to miss a ground-strap from engine to frame and he put one in. Now runs like a champ. I guess he (we) threw-away everything nasty and greasy when we did the redo and then forgot to replace said important part !!

Thanks guys !!
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