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Old 03-17-2008, 08:50 PM
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Power just shuts off.

My wife has a 1967 (not '57) Chevy Bel Air wagon. The 283 engine was switched to a 350, but it still has the powerglide. Over the last two years I have replaced the starter, alternator, battery and regulator. In the last few months, it has stalled several times. At first it seemed to happen when the lights were on, and there was no power until the lights were shut off. The last four times were with the lights already off. After this happens, none of the idiot lights come on. The heater fan shuts off, but the lights and horn still work. After a few minutes (up to 10 minutes) the power comes back. I have searched through the Chevrolet service manual and can not find any sure help. Even the wiring diagram is very confusing. My wife is threatening to buy a Kia if I can't fix it. Can anyone help with this one!

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Old 03-17-2008, 09:47 PM
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Looking at a diagram for a 66 Chevelle

Check this
Bad connection at the junction block near the battery
Bad connection at horn relay
Bad connection at Bulhead disconnect
Bad ignition switch.

Could be a flakey Headlight switch as well.
A bad connection would cause it to pull more amps and also trip the breaker in the headlight switch

There is a 12ga (rather large) wire running in a roundabout way from the battery to the ignition switch.

Check the connection in what appears to be the lower plug on the firewall with a 10 pin connector.. The big red wire goe into the car and is split between the headlight switch and the ignition swich. (along with a few other constant hot items.

Both the ignition switch and the headlight switch are subject to high currents and do fail with regularity.

So check these first----look for burnt connectors.
I just hate intermittant problems.

Bryan
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddogmodl
After this happens, none of the idiot lights come on. The heater fan shuts off, but the lights and horn still work.
This points to ignition switch

lights and horn-----BATTERY
heater fan---radio---idiot lights---ignition (or ACCY) power = ignition switch controlled
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:27 PM
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Thanks for the help

Thanks, I can repair electrical but have never been good at finding an intermintent problem. I hate to buy and install parts just to find it was not the problem. I had thought about the light switch but was not sure. Then this morning my wife started it and it ran for about 10 seconds, when it shut off (no lights on). So after I took her to work, I bought an ignition switch. It is installed and all wire conections have had another look over. I hope this is it.

Thanks again
Bob
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:07 PM
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When you swapped the engine did you reconnect the ground from the firewall to the engine. I have seen this overlooked a lot and it can cause the exact problem you are having. If you are loosing everything, I would take a hard look at all grounds and ignition feeds. As someone already stated it sound like you are loosing everything that goes through the ignition. Also be sure to check where the battery ground is attached to the block, it must be clean and tight. When it dies if you have 10 minutes before it fixes itself, you should be able to do some quick basic tests to narrow down the issue.
Some simple tests with a multimeter when its dead

1 With one lead on the positive battery terminal put the other on the engine
block it should read 12 volts or so. If not the ground from the battery to
the engine is bad.

2 With one lead on the positive battery terminal put the other on the firewall
or body it should read 12 volts or so. If not the ground from the battery to
the body/frame is bad.

3 With one lead on the negative battery terminal put the other on the
ignition switch feed should read 12 volts or so. If not the feed to the
ignition is being interupted somewhere.

4 I would also check from the post of the battery to the battery terminal
itself, I have seen bad connections there that only happen when loaded
and once they cool they will go back to working. You can also check for
this with the meter by, when it is dead test the vlotage from 1 terminal to
the other, not on the post but on teh terminal itself.

5 If all this fails you will need to dig deeper into the system to see what is
failing under the load. Another good place to look is on the starter large
stud to be sure it is clean and tight.

My guess is a missing firewall ground strap.

Chet
the engine is bad.
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