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Old 03-22-2011, 04:39 PM
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Weird Wiper problem

I have a 1980 el camino. i recently replaced the gauges with a set from a 1980 camaro, and the only wiring that i cut into was for the backlights and the gas gauge. the rest of the wiring harness from the originial gauges i left uncut and in the dashboard. I have tested everything i rewired and all the lights work correctly.

Now, i didn't change anything other than those wires, but when i plugged my windshield wiper switch in, and turned it on, the lights underneath the dashboard (the ones that stay on for 30 seconds or so when i turn the ignition off) turn on while the wipers are going. when i set it on slow speed they only light up while the wipers are moving, not when they rest at the bottom of the windshield.

this is very confusing, this didn't happen before i replaced the gauges, and i don't think it should be happening now. all of my other lights work, I am fairly positive everything is wired up correctly... i didn't cut into any of the wires that go to the lights that are giving me problems.

Does anyone know anything that i could do to fix this?!?!?!

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Old 03-22-2011, 04:51 PM
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Unhook all the wires you spliced in...... then hook them up one at a time untill you get the fault..... sounds like your getting a back feed
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:40 PM
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i unplugged all of the wires i spliced.... it still happens. i know for sure exactly which wires i spliced, i put them into a new connector so i can unplug them all at once.

also, the wipers don't work correctly when the headlight/dimmer switch is unplugged, but that also causes the lights to stay off.

and the wiper is making an audible clicking noise when it's extended all the way. it's almost like it's grounding the lights through the headlight switch
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:51 PM
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sounds like the white wire wich grounds the underdash lights is wired to the windshield wiper switch. Both the wipers and the dome/underdash courtesy lights are controlled by the ground side. Where as most devices switch the positive to turn them on and off, like the headlights, radio etc. computer controlled stuff is usually controlled by the ground side also but lets not go there.
Maybe you have a ground missing from the wiper switch circuit.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:58 PM
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well, i'm still not sure, because it worked before i parked the car for the winter.

i wouldn't know where to find the ground for the wiper switch.

and i realized that it's not the under dash lights lighting up, but it's only the light that lights up the little box that has windshield wiper printed on it, and it's also lighting up the heater controls (i couldn't tell because i didn't have them up into the dash yet)
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:07 PM
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the wiper switch is grounding through the switch illumination circuit backfeeding through the rest of the instrument lights including the heater control illumination. At least that what I think. You need to pin down the ground wire for the wipers first.At least that is what I am thinking.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:19 PM
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how would i do that? how can i tell which one is supposed to be ground for the wipers?

and this is really weird, since i didn't remove any of the wiring that has to do with the wipers or headlights/dimmers

also, when i pull the switch for the headlights, even a tiny bit, it shuts the wiper motor off and makes it click and go crazy.

and these wipers are the kind with the variable speed. where you turn the knob to slow them down or speed them up when it's on the low setting.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:25 PM
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you will have to find a wiring diagram for your car .
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:27 PM
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So will i need to completely rewire the headlights and dimmer switch? or would it maybe fix it to get it grounded right?
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:37 PM
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I would find a diagram and look for the ground for the wiper switch.
I dont think you should have to do much to fix it, probably just a missing ground wire or a ground wire hooked to the wrong place.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:49 PM
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maybe the ground lead at the battery corroded over a few months of setting.
It could be as simple as that.I would go to the underhood and look at the battery negative and check them for corrosion.There should be a few others also.one from the engine to the body, probably at the firewall and there should be one to the frame as well.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:00 PM
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I tested it with an ohmmeter and it's grounded to the body. the battery cables are brand new, with a brand new battery.

i unplugged the wiper motor and when i do that the lights shut back off no mater what position the switch is in.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:38 PM
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how does it act with the wiper motor plugged in and the wiper switch unplugged?
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:52 PM
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with the wiper motor plugged in and the switch unplugged everything is fine.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:35 AM
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The wiper switch is grounded by a black wire. Here's a diagram.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 1980 El Camino.pdf (47.4 KB, 44 views)
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