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Old 09-15-2007, 10:43 AM
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wiring harness

my 350 wont start. I think its the wiring. Its a 66 el camino so the wires are 41 years old now. Some of them are half melted, some arent even hooked up. The car will start with a jump, and its fine, but it wont start on its own. It has a generator with an external regulator. I bought a new regulator, still wont start. New starter, new solenoid, new battery. The only thing left is the wiring right?
Is it worth it to wire the car to have an alternator with an internal regulator?
Where should I get the wiring harness from? (fuse box included)
Also, what temp should it be running at? I just changed the thermostat, I put in a 195 and it idles at about 200. I bought a 160, is that going to be too low?

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Old 09-15-2007, 11:59 AM
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I would install a 180 Degree thermostat. As for the wiring I couldn`t agree more it`s past due for replacement. By all means upgrade to a alternator with a internal regulator. If i`m not mistake several companies like year one and others make underhood wiring harnesses that already have all the wiring work done so all you have to do is install it. And since I`ve played with a few wires in my time, I`ll recommend also to add grounds, most of the time the ground is completely overlooked on many vehicles, I`ve fixed so many in the past were a engine was swapped and they didn`t connect any of the grounds back up. Years ago on my 86 Cutlass, I was having hot start problems with it, I got to thinking about it and took a closer look at the small block chevy engine I had installed in it, I had 1 ground connected, so I drove the car on the ramps, and reconnected the grounds on the firewall that went to various places in the firewall. Next thing I did was run the ground from the battery to the block, then another ground from the block to the frame, I cleaned the frame with oven cleaner so it was free of grease, loosened up the bolt that was a brake line holder on the cross frame and mounted the ground over the brake line holder and bolted it back up, lastly I ran another ground from the block to the firewall using 10 gauge wire. The result? no more hot starts no matter how hot it got, considerably brighter headlights at night, and when fully loaded down with all accessories running, the amp gauge dropped little. When it`s done like this, the system operates cooler making it safer, plus the charging system don`t wear out no where near as fast.
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Old 09-15-2007, 01:48 PM
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What wiring harness do I order? Do I get one for a 66 el camino, or for a 350 SBC? I'm clueless
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Old 09-15-2007, 02:09 PM
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wiring harness

I bought a 66 ss impala that would start with a jump, but not from its own new battery. Got it home and cleaned the battery terminals and post and it cranked for the next 3 years. I don't know about after that, I sold it. Why would it start after being jumped, how did that change the wiring.
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Old 09-16-2007, 07:54 AM
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because I'm guessing theres a short somewhere that is keeping the charge from going back to the battery. no? as it sits right now it will run if i jump it, but if i turn the headlights on or tap on the breaks, it dies.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:43 PM
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Contact summit, year one, Jegs, whoever it is you plan to do buisness with. They will ask for your vehicle. You give them the info and I`m sure they`ll have what you need. Unless your plan is to splice and dice then the harness you`ll get will be for your car. The new harness will already have the changes in place for a newer style alternator with a built in voltage regulator. The wiring companies knew not many would want to stick to the old generator and external voltage regulators, only the guys doing a solid restoration that was correct would go this route. Just tell them what you need and they`ll fill you in from there, good luck.
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Old 09-16-2007, 06:22 PM
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I'm confused.. Why does it have a generator?
All Chevy's had alternators from '63 up.
If it runs with a jump, but not on it's own, I'd say you have a bad connection somewhere. Turning on the lights, or another electrical load causes it to die? Still sounds like a bad connection.
.
As far as wiring: I recently rewired a '64 El Camino using a Painless wiring harness......
It's a BIG job. I wish I had paid the extra $$ and replaced the old wiring with new factory replacement harnesses.
JA
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:14 AM
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I agree with johnnya about maybe a bad connection and also about using a original design replacement harness(es). You did not say if it cranks or if the soleniod just clicks without a jump? Could it be as simple as a bad main battery cable or ground cable, or dirty terminals?

If the main harness under the dash looks pretty good, you can replace just the engine harness(es)

On the 63-66 chevy full sized trucks, there is a starter harness that is real easy to change and is cheap. I think it does all the solenoid circuits, coil, and maybe the temp sender. There is the engine harness that will fix all of the wires to alt, regulator, oil sender?, etc. (that's if I remember correctly...some of those engine circuits may be in the headlight harness) There most likely is a seperate one for the front lights.

On the Elcamino that all could be different, but going with stock pieces may work better for you rather that trying a complete hotrod harness; but the main underdash harness should be looked at before spending the money. If the main underdash harness looks bad too, then the total cost of all the GM style replacement harnesses may get real expensive.

On the subject of internal or external regulators; I have had 2 mid 60s GM trucks for 10 years, one with, one without. I don't notice any difference in reliability. Same is true about one having points and one is HEI, they both seem reliable.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:06 AM
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It doesnt do anything if I try to start it without a jump. No clicking, no nothing. I put a new starter and solenoid in it, and since then, it doesnt do a damn thing. The wires under the dash arent looking too great. In fact I was messing around with them the other day, and the car wouldnt stay running without a jump battery, so I looked around and I noticed a wire unhooked down below the dash. I stuck it in to the fuse box, and the wipers came on. Theres also a couple other cables under the hood that arent hooked to anything and look like they should be.
There is a two prong cable for an alternator with an internal regulator, so I bought one and hooked it up, but it doesnt work. When I have the external regulator hooked up, at least it stays running after a jump.
its frustrating. i've only had the car for a month and summer is almost over.
I'm glad I found this forum. I would have pushed it into the river by now.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:22 AM
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when the battery is hooked up, its losing power. weather the engine is running or not, on the volt meter, it slowly drops down.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
66elcy It doesnt do anything if I try to start it without a jump. No clicking, no nothing. I put a new starter and solenoid in it, and since then, it doesnt do a damn thing.
Maybe you disturbed the thin wires that go on 2 differnt posts on the solenoid? There should be a purple wire and that needs to be hooked to the small threaded post that is marked S. It should be the one that is closest to the engine block. That purple wire sends power to the solenoid when you turn the key all the way to cranking.

You should try to google search for a wire diagram picture. If you had a diagram you get some of this figured out if you had a test light or a voltmeter.

The alternator description has me baffled; there should be a difference in plugs on a remote regulator type compared to an internal type. If it really is a remote type alternator, then you can't just try to eliminate the external regulator.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:33 AM
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it has wires for an alternator with an internal regulator and it has a hook up for an external regulator. it doesnt work with the one with the internal regulator. I re did both the wires going to the solenoid. I'll check to make sure they're hooked up on the right side.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
when the battery is hooked up, its losing power. weather the engine is running or not, on the volt meter, it slowly drops down.
Then you need to start disconnecting things, one at a time, to find out where the draw is coming from.

I usually take one battery terminal off and put a test light between that post and the loose cable end. The light should be ON if there is a draw. Then disconnect the plug on the alternator or even take the heavy red wire off the alternator to see if the light goes out. If it is still on, try taking out each fuse to see if it goes out. Just make sure the dome light is not making the light stay on while you are testing with the door open.

There's lots of guys here to help, just try stuff and reply.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:36 AM
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ive tried those things. Tried the fuse box thing. I have a friend who is an electrician and knows a little more than me about cars. I think I need the diagram. i need to figure out what those wires that are unhooked are. I think they're creating a short.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:00 PM
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wiring?

I took and alarm buzzer from a junked 80's car (GM) and connected a short piece of wire to each terminal (2) with and alligator clip on the ends ( 1 large clip for a ground and 1 small to hook to the test wire) . Hook the ground clip to a good ground and hook the smaller clip to the wire or circuit you want to test (purple wire to sol.) when you turn the switch to start, the buzzer should sounded. Its great for checking a circuit by yourself. You can hook it up and let it buzz while disconnecting wire to find a circuit. lot of luck.
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