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Bdad

'63 Riv - Electrical

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Went out last night to start the car and...no power. Checked the battery (new) and showed discharged. Set the charger on it all night and fully charged. Still no power. Started it a few days ago. Haven't done anything to the car. Clock doesn't work; no lights at all. Nothing. No lights. No horn. Not a bit of power to anything.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Bdad (see edit history)

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I will assume stock point type ignition. Replace the points or take those and file them. Points are locked together and this will cause a very quick discharge of the battery. Like running into the store and just getting a loaf of bread quick. Ask me how I know.

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14 minutes ago, steelman said:

I will assume stock point type ignition. Replace the points or take those and file them. Points are locked together and this will cause a very quick discharge of the battery. Like running into the store and just getting a loaf of bread quick. Ask me how I know.

Just got the car back from the mechanic a week ago where he went through everything top to bottom. Changed plugs, wires, etc. He did say the car had been converted to electronic ignition at some point. I was fine and then nothing. No power to anything. Zip. In quick research a power probe to find out where the juice stops? But I have no idea at what points to check. Back to the mechanic or get him to make a house call?

Edited by Bdad (see edit history)

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Checked the fuses in the passenger compartment and all look good. Anywhere else between the battery and fuse box that a relay or something could suddenly go bad?

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1. Get a manual and look at the wiring diagram.

2. Get a multimeter and start checking voltages.

 

Check ground.

Check for power at the junction block on the inner fender.

Make sure the firewall connector is solid.

Check for power at the fuse box with the ignition on.

Pull the ignition switch and check for power coming in and going out.

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Things like that happen and sometimes you just need to remove and clean the battery cables thoroughly. Especially if someone else had their mitts in there.

 

Bernie

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I bought a car one time that had a Wal-Mart battery in it.  It didntvtake too long for me to find out that the battery had a bad cell in it.  Sometimes it would just go dead.  Charge it and it seemed fine until the next day then nothing. Do as Konga man suggests.

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Which brings us back to the obvious: test your battery. ;) 

 

For a sanity check, hook up your charger to the battery with the cables connected.  Do you have lights now?

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I agree with all the above...........disconnect the battery and check all the battery cables for condition.    Charge the battery with the cable disconnected.....good chance it will not take a charge or the cables were not making a good connection.

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Start at the source which is the battery. In situations such as yours the 1st. thing to check is the battery cables & for dirty connections.

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Before I headed out of town for a few days I charged the battery with cables off. I had replaced both cables with new custom made. I have power at the connection point on the driver's side fender. From there I need to track it or get the car to the shop. 

 

Strange to me that no lights or power at any device or light with or without the key on.

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That would seem to imply an open circuit between the junction block and the interior.  Again, check the firewall connector.  Is it secure?  Do you have power on both sides?

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Even though the cables are new you should check that the post is thoroughly cleaned.

 

On the topic of cables, I have seen a lot that have had a gesture at servicing that never really does the job. A lot of top post terminals get a wire brushing on the mating surface but they are removed and replaced by giving them a twist. The clamping bolt has lost its function years ago. You will find no gap at the clamping point and I have seen the terminal bolt tightened cautiously so it won't snap.

 

Most of the top post cars I get will receive a new clamp bolt and I spread the clamping end open while the bolt is out. I will file between the clamp bolt lands to get a gap of 3/8 to 1/4" when it is a slip fit on the post. I make sure there are no black or oxidized spots on the terminal or post and watch them clamp as I tighten them. I never got into the habit of using grease or dielectric grease but I look at them routinely and will take them apart and clean if I see a little "hair" growing at the edges. I use a flat file, a rat tail file, a wire brush terminal cleaner, and the correct wrenches when I service or R&R a battery.

 

I don't want to be the guy at the show or cruise who gets in his car, hears a click, and no crank, then gets out and twists his battery terminal, starts, and drives home.

 

And that is just two terminals. See why I do most of the work myself.

Bernie

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Might be loose at the horn relay junction, or at the starter solenoid. Something is pulling a load on the battery, i'm betting it's the solenoid.

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23 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Even though the cables are new you should check that the post is thoroughly cleaned.

 

On the topic of cables, I have seen a lot that have had a gesture at servicing that never really does the job. A lot of top post terminals get a wire brushing on the mating surface but they are removed and replaced by giving them a twist. The clamping bolt has lost its function years ago. You will find no gap at the clamping point and I have seen the terminal bolt tightened cautiously so it won't snap.

 

Most of the top post cars I get will receive a new clamp bolt and I spread the clamping end open while the bolt is out. I will file between the clamp bolt lands to get a gap of 3/8 to 1/4" when it is a slip fit on the post. I make sure there are no black or oxidized spots on the terminal or post and watch them clamp as I tighten them. I never got into the habit of using grease or dielectric grease but I look at them routinely and will take them apart and clean if I see a little "hair" growing at the edges. I use a flat file, a rat tail file, a wire brush terminal cleaner, and the correct wrenches when I service or R&R a battery.

 

I don't want to be the guy at the show or cruise who gets in his car, hears a click, and no crank, then gets out and twists his battery terminal, starts, and drives home.

 

And that is just two terminals. See why I do most of the work myself.

Bernie

Back in the "Good Old Days" of no money, beater cars and discount store batteries one of the things I always carried in my car tool box was a couple of good sized self tapping bolts. If the worn out cable slipped off the terminal and there was no way to tighten the clamp bolt any more you could just hammer that bolt in the gap and tighten it down and get another few months of starting.  

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Something ive noticed is that t the batteries are still made with one post smaller than the other but aftermarket battery cables all have the same larger sized post ends on them.

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15 hours ago, jsgun said:

Might be loose at the horn relay junction, or at the starter solenoid. Something is pulling a load on the battery, i'm betting it's the solenoid.

The one thing I did after getting the car back was to try the horn 2-3x. 

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3 hours ago, Bdad said:

The one thing I did after getting the car back was to try the horn 2-3x. 

The horn relay junction is a misnomer, it's just a insulated post that shares a housing with the horn relay. It's where the battery power cable stops, and splits into the cable going to the starter, and a smaller one going to the firewall terminal connector. I'd check that junction, and make sure its tight and the cables aren't pulling from the terminals. It sounds like you have a full break in the power from the battery to the rest of the car.

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Again, start with the basics.  Hook the charger up to the battery with the cables connected (or try a different battery).  Do you have power at the horn, lights, clock, etc.?  If you do, you can rule out wiring.  If you don't, you can probably rule out the battery.  If the problem is the battery, get it tested.  It is not unheard of to get a bad battery right out of the box.

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21 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Again, start with the basics.  Hook the charger up to the battery with the cables connected (or try a different battery).  Do you have power at the horn, lights, clock, etc.?  If you do, you can rule out wiring.  If you don't, you can probably rule out the battery.  If the problem is the battery, get it tested.  It is not unheard of to get a bad battery right out of the box.

Son attached charger to battery and got lights but wouldn't start. Tried charging but nothing. Son took battery to AutoZone. They tested the battery and sat it's a dud. When I get back home I will replace it and try again.

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Ok...back in town. Took the INterstate battery back and got a replacement and the car starts. Going to keep an eye on it to see if there is a drain. I can't remember ever getting a bad new battery. Many thanks to everyone who weighed in. I really appreciate it.

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Well, I once had a battery crap out on me when it was only 3 months old.  Left me stranded in the serious boonies; I had to schlep it out 22 miles on the back of a bike just to get it charged up enough to start the car.  OTOH, I just replaced the battery in the 64 after 11 years, so I guess that evens out. ;) 

 

An inductive ammeter may measure a small current draw.  You should expect to see something (e.g. the clock), but anything abnormally large should be investigated.  In my experience, look out for a trunk light that stays on or the light on the rear of the console being switched on.

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Dick,

Even a small drain on a new battery shouldn't have killed it, yeah drained it but should have allowed a charged back up.  New "bad" battery that's a first for me.  Glad its all set...

Enjoy

Gary

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