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67 GS Electrical Problem


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Hi all, Out crusing one Sunday afternoon and the car went dead. Made 3 stops that day and on the last one the car would not start. The Gen light was on so I got under the car and moved the solenoid wires around a bit. Got back in the car and now no gen light, no headlights, no interior lights. Towed the car home. It's been 2 weeks and I am at a loss. This can't be that tough.

Replaced the solenoid and had the starter and battery tested and they are fine. Battery cables are good. No fusible links from the solenoid ( I guess the previous owner removed them).

Any thoughts? Would a bad ignition switch cause this (remember no headlights) or Neutral Saftey switch. I'm not good with a multi-meter but willing to learn. Also, I don't know the sequence of troubleshooting. Meaning, should I have power from the solenoid terminal (not bat) with the ignition key off?

I am on the verge of having it towed to a garage.


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Thats the problem with electrical stuff, its not that tough, ya just play hell trying to find em. Make sure your battery cables, positive as well as negative have good contact. You have no lights, which means you are not getting juice from the battery to ?? or your negative cable is bad, not allowing the juice to travel. I'd check your ground cable from the battery to the frame. Ya might even want to try running a wire from the battery to the frame for your negative. Use a thick wire and only see if interior lights come on-- do not try and start the car or use the headlights as you'll fry the wire unless you are using another cable. They are that thick for a reason. BTW they did not use fuseable links back then.

There should be power at the cable connected to your starter also.

Edited by brh (see edit history)
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Guest my3buicks

Check your copper ground strap - I had similar issues when a ground strap had deteriorated and broke - would never have figured it.

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No fusible links from the solenoid ( I guess the previous owner removed them).

Any thoughts? Would a bad ignition switch cause this (remember no headlights) or Neutral Saftey switch.


The ignition switch will not cause a no headlight condition directly. It could indirectly if it shorted and caused the fusible link to burn out.

As others have mentioned insure the battery cables and grounds are OK.

Are you 100% certain there is no fusible link(s). At a minimum you should see a splice where it used to be. Sometimes you have to unwrap the wiring harness a bit back from the solenoid to find it.

I'm "pretty sure" in 67 the electrical system is powered from a wire that connects to the battery positive cable at the solenoid. If that connection is lost or the fusible link burns out, everything is dead. The link will be on one of the medium sized wire(s) that originates at the same solenoid terminal where the positive cable from battery connects.

The wire with the fusible link runs directly to the fuse block inside the car and powers it. So either the positive battery cable is corroded inside the jacket and not getting power to the solenoid or the fusible link wire is broken. It is rare there would be a problem at the fuse block connection at the firewall but not impossible especially if it had been disturbed for some reason.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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Guest pfloro

Although this may not be causing your particular trouble, I recently had trouble with the bulkhead (firewall) electrical connector in my '84 Olds Toronado. Suddenly, my headlights would not work. After eliminating everything on both sides of the bulkhead connector, I decided to disconnect that big connector & have a look. Over the years, the grease which coated the terminals had turned to tar and prevented current from flowing through the headlight connections (higher current). I cleaned out all the old grease, used new dielectric grease (seals out moisture) and reassembled. All has been fine for over a year...

Since the electrical terminals are not gold plated, oxidation can form over time. Even minute amounts can impede the flow of electricity. Sometimes just 'breaking' & 'making' contact can clear the oxidation.

An electrical wiring diagram can be immensely helpful when troubleshooting. If you find that the fusible link(s) were removed, by all means, install new ones of the proper size. Without fusible links, a short circuit 'ahead' of the fuse block or in a circuit not routed through the fuse block (headlights, etc.) will cause the next smaller gauge wire to overheat & burn up. A car fire can easily result...

Good Luck,


Edited by pfloro (see edit history)
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Thanks everyone. I'm sure the POS battery cable is good as I put a test light on the solenoid and it lit up. However, I didn't check the Neg. I'll do that tonight.

If that doesn't work, I'll pull the connection at the firewall and check that. I do have a nasty oil leak that is spitting all over my motor so I imagine it could have infiltrated my harness.

Thank you again for the suggestions. I'll follow up once I figure this thing out.

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  • 2 years later...

Well I want to close this out since I forgot to in 2010. I never did figure out the problem. So I ordered a new wiring harness. Once installed everything worked fine.

I believe (and what I didn't state before cause it didn't register) I caused the problem myself when I installed a 1000 watt amp and subwoofer 2 weeks prior. I only went on short trips of a hour or so and no issues after that install. The day the car died I was out for about 3 or 4 hours. I think I cooked my wiring somewhere on the engine harness. I then disconnected the amp and all is well.

After some investigating, I found that my ALT just could not keep up with the load. During the troubleshooting process I replaced the Batt, Alt, Solenoid, relay maybe more but now I can't remember. Anyway, being at a loss, I ordered the new engine wiring harness and all is well and I even feel better with the new harness.

Thanks again everyone for your help. And thank you for this forum.......I would be lost without it.

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