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Grounding trouble-64 Riviera


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I have a grounding issue going on with my '64 Riviera. I can see it on the battery charger when I'm charging the battery up, on the tach, and with the way the radio behaves. The most concrete symptom that I can find is that the parking lights come on in headlight but not in park on the headlight switch. The turn signals sometimes will refuse to cycle as well. There is a strong buzzing in the speakers sometimes and the parking light relay on the passengers fender will hum loudly when you turn the headlights on but fall silent most times after they are on.

I've tried pulling the relay harness which doesn't do anything consistently

Pulling the taillight plugs out of the housings so the taillights aren't grounded

Pulled the whole headlight assembly out on both sides

Pulled the parking light pod connectors from inside the fenders to get them out of the circuit

Tightened the body to engine and both headlight harness grounds

None of these things have consistently eliminated the response in the tach or from the radio. I know it's in the power side of the tach since I've unplugged the signal feed from it as well. My first thought it to check the headlight switch since the parking lights not coming on normally seems to indicate somethings wrong there. Any other suggestions?


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Sounds like you have several distinct issues, one of which may be grounding. Does the engine crank well and charge well? If so your basic ground circuit should be OK but start by at least checking to be sure your cables are tight and in good condition.

Tackle the issues one by one and I think you will unravel the multiple problems. They may not necessarily be related to one problem. Start with the signals because this is a safety issue which is keeping you from driving the car.

Turn on the signals and check each bulb for operation and proper brightness level. If everything checks OK your grounds must be good, then go after the flasher. I`m assuming at this point your battery is up to full charge. I suspect your signal problem will be solved, then move on to the next issue, etc....good luck!

Tom Mooney

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That ground on the bulb socket is a real engineering stretch. I soldered a wire to the tab, tied the ground between the two lights and fastened an eyelet to a good ground, the nut and bolt kind.





Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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I've not even tried starting it this time. It ran and charged well the last time I drove it before I took the timing cover off to fix some leaks. I'll go back and double check the grounds between the engine and the frame and the frame and the battery (rear mounted battery). The battery will go flat after a month or two of sitting.

There is so much wiring in this car with the EFI that I've thought about completely removing the stock harness and rewiring it from scratch to eliminate the 50yr old stuff.

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