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64 DeVille, won't crank, nothing works all of a sudden.


Db64deville
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Hey guys, looking for some help 

I have a 64 DeVille, recently put a new fuel sending unit in the tank and put it back together. Car started fine before this.

After I put it all together I tried to turn it on. Initially, the lights came on and it cranked over like a champ, but before it could get fully fired up, it stopped cranking and I could hear the starter winding down.

I then tried to restart the process, turning the ignition on, and, no light, no dashboard activity at all, and it won't crank over at all. Or do anything for that matter. I checked the fuses under the steering wheel, none were blown out that I could see 

To top it off, my fuel gauge still isn't reading, which is why I replaced the sending unit in the first place.

If anyone could help me that would be amazing. I have no clue what to do from here.

Thanks.

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Many years ago in the very early, dark morning hours I was driving on the freeway when my '64 Malibu just shut off.

Everything went off, engine quit, no headlights no radio - nothing.  Just like you see in the movies when a UFO comes overhead.

Coasted to the very narrow shoulder and checked the battery, fuses, anything I could think of.

Nothing.

Out of desperation I just started wiggling the wire harnesses all along their length.

Turns out where the engine harness goes into the firewall at the rear of the fuse panel came loose somehow because when I wiggled that harness everything would come back on and would go out again if I moved the harness a certain way.

I managed to get going again and when I got home later in the day I pulled everything apart and cleaned everything up real good.

Didn't have any issues after that.

 

Who knows, maybe that is also your issue?

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Have you checked the battery terminals? If not, I would take them off. scrape the outside of the post and the inside of the hole in the cable. Also, charge the battery and try again.

 

Or, maybe it blew a fuselink, but try the easy stuff (battery terminals) first.

 

 

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8 hours ago, zepher said:

Many years ago in the very early, dark morning hours I was driving on the freeway when my '64 Malibu just shut off.

Everything went off, engine quit, no headlights no radio - nothing.  Just like you see in the movies when a UFO comes overhead.

 

Turns out where the engine harness goes into the firewall at the rear of the fuse panel came loose somehow because when I wiggled that harness everything would come back on and would go out again if I moved the harness a certain way.

 

I had exactly the same thing happen years ago with  my '63 Bel Air.

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Have you tried disconnecting the new sending unit and seeing if the car will start or at least turn over?  Maybe the new unit is shorted out or miswired.  I really hate electrical problems. 

dave s 

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4 minutes ago, SC38DLS said:

Have you tried disconnecting the new sending unit and seeing if the car will start or at least turn over?  Maybe the new unit is shorted out or miswired.  I really hate electrical problems. 

dave s 

I disconnected the sending unit, and the ignition worked long enough to try to turn it over, I heard a click and everything shut off. Now it's not working again

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As already stated:

 

1. Clean battery terminals.

2. Do headlamps come on?

3. Are the battery terminals hot?

4. Do you own a volt meter or test lamp?

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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Db64deville,

  It sounds like you may be relatively new to old car ownership, and

I'll give you lots of credit for jumping in and doing your fuel sender job yourself.

   You have some good advise here, and ask more questions if necessary.

  There seems to be a point in the stewardship of an old car when you need to decide to learn basic mechanical and electrical repair or find someone to do them.  Finding that someone seems to be becoming more difficult all the time.

   Learning to use a test light and/or a VOM (volt-ohm meter) will mean learning some basic DC electrical theory but it isn't rocket science.

  If you don't already have one I suggest you find (ebay or used book dealers) a MOtors manual appropriate to the year of your car and study it, it will help you quite a bit. 

  Patience should be your keynote. 😄

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I too have '64 Cadillac (series 62 four window sedan). As a couple other have stated, i'd start with a simple thing first by giggling the wire harness from the battery to the starter, then to the fire wall. I had a '56 Cadillac that quit as I turned onto my street one day. Nothing worked, no lights, radio, starter, nothing. I had my wife bring out the truck and I towed it into the driveway and five minutes later it was running. Turned out to be a loose wire at one of the terminals on the starter. Tightened with a wrench and all was well. Here's another non-starting Cadillac issue that had me baffled for a bit. The car would sound as if it was going to fire up right away, but would quit as soon as I let go the the key. I did this over and over again until an idea clicked - the ballast resistor! Sure enough, a quick replacement of the ballast resistor and that did the trick. You didn't say whether or not you determined if it was in fact the sending unit that was causing the fuel gage not to read. I've swapped out sending units before without issue and I'm not sure what that would have to do with the car not starting. It would be a great deal of help to you to go on-line and get yourself a '64 Cadillac Shop Manual. You'll find the whole wiring diagram in it too!   Oh, your initial problem was a faulty fuel gage so get yourself a few gallons of gas in the car to make sure you in fact have something in the tank. Let us know how you make out.

  

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Before you began working on the fuel sending unit, did you disconnect the battery cable or the ground cable?

 

If so, that would be the one condition that changed from "before", so I'd concentrate on that.  I'm with Bloo: check any cable clamps you disconnected, and make sure they (and the battery terminal to which they're attached) are clean and bright (use a battery terminal brush), then tighten the clamp firmly around them.  If you didn't tighten the clamp (or you simply put the cable clamp over the terminal and gave it a twist until it seemed tight) that could be your problem.

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If you put new wiring in it for the new sending unit I would check to be sure that is correct and not messed up some where. That would also mean you would need to check every wire and connection you may have moved and partially disconnected. This after checking the battery post and all grounds. I would even take the main ground off and clean it up on both the cable and where it attaches to the frame. 
I still hate electrical problems. 
Good luck

dave s 

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