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Username Post: complete electrical shut down
japete92 
"5th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1253
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
02-08-19 02:48 PM - Post#2759413    

Something very strange just happened to my '63 Impala. I'm not much of an electrician so some help is solicited.

I'll explain (sorry for the long post):

I have been having some problems with the car not holding a charge. After about 2 days there was not enough juice to start the car. All last summer I simply disconnected the battery every time I parked the car in the garage. It would always start right up and ran great.

About 2 months ago I had the car in the shop for some body work. The folks had trouble starting the car, checked the battery, and found it unable to hold a charge. A new battery was installed (after they checked the alternator and voltage regulator). When I got the car back, everything was great. It sat once for almost two weeks one time and it started immediately. Hurray.

Last week, the car would not crank after sitting about 4 days. I began checking for some obvious wiring defects and discovered an interesting configuration. There were two (approx 12 gauge) wires coming from the positive battery clamp (along with the 2 gauge wire to the starter). One went into the harness and appeared to be connected to the voltage regulator. The other looked like it was external to the harness but was wrapped (using electrical tape) to the harness. I tried to follow it and it appeared to go thru the fire wall with the harness. But I'm not at all confident that is correct. And I could not track it inside the car.

The insulation on one of those wires was worn down to the copper wire and the copper wire was almost completely corroded through (only a strand or two intact). The other was fine. I looked up the wiring diagram and it shows only one 12 gauge wire from the positive clamp and it goes to the voltage regulator.

To re-state. All this time the car ran great, no electrical problems except for the battery drain and/or bad battery, which only impacted starting.

I bought a new battery cable w/one 12 gauge wire coming from it. I installed today and I connected both the old 12 gauge wires to that one. Jumped the car; started immediately. Hurray (again short lived).

I drove the car for about an hour to charge the battery. Car drove/ran great. Got home pulled into the garage and began a few checks. Turned on the headlights; ok. Hit the dimmer switch to turn on the high beams and the car immediately stopped running and everything went dark. No electricity running to anything. Even the dash warning lights would not illuminate with the ignition switch 'on'. Jumped the car and absolutely NOTHING.

What in the world did I do? What would fail and cause this? It's like some complete electrical system circuit breaker tripped (or fuse blew). Is there such a component?

Thanks and I again apologize for the long post.

Pete
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