Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby kittenflaps [OP] » May 1st 2020, 9:54pm

Current saga: Radio LCD clock started flickering on at half brightness after I turned it off, with the key out, so I disconnected the negative cable for the night. Next day starts fine, but the second time I go to start it up gauges and lights coming on and off at random. Messed with the negative bolt a bit, the pace of random flashing calmed down, and after a mile or so of driving went back to normal. Third time I start it, everything seems fine, and half a block down the road, dies while I'm in motion. I get out, try to get the battery cable as tight as I can, starts again. Brought it to a friends, the bolt was all sorts of stripped and wasn't getting tight enough, terminal pretty corroded, so we did one of those cable splices to get a new terminal on there for now (I had gotten a new battery a couple months ago because this bolt was jiggling out and wouldn't start fairly often, assumed it was the lead in the battery that was stripped. Probably was both tbh because that solved the issue until now). Seems fine enough for a few days. Notice when in accessory mode, putting the window up or down will make the gas gauge jump off the chart past full, won't quite return to its original position after this happens. Then the next day, putting the car in reverse makes the radio turn on and off like wild or think I'm putting a tape in it, will turn off and back on one more time when I put it into drive. Now the windows are making the radio cut out. Seems like a new thing adds itself to the list every day.

Potentially relevant history: Got the van about a year ago from Eureka, and had spent the last couple years of its life on the coast being driven intermittently at best. When I bought it, the dome lights wanted to turn on and off constantly while I was driving, didn't have the patience to pull out the interior to root around for why so I just pulled the fuse for them (interior panel) and that took care of that. There was a short period of time where the headlights were working intermittently, of course never happened again once I got a hold of the wiring diagrams.

I'm gonna bring it into a shop on Monday, but wanted to see if maybe anyone had some input on things I can check over the weekend so I can try to avoid that. I need to drive a decent amount, and I would like to not keep making it worse if possible!
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby AstroWill » May 2nd 2020, 1:10am

Battery connections completely clean and tight?
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby sixsix » May 2nd 2020, 2:31am

Welcome And Major Kudos to you on a First Rate username !!

kittenflaps




I had no idea they had any...
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “Everything needs to change except the asshole culture and stupid way of life of the avg. antifa, BLM follower - slobs, cowards, killers w/o any thought that they, IN FACT, are now the Racists.”

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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby Rinny » May 2nd 2020, 2:37am

AstroWill wrote:Battery connections completely clean and tight?

and grounds all clean and tight
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby N6KB » May 2nd 2020, 3:06am

Don't just tighten suspected trouble connections. Disconnect them, clean all contacting surfaces, then reconnect, and if it is a screw/bolt/nut connection tighten. Also good idea to use a contact cleaner or anti corrosion treatment. For big connections, especially battery terminals I like No-Ox-Id. And for small connectors I like Caig Laboratories De-Oxit. https://www.sanchem.com/electrical-cont ... icant.html
https://caig.com/deoxit-d-series/
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby kittenflaps [OP] » May 2nd 2020, 7:16pm

As of now the connections into the battery are clean and tight. Am about halfway through checking grounds I can find and reach, cleaning and etc. Haven't checked the other ends of the battery cables yet. That's on my list for today. Thanks for fast replies.

Also potentially worth noting, there was a heat wave the last few days when it was getting really bad. Weathers cooled off, and now is doing all the crazy stuff intermittently, so worse when its hot out. Will go away mostly after I've driven a bit (radio will go crazy shifting to get out of a parking spot, rolling windows down, but not after I've driven and am parking again). Gas guage needle has always been insane and had a disconcerting tendency to bounce all over the place at will, new movement with van off doubles my judgement. Yesterday put my foot on the brake wile it was off and it started making the key is in your ignition and the door is open sound for a few minutes.

Took the cover off the steering column and poked around to see if I can find anything obviously damaged... There's two wires (orange and green) resting under the ignition and on top of some plastic cube; the two wires appear to be spliced, not sure if that's typical. and the box they are resting on looks a little melted under where the splice is? I dunno if that's anything revelatory. When I was struggling to get the cover back in, some stuff got jiggled and I got a cool 2 min show of van doing its wild thing while off.

I don't know if anyone has thoughts based on that story... I can try to grab a picture today if anyone's interested.
Last edited by kittenflaps on May 2nd 2020, 9:07pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby N6KB » May 2nd 2020, 7:25pm

How about a picture of that plastic cube, the wires that are spliced and the melted thing? Sounds like you're getting close to the problem.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby Leeann_93 » May 2nd 2020, 7:27pm

This box?

Image


or this box, where the wire bundle goes at the bottom?

Image



Not that it matters which end - it's all the ignition switch, which is the two boxes and the wire bundle that goes from one to the other.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 2nd 2020, 9:01pm

Leeann,
What is that 'orange' wire hooked to? Is that black lump a splice, or just some sort of a clip ?
That does not look like a regular part of the harness, but I do not have access to mine right now so I cannot compare it.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby Leeann_93 » May 2nd 2020, 10:38pm

I think it goes to the Tow/Haul button on the shifter and the black thing is 2 pieces, actually: the holder and the sleeve on the wire so the holder doesn't chafe.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby kittenflaps [OP] » May 3rd 2020, 11:58pm

IMG_20200502_171751258.jpg

Wondering if this arrangement is factory or no?
When taking pictures, noticed a small split in the green wire's jacket that it slightly visible outside of the splice.

IMG_20200502_171942091.jpg

The shape of the melted part on the box is about the shape of the splice.

Slowly going through and cleaning grounds. Most are a bit dirty and corroded, several on top of paint. So far hasn't made much difference. Have a feeling I have a few situations like in the photo going on throughout.

After being over cleaning grounds for the day, saw one of the red wires coming out of the starter had a ugly looking splice with oxidization coming out of the ends of the tube (same style splice as in photos, much longer piece) , the wire on the far side of that splice away from the starter looks like it's been through hell and is wrapped heavily in electrical tape... peeled about half of the tape back, did not see any exposed wire but the jacket was sad and gritty. That portion was resting on the frame (although, well within its tape bundle) I pushed it away from the frame anyway. Could not get a lot of the things to present to my friend after that. Issues had gotten more intermittent as heat wave backed off, so I'm not sure if it's related or a coincidence of temperature. I suppose the next step is to push that wire back up against the frame and see if it all starts again?

I'll see if I can get a photo of that mess up soon. I have a flip phone so it's a bit of a process.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby Leeann_93 » May 4th 2020, 12:20am

No, that is not factory and yes, it probably is the root of all your issues. At the very least, it’s part of the problem. You can’t do more troubleshooting until that’s corrected.

Time to purchase an ignition switch and replace it.
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Re: Curious electrical issues, getting worse fast.

Postby kittenflaps [OP] » May 23rd 2020, 12:54pm

UPDATE: Replaced the bunk red wire coming off the starter, and all has normaled out (...as close to normal as this van seems to get, at least... still some big floating question marks out there, but back down to the old consistent demons, at least).

Mechanic noted the damage to ignition switch looked more like physical damage, was probably stolen at some point (not surprising, came from Eureka). Am still interested in replacing it when the funds make sense to, but seems not as urgent now.

Out of curiosity, is hotwiring known to blow any other components on these vans? Back to taking my time, shakin out old problems on my own.
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