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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-09-2004, 11:09 PM
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Default Electrical Gremlin

I seem to have a little electrical gremlin that likes to mess with me on occasion and then leave. I had a problem one day where I turned the key and nothing happened...no ignition light, starter did not turn on, however the fans and horn was working. While trying to debug I was testing for voltage at the ignition switch. WHile touching the probe to the ignition hot wire it sparked (I must have grounded the probe against the dash support). After that all systems were go, car started everything was fine.

Tonight I took my wife for a ride and it was dusk as we were getting near home. I had the lights on and idling at a traffic light. Next thing I know..everything dies, lights, engine, everything. I jumped out of the car to signal traffic that I was stuck and to go around me. I was nervous as hell because it was pretty dark and visibility was not great. I looked back to the car and I noticed the lights back on...I jumped in, turned the key, it fired up and I drove home without further incident.

How should I trace this sporatic problem so I don't get stuck in a situation like this again?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-10-2004, 05:12 AM
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Joe,

First, check the wire connections on both sides of fuse one and two, the connections at the circuit breaker and on the starter solenoid.

Make sure that the connections at the ammeter are secure.

If everything looks good, you may have a bad ignition switch or circuit breaker.

I'm betting on a bad ignition switch.
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Old 10-10-2004, 05:57 AM
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Joea Joe check all your power feeds for tight connections. I would start with the battery cables first. Sounds like a loose connection. Do you have a master battery kill switch? Once the car is running it uses the Alt to keep running and recharge the battery at the same time. Do a basic check before you start going crazy down the wrong road. The igntion switch can be tested with a test light for what Bob is talking about. May sure the Alt output wire to the battery side of the starter soleniod is clean and tight. If you don't find the problem come back with what you have found. Rick Lake
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Old 10-10-2004, 06:18 AM
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Joea,

If you have the saftety lock out switch on your transmission make sure that it is ok and the wires are tight. I had a similiar trouble once and one of the connectors to the safety lock out switch had worked loose. I just replaced it and never had another problem. Just my little bit.

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Old 10-10-2004, 08:30 AM
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Thanks for the advise. I will check all the possibilities mentioned and report back next week...I'm off to watch vintage racing here in San Diego today!
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Old 10-10-2004, 12:48 PM
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Noting your location and that you have an ERA. The fuse block location of an ERA leaves it open to the outdoor elements (not intended to be a criticism but rather an observation). I would do exactly as Bob suggested and check continuity at the fuses. The damp air over time, has in the past, caused a mild corrosion issue for the fuse controling the tail lights for me. Just clean the fuse ends with a little 600 wet or dry sandpaper.

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Old 10-31-2004, 06:11 PM
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OK...finally finished putting UCOAT-IT on the garage floor and was able to get back to the Cobra and have a look at this electrical issue...GOOD NEWS>...I located the issue.

The issue is at the large red connector on the harness (with the yellow and red wires). I started it up today after reseating all connections and as it was running I lifted the harness a little at this connection. The engine immediately cut out...as I let go...the engine would pick up and run again. I did this a few times so I am sure the issue is at this connector.

Any suggestions on what to do about it?
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Old 11-01-2004, 06:22 AM
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Joe,

Pull the connector apart and look inside each half. Make sure that the contacts are "latched" over the small tang.

You can add a little electrical grease on the contacts, but that shouldn't be necessary for the under-dash connections.

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Old 11-01-2004, 08:06 AM
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Thanks Bob..I'll have a look tonight. BTW...What color should these contacts be? Mine have a strange yellowish-white color to them...not copper looking by any means.
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Old 11-01-2004, 10:34 AM
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Contacts should be copper, brass, or tinned (silver). That connection is probably burned from high current and making intermittent/high resistance connection. Cut bothe ends of the connector off and connect the ends of the wires with a marine butt connector, or solder them together and seal with tape and liquid electrical tape. No more problem!!!
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Old 11-01-2004, 11:15 AM
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The contacts are rated at 75A and have given us no problems at all. Normally they're silver-colored.

If you permanently connect the wires, you'll lose the ability to remove the dash without completely disonnecting all the switches/gages.
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