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Thread: Chasing Gremlins that have Kryptonite

  1. #1
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    Chasing Gremlins that have Kryptonite

    I need some help with my electrical gremlins: 72 Skylark 350 TH350. This car was cloned from a skylark convertible to Skylark GS convertible some time ago, I have owned it for about 5 years. It has an non-original motor which codes out as a 73 10:1 compression. I started having problems with the starter not turning and just clicking about two months ago, figured the solenoid on the started was getting stuck, took it off and cleaned it up and it worked for a while, but I new that was a short term fix. Put a new starter on it and it worked fine for a couple weeks. Then it did the same thing, so I replaced the undersized 5 year old battery and once again it worked, but...not for long. I hooked up the battery charger and fully charged the battery and got it to start. I parked it in front of the garage to wash it, ran out of time and didn't get it washed. Went to start it up and didn't even make the "click". Dash lights work, headlights work. Checked the alternator pigtail and it had an exposed piece of wire, took the alternator off and had it bench tested at my local auto parts store (it's fine) and bought a new pigtail and installed it, (as well as new radiator hoses and drive belts). Put it all back together and it cranked really well but no spark. The car has had electrical shorts that I have chased down and fixed before, it has most of the original wiring and it needs replaced, I know, the previous owner didn't stick to the wiring diagram too much I think. I did buy a new engine harness but was hoping to get it running for the rest of the summer and then install the harness this winter. I did put a whole new distributor on it, I had originally planned on putting a Pertronix distributor rebuild kit in the HEI module but when I went to disassemble the old distributor the magnetic ring under the weights literally fell to pieces along with a couple of other plastic parts. I tested the spark by putting a bolt in a plug boot and grounding it to the frame, no spark. Someone suggested pulling a plug and leaving it in the boot and laying on the valve cover to test for spark as a more reliable method. I also had the suggestion of taking the cap off the distributor and cranking the engine to see if the rotor is sending spark, but had a more reliable source tell me this might be a little more risky with the HEI voltage. I will be checking to see if there is fuel getting to to carb over the Labor day weekend as well as undoing the wiring loom to check wires. So to summarize: cranking hard and easy, no spark not turning over. On a separate note the electric top quit working earlier this summer. Danged gremlins, electricity is my kryptonite!! Suggestions are welcome please.

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    alternator and battery wiring

    If anyone can provide a link to an alternator and battery wiring schematic that would be helpful. I have the service manuals (chassey and body) but I literally don't know anything about wiring/electrical unless it's plug and play. Specifically the red wire that comes out of the alternator: I have it attached under the rubber boot on the back of the alternator, is this correct? The white wire that comes off the alternator pig tail with the red wire: I have this grounded to the engine block, is this correct? I opened up the engine wiring harness and there is a heavy (10 Guage?) black wire with a red stripe that wasn't attached to anything, it looks like it's been crimped onto something in the past? Where does it go? I know this sounds like a stupid question and You tube has given me conflicting answers: does the negative battery terminal go to the starter or the positive? does the negative battery terminal get grounded to the frame or the positive? Right now I've got the negative going to the battery and the positive grounded to the frame, it cranks the starter strong but no spark. I'm feeling a bit ashamed and stupid for not knowing about electricity but my next option is to haul it in to an electrical shop. Thanks for any help.

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    71 chassis manual will probably get you pretty close, especially given that previous owner has already hacked up the wiring harness.

    https://www.teambuick.com/reference/...ssis/index.php

    given that you were having a starter motor problem previous and didn't have an ignition issue until you took the alt out i have to suspect that this is a problem with the re-assembly.

    either way, the HEI cap is pretty hard to screw up. you can jumper +12v directly from the battery to the distributor and you should have spark when the engine spins over. this eliminates all the dash switching as failure points. if this gives you spark and you didn't have it before, you're going to have spend more time in the wiring harness figuring out why +12 isn't making out to the distro.
    The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
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    H.H. Goddard, Human Efficiency (1920)

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    I have now uploaded the color wiring diagrams for 1968. You will find them in the "Reference" section under "Years", '68.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Patricio View Post
    If does the negative battery terminal go to the starter or the positive? does the negative battery terminal get grounded to the frame or the positive? Right now I've got the negative going to the battery and the positive grounded to the frame, it cranks the starter strong but no spark. I'm feeling a bit ashamed and stupid for not knowing about electricity but my next option is to haul it in to an electrical shop. Thanks for any help.
    I got a little confused when you said you have the negative going to the battery. The negative post on the battery goes to the engine block as the ground for the entire car. The positive post of the battery goes to the big post on the starter. There is also a ground strap on the rear of the passenger side engine head. It is a copper flex strap that connects the engine block to the body. Make sure this is installed and in good shape,

    I would suggest that you get at least a good wiring diagram. I recommend http://www.diecastmusclecars.com/dcmbuickdiagram.htm . It helped me solve some wiring issues on my 72 GS. It also sounds like you have an alternator with the internal regulator (2 wires) instead of one with an external regular (3 wires) with a black box on the cowl.

    I strongly suggest that you quit messing with the wiring until you get a good wiring diagram. Since you have a engine harness I would suggest that you install it now and be done with wiring issues . If you have a 2 wire alternator you will need an adapter. One can be found at https://www.yearone.com/Product/1964...30%20(1000-10) . It is made by M&H and is sold at many places or can be found on eBay. Although not absolutely needed it does made things much easier than modifying the harness and much neater. Before starting the harness installation take the new harness and check where each wire goes. Follow the diagram and find each endpoint and make sure the wire colors match. If not, make sure that you know exactly where that part is. I taqged each wire before starting. Then start removing one wire at a time and trace it back to make sure it goes where you expected it to go.

    It sounds harder than it is and really doesn't take long once you start. Make sure that you feel confident with what you are doing before you start and take your time and do one wire at a time. I start at the fuse block and work toward the alternator which would be your "Last" destination. You will have to drop wires below the engine for the brake warning wire, starter, and oil pressure light.

    Let us know if you need more help.

    Lou

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    Progress!!!

    Yes, I agree, something isn't going back together the way it came apart. rechecked wiring today and I now have spark. I did find the wiring diagrams, although they were of some help the wiring is certainly different. The car was switched from external condensor to internal condensor on the the distributor and the external regulator is no longer there either. The alternator has the pigtail with the "R" and "F" (1 and 2) positions for the pigtail. After watching several you tube videos I have the Red wire of the pig tail from the "R" or 1 position to the bolt on the back of the alternator with the black rubber boot. From the videos I have seen I understand that I need to take a wire from that bolt back to the positive of the battery or to the starter where the positive attaches to the starter. My confusion comes with what to do with the white wire in the pigtail that comes off the "F" or 2 terminal? The wiring diagrams in the manual show it going to the voltage regulator which is no longer there. There are a few wires in the engine harness which don't go anywhere, I can figure them out except for a larger (10 gauge?) one which is black with a red stripe on it, (not the smaller black with orange stripe for the heater). It doesn't go to the starter and at this point as far as I can tell it stays in the wiring loom all the way back through the firewall. When I turn the key the engine cranks, backfired, so I'm pretty confident I've got spark, I'll be looking at the service manual and following the distributor replacement instructions. Suggestions for the white wire off the alternator are welcome please. Thanks.

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    When removing the regulator here is where the wires go. The regulator wires are:

    White wire (2) is no longer used, tape end.
    Red wire (3) is no longer used, tape end.
    Blue wire (F) and dark brown wire (4) should be soldered together and tape well.At the alternator end, here is where the wires go:
    Splice the blue wire to the wire connected to 1.
    Install a 14 gauge or larger wire to the wire connected to 2 then to the BAT ring post on the rear.
    Attach the orig. red charging wire to the BAT also. This is the charging wire for the battery.

    I hope this helps you out. Now you know why I suggested the conversion kit for the alternator.

    This information is from Mike Yrenaya on http://www.buickperformanceclub.com/ .

    Make sure that you have the battery cables hooked up correctly before doing anything else.

    Good Luck.

    Lou

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    distributor install questions

    OK, got things rolling and wired right, now to install the new distributor after the old one crumbled (literally). Finding TDC: manually cranked the engine to 0 degree mark on the harmonic balancer, I know there are lots of ways to find out if #1 is TDC compression stroke but some I am unable to do as one person such as plugging the hole with a finger or blowing air into #1 to see if the air comes out the exhaust or carb. I have chosen to remove the valve cover on the driver side and look to see when the intake valve opens prior to the timing mark coming around on the crank, then when the intake valve closes just before TDC you set the distributor in with the rotor facing #1 with the timing mark at 0. Here's my question: Which valve is intake and which one is exhaust? The chevy videos I have seen do this have the intake valve as the second one from the front of the car, a Buick diagram I have found here on the interweb shows the first valve from the front of the car as the intake valve, thus my confusion and the question. Yes, I will look in the shop manual when I get home from my kids cub scout meeting tonight but if anyone feels like giving me an answer before then I'm always interested to hear it as well as any tips for dropping in the distributor. Thanks!!!

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    distributor install

    The intake valve will be the larger one.

    Ben

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    Front valve is exhaust, second valve is intake, eiieeiie .


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