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Old 10-05-2010, 09:11 AM   #1
wamnram
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Question Grounding Issue

I had an interesting problem occur the other day. I was in my completely stock 36 with a stock six volt system and Optima battery. I had been running fine for a while and was sitting at idle and the engine died. When I pressed on the starter switch, it acted like the battery was completely dead. I pushed the horn button and nothing. turned lights on, nuthin. Flipped the ignition switch and no movement on the ammeter. I got some fellas to push me and it still would not start. After checking everything over for ten minutes and finding nothing unusual, got back in and pressed the horn button and it honked. Hit the starter switch and it fired right up! Drove around all day and no problems. So, after thinking about it for a while I thought it was a loose connection from battery to frame or battery to starter and fuse block, or open connection inside battery. But then again, why would it not run when we pushed it? It seems to me it should have run off the generator if you lost the battery while it was already running.? (checked Gen and it charges fine) Any ideas?
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:19 AM   #2
Dee
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Perhaps a deed short in the battery?
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:39 AM   #3
Al Corbin
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

I wonder if the manual push is fast enough to spin the generator up to 6 or 7 volts? With a good generator, pushing should work, as long as you don't let the engine rpm go below the cutout dropout level.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:57 AM   #4
wamnram
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Al, you may be right as I am using a cutout, which would explain why pushing the car wouldn't start it. If thats is the case then I am probably down to cleaning and re-tightening all of my electrical connections.

Dee, I had read somewhere that some of the optima batteries had problems with internal links between cells, so I will probably just replace it to be sure.

Thanks,

Wayne
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Probably not, but you "could have" slammed the hood just hard enough to affect a connection. Just so you don't overlook it, check for a good connection at the coil where the ignition wire attaches and the coil wire to the distributor. Another possibility is that the ignition switch could be funky.......All of this stuff can be checked with a VOM of course. I's one of my best friends.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:02 AM   #6
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Had the same problem on my 35. Turned out to be a loose nut on the back of the ignition switch which caused an intermittent loss of voltage to the coil.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Had the same problem with my 50. Finally found it was a bad connection with the battery cable to the block. Problem was due to the paint on the block not making a good connection with the cable. This is also common with starters not grounding with the mountig plate.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:10 PM   #8
wamnram
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

I was originally thinking it was the ground strap to the frame because the starter wouldn't go, but the fact that it died and wouldn't run off the generator made me wonder.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Check the ignition switch connections. It happened to me. Very frustrating!
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Did the battery have a complete charge when to started the engine? Could have been very low and the running didn't recharge what you were taking out of the battery with it idling or the idling rpm was'nt high enought. The optima batteries are sometimes a strange bird. Or work backwards from when you installed the battery. Good Luck. Keep everrybody informed so we can learn from you problems, it helps.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:42 PM   #11
Ken Bull
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

To me the Optima 6v Battery is GREAT-ever since I started my 36 Cabriolet Resto-I dreaded having to mount it under the floor--The Optima is Narrow enough to mount in the same conveinent area as my '40 PU Dont know yet what the other benifits might be??
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:00 AM   #12
Mike in AZ
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

start at the battery and work your way forward....sounds like it could be the starter switch?? as the two hots from there go to the ammeter and horn button....just a guess....good luck....Mike
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Had the same problem with my 35 and found that the ignition switch backing plate was cracked causing a loose connection. Overtightened the nuts causing the ceraminic back to crack.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:16 AM   #14
wamnram
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Just a quick update. I have added an additional ground strap from the battery to the frame. A ground strap from the Starter to the frame, and one from the engine block to the frame. Also went over all the major electrical connections and re-tightened. I also replaced the cutout with a solid state one. So far it has not died on me again so keeping my fingers crossed!
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:04 PM   #15
Clem Clement
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Default Re: Grounding Issue

Add grounds helps. I have several on my 39 Peeekup. Be sure the little tin strap between the starter and a ground spot is clean. Also check the back of the generator mounting arm. Sometimes they get painted and lose some connectivity. My dear late uncle used to always say, bring a fresh ground from the battery to any electrical problem on an old Ford.
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