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  • whitebird
    Apprentice
    • Jul 4 2009
    • 59

    No electric power

    Drove my 65 Bird out of the garage and let it sit for about 1/2 hour. When I went back to it it wouldn't start. Absolutely nothing. No lights, horn or anything. Won't even make a sound like it is trying to start. I'm stumped as to what happened
  • jopizz
    Super-Experienced


    • Nov 23 2009
    • 8292

    #2
    I would start with the obvious. Make sure your battery cables are clean. Check the negative cable where it bolts to the block and make sure it's tight. If that checks out ok then it's most likely the main power wire (black/yellow) that goes from the solenoid through the firewall and to the ignition and light switch. Many times the main wire connector that goes through the firewall on the driver side gets corroded and you lose power.

    John
    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223
    jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

    https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

    Comment

    • simplyconnected
      Administrator
      • May 26 2009
      • 8772

      #3
      I'm with John... clean your battery posts and clamps with a wire brush and grease them before tightening (to prevent air and water from oxidizing the lead components).
      Member, Sons of the American Revolution

      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
      --Lee Iacocca

      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

      Comment

      • Yadkin
        Banned
        • Aug 11 2012
        • 1905

        #4
        +1. I had trouble with a shop car for months while we were doing body work and such. I finally cleaned the battery posts and terminals and she's been good ever since.

        Comment

        • simplyconnected
          Administrator
          • May 26 2009
          • 8772

          #5
          Steve, I'd be lyin' if I said it didn't happen to me. I was absolutely SURE, beyond all doubt that my posts were clean. The clamp even looked good when separated.

          Sure enough, when I cleaned them again all my electrical problems magically disappeared.

          Twelve volts isn't much. A simple piece of paper can insulate it. I think of my dad, dealing with six volts in his cars. Connections had to be even cleaner and wire sizes were twice as big as our cars. None the less, those old cars started and ran.

          Cold weather usually causes certain death to a battery that's on the fence. In Michigan Decembers, our Sears stores had lines of cars all backed up, waiting to get into a stall for a new Die Hard. I've been in that line more than once. If the car conked out, everyone behind us would be upset while the gap between cars grew longer. The Sears boy would eventually wheel the 'booster battery' over for a jump.

          Once in a stall, the mechanic reverently raised the hood and made each car component seem crucially important as he pointed out all the 'old and dangerous parts' that needed to be replaced. It was a miracle our cars even made it that far. Looking back, I believe Sears made a killing on voltage regulators because, 'that was the culprit that took out the battery from all that overcharging'. In reality, the 'old' one simply needed to be flashed with the new battery. Conveniently for Sears, one of the mechanics knew how to adjust one for 14-volt output.
          Member, Sons of the American Revolution

          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca

          From: Royal Oak, Michigan

          Comment

          • Yadkin
            Banned
            • Aug 11 2012
            • 1905

            #6
            Dave, do you use dielectric grease on the posts before tightening?

            And what's the deal with lead in this assembly? Why doesn't someone make terminals in soft copper or something more conductive?

            Comment

            • simplyconnected
              Administrator
              • May 26 2009
              • 8772

              #7
              These are "lead/acid" batteries. If OEMs could get away from using any kind of toxic substance, they would. (Remember asbestos brake shoes and clutches? Now chrome is an enemy.)

              Few OEM battery terminals are made of lead now, they are straps of copper with a bolt cinching the end. The idea of using grease is to stop sulfuric acid and hydrogen fumes from oxidizing the connection. Some oxides are great conductors, like silver tarnish. Lead oxide insulates.

              Whether it is a di-electric or not doesn't matter. There should be enough metal-to-metal connection to pass hundreds of amps. I have used regular Vaseline because it was handy and it works. You don't need gobs of it, just enough to cover the surfaces. High temperature axle grease works better.
              Member, Sons of the American Revolution

              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
              --Lee Iacocca

              From: Royal Oak, Michigan

              Comment

              • Yadkin
                Banned
                • Aug 11 2012
                • 1905

                #8
                I remember using grease back in the day, when I lived in the salt belt. I haven't seen anyone use it here.

                Comment

                • stubbie
                  Experienced
                  • Jul 7 2011
                  • 299

                  #9
                  I had the same problem last year. No ignition no lights nothing. One day all good next day dead as a door nail. I checked and cleaned everything and found that I had power at the fuse box but nowhere after that. So I called in a sparky. After some checking of his own he ran a wire from the passenger side to the ignition and it started so he pulled the dashboard apart. It turned out to be some broken wires high up under the passenger side dash.

                  Comment

                  • whitebird
                    Apprentice
                    • Jul 4 2009
                    • 59

                    #10
                    Finally got to work on car today. Was able to move neg. battery cable. It was loose. When I did I had interior & exterior lights, but still wasn't able to start it. When I tried to start it everything would go out again. Every time I moved the cable lights would come on but no start. I replaced the neg. cable & it started right up. Thanks guys for all your help.

                    Comment

                    • simplyconnected
                      Administrator
                      • May 26 2009
                      • 8772

                      #11
                      Waterborne air oxidizes the surface of lead on your terminals. Lead oxide is an insulator so you must remove the surface, usually done with a wire brush. If the surfaces are not cleaned for full metal-to-metal contact, the result you got is very typical and common.

                      Do it right the first time and you will not need to do it again. More current flows through this connection (every time you start) than through your entire house.
                      Member, Sons of the American Revolution

                      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                      --Lee Iacocca

                      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                      Comment

                      • whitebird
                        Apprentice
                        • Jul 4 2009
                        • 59

                        #12
                        Actually it was the connection to the block that was loose. When I moved it I would get the interior & exterior lights but it would not start. I replaced the cable & it started right up. Thanks for all the good information.

                        Comment

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