View Full Version : Wierd open in gauges

03-23-2006, 12:19 PM
I seem to be experiencing a strange phenomenon in my 1966 Cruiser where the gas gauge and the temp gauge will both be dead, usually, but not always at the same time, but then during driving they both come to life. Sometimes they die again. I've seen it once where the gas gauge started working, but the temp gauge was dead, but then after a few minutes the temp gauge started working. This is with the car fully warmed up. Could the cold weather cause frost or something in the contacts? But then, that wouldn't account for them going dead again after everything is warmed up. I don't think the two gauges are connected in any way, but they are in the same cluster. Is that a clue? It's really wierd.

Also, has anyone had experiences with turn signals quitting because of blowing fuses? Mine used to work fine, but now if I want them to work, I'd have to replace a fuse probably every time I drive it. It doesn't blow instantly, though. My turn signal lever is a bit wobbly and loose. Could that cause a short? I don't think it's possible, but maybe it is...

03-23-2006, 12:45 PM
They both feed off the ACC. terminal of the IGN. SW. and there might be a bad connection where they attach to that circuit (and I don't THINK they don't have seperate wires running all the way back to the Ign. switch so there could be a bad connection that's reacting to heat and cold)

As to your TS fuse blowing, I had the same scenario with my 58 wagon awhile back. The jerks at the muffler shop had pinched the tail harness wires with the mounting strap of a muffler hanger. And they DIDN'T get the strap fully tightened. Consequently, when I'd take the car for a drive, the bouncing of the exhaust system would occasionally short the wires and cause the fuse to blow.
This drove me nuts for a time because I'd test it in the shop and the fuse would not blow. But while driving, the fuse would'nt last for more than a few turns.:( In desperation, I manually felt my way down the whole damned aft harness. And this pinch they'd instituted was not readily discerable by just looking up at it.[}:)]

I remember years ago - working on a brand new Aston-Martin DBS V8 that we hadn't even delivered to the customer. Intermittently, it would blow the TS fuse.
Turns out they'd pinched the wire with a bumper bracket at the factory. This was in the mid-70s when these things sold for about $75K! [:0] There's probably some "goofs" hiding in our 40+ year old Studebakers.;)

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

03-23-2006, 01:19 PM
Thanks Mr. Biggs! At least that gives me some direction to go in. By the way, the ammeter always works even when the others don't.

03-23-2006, 03:58 PM
The ammeter is always "hot" so Bob's explanation still makes sense.

at the same time the gauges go dead, does the radio cut out as well?


55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop

03-23-2006, 04:02 PM
The radio.... Well, the radio is restored, but my new antenna can't fit in the little hole in the fender, and I don't want to pay someone $40 to make a bigger hole since the fender's going to be replaced someday. So I can't hear the radio when I an driving. Next time the gauges look dead, if I am parked I'll turn on the radio and to see if there's life there. You think that will probably be dead too?

03-23-2006, 04:26 PM
maybe, maybe not. But if it does it is definitely at or near the ign. switch (i.e. either the switch is going bad or else the nut is loose on the post.) If the radio still works, you might have an intermittent break in the wire between the ign. switch acc terminal and the gauges and/or a flaky ground to the combo gauge (if the latter, the backlight won't work at the same time)


55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop

03-23-2006, 05:46 PM
quote:Originally posted by Scott

Thanks Mr. Biggs! At least that gives me some direction to go in. By the way, the ammeter always works even when the others don't.

As N8 says, the ammeter is always hot; it has two fat wires on it, and pretty well all power used in the electrical system, save for the starter itself, passes through. Also, the ammeter needs no ground; it's wired in-line with its partners in the circuit. Both the fuel gauge and the temp gauge require a ground, and they both require +12 volts on one stud. If the gauge cluster is not securely fastened into the panel, or if the panel and dash are not properly grounded, the problem could be there. You might want to obtain a jumper wire with alligator clips on each end, and use it to connect one of the mounting studs for the gauge cluster (those that have the anchor "legs" attached) to a good ground on the car body. Drive around that way for a while. If the gauges no longer misbehave, the problem is a bad ground, and simply going over the fastenings and verifying grounding wires should fix it.

If the problem persists, with a known good ground, then the problem lies in the 12 volt source from the accessory switch. I suggest checking the ground first becauses it's easier.:D

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

03-23-2006, 05:51 PM
I had a customer's 64 GT that the gas guage was intetmitent, sometimes ok, sometimes low or empty. I had to run a secondary ground wire from a mounting screw of the sending unit in the tank to the frame of the car (go figure), worked like a champ uk uk uk. Also check the ground wire from the engine to the frame. Needs to be 10 to 12 guage with clean spots to connect at the frame and engine.

Dan Miller

03-26-2006, 07:44 PM
Wierdest short I ever found was in a Cordoba. The tail lights, clock and dash lights were on the same circuit. When the car was still, no problems. When I drove, the fuse on this circuit would blow. It turned out to be the clock - the rear part was not crimped in properly, and when I went over a bump, there was a short.

In summary, I bet the non working gauges are either a bad connection, a circuit breaker tripping the entire circuit, or one of those difficult to locate other problems.

Good Luck.

Paul R

Blue 15G
03-26-2006, 08:43 PM
I had a '62 GT Hawk years ago that had the same gauge problem as your '66 and the problem did turn out to be a loose connection at the ACC terminal of the ignition switch.

03-26-2006, 09:12 PM
I checked the connection at the ACC terminal and it seemed to be tight. Maybe I have a wire that's maybe breaking along the way and going intermittent, or maybe the problem is at the connector. I wish I could take out the whole dash and go over it good. Everyone knows how enjoyable it is to try and lay on your back part way on and part off the front seat while holding a flashlight and trying to have a tool or two in easy reach - HAH!

This car has had some extra wiring put in here and there for speaker fade and other things that are just getting in the way.

On the directional signals problem I looked at the wiring in the trunk, and found splices here and there and a new socket assembly on the right side. What a mess.

Unrelated to this I finally got the nerve to pull back the carpet by the headlight dimmer switch. I knew I could see daylight through a crack in the place where the left kickpad/wall meets the floor, but now I found that the body brace mounting bolt nearest that spot has broken away from the floor completely so there is a 2 inch hole in the floor and recessed in the hole is a piece of the foor still attached to the body brace. Fun, fun and more fun - not to mention dollars. I think it would be cheaper for me to take a course at the local community college on bodywork than have someone else re-do the floor...I don't know. Maybe JDP could use a new project?;)