UPDATE YOUR BOOKMARKS: The new URL for the site is CHEVYGMCVANS.COM

See the "Announcements" section for more 2021 forum update details

Possible Ground Issue?

USE THIS FORUM FOR ANY ELECTRICAL QUESTIONS SUCH AS WIRE COLOR CODES, BLOWING FUSES OR WIRING SHORTS.
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

Alright. Just went to get the family pizza (Friday night = pizza night) and of course I have a problem with the van. Been enjoying it for too many weeks! Anyway, I turned on the headlights to go and drivers side dim. I got out and tapped it and it was fine. It was doing this in like December when I first put it on the road. We ended up replacing the whole wiring harness from firewall foreward. I may have posted somewhere also that the harness had been cut off firewall instead of following inside and unplugging, another story. I soldered everything in and heat shrunk all connections. It was very well protected and everything has worked very well. Tonight, all lights would dim (inside and out), temp gauge would shoot up and oil, battery and fuel would drop. I could snap the fan switch from low to high and it helped occasionally. Aside from fuel pump, it seemed to be ALL electrical was affected. So I'm looking for suggestions/thoughts. Supposed to go skiing in am but a little nervous.
To Recap: Seems all electrical being brought down except fuel pump (never studdered, ran fine)
It has a new wire harness that SHOULD be ok, should be
All forward grounds we could find were cleaned and reattached ( maybe missed some?)
It has a 2 month old battery
The front headlight on drivers side was first indication. That light had issues with other wiring harness
Looking for any thoughts. Big three on my to do list and will be moved up now! I will replace wiring harness again because, well you know... Thanks, Kelly


:cry: :cry: :cry:
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)

LiftedAWDAstro
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 4379
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: New Haven, NY

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by LiftedAWDAstro »

First things first. Check the battery connections for looseness or corrosion. After that, start looking at grounds and feeds. Does your van have the underhood fuse box? If so make sure the feed going there is not corroded or loose.
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

Thanks lifted, This morning, I went to check out van and I "could not duplicate". I checked all front engine compartment grounds as well as battery connections (both ends) and tested battery. Everything seemed fine. I replaced the headlight switch with one from parts van and still, no problem. I should be happy, right? It's just the f@#king gremlin slept in and it will be back later to piss me off some more! I seem to caught my son's gastric distress(sp?) and will not be skiing today so maybe I'll get more time to look and stare at electrical stuff. As I was in bathroom, my thoughts switched to alternator connections. Perhaps I should have been smart enough to check those earlier as well. Please share any other thoughts, I hold nothing against anyone! Thanks, Kelly
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)

LiftedAWDAstro
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 4379
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: New Haven, NY

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by LiftedAWDAstro »

Good idea to check the alternator. Perhaps it is intermittently not charging.
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

Here's an update if anyone cares! started pulling fuses one by one to find circuit with problem. Aux. heater/AC circuit is guilty. left fuse out and fine for now but I'll want AC for summer!
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

So I rode around for a day proud as a peacock! This am left to bring boys to school/daycare, turned on headlights and.......silence. #-o So apparentlty gremlin still there. As I shut headlights off, the radio came back on and things went to normal. Guess I'm still only driving in daylight. Lucky for me, daylight is getting longer! I HATE electrical issues! I really think a new wiring harness is in order. I'm putting a Painless Products one in my brother's truck and I like it. It also costs about $400. Don't know what a junk yard would cost, I know it would be a lot less but it may not be any better than mine. Open to suggestions, thanks
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)

Kidhauler
I sleep in my van
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:46 pm
Location: Vancouver B.C.

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by Kidhauler »

If your going to spend the time to repace the whole wiring harness then get a new one so you know it is good. I would guess it is probably a ground or corroded wires that are causing the problems. The wiring on those vans were never great in the early 90s never mind what 21 years of service have done to it. I got rid of my first van because it had so many electrical gremlins I spent months chasing ghosts and finally sold the van to get something more reliable. Which turned out to be a one year newer van just in better shape with less miles.
1999 Safari Touring edition.
trailer tow pack with a 3:73 posi
Bucket bench seats, Rear heat, Rear Airconditioning.
teal green
300 000 kms
AirRide air bags in the rear to fix soft stock suspension.
Onboard aircompressor to make it all work nice.
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

Thanks KH. Too many bad things with this wiring! Think I'll replace it with a new one. Bite the bullet once, spend the cash and a weekend and do it right. It could be months and just as much cash trying to chase this out. I'm not that good with electrical issues and really don't have anybody around to help me that is. It is very frustrating! So what input do people have with aftermarket wiring harnesses? This Painless kit seems very nice compared to one my neighbor put in his hotrod. Any other brands people can recommend? Thanks again, Kelly
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

Another useless update. Had employee swap alternator from parts van in to mine. Had checked it with what appears to be a voltmeter of some sort. It may have been built before volts were invented. I wasn't sure of my readings as the paper scale has been "shifting" for years and you have to hold it real flat and still. So I calibrated as best I could on my plow truck and moved it over to the van. The numbers were not good, but also not exact. I'm guessing just running with minimal load I'm around 12 volts. My new battery is carrying it. With lights, wipers and hi fan on it was just below 8 volts, again not exact but I'm getting a picture here. So anyway, I'm still sick and going back to Drs monday (possibly pnuemonia, yay!) so I had employee swap the alts friday morning for something to do. New readings even worse! Think I may throw a new one at it for now because any change of accessories will temporarily shut down radio. Thanks for allowing me to waste your time, does me good to think out loud like this, Kelly
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)
User avatar

MountainManJoe
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2799
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:55 pm
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by MountainManJoe »

A healthy alternator should put out around 14.4V. A healthy battery at rest (not charging or recently charged) should read around 12.7V.
User avatar

tbhager94
I sleep in my van
Posts: 467
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:26 pm
Location: saskatoon sk canada

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by tbhager94 »

krsowles wrote:Alright. Just went to get the family pizza (Friday night = pizza night) and of course I have a problem with the van. Been enjoying it for too many weeks! Anyway, I turned on the headlights to go and drivers side dim. I got out and tapped it and it was fine. It was doing this in like December when I first put it on the road. We ended up replacing the whole wiring harness from firewall foreward. I may have posted somewhere also that the harness had been cut off firewall instead of following inside and unplugging, another story. I soldered everything in and heat shrunk all connections. It was very well protected and everything has worked very well. Tonight, all lights would dim (inside and out), temp gauge would shoot up and oil, battery and fuel would drop. I could snap the fan switch from low to high and it helped occasionally. Aside from fuel pump, it seemed to be ALL electrical was affected. So I'm looking for suggestions/thoughts. Supposed to go skiing in am but a little nervous.
To Recap: Seems all electrical being brought down except fuel pump (never studdered, ran fine)
It has a new wire harness that SHOULD be ok, should be
All forward grounds we could find were cleaned and reattached ( maybe missed some?)
It has a 2 month old battery
The front headlight on drivers side was first indication. That light had issues with other wiring harness
Looking for any thoughts. Big three on my to do list and will be moved up now! I will replace wiring harness again because, well you know... Thanks, Kelly


:cry: :cry: :cry:
the real question is did you get the pizza????
2000 chev blazer 4x4
If its got tits or wheels, its gonna give you problems!
im sure we all know the #1 junk yard rule if it fits in your pocket its free.
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

Oh I got the pizza! I have a weakness for the buffalo chicken pizza. Every Friday night! Just drove with headlights that were really dim and flicikering interior lights. Radio and fan were off and I was slapping, wiggling and fidgeting with anything I could safely while driving. Timeless, thanks for the numbers. I'm only smart enough to know that the numbers I was looking at, however innaccurate, were not good! We plow with Ford trucks. I've never liked Ford but I have to be honest, we can"t kill them! They all receive high output powermaster alternators for plowing though, because of the dreaded "radio test". When we plow and the radio shuts off for a couple seconds, we know their pathetically underpowered alternators have slipped a little. Dealer will test them all day long and say that they are well within spec but "radio test" is real world! Put a powermaster in it before you kill battery too many times and it'll all work great for 4 or 5 years then a new battery. Just a weird little quirk I guess...
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)
User avatar

Krank88
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:42 am
Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by Krank88 »

Some years back, I had developed a number of freaky electrical problems(left blinker turning right blinker on, inside lights going out, and others). I finally reasoned that it must be in the steering column.
None of it made sense. I looked for days trying to figure it out.

I took it to a mechanic, who walked around the back and saw the previous owner had tied up the trailer lights(bare) in a way that they touched the bumper. Problem solved. Never occurred to me that it was coming from the back.

Although it is more than likely not the same problem, the area your problem may be originating in
may not be the most obvious. I have limited electrical experience, so, a grain of salt.
88 astro high top Sherrod conversion, Rebuilt 4.3z
User avatar

Topic author
krsowles
I finally get the smurf thing
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Colchester, VT

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by krsowles »

I WILL be checking that today! Thanks! Kelly
:cheers:
Sometimes, I realize that I'm clueless...Man, I hate those moments!
Image
"S.S. Dark HoMutt"

1999 Chevy Astro AWD
1991 Chevy Astro AWD(retired)

Kidhauler
I sleep in my van
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:46 pm
Location: Vancouver B.C.

Re: Possible Ground Issue?

Post by Kidhauler »

Check the wire from the alt to the starter it could be burn out but still look good it has a fuse able link at the end that just burns up if it shorts.
1999 Safari Touring edition.
trailer tow pack with a 3:73 posi
Bucket bench seats, Rear heat, Rear Airconditioning.
teal green
300 000 kms
AirRide air bags in the rear to fix soft stock suspension.
Onboard aircompressor to make it all work nice.
Post Reply