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Total Electrical Failure! by OpFlash
Started on: 01-25-2008 02:48 PM
Replies: 11
Last post by: Blue Shift on 03-08-2008 07:41 AM
OpFlash
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Report this Post01-25-2008 02:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for OpFlashClick Here to Email OpFlashSend a Private Message to OpFlashDirect Link to This Post
My Fiero is sitting at a convenience store right now waiting to be towed somewhere. I got in to start it after fueling, and I got a zizz type noise from the starter - the noise you get when the gears don't engage. It did this once beforee a couple of weeks ago, so I though great its getting worse. I reset the key and engaged it again. This time it caught and turned the engine over a couple of times (slowly, the battery is cheap and not powerful). And then nothing. I don't even get dash lights now. No horn, no nothing. The battery is a cheap economy model that the PO put in and I know the car has sat for a long time. Can the battery just die all at once like that or is it more likely something else has blown/broken?

To make matters much worse, I don't have the key for the rear hatch. I've been using the electrical switch on the dashboard. Now of course that won't work. Does anyone know how I might be able to power the switch or pop the latch or am I going to have to have someone make a key for it. Can the dealer make keys with VIN numbers?

We are going camping tomorrow so I have to move it today. I'm just wondering whether it would be better to have it towed home or to a garage. If its just the battery I'd rather do it myself.

Thanks for any help!
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Pyrthian
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Report this Post01-25-2008 02:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PyrthianClick Here to Email PyrthianSend a Private Message to PyrthianDirect Link to This Post
your starter solenoid is stuck. when engaged, it cuts power. new starter is what ya need.
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PaulJK
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Report this Post01-25-2008 03:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PaulJKSend a Private Message to PaulJKDirect Link to This Post
Some of the car parts places have "trickle chargers" that plug into the cigarette lighter. I think the solar panel chargers work like this - probably wouldn't need to charge for very long just to pop the trunk. I tried to get into a trunk in a scrap yard once (didn't have to be too careful ) and never did get in ....
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86GT3.4DOHC
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Report this Post01-25-2008 03:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 86GT3.4DOHCSend a Private Message to 86GT3.4DOHCDirect Link to This Post
It is possible that the battery could have failed completely, not common, but the possibilitiy is there.

The starter solenoid wont cut power to the rest of the car though, the ignition switch does that when you turn the key to start. Even at that though, its not a complete cut, many things, the headlights for example, still have power.

Most likely I would think it was corroded or loose battery connections. These can cause reduced power, starting issues, and if they get bad enough, complete loss of power. First thing Id do is wiggle the connections on the battery, see if they are just loose. Then remove and clean. If that doesnt do it, put a multimeter on the battery and or swap in a new one or jumper cables to confirm.
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Dodgerunner
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Report this Post01-25-2008 03:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DodgerunnerClick Here to visit Dodgerunner's HomePageClick Here to Email DodgerunnerSend a Private Message to DodgerunnerDirect Link to This Post
Or pull the poper relay from under the dash. It is to the right of the steering column next to the radio. It's usually a white or yellow relay. Held in a spring clip so it's easy to pull out....

The relay will have a White&black wire on it. That goes right to the popper.

If you connect 12 volts or some power from that wire to a body ground it should pop it for you.
I believe some have even been able to use a 9V battery but that would surprise me if it would have enough power..

[This message has been edited by Dodgerunner (edited 02-19-2008).]

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JazzMan
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Report this Post01-25-2008 06:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JazzManClick Here to Email JazzManSend a Private Message to JazzManDirect Link to This Post
Battery connection is my guess, probably the positive, at the battery. Sidepost battery design allows acid to leak out of the terminals where it migrates down into the cable and starts rotting away. Or, the battery itself died internally, I've seen that before as well. There is a thin lead strip that runs across the 6 cells, and that can fail where it connects to the terminal inside the battery. Easiest thing is to check for voltage at the battery terminals directly first, if nothing there then it's time for a new battery. A good quality battery. That tow will cost more than most nice batteries.

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Fiero redux
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Report this Post01-25-2008 07:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero reduxClick Here to Email Fiero reduxSend a Private Message to Fiero reduxDirect Link to This Post
I had an 84 that one 8 gauge wire on the starter broke and lost all electrical to the car. I would start at the battery and work my way down to the solenoid. After you solve the battery's issues. Good Luck.
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Fieroseverywhere
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Report this Post01-25-2008 10:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroseverywhereClick Here to Email FieroseverywhereSend a Private Message to FieroseverywhereDirect Link to This Post
I had a similar problem not long ago. Luckily I had a key.

It ended up being the red wire that runs from the positive battery terminal to the C500 block. Nut had worked its way loose and the car lost all power. Worth checking out when you get the deck open at least. Good luck.

By the way you can get a new lock cylinder and key from rockauto for 15+ shipping. Less if you use the discount.

[This message has been edited by Fieroseverywhere (edited 01-25-2008).]

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OpFlash
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Report this Post01-26-2008 11:10 AM Click Here to See the Profile for OpFlashClick Here to Email OpFlashSend a Private Message to OpFlashDirect Link to This Post
Wow thanks for all the great ideas. It does appear there is a short. I tried supplying voltage from another car through the cigarette lighter in an attempt to pop the latch but it draws heavy current (16ga wire got hot) and it didn't raise the Fiero voltage enough to power the latch, or anything else for that matter. I'm going to try the relay next. BTW my girlfriend has AAA so the car is back home now and it only cost me $15 for an 8 mile tow. I'll follow up with what the problem was when I get it open.
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OpFlash
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Report this Post01-27-2008 10:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for OpFlashClick Here to Email OpFlashSend a Private Message to OpFlashDirect Link to This Post
Success! Problem solved!

Thanks so much to everyone, and +s to DodgeRunner for the tip on energizing the hatch relay, worked like a charm! once I got the hatch opened I measured the voltage at the battery terminals and got .25v. I thought the battery had internally shorted so I was going to disconnect it and jumper the terminals to another car and see if it would start, but as I was removing the negative terminal I heard it arching slightly from the battery to the terminal, and sure enough it was just dirty terminals. It was like the PO had put grease on them or something. Works great now and it's charging the battery better too.

Again thanks to everyone.
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Robert 2
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Report this Post03-08-2008 07:24 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Robert 2Send a Private Message to Robert 2Direct Link to This Post
Thanks for writing the solution .
And Dodgerunner is a ++++++++++++++++
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Blue Shift
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Report this Post03-08-2008 07:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Blue ShiftClick Here to Email Blue ShiftSend a Private Message to Blue ShiftDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by OpFlash:

Success! Problem solved!

Thanks so much to everyone, and +s to DodgeRunner for the tip on energizing the hatch relay, worked like a charm! once I got the hatch opened I measured the voltage at the battery terminals and got .25v. I thought the battery had internally shorted so I was going to disconnect it and jumper the terminals to another car and see if it would start, but as I was removing the negative terminal I heard it arching slightly from the battery to the terminal, and sure enough it was just dirty terminals. It was like the PO had put grease on them or something. Works great now and it's charging the battery better too.

Again thanks to everyone.


Just "solved" that problem for a friend with a nice 86 GT not a month ago. You go to start it, and that tiny point of contact finally burns away, leaving you with no power. Thankfully, nothing is broken though.

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