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1982-2000 C/K Truck & SUV Chassis & Drivetrain Discussion Forum for the 1982-2000 GM Pickup Trucks and SUVs, and their Transmissions & Drivetrains, cab, chassis, electrical systems and a lot more.

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Old 05-24-2020, 06:30 AM
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sdelaney sdelaney is offline
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Default Sudden Electrical Failure

Hello All,

Yesterday we had a major league micro burst/derecho/tornado around here. Winds pulling trees out by the roots, horizontal rain (ALOT) and so forth. Lasted about 30 minutes.

When it was over I got in my 83 C20 (c code) and it started right up as normal (manual glow plugs) and drove over to a buddy's house to help out (they got hit worse than me). As I was pulling out of my driveway some water that accumulated on my tonneau cover spilled forward between the cab and the bed.

I drove about 5 miles without issue and parked. After being there about an hour I tried to start up but it wouldn't catch. It wasn't like it was ALMOST catching, it was just cranking over and not starting. So as to not wear down the batteries I just let it sit for another half hour.

When I tried to start it again there was no power to anything whatsoever. Completely dead.

Both batteries are showing 12.55 volts on the tester.

Both batteries are brand new last August.

New gear reduction starter last November.

Where do I start chasing down this problem?

Thanks
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:01 AM
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Measure from a ground to the battery. If you get 12.55 volts there, start marching the positive probe down the positive lead off the batteries until you find the point where the power disappears.
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnC View Post
Measure from a ground to the battery. If you get 12.55 volts there, start marching the positive probe down the positive lead off the batteries until you find the point where the power disappears.
Okay, thanks.

I started from the passenger side battery down to the starter (12.49v at starter) and sort of fiddled with the other connections on the starter.

Tested it by turning the ignition to the ON position - nothing.

For the hell of it I tried the ACCESSORY position - the glow plugs, wiper, radio, and cigarette lighter worked, but all stopped if I turned on the headlights.

Then I tried the ON position again and everything works as it should. Started right up too.

I'm not a big fan of mysteries when it comes to automotive electrical, so what the hell was that all about?
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:56 AM
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Sounds like you have a breaking load connection, likely either the battery terminals (very common) or the starter solenoid lug (big pole). Showing voltage or not isn't much help with no load, when the problem is with a load. Remove, clean and reinstall with some dielectric grease.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:36 PM
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Either that, or your ignition switch is about to give up the ghost.
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"Need" - Wanting to get someone else's money.
"Greed" (formerly meant what "need" means today) - wanting to keep your own.
"Compassion" - a politician's willingness to arrange the transfer.
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Current oil burners: MB 350SDL, Kubota 7510
New ride: MB GLS450 - most stately
Gone but not forgotten: '87 F350 7.3, '93 C2500 6.5, '95 K2500 6.5, '06 K2500HD 6.6
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