I could use some here. This weekend, I just picked up the tbird from my rollcage builder and darned if it's not lookin' like a proper trackcar. I went to work re-installing some stuff my rollcage builder had removed (factory seat belts -- to remain street legal for now, the one speaker that'll fit, my ducting to use the heater as a secondary radiator, the rubber door molding, etc).
I also hit the weld joints with primer and fabricated a nifty Kill switch mounting panel. Please note that the kill switch is NOT installed right now (just mounted).
Now, the problem occurred when I started wiring up the electrical connections for my instrument gauges (oil pressure, ATF temp, and coolant temp).
* Seeing as how I needed 12V for the gauges, I started checking all the random connectors I had removed (near the dash) using my multimeter. Basically, I'd touch one contact of the meter to the pin being tested and the other lead to chassis ground. I decided to use the 12V constant from the connector that USED to go to cigarette lighter. To make sure that the gauges wouldn't run down my gauges, I wired a switch in series with this power line so I could cut off power to the gauges (I have a central instrument panel I fabricated with lots of switches on it).
* Mistake #1: At some point, I left the headlights on and ran down the battery. This necessitated a trip to the autoshop to charge up the battery. Allegedly, it's good.
When I came back and hooked up the battery again, I turned the car ignition to the "ON position". All the factory electrical stuff (trunk release, fuel filler door release, fan, etc) worked just fine. The problem is that once I tried to "start the car", everything went to hell. The shut down and it was like I had the battery completely disconnected.
If you shut the car off (move the ignition to the OFF position) and try again, the car remains dead.
Things I tried
* I checked all the underdash fuses w/ my multimeter's connectivity test. None were blown.
* I checked all the underhood fuses (including the 175A on one on the side of the power distribution block). None were blown.
* The multimeter still says the battery has 12V in it. It's not dead.
* I hooked up my other car via jumper cables and tried starting the tbird again. The behavior was exactly like the "original" (worked fine in the ignition on but everything dies when you try and start the car).
* I disconnected ALL of my additional wiring (power to the gauges, ground to the gauges, etc) and the problem still remains.
* Finally, I tried with my Honda's battery. The poles were reversed but I simply turned the battery around and managed to find enough slack to hook up the tbirds power/ground cables to the appropriate pole. Electrical devices are operational when you move Ignition to "ON" but everything dies again when you try to start the car. I reinstalled the Honda's battery back into the car and the Honda has no problem starting so whatever is causing problems in my tbird did not damage my Honda's battery.
* Yes, I verified the fuses again after each trial. None were blown.
Q: Is there something I'm missing? Perhaps an inline fuse I don't know about?
Q: Could I have fried something (maybe the ECU) in my testing of the various ports?
My gut feeling is that I have a short somewhere but I'm not sure where that could be.
- I know that even though the car is completely "dead" (no response from any electrical attachment), at some point (reset condition unknown), I can get the car to respond again.
- There is something in the car (perhaps a short) that is preventing the car from starting.
- I have no idea what I did to "reset" the system so that the car works when the ignition is ON.
- At the current point in time, I have the Tbird battery reinstalled back in the tbird with all the electrical items I installed (12V line for gauges, ground line for gauges, etc) removed.
Any suggestions would be graciously accepted. I'm supposed to take the car on the track on June 10th so I need this car back up and running again ASAP.
Thanks again for your help.