View Full Version : Died and back to life!?

06-17-2005, 09:57 AM
Driving home last evening about 7:30 in my little TR3 when the thing went completely dead-- no rough running or miss preceeded it. I pulled to the side and rolled to a stop-- no smoke, but no lights or ignition either. I opened the hood, looked for something obvious in electricals, wiggled stuff, checked gas (even tho gauge registered above 1/2 before) but nothing loose, hanging, etc that I could see. I continued looking around for a while and considered hiking back about a mile to a service station (cell was in my other car) but decided to give the car a try. Fired right up, no miss, no smoke, all systems go except for one casulty-- the turn signals no longer worked. I drove it home and again inspected for loose wires, shorts, ground connections, etc in that system, but to no avail. Will check for a new flasher after work today but any guesses as for the original cause or other places to check on the turn signals?

06-17-2005, 10:48 AM
Sounds like a battery and/or battery cable problem to me.
Did you try substituting a known good battery?

Geo Hahn
06-17-2005, 10:52 AM
My first thought was one of the wires on the ignition switch, in particular the white wire that goes to the 'generator' light. The clue (if [when?] it happens again) is that that light does not come on when the ignition is switched on and the engine not running. Wiggling the wires behind the center panel may restore the connection at least temporarily.

This does not account for the loss of turn signals though -- could you have loosened a wire while you were trying to find the other problem? You can easily test a flasher by applying current to the common post then a grounded test light to one of the other posts. Light should flash. Then test other post.

Meanwhile, carry the cell phone.

06-17-2005, 12:27 PM
I had a similar problem with my TR3 29 years ago. It turned out to be a poor connection of one of the ignition wires to the switch. DPO had just stripped and wrapped one of th ignition wires around another and it would work loose enough to stop the car. Finally found it attached it more firmly and all was well.

06-17-2005, 03:15 PM
maybe it needs Lucas Smoke /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jester.gifRandi

06-17-2005, 05:05 PM
Thank's gents for all the suggestions-- will be working on it this weekend.
Randi-- correct me if I'm wrong but as I understand it, smoke pressure for turn signal circuits runs about 12 psi?

06-17-2005, 08:04 PM
I should be ashamed when I have problems & need help you guys always come through like champions! Adapt psi to the amount of hot air endured from smart a-- remarks from unhelpful compadres /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/pukeface.gif!!Randi

06-19-2005, 12:59 AM
Just for the record, when you have a tr3 with strange problems, make sure that the wires that have common junctions at the switches& gages are nicely soldiered together.The factory just shoved the wires into the scocket and tightened the screw down.Works well enough for the first few years,then the fun starts......
MD(mad dog)

06-20-2005, 10:32 AM
Well, the car still runs but still weird turn signal stuff-- plus something I noticed before but didn't mention about the original incident. When the turn signals stopped working, the gas gauge also went weird, showing full when the tank was half. When I turn off the turn signals the gauge eventually goes back to half.
I thought I had the problems solved but it was too soon. I had checked all around the battery circuits and for loose wires, grounds, pulled out the center dash panel and checked all wires/connectors-- wiggled and pressed things and tightened things that seemed less than secure. Car started and ran fine but no turn signal. So I pulled out my little test light and turned on the turn signal and ignition. Nothing happened initially but just before I touched the first connection on the flasher with my test probe, the turn signals started working. About 10-15 seconds lapsed between turning on the ignition and the turn signals starting to work. I wiggled and pulled everything I could find and it continued to work without hesitation. Could also see nothing connecting abnormally with the fuel gauge.
Before going on the road, I continued to look for the other problem that caused the car to die completely. What I found was a smaller loose ground on the driver's side block, down near the starter/radiator hose area. Dunno if that could have been the cause when the main ground was quite clean and secure. So I took it for a ride around the block-- no problem. The next morning wife and I headed for the little farmers' market about 3 miles away. About 2 miles out, the turn signals went dead and the fuel gauge went full again. Later at home, pulled center panel-- nothing there; test light showed nothing at flasher. Could see nothing wrong in wires to and from turn signals and flasher. Problem the flasher? Turn signal switch? What's up with the fuel gauge?
I'm getting confused.(Sorry, Mr Lucas, wherever you are, if I made jokes).
I'd rather be driving it this summer but Geo, I think your idea of a new harness is looking more like the necessary route.

Geo Hahn
06-20-2005, 07:59 PM
...Could see nothing wrong in wires to and from turn signals and flasher. Problem the flasher? Turn signal switch? What's up with the fuel gauge?...

[/ QUOTE ]

Here is all you could want to know about the fuel gauge (MGA but same as the TR3A):


To me it always seems the operation of the gauge is counter-intuitive... greater resistance at the sending unit results in a fuller reading. Thus, a poor ground that you would expect to cause other things to not work can make the gauge read full.

I think that was a 'clue' but I'm not sure what it means in conjunction with your turn signal problem... other than suspect (as you have been) the grounds.

06-21-2005, 10:40 AM
Hey, great find, Geo! I "played" with the fuel gauge before because the gauge had no lens and the needle was broken off when I got the car. That was quite a trick gluing a needle (from small clock parts) onto the existing stub. They are indeed fine wires and sensitive pieces. I noted in the site: "If you should have a disconnected tank signal wire or no ground at the fuel tank, then the needle would go to rest against the peg on the right (when the power is on).
It gives me some clues.
I also liked:

This (the magnetic coil system) results in the gauge being very stable over a wide range of input voltage, so fluctuations in vehicle system voltage have very little effect on the reading of the fuel gauge, such as a frollicking voltage regulator or operation of the turn signal or brake lights.

By the way, I bought a new flasher, installed it and with all the tightening, soldering and clamping I've done, turn signal now works better and brighter than ever! Not sure fuel gauge works yet and have wires/panels/parts/tools hanging everywhere!
Thanks again.