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Thread: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Jedi Warrior
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    Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    All:


    I experienced the following electrical problem on my 59 BE with a generator:


    When I turn the car on and start the engine everything is fine. When I begin to drive the fuel gauge needle begins shaking erratically. Simultaneously, the directional signal indicator gets really weak. As I go faster the fuel gauge goes to zero and the directional signals stop entirely. Stop the car and everything returns to normal.


    I went under the dash and tightened everything. The fuel gauge bracket is tight and grounded on to the dash. Previously it was loose and it's lamp was flickering. I didn't find any other loose wires nor exposed wires.


    The electrical system was operating fine until this afternoon. As I noted, when I have the car in the garage and parked, turn on the key - everything is fine. If I start the engine still everything is fine. When I begin to back out (increasing load on the engine) the fuel gauge begins jumping. However, while the car is stationary and I rev the engine, everything appears normal.


    I live in Barbados. The environment is much like south Florida - high humidity. Add in horrible, washboard roads that shake the bee-jeezus out of the car.


    I'd prefer not to drop the tank to check the ground wire.


    Thoughts?


    MXP

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    You describe it as caused by the car actually moving. Sure sounds like a loose connection, could be a ground. I wouldn't first suspect the gauge ground wire since it affects your turn signals too. check the generator and regulator wires and the fuse box. Try turning on the headlights and see if that is affected too.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
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    Luke Skywalker LarryK's Avatar
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    Re: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    Check that regulator is adjusted properly. Might have to clean the regulator.
    Larry K
    58 Jag 3.4 MK 1 auto under restoration, 57 Jag 3.4 MK1 manual ,
    03 Cooper S, 2011 Cooper S Countryman, 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE LUX, 1964 Valiant V200
    Also had , 68 Cortina 1600E, 64 Spit 4 & 80 1500, 73 GT6 3, 71 XJ6, 79 XJ6, 86 XJS V-12, 53 XK120 OTS.

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    Yoda Jim_Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    It’s possible to break the wires connecting the external connection to the internal generator wiring by overtightening and not using two wrenches on the nut where the wires attach of the end of the generator. You could have twisted the wires and have a broken wire inside of generator?
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    Not sure if the '59 had the ball and socket type connectors. I would hit them with Deoxit 5, a contact cleaner. If there is an inline fuse holder anywhere in the circuit, that can also be a trouble spot. I would also check the wire insulation for any wear or chafing. Even a little bit of exposed wire can cause an intermittent short. Those were the culprits when electrical gremlins started rearing their head on my '69.

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    Jedi Warrior
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    Re: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    Thanks, everyone, for your assistance.


    I believe I found the problem - there was a loose screw in the fuse block, one that secured a green wire on which included the fuel gauge. I tightened it down and it seems to have corrected the issue.


    Thanks again,


    MXP

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Difficult Electrical Problem in 59 BE with Generator

    Good on you.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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