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Electrical help please

61frogeye

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I was out on a BE run today and I was at a store, when I left BE started normally but as I was backing out and hit the brakes the car died. It would turn over after that but not start, headlights would not come on either. No smell of burning electrics. I went over all the electrical connections, battery/etc with a wire brush, tightened all the screws at the fuse block and finally replaced the 2-20AGC fuses in the holder. The BE started then but the second anything electrical is used: headlights, brake lights, turn signal etc the car dies. When it dies I simply twist the 2 under hood fuses in their holder and BE restarts, but dies when electrics are used again, over and over. I limped home using the handbrake, which worked fine I might add.

OK, no fuses are blowing, nothing smells hot or cooked, I see nothing melted anywhere (yet). Something similar happened about a month ago when I changed from hi-beam to low just testing them out, it died. I cleaned the terminals, checked all connections and did not have that happen again.

Any ideas anyone?
 

Billm

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To me it STRONGLY sounds like the connections to the battery are marginal- probably the wire from the solenoid to the key (big brown wire I think).
I will bet that if you redo that connector (either at the solenoid or at the ign switch) you will fix the problem.
BillM
 

Billm

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Dave
One question- If you start the car and rev the engine to around 2000 and then turn on the lights (with the engine still at 2000) does it stay running?
If so then I think that I am correct (since now the generator is producing).
Bill
 

Gerard

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Isn't that fun when that happens?... :wall:

You have a high resistance in one of your power circuits. I would suggest checking the following.

All your screw connections at the fuse box, starting with the heavy brown (un-switched power). Check that terminals and screws are clean and that all of the wire ends are clean, substantial and not hanging from a few strands. If all the wires and terminals are good and you have the same symptom, make sure all your fuse holders terminals are clean. I can give you some little tricks for cleaning those later if that's the problem, but I suspect those are already clean. Since you mention wiggling fuses restores power, the other thing I suspect is that the rivets that hold the fuse holders are loose, either working loose from age or because you have a hairline crack in the bakelite. As already suggested, it could also be your battery terminals, but what you describe leads me to think there's an issue at the fuse block.
 
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61frogeye

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Thanks guys, I will work through your suggestions ASAP, unfortunately that probably won't be for a couple of days. This breakdown happened about 3 miles from home after a very long drive on a beautiful sunny day. Limping home beats the flatbed, so all things considered it was a very nice day. :thumbsup:
 

Sarastro

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Blowing the fuse wouldn't kill the ignition anyway, since it's not fused.

I agree with Gerard, you probably have a bad/high-resistance connection somewhere "upstream" from the ignition. The ignition comes off the unfused side of the block, close to the source. So, there are only a couple points where there could be a bad connection, the fuse block and the regulator. Since wiggling the fuse seems to fix it temporarily, I'll bet that's where the problem is--but in the connection somewhere, not the fuse itself. Disconnect the battery, remove the fuse block and check it closely.

Still, it's possible that might be a red herring. Check the screw-terminal connections at the A and AF terminals of the regulator. They're notoriously unreliable.
 
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61frogeye

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Thanks, Thursday is my next day off so I will be working on this then. I will write about what I find...or don't find. I appreciate everyones help!
 
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61frogeye

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She's fixed! :banana: Bill, you were right. Everyone: apparently the fuse wiggling thing was a red herring. I decided to try the easiest thing first, so I disconnected the battery connections (which I had already cleaned and tightened 3 times) but I never removed the brown wire lug from the negative connection to my ignition and cleaned it (I found it was very corroded). After wire brushing and sanding everything involved I put the connections back on, tightened the heck out of it and problem solved! I really appreciate all of the help and suggestions everyone. :thankyousign:

I am curious about this: My BMC BE workshop manual indicates there should be 35A fuses in use in the fuse holder. The 2 fuses that are in use in my fuse holder are 20A AGC and they have given no problem. Interestingly there is an original Lucas 35A fuse in one spare holder (has the little printed paper inside "Lucas 35A"). Book says to use 35's and 20's are in use, but 20's seem to work just fine......?
 

Billm

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Glad that you found it, that kind of sounded like the culprit.
I always use the 20 amp fuses, somewhere there was an article that said that the US 20 amp fuses were close to the British rated 35's and lower fuses are just a bit safer than higher ones.
BillM
 

jlaird

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Look in our WIKI it will show how fuse sizes US and British equate.
 

Pythias

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From the Wikipedia

--The figure found on Lucas fuses is the continuous fusing current which is twice the continuous ampere rating that the system should be using; this can be a source of confusion when replacing Lucas fuses with non Lucas fuses.---

So a 35 amp Lucas fuse is about 17 amps in the Bussman ACG type.
 

jlaird

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Simple answer yep 20 amp for Brit 35s. Don't forget to put a couple spares in the spare holes.
 

jlaird

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Just another short comment.

I have never, in well over 30 years of Bugeyes, blown a fuse except when I was working on the car or restoring one.

The BE electrical system in my opinion is without question excellent.
 
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61frogeye

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That's good to know Jack, after owning my BE for a few months I am really enjoying it. I am also enjoying working on it, and the helpful people on this forum.
 

smaceng

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Jack you have been one lucky man!
As a former owner of a BJ8 big healey that burned up in my garage, The lucas theory of the day not to fuse any lights or the ignition is beyond comprehension.
Scott in CA
 

jlaird

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I would never want to argue with the guy who wants more hidden fuses. Prob a good idea for piece of mind.
 

Sarastro

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I suspect that the unfused ignition and headlights were for safety. It was probably more likely that the crappy fuses of those days would blow for no obvious reason than for a real overload--so it made sense not to fuse safety-related circuits. Fuses today are much better, and today's cars are fused out the kazootie.

For more than you ever wanted to know about fuses, see https://www.nonlintec.com/sprite/electrical/.
 
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