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View Full Version : My Build Up begins: First Project=Wiring. UGH


AxleIke
01-24-2008, 09:33 PM
So, I'm beginning, FINALLY, to build my truck up into what I've always wanted it to be, and in the process, I'm going to redo all of the really terrible "i'm in high school and quality means nothing" wiring jobs I've done.

However, my first concern is to get a few actual problems ironed out first.

Bear with me, because, even though I'm committed to doing this right this time, I'm still a total nincompoop when it comes to this stuff.

My first issue is that when I'm driving, at night, headlights on, and I step on my brake pedal, all of my internal lights dim, and the engine starts to run rough. I've looked as much as i can at the brake light wire, and it does not appear to be shorting anywhere. In addition, the phenomenon only occurs at night, when I'm running the headlights.

Am I looking for a short somewhere else, or something different entirely?

Thanks!

bskey
01-24-2008, 09:36 PM
I am not great with wiring either, but the first thought that came to mind is make sure your brake lights are well grounded.

Romer
01-24-2008, 09:54 PM
Several potentials come to mind

first - check to make sure your ground connection from the frame to the battery is clean. I had to unbolt it once and clean it up with a die grinder on my 80.

Second - Not sure if your truck has a voltage regulator, if so check your wiring to make sure connections are clean and tight. Could be the regulator needs to be replaced, not sure on that.

Third - Could be the extra load is too much for the alt to keep up with. Lots of auto shops will test alternators for free. Might be worth a try.

AxleIke
01-24-2008, 10:16 PM
thanks guys. I'll check into those things first.

Cheeseman
01-24-2008, 11:05 PM
Are you running stock headlights currently?

RockRunner
01-25-2008, 09:30 AM
Are you running stock headlights currently?

Chees is right, change your headlight wiring out and either rebuild your altenator with a higer ouput coil or replace it with a 160 amp altenator.

Next check to see what all is connected to your headlights and or brake lights. Extra lights or trailer wiring will do this too.

Good luck, I really HATE electrical stuff.

Rezarf
01-25-2008, 09:38 AM
Second - Not sure if your truck has a voltage regulator, if so check your wiring to make sure connections are clean and tight. Could be the regulator needs to be replaced, not sure on that.


x2:thumb:

AxleIke
01-25-2008, 10:16 AM
I'm running stock headlamps.

Nothing run off of the brakelight circuit. Could certainly be battery and alternator connections.

I'm going to have to look pretty deeply into the FSM to see if I've got the voltage regulator, and if so, where it is.

Cheeseman
01-28-2008, 03:32 PM
I believe it is internal to the alternator.
________
Halfbaked (http://half-baked.com)

leiniesred
01-28-2008, 04:54 PM
Tips:
Start a wiring diagram now. You'll need it in 3 years.

Go get the add-on fuse box that bolts to the battery cable on many 80's Toyotas. This way, you won't have 12 different wal-mart amp wiring kit terminals stacked up on your terminal bolts.

run a 10gauge wire to the radio area in the cab from that add-on fuse box. Connect it to a power distribution block so you can wire in the stereo, CB, HAM radio, and relays in one easy to get to place.

Plan ahead and pull wires for things you don't have yet, but plan on having someday. It is almost as easy pulling 5 wires as it is pulling 1.

In cab winch controls, ARB controls, driving light relays, rock light relays, rear power outlet, 120VAC inverter, Handheld HAM charger Stereo amplifiers, camping lights, neons, etc.




On the stumble with brakes on: On rigs our age, there is a fuel cut circuit that gets activated when the brake lights are on and the RPMs are above about 1500. When the engine revs drop below the 1500rpm or so, the computer is (supposed to) start firing injectors again. Is your idle really high? If so, then get it back down around 850. That is USUALLY the solution to the problem you are describing.

(The idea was "Why do you need to give the engine gas when you have the brakes on?" Just turn off the injectors until the engine NEEDS fuel to run."

I think the dimming headlights might be secondary to the engine not running.

RockRunner
01-28-2008, 09:56 PM
If it is an 85 it is build into the altenator like cheese said.

AxleIke
01-28-2008, 10:17 PM
Tips:
Start a wiring diagram now. You'll need it in 3 years.

Go get the add-on fuse box that bolts to the battery cable on many 80's Toyotas. This way, you won't have 12 different wal-mart amp wiring kit terminals stacked up on your terminal bolts.

run a 10gauge wire to the radio area in the cab from that add-on fuse box. Connect it to a power distribution block so you can wire in the stereo, CB, HAM radio, and relays in one easy to get to place.

Plan ahead and pull wires for things you don't have yet, but plan on having someday. It is almost as easy pulling 5 wires as it is pulling 1.

In cab winch controls, ARB controls, driving light relays, rock light relays, rear power outlet, 120VAC inverter, Handheld HAM charger Stereo amplifiers, camping lights, neons, etc.




On the stumble with brakes on: On rigs our age, there is a fuel cut circuit that gets activated when the brake lights are on and the RPMs are above about 1500. When the engine revs drop below the 1500rpm or so, the computer is (supposed to) start firing injectors again. Is your idle really high? If so, then get it back down around 850. That is USUALLY the solution to the problem you are describing.

(The idea was "Why do you need to give the engine gas when you have the brakes on?" Just turn off the injectors until the engine NEEDS fuel to run."

I think the dimming headlights might be secondary to the engine not running.

Ahh. Very good ideas!

I already have a lot of that stuff. My rock lights are wired with relays, i've got 3 magic arb switches, and all I need are the winch controls. No ham for a while, but you may be on to something with the NEON underglow. :D I've also got a single wire running from my battery to a aux fuse box. Smartest thing I've done with wiring.

AWESOME info on the fuel switch. Sounds like this may be a replace? My idle is pretty low, around 800 or so. In addition to the lights/brakes problem, occasionally the truck will stutter really badly, totally randomly, when not on the gas at all, either parked, or stopped at a stop light. I forgot about it as it hasn't done it recently, but its making me lean towards the switch being bad.

I haven't found a voltage reg, so i'm guessing i have an internal regulated unit. This is an 87, with a Toyota alternator.

Future plans may call for dual battery/On board welder. Is it worth stepping up to a 140 or 160 amp alternator now, or just wait until this one blows out?

Thanks again!

leiniesred
01-29-2008, 08:39 AM
If your idle is OK, then it might be something else. The computer gets the brakes are on +V signal from the brake ckt. Check those grounds.

And yeah, that alternator is internally regulated.

Cheeseman
01-29-2008, 05:32 PM
Big alternators require power to run them. I would check that out with a four cylinder if that is what you have.
________
Babe Masturbating (http://www.****tube.com/categories/190/masturbating/videos/1)

AxleIke
01-30-2008, 09:58 PM
Well, haven't fixed my idle problem, but one OTHER problem thats been infrequent but annoying reared its head tonight, and got fixed.

On my way home, it was snowing, and as I was driving about 3 minutes from my place, all of my interior lights went out, as did my radio, my turn signals, and my windshied wipers, which sucked, because I couldn't see ANYTHING. Luckily I was able to drive with my head out of my window, and get it into the garage.

In the past, fuses have blown mysteriously, and then everythings worked again.

THIS was the culprit. I never noticed it because it sits under my air cleaner. Took forever to find the bugger. What a PITA. Thank goodness for propane heat!

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c263/AxleIke/IMG_2636.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c263/AxleIke/IMG_2632.jpg

I thought it would fix my light problem, but it didn't. Ah well, at least I'll be able to drive now!

Rezarf
01-31-2008, 09:48 AM
Luckily I was able to drive with my head out of my window, and get it into the garage.



Hmmm...

Like this?

:lmao::thumb::D

AxleIke
01-31-2008, 11:21 AM
Yeah, just like that. Except for with 40mph wind, and white out blizzard conditions. My whole face hurt for an hour after I got home.

Anyway, a few minutes with a soldering iron, and some heat shrink, and problem solved.

Red_Chili
01-31-2008, 12:00 PM
Hey Isaac, one point of design weakness with our trucks is, the ground for the headlights is routed through the light stalk on your steering column. The wire gauge is minimal, and the ground gets a bit weak. Roger Brown, 4crawler.com, sells a headlight wiring harness that switches power from the battery straight to the headlights, and only grounds the relays through the stalk. Well worth the expense, and your headlights will be brighter. This is especially worthwhile if you switch to H4 Halogens or something, but will benefit you even with Sylvania Silverstars (also very good headlights, BTW).

Order a full set of factory service manuals from Toyota. You can get a wiring book as well, with all the diagrams. Well worth the expense. Mine is near worn out. The 4Runner has a few areas of 'interest' when they get to be 30 years old (kinda like the rest of us, EH!) :lmao:

Rebuilding an alternator for more output, here:
http://www.4x4wire.com/toyota/tech/alternator/

HTH,

DaveInDenver
01-31-2008, 12:57 PM
I'm running Roger's wiring harness. He doesn't make them, they are a generic Chinese harness. Bill's right, though, I run plain old 55/60 watt H4 bulbs (mine happen to be ordinary OSRAM/Sylvania #H4ST, the motorcycle equivalent of the 9003ST) in Hella housings and they are plenty bright. The harness increased my bulb voltage by just under 1V, so there's a ton of drop in the stock harness. That difference in voltage is ~8% at the bulb, but due to the way light bulbs work, that will be about 20~25% more light (at a reduction of its life, mine last about a year typically). The bulbs I run are designed it seems for 13.2V and are rated for 76 MSCD (955 lumen) low and 125 MSCD (1570 lumen) at high. So at about 14V they are making about 95 MSCD (1200 lumen) and 155 MSCD (1950 lumen). This is closely equivalent to running roughly a 80/85 watt bulb at the lower stock voltage. The headlight harness is easily one of the best bang-for-buck upgrades you can do IMO.

nakman
01-31-2008, 01:24 PM
x a billion on the auxillary harness. Most of the 80 faithful all run Christo's harness, I've heard of Roger's harness through Yotatech but I sold my Runner before I had the chance to buy one. Also put one on the 40 while I had it, and man what a difference... that one came from Cruiser Outfitters- I think they're pretty universal so if you feel like talking to Kurt (always a good time) maybe give him a call?

Red_Chili
01-31-2008, 01:56 PM
FWIW, I got mine at JC Whitney back in the day. Then Roger started sourcing them. Rather buy from Roger.
(TLCA minitruck tech editor, BTW. Shameless plug).

AxleIke
01-31-2008, 02:50 PM
Okay, For sure WILL DO. I'll look into that harness later tonight.

I'm actually starting to look forward to this more now, as I read more, and understand more about wiring, I'm getting excited to be rid of all the annoying "quirks" i've been putting up with.

I will definitely need the wiring book, as this fuel sensor is a total mystery.

As for the old part, you bet. There are days when I'm really proud to drive around in my cool old truck, and other days, usually in the garage, where I'm less than impressed, to say the least.

AxleIke
01-31-2008, 10:36 PM
Just ordered my 4crawler harness. While it won't solve all my problems, a lot of reading, and the opinions here convinced me it was a good buy. For 45 bucks, I can't really go wrong.

Now, can anyone help with the Mobi Arc conversion?

I read about it on the 4x4wire write up that Bill provided, but the site in the write up does not seem to give me a good link to the kit.

The reason I like this idea, is that my alternator is fairly new, about a year and a half old. Its from Toyota, so it was expensive, and I'd rather not have to try and make a ford unit work. I feel like I could kill a couple of birds here. Get more output, check (and replace if necessary) my voltage regulator, and give the alternator a good refurbishing. This should, in theory, help me deal with my power draw, from the accessories, as well as my "dimming" problem when the brakes are pushed.

Red_Chili
02-01-2008, 07:48 AM
Just give Mobi-Arc a call.
I would have to say, that going with a GM alternator is not a bad option either, IIRC, 135 amps or so. I've not done it. Some of the aftermarket alternators are way pricier than either of these options :eek:.

But you may be treating a symptom rather than the cause. Your dimming problem should not be happening with your stock setup.

Think of electricity like plumbing, only with electrons instead of water molecules. You have a source (battery, alternator running through voltage regulator), which is like a certain amount of pressure. The wires are like pipes - spring a leak (short to ground) and you will lose pressure (voltage). Try to run too much volume (current) through too small a pipe (wire gauge), or a partially clogged pipe (ohmic connection, another name for a corroded connection or switch), or a leaky pipe (partial ground faults), and you will have plenty of pressure at the source (voltage), but will flow only a little water (current).

A multimeter on the battery will tell you if your problem is low voltage, or simply not being able to flow sufficient current (as in the case of bad battery cables when trying to start, for instance). Got good voltage at the batt? Now try measuring voltage at the light. It will likely be much lower than the battery. That means you are losing voltage in-between, most likely through a bad connection but possibly a corroded connection with a partial ground fault, perhaps.

Make sense?

Bad grounds are a typical source of problems, as are corroded connections. And let's not forget a PO using 22 gauge wire all over the place.

AxleIke
02-01-2008, 07:58 AM
Lots of good advice there. I will work on that next.

With the GM alternator, the concern i have is making it fit and work. I'm concerned that it won't be a "plug and play" type set up, and while I'm okay with that, electrical is usually one of those things that they don't let you take back at the auto parts stores. And I'd rather not replace something that isn't totally broken. For the money, I'm not really losing much by going with the mobi arc setup.

Back to the issues.

Essentially, I have a number of problems. The dimming one is weird. The idle problem seems to be this fuel switch not kicking on when I let off the gas.

I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but the dim is somewhat of a "flash". Essentially, when i step on the brakes, the lights momentarily dim, or possibly shut off, but then come back on again, too fast to tell for sure. Now, the light is also somewhat dimmer when on the brake pedal.

I noticed another issue yesterday, one that hasn't cropped up for a year or more now. Essentially, when on the brake, the right turn signal comes on, like a light, not a flasher, when stepping on the brake. Essentially, a solid light in my turn signal. It did it for a few miles, then a couple of bumps, and no more. I'm guessing I have a short somewhere for sure.

Red_Chili
02-01-2008, 08:07 AM
That, and possibly a bad connection with your accessory wire to the battery. Have someone monitor the battery voltage while all this is going on. Chances are, it will remain mostly stable. Now check it at the fuse box. I'll bet you see the drop in voltage. That means somewhere between the two points, you have an ohmic connection.

Don't discount junkyards as sources for decent alternators. How good are you with precision assembly? Dremels? I dove in because I had spare parts. I also used a few junk alternators to rob parts from. I also am an old model railroader.

I have seen guys who were definitely not electrical whiz kids do the GM alternator swap. Alternators work like this: you have an exciter circuit (think, electromagnet; this causes lines of magnetic flux to cross stator wires as the rotor turns, which generates electricity. This is why you need current to make current BTW, and why you should NEVER TEST A TOYOTA ALTERNATOR BY REMOVING THE BATTERY). You have the voltage regulator that floats an exciter current to the rotor, more or less, to meet demand and maintain a voltage. The VR also has a diode board in our case to rectify the generated AC into DC. Then you have the charge current output, and power and ground of course.

Not a lot to it. Alternator brushes (and the corresponding rings on the rotor), bearings, and diodes fail over time. Sometimes the VR too, but that is on the same board with the diodes. I have used junkyard parts successfully for all these except the inexpensive brushes.

DaveInDenver
02-01-2008, 08:55 AM
I replaced my alternator when I did the engine last year. My old one had noisy bearings and wasn't 100% anymore (probably the regulator). I considered the GM route and thought about the MR2 alternator, too. Ultimately I stuck with the 60A stock...no winch, one battery, one pair of Hella 500 fog lights and just a basic radio, essentially nothing much in the way of load. It works for me since I didn't want to screw with figuring out how to mount something different. Since you have easy access to machine tools and a welder, I would consider doing the GM swap if I was you. It's a pretty common modification and you're not forging new ground.

AxleIke
02-06-2008, 10:46 AM
Got the 4crawler harness last night. Looks great.

Bighead
02-07-2008, 07:47 AM
Got the 4crawler harness last night. Looks great.

Crap...now you are motivating me to fix my bird's nest of wiring.

AxleIke
02-07-2008, 08:04 AM
LOL, well, the process is slow. I'm finding that working out a wiring diagram is the hardest part.

AxleIke
02-07-2008, 10:36 PM
So, couple of questions.

First of all, does anyone have a steering wheel puller. I could buy one, but its not something I do very often, and I'm trying to pinch pennies.

Wheel looks like this, if it makes a difference:

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c263/AxleIke/IMG_2646.jpg

Second question: anyone know how I get the passenger dash off. I've removed all of the screws along the front, and the one nut by the windshield thats under the gauge cluster. It's loose, but getting resistance up near the windshield, but I can't feel anything or see anything that needs to be unclipped. I have a nice dash, so I want to avoid damage at all costs.

And, in case you thought I was joking about the hack job I did on this beast:

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c263/AxleIke/IMG_2644.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c263/AxleIke/IMG_2651.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c263/AxleIke/IMG_2653.jpg

There are a few factory wires in there, but the rest....Yeah.

Thanks!

AxleIke
02-07-2008, 10:38 PM
I gotta tell you, I really get frustrated at myself when I do stuff like this. Where I have to go back and REDO stuff I already DID, because I was too lazy or incompetent to do it right the first time. I want to go back in time and beat up my previous self. Ugh.

Red_Chili
02-08-2008, 06:44 AM
Aw, chill d00d. I have a bit of wiring that looks like that and I'm picky! It's tough when you have wiring done in stages, starting in all different locations, ending in more different locations, and have it all turn out pretty. I worked at the rocket ranch and they spend an enormous amount of time doing wiring harnesses that looked good - and had termination labels on each wire. That is the gold standard. But few of us have the time nor inclination to do that.

I also did wiring cabinet design at one job and that was tough too. Wire conduit and wire trays make ugly look pretty... but no room in a truck for that. Split loom cures many ills.

Rezarf
02-08-2008, 08:41 AM
Hey Isaac, I have a steering wheel puller, and that is about how it should look on the inside, it is when you find large quantities of wire nuts and duct tape you should start to get worried.

Drew

AxleIke
02-08-2008, 10:08 AM
Sweet Drew! I'd like to borrow it at somepoint.

Bill, do you know perchance how to get the pass dash off?

Thanks guys!!!

Red_Chili
02-08-2008, 10:36 AM
I have actually never done that. Squishy! knows. I will PM you his cell, but you should text him rather than call because he is at work.

AxleIke
02-08-2008, 11:40 AM
Thanks!!!

AxleIke
02-19-2008, 04:10 PM
SOOO, the MOBIARC deal was originally quoted to me for 45 dollars, but told to call back since people who knew the apps were on vacation. Called back, and its actually 150. So, that will be waiting for next month, as I just bought the crawler. Bummer.

leiniesred
02-19-2008, 04:42 PM
AxleIke:

Try this on your steering wheel. Leave the nut on, but loose. at LEAST a few threads. Check it again. Now, bang the steering wheel towards yourself. Try just jerking the wheel toward you really hard with both hands too. I bet it comes off until it hits the nut.
(no nut and you'll break your nose and maybe some teeth)

Onto the top dash pad: The mystery screw you are looking for is behind the right dash vent! Getting the vent out without destroying it might not be possible. We're dealing with old plastic here. There are clips with teeth on both sides of the vent. It snaps in and the teeth keep it from pulling out.

Get that last screw out and I think you are golden. It kinda lifts up at the front and pulls toward you.

AxleIke
02-19-2008, 05:58 PM
AxleIke:

Try this on your steering wheel. Leave the nut on, but loose. at LEAST a few threads. Check it again. Now, bang the steering wheel towards yourself. Try just jerking the wheel toward you really hard with both hands too. I bet it comes off until it hits the nut.
(no nut and you'll break your nose and maybe some teeth)

Onto the top dash pad: The mystery screw you are looking for is behind the right dash vent! Getting the vent out without destroying it might not be possible. We're dealing with old plastic here. There are clips with teeth on both sides of the vent. It snaps in and the teeth keep it from pulling out.

Get that last screw out and I think you are golden. It kinda lifts up at the front and pulls toward you.

THANK YOU!!!! That is exactly what I needed. I didn't get a chance yet to call up squishy, but that should do the trick.

I actually got the steering wheel popped off, so no worries!

Thanks again!

corsair23
02-19-2008, 10:56 PM
Try this on your steering wheel. Leave the nut on, but loose. at LEAST a few threads. Check it again. Now, bang the steering wheel towards yourself. Try just jerking the wheel toward you really hard with both hands too. I bet it comes off until it hits the nut.
(no nut and you'll break your nose and maybe some teeth)

It is tips like that you just don't get without experience :D

Not to hijack your thread Isaac but I have to admit that I look forward to seeing Spanky's humor when I see a post from him :thumb: - Like in another post about checking for spark and how not directly holding the coil is a good thing :hill: :lmao: