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Offline Chopchop

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Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« on: March 21, 2019, 08:35:44 PM »
Hi everyone,

Week two and I'm now ripping my hair out trying to figure this out.  I hope someone here can please help me, I don't know what else to do?

Pretty much stock 1980 Pinto 2.3... Hooker header, otherwise, the engine is bone stock.

I had to adjust the timing and the distributor was frozen in place. 
I ended up unbolting the alternator to enable me to get a good grip on the distributor.
Naturally, I broke the long bottom bolt that anchors the alternator but there's enough of the broken bolt left to still hold the bottom of the alternator in place.

With the car cold, everything seems to be ok but once it warms up a bit, the car simply dies.
Try to start it and it'll crank, fire and immediately die.

If I remove the top bolt from the alternator (the one you tighten to adjust the alternator belt), the car will not crank.
If I ground the alternator by jumper wire or by tightening the adjustment bolt, the car will crank, fire and immediately die.  I can see little sparks between the alternator and the bracket when the two come close to making contact.

If I ground the alternator, fire the car up and immediately remove the ground wire from the alternator, the car will run like nobody's business.  (Until I ground the alternator.)

In an experiment, I put some heavy tape between the alternator and the adjusting bracket. 

Using a jumper wire I grounded the alternator, fired up the car, immediately pulled the ground wire off the alternator and pulled the alternator so the belt was tight.  The alternator charged the battery just like it should and the car runs without any issue --- until I put the top bolt in (thereby grounding the alternator) and the engine immediately dies.

ANY idea what the heck is going on??   I am at a complete loss here. 

How does grounding the alternator complete the start circuit?
Why is the car dying as soon as the alternator is grounded?
Why is car apparently running fine when it's cold but acting so goofy after it warms up a bit?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for any direction you can give me with this,

Dave

Offline The Whistler

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2019, 10:06:31 PM »
Did you have the alternator tested?
Did you remove the alternator and start the car to see if it would run normally? I do mean completely!
Is your engine to frame ground strap in place did you take an ohm reading?
Is you battery ground tight and making good ground at the engine?
Are battery connections clean and tight?
Did you drop the steering colum check the ignition switch? And if you have never replaced the ignition switch I suggest you do! I recommend anyone who has a Pinto to do so! Or any Ford product from 1993 and back!
Turbo is a way of life

Offline Chopchop

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2019, 05:15:38 AM »
Hi

Thank you very much for your reply.

Alternator not tested, it's always worked fine and continues to charge around 14 volts.

If I remove the alternator, the car will not crank.
If I ground the alternator, the car will crank but not run.  If I remove the ground from the alternator after it cranks, the car will run indefinitely.

I will check the engine to frame ground strap - thank you for that idea.

Battery is very good, connections are A-1.

I did not check ignition switch but it's always felt "mushy" to me.  I will check Google for an ignition switch wiring schematic.

Thank you again for your help!!

Offline Chopchop

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 05:37:23 PM »
I went out today and started the car, it cranked easily and fired up with no issue.  It ran beautifully and charged at about 14.2 volts.

I drove around the yard in and up and down the driveway in and out of first and second gears for 5 minutes or so and the car ran great.  At one point I put my foot on the clutch and the engine died.  It did not want to start again.

It <<appears>> that as soon as the engine warms up enough for the choke to open, then engine runs rough and / or dies - then it won't start again.

I ran a new battery-to-chassis ground wire and checked the battery to engine ground wire, which looked fine.

Tomorrow I will start up the car and just let it idle and see what happens.  At this point it looks like there's a wiring issue that kills the engine after it's warmed up.  This is very confusing because I did not touch any wiring when I moved the distributor to re-time the engine.

I wonder if the broken alternator pivot bolt has something to do with it?

Offline Mattb

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 07:58:26 PM »
Canít  say if your problem is explained by this but I can tell you I had an early 80ís Mustang that ran great till it warmed up then quit.  Turned out to be the ignition control module. If I remember correctly the wiring from the module connects to the side of the distributor. Perhaps in adjusting the timing the wiring was compromised or could be the box itself. If you run out of other options you may want to check it out.

Offline Chopchop

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 06:51:45 PM »
I think the problem you had might be very similar to the one I'm having.  Thank you very much for the tip! 
Do you have any idea how I test / check the ignition control module?

Offline Mattb

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2019, 12:57:22 PM »
Cant help with a test procedure. After chasing a few other things with no success I replaced it and that was the fix.

Offline Chopchop

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Re: Alternator Seems To Ground Out Run Circuit??
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2019, 08:27:36 PM »
After a week of not starting, I went out yesterday, turned the key and the car fired up with no fanfare whatsoever.
It idled like a champ for about 30 seconds and died then would not start again (no spark).

So I appear to have some sort of intermittent no spark issue.  I don't know what in the world is going on.


Any ideas?