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Gremlin Circuit Improvments

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pacerman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Gremlin Circuit Improvments
    Posted: Nov/16/2017 at 12:19pm
I am tired of flaky turn signals and "iffy" instrument lamps that work some of the time and go dark without warning.   I am thinking of replacing the fuse panel as a fairly low effort way to improve the circuits.  Glass fuses and old corroded sandwiched panels are probably passe.  

So I'm looking at the Ron Francis Bare Bonz board and the Classic Technologies board.  If anyone has replaced just the panel, not whole circuits, with more modern technology I would appreciate input.  The car in question is a 76 Gremlin California car with minimal corrosion but a couple of flaky circuits.

Joe
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fluffy73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/16/2017 at 7:35pm
Why reinvent the wheel? Have you done any diagnosis to determine if the fuse panel is the problem?
Why not just lightly clean the fuse panel and get back to business?  I'd be willing to bet the fuse panel is not the problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mopar_guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/16/2017 at 8:25pm
Fluffy has a point. Have you tried to remove the panel and get it cleaned up? That's usually not hard on these cars. It can be soaked in vinegar for a couple of days to remove light corrosion.  This way you'll know if that's causing you the trouble or not. How about the bulkhead connector? Have you pulled it apart and inspected for corrosion? In my experience, if the car was near the coast for a number of years, any connection or ground is suspicious of corrosion.
I put a Ron Francis Express panel in my Javelin last winter because I needed more circuits and it's quite a job. I'd be doing some more investigating before making such a jump and possibly still have the problems.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/16/2017 at 10:09pm
I have done it all, except for soaking any of the panels in vinegar or anything else. Grounds were cleaned. Connections cleaned and checked. I made separate ground wires for the tail light fixtures. The instrument cluster has Been in and out of the dash so many times I could do it in my sleep. The car is forty one years old. The new fuse panels I am considering use the newer type fuses and they already have relays on board for the headlights and horn and more, depending on which one I would choose. I posted because I wanted feedback from anyone who has done this but I do appreciate your comments. I do like original cars but intermittent electrical glitches drive me nuts and besides they are unsafe. Joe
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/16/2017 at 11:04pm
I have seen those so-called "sealed terminals" that are factory crimped actually corrode where the wire meets the terminal. I know - some will say "IMPOSSIBLE!" but given time and the right conditions no, it's not impossible. I've seen corrosion follow wires up the insulation if conditions are right. 

What I've started doing is cleaning the contact surfaces on things like fuse panels, space connectors, etc. and plating them. 
Headlight switch breakers get weak with age and heat, similar things can happen to wiper circuits. I had really funky wipers until I swapped to a NOS wiper motor and redid my own fuse panel in the baby Eagle. No more funky wipers. They work, and will work for hours if needed. 
The problem is that you can't see the oxide film that forms and causes issues - and like my Eagle headlights, it can add up over all the connections where, again in my case, the headlights were running on under 11 volts and that's with the engine running. A bit here, a bit there, it added up to multiple volts being dropped over the entire circuit. Two tenths at this connection, five tenths here, three more there and now you have dropped a full volt. 

I swapped fuse panels and used a like-new one from a parts car.......


Be sure to mark things and if you can "one step at a time"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kensey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/17/2017 at 10:24am
Check to make sure your alternator is putting out the proper volts. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Pdok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/17/2017 at 1:29pm
I had a couple of random glitches on my 76 Grem. Had to replace the fuse panel to fix it.  The circuit board itself had burned through inside the layers somewhere and would intermittently ground itself and blow a fuse.  Couldn't see it from either front or back side.  I got a replacement panel from one of the AMC parts houses, not APD but can't remember.  Maybe Galvan's or Kennedy, it's been too long.

If you've seen and tested both ends of every wire, then I can understand taking the "nuke it from orbit" approach.  If you have any inkling that MPFI is in your future, then I think that should factor into your plans, since a lot of wiring harness work is already required for that.  If not, then what you're planning is really just a lot of labor and some expense, but straightforward nonetheless.  Just don't underestimate how a tiny issue can make itself look like a massive problem!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/17/2017 at 7:09pm
Yeah I know it can be a spaghetti factory when you are rewiring a car.  I was prepared for that if need be.  I tried one more time today, working with the fuse panel.  My turn signals weren't working and then I tampered with the panel and the gauges didn't work.  So I pulled all the fuses, cleaned them with fine sandpaper and put OxGard on the ends.  Checked the clips and made sure they were secure.  I pulled the main plug and cleaned all the male contacts with fine sandpaper and used the OxGard again.  It is made for aluminum wiring connections.  Presto.  Everything works.  I'm good for now.  Thanks for all the comments.  Those modern fuse panels are still attractive though because in part they have some relays on board.  Joe
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 73hornut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/17/2017 at 10:29pm
Don't leave out the dimmer switch, which is on the floor and probably slightly rusty and moderately corroded.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amcenthusiast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/18/2017 at 9:48am
Hey great; glad to hear you got it going good again.

At least the AMC electrical systems have their fuse box inside the cabin, not in the engine compartment, where all the metal connectors are much more susceptible to moisture induced corrosion.

Just for the record, AMC was first automaker to use a printed circuit board for the instrument cluster which was an act of true leadership in world automotive history.

And at least you don't have vacuum operated door locks or battery acid vapors torturing the electrical connectors underneath for the electronically controlled automatic transmission!

Put into perspective, hey; it's a Pacer and you've got a very well engineered electrical system which is one more reason why you have an excellent car!
Link to XRV8 Race Parts website: http://amcramblermarlin.1colony.com/index.html
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