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Making things work again

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Brendang2000 View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jul/08/2018 at 3:22pm

I just bought this “running/driving” unmolested no option 69 rambler out of CA.  It’s virtually rust free, most of the rust that’s there is surface only.  When I got it home (trailered), I fired it up and started testing electronics/lights.  Most everything was not working.  I started by pulling the fuse block out, thankfully it’s all spade terminals and easily removable, and gave it a good cleaning.  Some of the fuse holders were to far apart and the fuses were loose, so I gave them a little squeeze to tighten them up.  Reinstalled and most things were now working, apart from some things in the dash.  I pulled the gauge cluster and noticed some of the pins on the round 11 position connector were broke off.  Solder will not stick to the pins, so I soldered wires to the copper traces and ran those wires to a Molex connector.  There’s now two connectors, but everything in the dash is working now.  The gas gauge is reading full, and I did put 6 gallons in it, but maybe I’ll drain the tank to see if the gauge drops to E.  For now, I’ll assume it works.

The alternator light was staying lit, so I tested the voltage at low RPM’s and the alternator was not charging.  I replaced the regulator, tested voltage and I’m now getting ~14v at idle, but the alternator light was still lit.  I then disassembled every battery/alternator connector, including solenoid, and wire-brushed all terminals, surface areas and connectors.  I also replaced the battery ground cable as I didn’t like how hard it was to tighten and installed one with an extra 12awg that I attached to one of the voltage regulator hold down screws with a star washer behind it.  Fired it up and no more warning light when it’s running.  Except for the horns and dome light, everything works.  For the horns, I suspect the relay needs a good cleaning, and the dome light is not getting ground (power is there), but those are projects for another day.

I was able to finally drive the car around today, as I knew I had brake lights and turn signals that worked, and I’m super impressed with how well this car drives.  Granted, it is almost 50 years old and drives like it, but steering is still tight and the brakes work as they should (manual four wheel drum gives my leg a workout!).  The dash and title said ~55k miles, and I’m betting that may be correct.  Great car!!

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mstrcrftr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mstrcrftr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/08/2018 at 5:16pm
isnt that one of the greatest feelings in life.   congrats on the progress.  keep us updated.
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billd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/08/2018 at 6:59pm
I am impressed!

Edited by billd - Jul/08/2018 at 7:08pm
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Bruce Clarkson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Bruce Clarkson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/10/2018 at 9:24pm
You'll get used to the drum brakes. It's just a calibration issue for your foot. I've put many miles on my Ambassador with drum brakes and as long as I drive it like an Ambassador I don't even notice any more.

Have a good time.

Bruce Clarkson
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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 Posted: Jul/10/2018 at 10:56pm
The cause of the inop dome light is probably corrosion on the light switches at the front doors. Turn your headlight swithch all the way counterclockwise to see if the dome light works otherwise. Joe
Happiness is making something out of nothing.
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billd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/10/2018 at 11:12pm
Originally posted by pacerman pacerman wrote:

The cause of the inop dome light is probably corrosion on the light switches at the front doors. Turn your headlight swithch all the way counterclockwise to see if the dome light works otherwise. Joe


I've seen the wires corrode off the back ends of the switches, too - my 73 is but one example of that.
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Brendang2000 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brendang2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/13/2018 at 11:47am
I did try turning the light switch all the way counter-clockwise to no avail.  Also, did these cars come without switches in the doors?  Both side have black plastic plugs, that if aren't original, by their appearance they were installed decades ago.  I didn't look yet to see if there's wire ran to the doors, not sure when I'll have time to get back to it either.

So about my horn.  I was listening to the radio the other night about 10:30 when the song playing sounded kind of weird.  After about a minute, I paid more attention to it and walked over to hit mute.  That's when I noticed the sound wasn't coming from the radio!  Needless to say, the horn started working on it's own.  My neighbor, who I saw the next day, was wondering what the noise was, lol.  I'll have to get back into the steering wheel to see what's missing/broke there, but again, project for another day.
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