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Robert R
Robert R, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 2806
Experience:  ASE Certifications in Engine Repair, Manual Drivetrain and Axles, Suspension and Steering, and Heating and A/C.
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Suzuki Samurai: I have a 1987 Samurai. It has electrical gremlins.

Resolved Question:

I have a 1987 Samurai. It has electrical gremlins. With the engine off, switch in the ON position, the headlights work, running lights work. Start the engine, and the headlights go off, running lights stay on, and turn signals go erratic. The instrument cluster also seems to" ground" when the headlights are on with engine running, that is, the tach stops, the fuel goes to full , and the temp goes to hottest point. Any ideas?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
Hello, welcome and thanks for asking your question. My name isXXXXX am a Certified Auto Technician with 25+ years experience. I will do my best to assist you. I don't know your automotive experience level, so I may have to ask questions of you before I can answer. I only know as much about your concern as you have stated in your post, so please feel free to add as much detailed information as possible.

Have you checked both battery cables for good connection to engine and have you inspected the body grounds? Very possible that once engine is running, it's losing a good ground connection....

Check the above and also the cables for corrosion, let me know if you find anything so we can continue from there....

Thanks
Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


the cables are good..new connections to battery and to the frame, also frame to engine

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
Does the negative battery cable (the thicker one) connect directly to the engine or to the frame? Is the one from the frame to the engine thicker or thinner than the main battery negative cable?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


both are # XXXXX cable securely attached

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
I'm just throwing out possibilities, Has the ignition switch been checked or replaced? There is a chance that the ignition run circuit is faulty and causing errors with the electrical system.

I am researching this concern for you and will get back with you as soon as possible, Thanks for your patience while I gather the information needed for your answer. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

the switch has not been replaced or checked. I had to run a new wire from the switch to the solenoid when I first bought the car so it would start, but nothing else.

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
That is the next step, you need to check the ignition switch, there is likely excessive resistance in the switch that is causing low power output for the accessories, likely that is causing the issues, also remember if the switch has too much resistance, it can get to hot and cause an electrical fire. Check or replace the ignition switch and keep me posted as to the results... If need be we can continue from there....


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Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

how do I check the switch for excessive resistance?

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
You need to use an Ohm Meter across the Ignition Run curcuit of the actual switch, you should have zero resistance, if you have even a small amount of resistance across the switch, replacement would be recommended....
Robert R, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 2806
Experience: ASE Certifications in Engine Repair, Manual Drivetrain and Axles, Suspension and Steering, and Heating and A/C.
Robert R and 17 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK robert..I have a new clue. The switch tested fine with no resistance at all. I then tried running the engine with the alternator output wire disconnected..and the problem went away. All the lights work fine as well as the turn signals. Is it the alternator itself or somewhere in the wiring?

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.

Good clue, ok, at this time, you need to check the charging voltage of the alternator when the engine is running. Using a Voltmeter, start the vehicle and check the charging voltage directly at the back of the alternator, then check it at the positive battery post, let me know what voltage readings you come up with.

I think you are on to something there, also check the alternator and make sure that the mounting bolts are clean and secure, alternator grounds through the case, so it must have a good tight mounting to the engine...

Let me know what you come up so we can continue....
Thanks,
Robert

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


OK, so the charge voltage at the alternator is 14.5 volts, and also at the battery positive. I found that the ring terminal on the alt. output post was pushed down onto the case of the alternator, so I elevated it. With engine running and lights on, connecting the alternator output wire turned lights off. Disconnecting the wire again did not turn them back on unless I grounded the alt.output post briefly. Weird huh?

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
That is a very strange one. I will need to do further research on this to see what is the common link.. It may be a day or two before I can have some info for you, I don't have access to the database until tomorrow... Thanks in advance for your patience... If you don't hear from me by tuesday, post a reply to keep me on track...Thanks
Robert..
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


will do..thanks

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
Cool, Thanks for your patience and understanding, talk to you soon...

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

any new info?

Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.

 

I'm working on it, there are quite a few pages to download for the wiring system, I'll post some info for you as soon as I am able...

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Thanks for the response to keep me on track...

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Expert:  Robert R replied 1 year ago.
Hello, Sorry about the delay, I have some information for you, I downloaded the wiring diagram for the complete vehicle, but unfortunately it is in 12 separate pages, so I printed it and am in the process of "Putting together the puzzle"

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... I am going to study the wiring diagram as soon as I have it all together. In the mean time, I am going to post the same information for you, if you print out the 12 pages, you can tape the pages together to build the diagram... There is also a couple of separate diagrams for the headlamp circuit. I still need to study the diagrams to find the common link. I had a busy day today at work so I apologize for the delay.

The diagrams will be in a zip file, just extract the file, print the 12 pages, the other ones are separate diagrams...

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Attachment: Click here to download Samurai_Wiring.zip


If you need additional information, don't hesitate to ask, I am happy to help as long as necessary to help solve your concern.
Thank you!

Robert

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