clicking noise under the dash

Discussion in 'Sparky's corner' started by Butchman, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Butchman

    Butchman Well-Known Member

    My 69 California GS has a/c car has a clicking noise under the dash. Almost like something is cycling. Its happened in the past but now is constant. Seems to be in the area behind the radio. Also now when this happenes the GEN light flashes. Car has a/c but I don't think its hooked up. When I got this car it was a frame off resto but the guy slapped things together to sell it as he was moving. So things like the radio and dome light don't work and I have seen wires and vacuum lines under the dash that are not hooked up. Any help appreciated or similar experiences. It to the point I'm afraid to take it out.
  2. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member

    Could be crossed wires and triggering the flasher. (slappedtogetherbypreviousownersyndrome)

    If you can get it to make the noise, pull the flasher from the fuse box.

    If nothing else, it will rule out the most obvious thing that goes "click". (unless it's a gum chewing Valley Girl...)

    (re-read and saw the GEN light flashing, so, yeah. Yikes.)

    At the least, I would tape off any exposed terminal connectors that could short, and disco the battery anytime I was not in the presence of the car.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  3. flh73

    flh73 Well-Known Member

    Yikes, is it constant click or on and off like electrical snapping (12v short to ground) from radio power wire maybe not hooked up?
  4. Electra Bob

    Electra Bob Well-Known Member

    Just a wild guess. The voltage regulator is mounted on the firewall and I believe that uses a relay and if this is constantly switching it's going to click. This would also cause the gen light to flash.

    At least that's my theory and I'm sticking to it! :)

    If I'm correct it points to either a battery or alternator issue or simply a bad regulator. I could also be completely wrong.

  5. Butchman

    Butchman Well-Known Member

    thanks for the input so far. Only happens when its running. Nothing when with the key in the ON position. Just went out to look and listen and now of course its not doing it. Must be a lose wire or something. Sound is more like a reciprocating noise more than a relay click but not sure. Battery is on a tender most of the time and charges full. I checked it and 14+ volts when running. Thanks again for all and any future suggestions. I'll keep posted if I trace it down.
  6. Butchman

    Butchman Well-Known Member

    Update. So the clicking most appears to be the voltage regulator. I replaced it and the new one would make a humming noise when I reved the engine and the GEN light would go on. Also the plug to the horn relay was hanging loose so we hooked that back up. I've read these new regulators could be bad so I switched back and basically back to the start. I took back the other regulator and got the solid state VR715 and I'm going to try that. I also pulled the Alternator and I'm going to have that checked. I also replaced the AC relay as the connectors were pretty bent up. BTW the lights, horn, key buzzer, flashers, etc all work fine. Previous owner left a mess under the dash. We took the glove box out and white and orange wires with connectors in tach just hanging there. I believe they are for the courtesy, ash tray and dome lights which do not work at this point. Kinda bummed about the gremlins but I've been limping the car around for a few years time to make it right. Any suggestions welcome thanks.
  7. BadBrad

    BadBrad Got 4-speed?

    Voltage regulator. Been there; done that. If you're lights were on you'd probably see them surging to the beat! I used the occasion to convert to an SI alternator.
  8. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    Last week, I took the car out and about 5 minutes into the cruise, I heard a crinkling, popping sound coming from under the dash. There was also a faint burning odor.

    Turns out the fuse that runs the interior lights, etc., popped and now I'm chasing an electric gremlin I've not had to deal with since buying the car.

    As soon as I install another fuse, it immediately pops.

    Is there an easy way to disable the lighter? I'm told that might be the issue.
  9. gstewart

    gstewart Well-Known Member

    I believe that I either cut & capped the lighter wire or removed it from the back of the lighter & capped it. Seems to me it is not on its own circuit, at least according to the wiring diagram..
  10. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member

    Pull the wire off the back of the lighter and slip some heat shrink (non-glue) over it.

    Double check all the dash, and interior lighting grounds.
    BuickV8Mike likes this.
  11. Electra Bob

    Electra Bob Well-Known Member

    I used the orange wire that feeds the under dash cigar lighter in the Electra for the non ignition switched power for the Kenwood when I did the console.

    I can also attest to the good spark it can achieve if inadvertently grounded! If you are not using it do the heat shrink thing.

  12. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    I tried getting under there today and between the shifter and clutch/brake pedals, I had no luck.
  13. buick64203

    buick64203 Just plum crazy Staff Member

    That's the 20 amp one that powers the clock lighter and courtesy/ dome light?

    The easiest way to disconnect the lighter wire is to remove the panel under the column and loosen the two 9/16" nuts and drop the column down. Then you can get your hand in there
    Brett Slater likes this.
  14. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'll try that this week.


    Still - disconnecting that wire could only be a temporary fix, correct? Does this mean my lighter needs to be replaced?
  15. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member

    In the bottom of the lighter well is a flat piece of metal (clip) the is bent up 90 degrees at each side.

    It is spring steel and is the positive source to heat the lighter element. (is is also isolated by a phenolic or asbestos flat washer)

    The lighter well is a two piece housing the is the outer and the inner sleeve (where the clip is) and when you push the lighter in, the "clip" holds the lighter until the bi-metal "pops" the lighter. (some older cars the lighter did not pop out, you figured about 5-10 seconds and pulled it.)

    If that washer has deteriorated or the clip has corroded, become weak or got bent and contacting the housing, then it will short. Otherwise, pulling the lighter out of the well and tossing it in the glovebox was the "fix back the day".
    Brett Slater likes this.
  16. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the detailed info.

    I tried fanagling the lighter out today but could only get it to turn. What's the trick?
  17. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member


    The back of the housing is removed, then the lighter well and escutcheon should slip out the front ot the dash.

    Sometimes the escutcheon has to come off, then the back comes off, then the well slip out of front of the dash.
    Brett Slater likes this.
  18. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

  19. Butchman

    Butchman Well-Known Member

    Final update. Took the alternator in it had a bad bearing and also failed one of the diode tests. So I replaced that and the regulator and everything working as expected and no more clicking.
    Electra Bob and Brett Slater like this.

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