Several electric problems 65 Skylark

Discussion in 'Sparky's corner' started by Michel, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Michel

    Michel Member

    Ok, I just got the car (65 Skylark 300ci) and as advertised it has a few electrical troubles to go through.

    However my first question is:
    Is it normal that I can operate windows and seats without even inserting the key?
    My battery died yesterday and I'm afraid something is sucking juice when it shouldn't.

    I have a 70h battery should I go for a 100h?

    Things that don't work
    - the dashboard light. At night all is black.
    - dashboard left blinker light
    - courtesy lights
    - driver seats goes up&down but not forward and back. I hear the motor but it doesn't move.
    - windows go down but struggle to go back up.
    - sequential tail lights (although here in Europe I have to use additional amber lights and maybe the link has just been rerouted)
    - back window vent

    To be fair I'm considering replacing all the electricals to feel safe.
    I have seen shops sell complete kits, are they worth it?

    Attached Files:

  2. bostoncat68

    bostoncat68 Platinum Level Contributor

    You have a lot of items there... I suspect you can go to a local parts store and 2x check your battery is good. Might as well start with something obvious. I would be shocked if the size of the battery is any issue. As for a new harness -- that sounds like using a sledgehammer to put in a finishing nail. If you were doing a frame off restoration, sure but I doubt your issues are that severe...

    You mention several lights that don't work. The most obvious cause is either bulbs that are dead or sockets that are corroded. When I got my car only one light in the dash worked -- mostly just bulbs and a few tarnished sockets... Get a hold of the Service manual and look up the proper bulbs -- don't just replace what is there. People will use anything they have lying around so you don't want to assume what's there is correct. Get a cheap circuit tester light and see if the sockets have power.... something like this is perfect -- easy to find locally.

    If you see that sockets are corroded you can try a few things. Before cleaning remove the fuse from the circuit. Most issues can be solved with a can of contact cleaner spray (NO WD 40), the cleaner spray will get rid of the tarnish and gunk. If the corrosion is brutal and the socket is easy to get to you can try to let soak in a cup of white vinegar for a day and then rinse with contact cleaner..

    Your window issues are not likely related to wiring, they likely need lubrication. I use silicone grease as it never hardens and is clear (I use SuperLube or something like that). The motors do get weak over time but often some grease will do wonders. You'll need to remove the door cards and get to the rollers and gears.

    I'm not sure about seats but my windows do not work with the key off? If you suspect a drain -- you may have to go fuse by fuse to find the circuit sucking the juice. Several threads on the board describe these steps.
    Michel likes this.
  3. Michel

    Michel Member

    Thank you for your thorough answer! I'll lube the windows and I own a tester so I'll slowly check for that electrical leak.
    Is it enough to remove a fuse when I clean and soak the contacts? Should I disconnect the battery?

    Luckily I have the service manual that will help me and I hope to find in it the specs of all the wiring. Somebody already put his hands in this car and I can tell he didn't do a good job on the electrical side. That's why I was thinking about replacing everything. I don't trust it much and I don't want a short burning down my new car :D

    Thank you bostoncat68
  4. bostoncat68

    bostoncat68 Platinum Level Contributor

    @Michel I feel your pain. I'm not sure why people are so willing to hack wiring. It's not that hard to keep things neat and simple but people will do anything to save running a meter of new wire. I bet as you dig in you'll find that the damage is mostly where you can easily see it because someone added a radio or some lights. They wanted to connect them as fast as possible so they pull off wire wrapping right where they are working and leave a mess... The deeper stuff is probably fine. You just need a few rolls of friction tape or some plastic spiral wire loom to get things back in shape. Some shrink wrap is also handy to seal up splices, etc. Half the time you'll find the mess you see is from someone who removed an add-on by cutting it out and then leaving a pile of wires behind. You'll be able to spot the old stuff vs newer wires -- the insulation looks and feels different. Trying to replace everything is a massive task as no wiring harness will be an exact replacement and even when they were new they were set-up with a pile of extra connectors for different options. You won't know what is what....It would be a miserable project and I suspect it could become overwhelming.

    Of course, you can always disconnect the battery, my main point is that you don't end up shorting contacts with the contact cleaner or vinegar if you are cleaning the bulb sockets. Since you have a tester you'll quickly see if your bulbs are bad, if the sockets are bad or if there is no power to the socket itself... Before you clean a socket just be sure there is no power to it...simple as that...

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