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Thread: Need electrical help

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    Need electrical help

    Its been many months of frustration trying to sort out the electrical problems on my 1973 Fulvia 1.3S that cropped up on the way back from Monterey week in 2017. There is no power to fuses 1 - 6 with the key in the on or start position. These control low and high beam head lights, license plate lights, taillights, dash lights and backup lights. I have poured over the wiring diagram until I can recreate it from memory. There is power to 7,8, and 9 and all the systems they control work fine.

    First off the wiring in this car looks brand new. The relays on the panel now all seem to work (I can hear them click) when tested. I have meticulously cleaned all fuse contacts and replaced the fuses with new. Cleaned all the wire ends and spade connectors also.

    The switch inside the steering column looks brand new and probably is because an old one was included in the spare parts box I got when I bought the car. There are 7 wires that run to this switch which controls turn signals, taillights, high and low beams. With the key on I can hear a relay click when I touch a continuity light to the contact with the gray wire which runs to relay #30 on the "COUPE WIRING DIAGRAM". Not sure what it controls however because the gray wire appears to dead end at the relay. None of the other 6 wire contacts show current.

    For some unknown reason the low beam headlights worked 3 days ago but then suddenly they didn't. They did seem a little dim for H4's.

    The owners manual says there is supposed to be a fuse in the engine compartment for the headlights but I cannot find it.

    I a wondering if there is some big ground wire hidden under the dashboard I am not seeing physically or on the wiring diagram.

    Unfortunately there is no mechanic in my town that wants to try his hand at a Lancia...so I am stuck.

    Any and all thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by tfradke; 29th October 2018 at 05:28 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Does not sound that hard to sort out. If there is no voltage at said fuses with respect to a good ground then it is about the 12V and following where it should come from. Sounds like it should come from a load shedding relay I assume, but I have not looked at the diagrams lately.

    I will be glad to help but have no idea where you are located. Says Paradise in your profile but I probably will never go there.

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    Re: Need electrical help

    I had similar issues with my 75 S2, traced to poor grounding at the switch. Insure there is clean contact area between the switch and the metal dome and the coloum itself. Make sure the retaining rings are VERY tight.
    I also removed relay #31 (main lights relay) removed the clear plastic cover cleaned and adjusted the three sets of contacts with electrical cleaner and 1500 grit paper. I don’t recall a fuse for the lights in the engine bay and the wiring diagram doesn’t show one, at least for my car. Most every pesky electrical issue can be traced to poor grounds.
    Michael

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Arde: Thanks for the response. I live in Paradise, CA near Chico. I was raised in Fremont.

    As I said the big 7 pin relay behind the panel in the center console works and the fuses and fuse box are also clean and new. But only 7 - 9 have current coming to them. There are many wires coming from inside the dash in a big bundle to fuses 1 - 6. It seems impossibe to trace them all physically without completely tearing the dash apart. At this point it seems the problem is with the big switch in the steering column that controls the headlights and turn signals. Also as I said, only one of the 7 wires coming to the switch, the gray one, shows current when the key is on. There is also current at the relay end of the gray wire and I can hear the relay clicking. There is no current when the headlight stalk is moved up and down from off to low beam to high beam or the slide switch on the stalk to activate the headlights is moved to the on position. However the turn signals work which are also part of the big switch in the steering column head. The windshield wipers also work when the stalk on the passenger side of the steering column is moved. I don't know how I could check the contacts for the other 6 wires at the switch. It seems either the switch is bad or something between the switch and the fuses is bad but everything looks like new. All three of the stalks feel crisp with a strong detent action as they are moved from position to positon. I am completely baffled what to check next.

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguelarroz View Post
    I had similar issues with my 75 S2, traced to poor grounding at the switch. Insure there is clean contact area between the switch and the metal dome and the coloum itself. Make sure the retaining rings are VERY tight.
    I also removed relay #31 (main lights relay) removed the clear plastic cover cleaned and adjusted the three sets of contacts with electrical cleaner and 1500 grit paper. I don’t recall a fuse for the lights in the engine bay and the wiring diagram doesn’t show one, at least for my car. Most every pesky electrical issue can be traced to poor grounds.
    Michael

    You might have hit on something Miguel. I have the steering column hanging with just the rear two nuts holding it very loosely and the plastic covers removed. I also cleaned the contacts on relay #31. It looks brand new and clicks when I put a grounded continuity light to it and the key is on. I have unscrewed and rescrewed the retaining ring many times since this problem started. I will trying cleaning all the mating surfaces on the switch and the retaining ring. So you say the big switch in the steering column head grounds to the dome like housing that surrounds the top of the steering column and the big switch is inserted into?

    Yeah in my experience with BMW's many problems can be traced to bad grounds. But old BMW's have big metal woven grounding straps that are very easy to find. Lancia has lots of small grounds in hidden inaccessible places.

    The manual for my 1973 1.3S clearly says there are three fuses including one for the headlights.. but I do not see it on the wiring diagram either.

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Exactly Todd, the ground path for the lights and wiper switchs runs trough the domed cups and the steering coloum. I found it not possible to get the large ring tight enough by hand and ended up using a ring spanner wrench similar to a bicycle crank wrench.
    Also I found and removed a fiber washer that was installed between the switch and the dome to get solid metal to metal contact.

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Following the wiring diagram of type 818.630 (is that your type?) relays 30 and 31 are fed "permanent plus" through red wires, no ignition switch or anything in between. Relay 32 is fed by a red wire connected to a common connection with the other red wire at relay 30. If you follow the two red wires of r30 and r31 upstream you see that they end at the upstream side of fuse #7, which itself is fed by a big red wire going upstream to the starter, which is directly connected to "plus" on battery. If your wiring is unmodified, you should have "plus" at the three red wired connectors of the three relays.

    R31 has a connector for ground, as said before always worthwhile checking (but I understand you have done so already)


    That is to be checked first. If you do not have voltage there, I would connect a "flying" wire from the described connectors of the relays to "plus" at the battery and try out if things work. Instead you may install new wires from fuse#7 to the relays and test as above.

    If that does not help please report.

    Hubert
    Flaminia GT 3C, Flaminia Convertibile 3C, Flaminia Coupé-project-, Flavia Convertibile 1.8, Fulvia Sport 1.3S, A112 Abarth 70HP, Mercedes Benz Unimog U406

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguelarroz View Post
    Exactly Todd, the ground path for the lights and wiper switchs runs trough the domed cups and the steering coloum. I found it not possible to get the large ring tight enough by hand and ended up using a ring spanner wrench similar to a bicycle crank wrench.
    Also I found and removed a fiber washer that was installed between the switch and the dome to get solid metal to metal contact.

    Miguel: I spent all afternoon on the Fulvia. First I carefully wired brushed both the male and female threads on the two small dome like covers over the turn signal and the headlight stalks until bright metal showed. Then I did the same thing to the four studs, nuts and the area of the bracket the four studs go through that hold the steering column in place.

    There were no fiber washers to remove. I put everything back together tightly and NOTHING. No low or high beam headlights, no license plate lights, no taillights but turn signals still work as they always have.

    I am beyond baffled and can think of nothing else to do but to take the entire dashboard apart...but at this point I'd rather set my hair on fire or part the car out.

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Looked at diagrams a bit and seems more intriguing than I thought. First the fuses are downstream of the relays for the lights so if the relay is controlled by grounding through the stalk then it is possible to have no voltage at the fuses in question due to a bad ground or not grounded stalk switch.

    I still do not know how the ignition switch factors into the light relays.

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    Re: Need electrical help

    Frustrating indeed! My lights were having the very same issues as yours, dim and generally unreliable or not working at all.
    I started at the tail lights and moved forward freshening up all the grounds. Still not very reliable so I removed the column switches cleaned with electrical cleaner and brightened the mating surfaces as you have done and like you nothing except turn signals. Everything I did made it worse not better....I too felt like setting it on fire.
    Not to be defeated, I started pokeing around with a jumper wire and discovered I could make it all work by artificially grounding the metal part of the switch to a known good chassis ground. Bottom line is I simply had not been able to get the large ringnut tight enough by hand. A friend loaned me a C spanner from his bicycle repair days and I was finally able to tighten it enough to maintain a good ground. Again, it must be very tight.
    Michael

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