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Discussion Starter #1
So quick background here I have a 2001 3.8 mustang, I just added reverse glow gauges onto my cluster and spliced the power into the LB/Red on the cluster harness and ground onto the BLK ground, hooked the battery back up and tested my wiring and gauges lit up like a champ with the existing dimmer adjusting brightness. After putting everything back together (took the battery back off after testing and reinstalling) and hooking the battery back up I went to start the car, the gauges did the normal movements when the key turns but after one crank the car died. No more lights on the instrument pannel, fan controls, etc. except for the Theft light blinking and a clicking under the dash... I am hoping it is something with the battery.

So far in my searching for similar problems have been battery or PATS. I dont think its PATS because everything is dead inside. Any thoughts that maybe my wiring is off, I am pretty competent electronically (did a lot of EE work) and maybe I missed something with the wiring though I am fairly certain the LB/Red going into the cluster is the illumination...

Any feedback would be appreciated.
 

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PATS cuts fuel and not power so that isn't your problem.

I'd suggest you go check all the fuses and your wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was going to try a quick jump just waiting for another car, I'll check the fuses in the mean time. I dont know what could have changed in the 5 mins between screwing in the cluster and trying to start it...
 

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Check the connections at the battery too. It's possible one had a bad cable or connection and you just moved it around enough for it to be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Popped off the cover to the positive battery connection and it was corroded to hell, cleaned it off and tried to jump again, a few tries later it started up. Gauges look sweet too thanks for the input. Going to take it for a 20 min drive to hopefully juice the battery back up enough to not have to jump in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update: Drove it around the block and started noticing the ABS flicker on, and when stopping at a light the dash sort of cycled (ABS light, Traction control, Low Fuel, etc all lit up for a second) and the gauges themselves dimmed, I am beginning to wonder if its because the battery had no charge or if somethings shorting somewhere. Anyone have any familiarity with the wiring harness that goes into the cluster? Maybe I looked at the wrong diagram and tapped into something I shouldnt have? (with it still functioning the illumination properly...)
 

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That really sounds like a short somewhere(which would also have caused your battery to drain)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The only wires that I even touched were on that cluster harness the light blue/red and the blk ground. Unless those are wrong I am at a loss as to where it could be.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Giving up for tonight, turned the car off after having it running for over a half hour and a few trips around the block, no juice at all not even a single crank. Going to pull the cluster out tomorrow to see if theres anything touching that shouldnt and going to try to see if I can get ahold of someone at the ford dealership for the actual wiring diagram, unless someone on here knows the wires that go into the cluster.
 

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The only wires that I even touched were on that cluster harness the light blue/red and the blk ground. Unless those are wrong I am at a loss as to where it could be.
Just looked it up in my Ford mustang wiring diagram book and those are the correct wires to be using. LB/RD is illumination and BK and BK/WH are grounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just looked it up in my Ford mustang wiring diagram book and those are the correct wires to be using. LB/RD is illumination and BK and BK/WH are grounds.
Going into the cluster right? theres 2 harnesses that go into the back of the panel, I went into the bigger one (behind the tach) and went into LB/R and Blk. I do not know what else to check, the instructions said go into the Brown and ground but my way should have the same results without having to use a second dimmer switch that they provide (it functions correctly) I am going to pull it apart tomorrow and electrical tape the **** out of all the connections before hooking it back together maybe theres something stupid going on...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
By the way I appreciate all the help this is just getting under my skin because it is a simple install and now I am out of a car for at least a day.
 

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Going into the cluster right? theres 2 harnesses that go into the back of the panel, I went into the bigger one (behind the tach) and went into LB/R and Blk. I do not know what else to check, the instructions said go into the Brown and ground but my way should have the same results without having to use a second dimmer switch that they provide (it functions correctly) I am going to pull it apart tomorrow and electrical tape the **** out of all the connections before hooking it back together maybe theres something stupid going on...
Yeah, that's the bigger connector of the two, also known as C251. I would think that would work fine using those two.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm sure its something stupid that I will bang my head against the wall for, I hate to believe it is a coincidence that the battery would die leaving the negative off of it for 2 days unrelated to wiring the new gauges.
 

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Do you possibly think that your alternator is gone? It could just be crazy timing to make you think its your fault with the wiring when for all you know your alternator is just bad. Only reason why I say this is because of ABS, trac control lights going on and off by themselves. Lights dimming on their own. It is a possibility man.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Would a shot battery act like that? Thats my number one guess right now but if i leave my key in the ignition the cluster will eventually come on (after a few mins) and Ill get a crank out of the engine.
 

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sounds like a bad wire from the battery to the car. Check those wires for any spots were they may be rubbing against something metal or may have worn through. Also check for corrosion.

You said there is a clicking noise when you try to start the car? That's a bad spot in your starter. I suggest replacing it or if you absolutely need to drive somewhere give it a tap with a hammer to cycle it off the bad spot. (Note: Don't hit the front or back of the starter hit the sides if you hit the front you may knock the starter out of position in the wrong direction thus jamming it)

The reason a jump start, started your car is there was enough juice to cycle the starter off the bad spot and allow it to start normally.

The dimming of your lights is caused by a dying alternator, when you slow down your motors rpms the alternator produces a little less juice than when you were driving and it has to stop supplying the battery with a charge and transfer the power to the dash board. Not sure which dash you put in but I'm almost 100% its not the problem. When you disconnected the battery you more than likely caused a ground fault on the battery end and ZAP! your battery is now dead. Replace it and be careful when you unhook your battery.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, I am going to replace the battery (and test the old). The clicking was coming from under the dash when the car was off and the key out, the engine would get one turn and then die when I tried to start it (every 10 mins or so I could get a turn).
 

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just one click, sort of sounds like a muffled metal on metal click or was it a rapid multiple clicks that sounded like someone was shooting an empty gun?

Single click dead battery. (Replace)

Multiple clicks bad starter. (Hit with hammer/replace)
 
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