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I'm befuddled by what just happened to me today. For a little background, I have an '88 notch in which I just installed a flex-a-lite automatic fan controller and a Grant steering wheel. After the fan controller install, I took the car for a drive and everything was fine. However, after gettting done installing the new Grant wheel today, I went for a short drive to enjoy my new addition, and everything went to hell...

About 3 minutes into my cruise, I noticed my Autometer tach was suddenly about 1,000 rpm off from my factory tach - When I came to a stoplight waiting to go left, I noticed the Autometer tach's needle was dropping slightly with every click of my turn signal. Like the draw of the turn signal was affecting the tach's reading. My initial thought was that I must have screwed something up when wiring up the fan controller and that I'd check on it when I got home. Then about 5 minutes and 2 miles later, I'm sitting at a stop light and notice that the engine was running pretty rough, the blinker was now not functioning at all, and my factory tach's reading was now also off - So, I tapped the throttle to see how the tach would respond and it hardly budged, while the Autometer jumped to about 3k, and the engine was maybe revved to 1,500 rpm. At this point, I started to get worried and just wanted to get the car home. The light turned green, I let the clutch out, and the car sputtered and didn't want to move...

I then tried revving the engine up a bit and had another try at it with the same result when I tried to put any load on the engine. So, I decided to limp the car off to the side of the road because I knew I wasn't going to make it home. I then got out to check under the hood and see if anything was loose, or if something got disconnected, or... I honestly didn't know what. The car continued to run really rough for a couple of minutes, then just died. I tried to restart it, but just got the fast clicking sound of the ignition and nothing from the starter. So, the battery was obviously at least part of the issue. Got home, checked the battery's voltage with my multimeter and it was only reading about 9.2V.

Now, if it weren't for all of the electrical gremlins that came on out of nowhere before my car fell on it's face, I would assume it was either my battery or my alternator. However, it seems to me that something else must be going on, but I don't know what.

I know it has nothing to do with the steering wheel... So that's out of the question. When I wired up the fan controller, I ran the constant power to a distribution block from which the fan was previously controlled via a console mounted switch, and the switched power to the power wire for my wiper motor. Now, the main power cable from the battery is also run directly to this distribution block (battery is mounted in trunk) - Could this new controller be causing some sort of excessive draw?

Another couple of items to note are that the car has an MSD ignition and coil.

I'm honestly lost and not good when it comes to diagnosing electrical bugs, so, if anyone can lend some insight as to what they think may be causing this, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Sounds like you need to start back where you were before you installed the controller. Charge your battery and disconnect that controller and see if it will start. If it starts check the output of your alternator. If you have a stock alternator it may be smoked. A car will do very funny things sometimes just because of a dieing battery. You probably need to do a alternator upgrade to run the electric fan.
 

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Sounds like you need to start back where you were before you installed the controller. Charge your battery and disconnect that controller and see if it will start. If it starts check the output of your alternator. If you have a stock alternator it may be smoked. A car will do very funny things sometimes just because of a dieing battery. You probably need to do a alternator upgrade to run the electric fan.
Thanks for the response. The car had the fan before, it's just a new controller. Also, it has a 130amp alternator, which I know can handle the fan. Maybe it's just coincidence and the alternator is toast? Guess I can pull it and have it checked.
 

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Thanks for the response. The car had the fan before, it's just a new controller. Also, it has a 130amp alternator, which I know can handle the fan. Maybe it's just coincidence and the alternator is toast? Guess I can pull it and have it checked.
Yeah i would def. have the Alt. checked at Advance or Autozone or something. Its free and it can never hurt to be 100% sure.

Could be the batt, i would put it on a charger and let it set on trickle for a night. How old is the battery? Also the fan wiring makes me wondering if something got switched around, i would just double check, but im sure you already have. But again its always nice to be 100% sure so that you can rule it out and move onto checking the next possible culprit. After ya have the Alt. tested and so on, let us know. Also if you know anyone who has a wire tester you could use, it could come in really handy.
 

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Most likely your alternator took a ****. It may have been on it's way out and that fan was the final nail in the coffin. All those issues you described is generally the odd things a car will do when the alternator stops charging and the car is running off battery power alone, slowly killing it. Easy way to check to see if the alternator is working is with a multi-meter. Charge the battery up a little, start the car and measure the voltage directly at the alternator output. If it's anything less than 13.8 while running, you're alternator is toast. If the voltage is there at the post, but not at the battery, check your fusible links on the alternator output wires. If you're running a 3g upgraded alternator with stock alternator wiring, those links could be your issue for sure.
 

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Thanks for all of the feedback guys.

The fan was already in the car prior to this issue arising. I only installed an automatic fan control module, which didn't even turn on prior to the car dying. So, the fan wasn't even part of the equation.

I did, however, hook a charger up to it today, flicked it over to "jump start" and fired the car right up. As it ran with the charger on it, it seemed like it was back to normal - Gauges seemed to be in synch and everything. I have not yet tried to let the car run without the charger hooked up, however. It is currently down there charging up, and I'm going to try firing it up on it's on power here in a bit, after the battery gets back up to full charge. When I do that, I'll see how it's running, and check the voltage at the alternator as you specified, fogged306.

The car ran just fine for a good 500 miles (that's all the longer I've owned it), up until now, with that fan on it. I didn't run the fan all that often, but I did go to an autocross event at which the fan was on for at least 30 minutes with no issues. Also, I've run the fan (off a manually operated console switch) numerous times while in traffic without a problem. Hence, the reason I don't think that's the problem at the moment. The automatic controller doesn't kick on until 185 (at which point it only kicks on at 60%) and the car hadn't even gotten that hot before it died on me yesterday.
 

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Well, I charged the battery overnight. Checked it this morning prior to starting it up, and it was just over 14v. Unplugged it, cranked it over, fired right up and ran great! Checked the running voltage at the battery - 12.15v... Let it warm up and when the fan kicked on, it fell to 11.95v, then back up to 12.12v when it shut off.

From what I gather, my 130A alternator is toast... Not sure if that has anything to do with my new fan controller, but also don't know why it would. As noted before, this fan has been in the car, and been run numerous times via a manual switch with no issues. When I wired the new controller up, I ran the constant power to the exact same source the fan was already wired to, and the switched power to the wiper motor. Could this little control module be pulling so much of a draw that it killed my alternator after running for a total of maybe 30-40 minutes? Although random as hell, it seems to me that my alternator just took a dirt nap on it's own...

Thoughts, feedback??
 

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Just had the alternator tested at Autozone... It's good. Must be the battery?
 

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Strange. Got the alternator back in and took the car out for a 5-10 minute drive and it was fine. The volt meter read a little low, but it didn't drop at all. Maybe this whole thing was just an anomaly.
 

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then it must be the wire going from the alternator to the battery. either its corroded or loose somewhere
Well, thank you for bringing up that point, sir... Followed my power wire to see if there was anything wrong with it and realized that it was run to the same distribution block I wired my fan controller to. Or, I should say, it was wired to... It had apparently fallen off when I connected the fan controller and was just hanging in a dark corner of the inner fender well, unconnected..... :D Hahaha

Hooked it back up, fired the car up, and it ran at 14.6v at cold idle. All is well - Thanks everyone for your help!
 
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