Power - No Power - Power - No Power

Tiny
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  • MEMBER
  • 1988 LINCOLN TOWN CAR
  • 5.0L
  • V8
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 110,000 MILES
I replaced the water pump on my 1988 Lincoln Town car and after an ORDEAL of broken water pump studs and broken easy-outs, etc. The car sat about a week and a half with the battery disconnected. Finally got Humpty-Dumpty back together again, hooked the battery back up, went around to fire it up and nothing. The courtesy lights had been on, and the dash lights all lit up as they are supposed to before starting, but as soon as I turned the key, all the lights went out and stayed out. That was last night. I had to get to class, so I took our Jeep. When I came back, still nothing. It was dark and cold, so I waited till after work today to look at it again. Still no power. Then, I pulled the cover off the fuse box and checked a few of the fuses, and I suddenly realized the interior lights were back on. I went to start it again, and the same thing happened. All the lights went out.

Is this the circuit breaker? What can I do?

The battery shows 12v with the multi-meter. But no lights come on when I open the door.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 AT 5:52 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You have a bad connection on one of the battery cable clamps. You can prove it by getting it to act up again, then leave the head light switch on so some current is trying to flow, then measure the voltages with a digital voltmeter. In this case it might be bad enough to show up with a test light too.

Measure the voltage across the battery posts, (not the cable clamps). If the battery is good and fully-charged, you'll find 12.6 volts. Now move the positive meter probe from the positive post to the cable clamp. If you read a lower voltage, that connection needs to be cleaned and tightened. Do the same with the negative probe. I'm betting on one of those you'll find substantially lower voltage and cleaning them will solve this.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 AT 6:05 PM
Tiny
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Thanks for the quick response. I actually just was outside trying that.

It shows just over 12v even from the negative clamp on the battery to where the positive lead connects to the starter solenoid.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 AT 6:11 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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The only time that is going to be accurate is when current is trying to flow, as in cranking the engine. Otherwise, you can have a tiny amount of resistance that is way too small to measure, but it will cause the symptoms you described.

You're in the wrong circuit anyway. The circuit that feeds dash lights, head lights, and everything else doesn't go through the starter cable, except that it DOES go through the battery cable where it connects to the starter solenoid. Sorry I didn't think of that earlier. Those copper nuts on the solenoid often work loose and cause intermittent problems. The one connected to the battery positive post is used by Ford as a convenient tie point, so that one CAN cause all the other stuff to be dead.

I'm getting kicked out of the library due to closing time. I'll be back in the next day or two to see how you're doing.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
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Thanks so much. After buying a terminal cleaning brush from Harbor Freight for two and a half bucks, I gave them a good cleaning. Sure enough, it started right up after that, and has been fine since. I should have already owned one by now, but now I'll use it every time I connect or re-connect a battery!
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Friday, February 27th, 2015 AT 1:18 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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All right! One in a row. Happy to hear it's solved.
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Friday, February 27th, 2015 AT 8:13 PM

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