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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm finally feeling well enough to get my Nova back on the road! It's great therapy...until electrical issues!

The battery is fully charged, but there are no lights in the dash when I turn the key and there's no horn ever. When I tried to start it a couple of weeks ago, it cranked for about a second, then the electrical issues started. All fuses look fine. Any tips on where to look next?

Thanks!
Mike
 

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1974 Nova, 1977 Nova
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Hi Mike,

So after cranking over the engine for a second or so, everything lost power, correct?

If that's the case, I would recommend checking your battery cable connections. Both positive & negative. And both ends (at the battery and at the starter / engine). Make sure the connections are all clean (no corrosion) and tight. Suddenly loosing all power like that while cranking (or trying to crank over) the engine often happens when you have a loose or corroded connection.
 

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This may be a long shot, but test it out.

I think your power source comes from battery to horn relay, then to inside the car.

See if you are getting power from the battery to the horn relay.

That wire runs across the front of your car, between the radiator and grill.

Lou
 

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I think your power source comes from battery to horn relay, then to inside the car.

See if you are getting power from the battery to the horn relay.

That wire runs across the front of your car, between the radiator and grill.
That wire routing is correct for earlier years, but by 74 things had changed a bit. 74 has the horn relay located inside the car up under the dash. And a junction block on the firewall takes the place of the bus bar that used to be incorporated into the older horn relays. The main power feed wire runs from the BAT stud on the starer solenoid up to that junction block on the firewall (driver's side). There it joins up with a fusible link wire that feeds power to the bulkhead connector / fuse panel. There is also a section of fusible link wire down near the starter solenoid. So if the battery cable connections all check out okay, the connections at the firewall junction block and fusible link wires would be the next thing to check, followed by the connection inside the firewall bulkhead connector.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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How old is the battery?... or has the battery been in an "uncharged" state for a little while prior to charging.
Even though the battery is fully charged, it still may not be functioning correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, everyone! I started with cleaning the inside of the battery cables ends and the posts on the battery with some emory cloth. I then check the cables at the opposite end and I saw that the positive was shorting out on another screw coming out of the starter. Must have been the guy was helping me did that when he was putting the cable back on. Anyway, I hooked up the battery tender and left it while I put the sun visors in and had dinner. When I came back, the horn honked strong, so I turned the key and it turned over! Once the bowls were full, it started and ran great. Still no lights in the dash, but at least it runs now!
 

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Thanks, everyone! I started with cleaning the inside of the battery cables ends and the posts on the battery with some emory cloth. I then check the cables at the opposite end and I saw that the positive was shorting out on another screw coming out of the starter. Must have been the guy was helping me did that when he was putting the cable back on. Anyway, I hooked up the battery tender and left it while I put the sun visors in and had dinner. When I came back, the horn honked strong, so I turned the key and it turned over! Once the bowls were full, it started and ran great. Still no lights in the dash, but at least it runs now!
On my 73 I solved my dash lights problem by replacing the headlight switch. It was under $20 for a delco replacement on amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
On my 73 I solved my dash lights problem by replacing the headlight switch. It was under $20 for a delco replacement on amazon.
Interesting. I bought a new headlight switch some time ago, but haven't installed it yet. I'll try that tomorrow. Thanks, Jason!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I replaced the headlight switch and that fixed 1 and 1/2 problems. It solved the problem where, when I turned on the lights, it killed everything and drained the battery. Also now the gauge kit that I added way back when under the radio has lights. Still no lights in the dash. Probably just a fuse, even though they all look good, I've got replacements, so I'll swap them out.

One interesting coincidence is that the washer from the two bolts that hold the steering column up fits just about perfectly to remove the light switch retainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Aha... I figured out why I had no dash lights. I forgot that this dimmer requires you to turn it counter-clockwise. I was turning it like I would a radio knob. Anyway, lights are all set. Thanks everyone for the help! Tune up with the race mechanic across the street later today!!
 
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