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Discussion Starter #1
On my drive home from work on tuesday, i stopped for groceries, came back out to my car, turned the key and... nothing. But it wasn't the frustrating kind of nothing where i left my lights on, it actually turned over once like normal and my headlights were on nice and bright for a second-- but then everything went dead and was followed by a nice dark silence.

Stories aside, what happened? I'm assuming its a fusible link, i just can't seem to find it. I have 13V on my multi meter at the battery, the starter, and the voltage regulator (64 nova l6, forgot to mention). Where do i go next? It seems like i have power everywhere i need to get it started; if it was the ignition switch, my lights would still work, right? well.. i'm at a loss, i can't find it and my car is DEAD-- nothing turns on.

ideas anyone? I appreciate the help! I'm a bit at a loss as to where to test and it what order. I've tried to trace the power to a stop, but i can't think of where else the power goes that could do this..
 

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Check battery ground at battery & engine block......

Check engine ground strap at engine and firewall & at engine & front crossmember.....

Check connections at voltage regulator., horn relay., ignition switch connector., and wiring at neutral safety switch....

Also try moving the shift lever slightly while bumping the key.,(foot on the brake) as the neutral safety switch not be making contact internally.....
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you Tony, I'll check this more tonight-- I don't think it would be the neutral safety switch however, because its not just that it wont start: nothing electrical will turn on. I checked the battery terminals, they are good (i will clean them just for fun, but they are tight and not too corroded) and also the engine ground is good. I checked from the block to the battery and to the alternator input and both read over 12V at those points. Reading around more, there may be a fusible link from the starter solenoid to my fuse block (the wire that feeds along my firewall behind the engine). Sounds like this could be the culprit, although i don't quite understand how that would make my headlights not work; is it just disabling my light and ignition switches? I have power at the distribution block on the driver side front of the engine (it feeds of the voltage regulator) and this runs most of the electric things in my car.

(edit) forgot to mention, the connections are all tight too, i checked for loose wires, they were all tight. I even tried the ol' fashioned 'wiggle the wire to start it' technique with no success.
 

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Have you checked that the firewall lighting harness plug is seated solidly at the firewall in the engine bay??

Sometimes that connector at the firewall loosens up and causes the scenario you describe. Re-seating will sometimes fix this.
 

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One other thing, you said you tested for voltage, if you think you have a bad connection you need to test with a load.
For example you can have 12 volts at the starter and have a bad connection, when you apply load (turn the key) it will show zero volts! It does sound like a poor connection with the battery cables, as mentioned the ground connection on the engine block does this alot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Have you checked that the firewall lighting harness plug is seated solidly at the firewall in the engine bay??

Sometimes that connector at the firewall loosens up and causes the scenario you describe. Re-seating will sometimes fix this.
Now I see why rex is notorious- that's what it is, the bundle of wires that come back from the voltage regulator to the firewall go through an 8 pin connector.. this piece makes the difference, if I wiggle it or pull it out a ways I get power and the car fires up. Its great to know what's causing it finally! Thanks for the help.. I guess the next question now is how to replace those plug pieces.. do I take out my fuse panel and pull it back thru the firewall, or do they come off from the engine side? And should I replace it with the same, or have you found a better (upgraded) plug to use in place of it? I'm all for newer technology :D
 

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I"m not an expert on the 64 Novas, but this is what I'd do. I would first check the firewall plug, then fuseable links. Look by the horn relay for the fuseable links. Most of the older cars have them there. The horn relay acts as a distribution block as well. Also check the wire harnes near the horn relay. The main splice should be in that area. If the main splice is bad, all power going into the car will be disrupted.

It sounds like you don't have any power coming in to the firewall plug. It would explain what your symptoms.
 

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Now I see why rex is notorious- that's what it is, the bundle of wires that come back from the voltage regulator to the firewall go through an 8 pin connector.. this piece makes the difference, if I wiggle it or pull it out a ways I get power and the car fires up. Its great to know what's causing it finally! Thanks for the help.. I guess the next question now is how to replace those plug pieces.. do I take out my fuse panel and pull it back thru the firewall, or do they come off from the engine side? And should I replace it with the same, or have you found a better (upgraded) plug to use in place of it? I'm all for newer technology :D
My engine-side connectors are in the same boat. I haven't found a source for factory replacement plugs... other than buying a new engine harness.
 

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Now I see why rex is notorious- that's what it is, the bundle of wires that come back from the voltage regulator to the firewall go through an 8 pin connector.. this piece makes the difference, if I wiggle it or pull it out a ways I get power and the car fires up. Its great to know what's causing it finally! Thanks for the help.. I guess the next question now is how to replace those plug pieces.. do I take out my fuse panel and pull it back thru the firewall, or do they come off from the engine side? And should I replace it with the same, or have you found a better (upgraded) plug to use in place of it? I'm all for newer technology :D
I had the same problem. It was the main power wire(larger red one) in the plug going into the firewall. I took the terminal out of the plug,and cleaned and reformed it a little so it would make better contact. I thought that if I was having trouble with the main power connection in the original harness that more problems were to follow. Electrical problems can be hard to find so I have since done a complete rewired with a new wiring harness. Good luck.
BP
 

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I had this problem when my 67 was still my daily driver and got stranded out in the middle of nowhere after one of these events. Troubleshooting this prob out in the middle of the woods of central Oregon with no chance of anyone coming anywhere close in almost freezing temps motivated me to find the problem quickly. :eek::rolleyes: Wiggling the firewall connector finally fixed the problem.

I'm still using that same light harness connector 20+ years later and it's not causing any problems. It just needs to be clean and seated properly.
 
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