Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won



About Gene

  • Rank
    Comanche Aficionado

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Western Maryland
  • Interests
    1988 Comanche longbed 4.0 5 speed 4 WD I have had this since it was new!

Recent Profile Visitors

765 profile views
  1. Gene

    Home Electrical issue

    Hi everyone, Lots of really good information in this thread, for a very very confusing situation. I do not mean any of this to imply that I am disagreeing with any of the suggestions given so far, or that any of it was in error. I am just sort of trying to tie it all together. Some basics: Electricity has to flow in a complete circuit. Ideally, it comes in through the hot (black), and back through the neutral (white). Ideally no current should flow through the grounding system (bare wire). So why is the grounding system there? Lightning protection. If there should be a lightning strike at a pole near your home, or your home directly, the grounding system tries to dump excess current into, literally, the ground. The earth. Which the power company grounds at the pole as well. So how his grounding established at the main breaker panel (electric service)? Traditionally, there would be a wire, usually 4 gauge although 6-gauge armored was acceptable, run to a water pipe. There is a long, long length of pipe buried outside of the house, which then connects to the cities distribution system. This was back in the day when all water piping was metal. Obviously, plastic piping, whether in the home, or used by the utility, messes up the value of this as a ground. If you are served by a well, then the well casing, typically metal and deep, serves as the ground. Largely because of these concerns, code was changed to require a driven ground electrode. This is 1/2" or 5/8" diameter rod, 8 foot long, although frequently (and illegally) if the soil is very rocky, then that 8 foot depth could not be reached and that top of the rod would be sawed off, leaving a shorter rod. By the letter of code, if one rod is less than 25 ohms resistance to ground, that is sufficient. If it is more than 25 ohms, or if this cannot be tested, then a second ground rod, 8 foot or more from the first 1, would be necessary. So far, so good. But what if you are using an electric appliance or power tool that has a short circuit, and the case becomes energized? Then, if you are on damp ground, or near a sink or something else connected to a water pipe, then current could flow from the energized appliance, through you, into the ground. Not a desired result. So, some time in the 1950s or so, a third wire was added. This is the bare, grounding wire. This connects to the grounding bar at the circuit breaker panel, and is connected to every outlook box, and every device, in the house. This goes to the third prong in a plug, and in objects with a 3 prong plug, this grounding wire is connected to the frame of the appliance. As someone mentioned, if the cable is armored, that is wrapped in metal, then there may not be a separate grounding wire, but the metal of the cable may be used as the grounding conductor. This is problematic, because the resistance may be high. So much for theory. In your home, I suspect all the original wiring was done using two wire cable, with no grounding wire. Then, as you are guessing, most likely someone came and tried to add a grounding wire to the system, going from box to box. As several posters have noted, it is almost certain that this wire is not properly connected to the grounding bar at the circuit breaker panel. You would have two choices. One, if possible, would be to trace where this added grounding wire goes, and extend it to the grounding bar at the circuit breaker panel. The other would be to disconnect it completely. If you disconnected completely, what about shock protection? You should then use GFI receptacles (ground fault interrupter). These sense when there is even a tiny difference between the current coming out of the hot, and returning through the neutral, if these amounts are not exactly the same then the GFI device trips. This would provide shock protection. Back to theory for a moment. What about tying grounds together at sub panels, and the 3 wire versus 4 wire range or drier? Ideally, the grounding system should be kept totally completely separate from the neutral system. This means that, at sub panel, all of the grounding wires should be connected to a grounding bar, which is connected (bonded) to the metal case of the panel. All of the neutral (white) wires should be on the neutral bar, which is NOT connected to the metal of the case. Back in the day, and I am not sure how far back it have to go, possibly 1950s or so, it was actually recommended that grounds and neutral's be tied together at sub panels. A straight 240 V load, like a water heater, does not need a neutral. So 3 wires, the two hot and one grounding, are sufficient. However, a stove or drier usually has a 120 V load as well, a light bulb, timer, or so forth. Back in the day, there were 3 wires, 2 hots, and a combined neutral/grounding. This neutral/grounding would, by design, carry the return current of the 120 V load. Modern codes required that there be 4 wires, 2 hots, a white neutral to carry the 120 V return, and grounding, not carrying any current. While the above is true, I do not think that the grounds and neutrals being combined is really adding to your situation UNLESS the range or drier neutral is tied in to the added grounding wire. This could possibly cause some back flow. One final suggestion. If you are using a digital volt meter, these can be very very sensitive, and pickup induced, irrelevant voltage. Most electricians, I think, would verify all of your readings using an analog tester with a needle, and in these situations they really really like what is called a "Wiggy", which actually puts a load on the circuit. This helps to eliminate ""ghost voltages". Hope the above was a little bit helpful. Good luck! Gene
  2. I stumbled onto South Main Auto a few months ago. Eric O is a genius. On top of that, he is a superb teacher, and seems to be a genuinely good guy. Thumbs-up on my part!
  3. Just rest the cursor over "Pete M" in one of his post the option "Message" will appear. If it does not then click on "Pete M" in the message Gene
  4. Hi Pete, Thanks for your hard work and dedication. PM and PayPal contribution sent. Thanks Gene
  5. Hi Pete, I am going to respectfully disagree with this. I have about 45 years driving experience, northeastern Pennsylvania/southwestern Pennsylvania/Western Maryland, so I have seen and driven in my share of snow. I will take a 4 wheel drive/all wheel drive vehicle with fair all weathers to a rear wheel drive vehicle, especially a lightly loaded pickup truck, with snow tires. A small pickup, like a Comanche or Chevy S10, even with brand-new snows, is about worthless with just rear wheel drive. Put quite a bit of weight in back, totally different story. For a while we lived in a house with a fairly steep gravel driveway with a hairpin turn halfway up. A local excavator, who kept gravel on site, was about 2 miles away. When our driveway would ice up, I would go to the excavator, get about a ton of gravel in the Comanche, and have exceptional traction in rear wheel drive. Any one else's thoughts on this? Gene
  6. Gene

    One of our own is down

    Condolences to the family. As many of the above posters indicated, Don was an exceptional gentleman. Extremely, extremely bright and extremely, extremely willing to help. He also had a sense of humor. The Renix versus H0 comments were always entertaining. Which leads to the question… Will Don's heavenly MJ be Renix or H0? And how much chrome will it have? Seriously, Don will be missed greatly, and his absence leaves a huge hole in our hearts. Gene
  7. When this happened to me it was the light switch itself. If ALL the dash lights are out this would be more likely, if some work not so. If you really play with the switch can you get the lights to come on even briefly? That would implicate the switch. Gene
  8. This is off topic for this thread, but I think it's an interesting area. I had an old swing axle Volkswagen beetle. I started a thread in "The Pub". Gene
  9. Hi everyone, There is a thread in MJ tech which is making intermittent references to Corvair swing axles. I never had a Corvair, but I had a 1963 VW beetle. Here is my understanding of the situation. The earlier Volkswagen beetles, up until about 1967, and the first generation Corvair used a swing axle. In this, the tire remains perpendicular to the axle half shaft. The only joint is at the transaxle. Additionally, rear engine vehicles, with more weight in the rear, have an inherent tendency to oversteer, or for the weight of the rear of the car to worsen a skid. Finally, both these vehicles had minimal, if any anti-sway bars. So, if there should be a skid, the body would lean, the rear wheel would tend to "tuck" and contribute to a rollover. Later Volkswagens, and second generation Corvair's, used a double-jointed rear axle. In this, the tire would keep approximately the same camber, regardless of the movement of the axle. So it would not "tuck" I remember going to junk yards for Volkswagen parts, probably mid 1970s, and seeing many older beetles with roof panel damage. I'm not sure about Corvair's. So I don't think that Ralph Nader's allegations were totally unfounded. Exaggerated perhaps, but they had some basis in truth. Thoughts? Gene
  10. I probably should have realized that you do not question the electrical knowledge of someone named Ohm... Gene
  11. Actually looks like this is addressed in post by Ohm above...sorry....thanks Gene
  12. Hi Jeep Driver, Not sure about our Jeeps with a gauge, but at least some applications must have a working dash light. Please see page 87 of this link. https://books.google.com/books?id=3q85p56_PxIC&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=OLDER+GM+NOT+CHARGING+BURNED+OUT+INDICATOR+BULB&source=bl&ots=nhJHY8UN0K&sig=qn_1iNBXbtp9oTwxuaVQpIatXhM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwivgZygmI_eAhVMjqQKHdRmCDg4ChDoATADegQIBxAB#v=onepage&q=OLDER GM NOT CHARGING BURNED OUT INDICATOR BULB&f=false Your thoughts? Thanks Gene
  13. *****EDIT The following applies only to vehicles with an indicator light NOT vehicles with a voltmeter**** Similar discussion
  14. *******EDIT: The below post only applies to vehicles with a battery light NOT to vehicles with a voltmeter****** Take this of the grain of salt… This is from memory, decades ago… Your 88 uses a GM alternator. With the ignition switch on, BOTH the yellow, and the tan/white wires, should show voltage. The yellow comes directly from the ignition switch. However, the tan/white passes through the voltmeter, or idiot light, and then goes down to the alternator. If this wire has been disconnected, or the idiot light burns out, this wire will show no voltage. The alternator will not work. For test purposes, or even as a long-term repair, you can put a 10 ohm resistor in series to mimic the light/gauge. So tap into the yellow wire, connect a 10 ohm resistor, and then connect this to the tan/white going to the alternator plug. I forget all the details, but I remember "back in the day" in GMs that if the idiot light burned out, the dash would have to be pulled to replace the light for the alternator to work. See page 24 of this manual for details http://www.bteventures.com//mj1988electricalmanual.pdf Now, having said all this, the more I look at the diagram, the more confused I get. I am not sure if everything I said above is true, but I am reasonably sure that if the tan/white wire does not have voltage the alternator will not work. Hope this helps! Gene
  15. Hi ratty, Couple of ways to do this. These techniques will generalize to anywhere in the vehicle. The first way is to realize that, if all the connections and cables and wires are good, voltage anywhere on the hot side of the circuit should be the same. So check the voltage between the positive battery POST and the negative battery post. Then check the voltage between the positive battery TERMINAL and the negative post. If there is any difference, then there is high resistance where the terminal meets the post. Then, follow the smaller wire a short distance over to the relay center. Check the voltage from the end of the cable to the negative battery post. Again, the reading should be exactly the same. You can accomplish the same thing by putting voltmeter leads across the suspected cable. This would be done with the cable connected. Put one lead on the battery positive post, put the other lead at the cable end. If everything is good, you should be reading zero volts. If there is any resistance in the cable, then you'll read some voltage. The other way to test is to use ohms function on the multi meter. This must be done with at least one end of the cable disconnected. You would just read ohms from one end of the cable to the other. If it's good, it should be zero, or very very close to zero. Hope this helps! Gene
  • Create New...