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  1. #1

    Exclamation Interesting Electrical Problem. 1990 K1500

    Vehicle: 1990 K1500 Single Cab non-Z71
    Engine: 5.7L
    Miles: 160,000 roughly

    I was pulling a trailer weighing roughly 5000lbs, with lights. It was just before dusk driving roughly 45-50 mph accelerating out of a long curve. The truck cut out electrically and died. All of the gauges stayed in place, with the exception of the battery. As it was coasting I put it in neutral and attempted to start it again, with no luck. My first thought was a possible fuse being blown out. Once the truck was off to the side of the road, I checked all fuses, finding nothing bad. I then proceeded to check the wiring to the battery in case it was disconnected somehow. I tried to start the truck again after checking everything out. (thinking maybe I knocked something back in) When I turned the ignition, nothing happened. No clicks like a bad starter, just nothing... as if the battery was not even there. Thinking my battery was dead either way, I made sure that my lights worked. Turning the lights on DID work, for both the truck and the trailer. What did not work was: Ignition, Power Windows and Locks, CD Player, AC, HAZ Lights, gauges.

    I have basically my entire truck striped apart at the moment. I have checked all the wiring to major parts finding nothing fried to loose.
    -fuse panel
    -Ignition solenoid
    -Lower steering column wiring

    I do not have the proper tool to remove the rest of the column to change the ignition switch (which I have a new one for). I checked the fusible links, and nothing was loose or burnt. My thought is that it either surged and fried something out, or a ground broke loose that I cannot find.

    Any help with similar issues or ideas to check would be greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by headshot.god; 04-25-2012 at 05:43 PM.

  2. #2


    Do you have a Chiltons manual. Chapter 6 pg 30 is the wiring diagram. There is a pink wire coming off the switch to the starter, which is also connected to the ECM it apparently has a 3amp fuse inline. I would start there.
    Old Show Trucks USA conversion
    Custom Paint, interior (Wood grain and leather seats) windows so dark you need a flash light to see me, stock rims, headers, dual exhaust.

  3. #3


    Do you have a test light or ohm/volt meter? Test light is necessary for electrical tracking.
    Check power to the solenoid on the starter, and from the solenoid. And check the fusable links with a meter.

    Good luck.
    89 K Blazer 4" lift 35x12.5x15, warn hubs, cut out flares. Soon to have headers, posi carriers, gears.
    2000 K2500 Crew Cab 5.7 285/75R16's. 3" Body lift. Suspension parts being ordered.
    Lots more to do on both the trucks

    And a bunch of fast Buicks

  4. #4


    I do have a multimeter, but I can't get the retaining ring off the steering column to get any deeper. :/

  5. #5


    Start at the battery, then follow the power.
    1. battery
    2. starter, both sides of solenoid
    3. main power coming in to firewall
    4. Check the steering column power at bottom connection. No need to get to switch.
    5. Double check all connections at the bottom of the steering column.

  6. #6


    Shot power from the battery to the starter solenoid. Checked good. I replaced the ignition switch, still no success.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by headshot.god View Post
    Shot power from the battery to the starter solenoid. Checked good. I replaced the ignition switch, still no success.
    key switch or electrical switch at bottom of steering column? Follow you wires with test light battery to main fuse and relay box then at switch ot bottom of column should have battery power there and 3 power out two that comes on when you turn the ign. , ign circuit and acc. circuit and start has power when switch turned to crank . 2 red batt +, orange accessory, and yellow ign and blue is crank if memory serves me right, i believe you will find a bad fusible link or fuse under hood ,or at inside fuse box check all fuses first then verify power in and out at switch at bottom of column they do fail ,key is just a mechanical plunger for switch at bottom of column

  8. #8
    Master Mechanic
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    From the main box under the hood you will have some large breakers/fusable links,,,they run your lights, engine, and ignition ,,, from here it goes to the ignition switch, and then through out the rest of the cab/ vehicle,, and that will be ummm gonzo ,,,,,,replace it and it will work like new.....there are aftermarket switches that is about 100 bucks less then the gm oem part.....

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