72 Chevy c10 completly dead

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by dggriffi, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. dggriffi

    dggriffi New Member

    I was given a 72 chevy c10 350 v8 which has been sitting in the woods for 5 years. Im trying to get it started but its completely dead. No sounds, no bells, no lights, no gauges. The battery has a charge and i traced a power line from the battery across the front, back up to the back of the fuse box cluster. It has power along the full length and even some of the fuses show votage.

    What am i missing? Would a bad ignition switch make it show completely dead? Is there a relay i should be looking at? Any ideas on what items i should test or check?

  2. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Keep in mind some older vehicles didnt have bells and buzzers to let you know when you had power from the key.
    But that aside you should have a couple idiot lights on at key rotation.
    They should be battery, alt/generator, and one other I cant think of right now.
    After 5 years sitting the major problem will be corrosion, since you have voltage at some of the fuses but not all start with cleaning the fuse block, next up the line should be relays, youll need to locate the ones for the starter, probably easier by tracking the wires from the starter to the relay.
    Then track back to the ignition switch, since you dont have any dash lights I suspect the fault to be in the ignition harness or ign switch it self.
    look at all the underhood and under dash grounds too, without clean, dry, corrosion free surfaces you wont get good voltage.
    If your looking to just roll the engine you can bypass the ign. and jump across the starter circuit, with a little prewiting to the ignition system you could alsp run the truck bypassing the ign. In thhe day it was popular for mechanics to have a remote starter harness and switch in the tool bag to start vehicles from under the hood bypassing the ign switch.
    Not that Ive had to use it in a while but I still have a remote starter harness in my toolbox.
  3. dggriffi

    dggriffi New Member

    Very nice. I figured that there wouldnt be much going on but that something should should when the key goes to on. Ill clean up teh connections. There does seem to be some corrosion. I think the starter relay is next to the radiator behind the headlight but i have no idea where the ignition harness would be. Ill just check things as much as possible. Im really leaning towards the ignition switch right now. Could i just test the existing switch for continuity?
  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Yea you should be able to test the ignition switch for continuity, those old ignitions were famous for failing if you had a heavy key ring with lots of keys. They would wear out the tumblers and while they might still rotate they wouldnt activate power.
  5. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    You didn't say how you tested the voltage at the fuse panel. if, as I susspect, you held one probe of the DVM on the neg post of the battery and moved the other to the fuses and other pos points, you probably have a bad ground. I would look at the neg battery terminal, or the other end of the neg cable.

    The above, is assuming you have a charged battery. How old is the battery, what voltage do you read across the battery terminals?
  6. K15 Blazer Guy

    K15 Blazer Guy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    can you even turn the engine?
    sitting in the woods for 5 years it may be seized

    if it does turn (first, shoot some oil in the cylinders and remove all the spark plugs)
    remove and bench test the starter
    disconnect the fuel pump line (chances are you don't want that gas anywhere near your engine, ignore it for now you may need to drop the tank)
    connect battery cables to starter and ground.
    hot wire the starter solenoid with a push button and check cylinder compression.
    hopefully each cly is around 180 if it is...
    fill engine with cheap, thick, synthetic oil, and fill the radiator with plain water (youll need to flush it anyway)
    turn key to 'on' and check voltage to the starter solenoid, the ignition coil, voltage regulator, and start to trouble shoot from those points.
    sand the points and set the dwell.
    once you get the motor turning on its own power, get a small gas can (about 1 gal of 91octaine) and a few feet of rubber hose
    reconnect the fuel pump to your temporary 'gas tank'
    hopefully the pump pumps
    if it starts, you can set the timing and let the carb purge itself with the fresh fuel
  7. kw70chevy

    kw70chevy Member

    there is a little black box on the fender weld next to the battery box there should be a wire coming off of it that hooks to the positive side of the battery if its not hooked up the truck want turn over with the key switch.

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