Dodge RamCharger Central banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy,
I recently read a short article online about the old style Mopar amp gauge as shown in the picture below. I've never had any trouble with the old style amp gauge, but what about you? My questions are as follows:

1. Have you ever had any trouble with this style of amp gauge as regards overheating or burning up your harness?

(read this for detail: http://www.madelectrical.com/electricaltech/amp-gauges.shtml )

2. Would you recommend bypassing it and installing a volt gauge based on the above?

Thanks for your input.

Mac

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
I have had no trouble on either my 72 or 75. I did install a shunt (leaves the ammeter partially functioning) along with some underhood wiring changes on my 75 when I upgraded to the 100 amp alternator as a precaution. I have yet to install a voltmeter. The only wiring issue I have had with my dodge was the heater circuit, which I have taken care of. Probably 30-40% of the trucks that I see at the wrecker have evidence of the ammeter overheating. Good question Mac...
william
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
7,995 Posts
1. Have you ever had any trouble with this style of amp gauge as regards overheating or burning up your harness?
I have never had any trouble with this gauge on 2 vehicles I ordered brand new. One had 200K on it and the other I still have has 100K on it and both were 77 models. Please also remember that since I have been fooling with Mopar wiring since the 60's that I know alot of the weak spots and that their earlier wiring really sucked! The factory setup for the 65 amp ran through the bulkhead connector and the 114 amp wiring ran through the firewall on its own, using 6 gauge wire.

2. Would you recommend bypassing it and installing a volt gauge based on the above?
If you keep up with maintaining the bulkhead connector you should have very little trouble with the factory 65 amp setup as long as you are not trying to draw 65 amps through the bulkhead. Also keep the wires on the back of the ammeter tight or use self locking nuts on the studs. Pull all the wiring harnesses(up to 5 of them on the engine side) off the bulkhead connector and check to make sure all the metal terminals are brightly colored. There may be a couple on the 10/12 ga wires that look discolered but they may be copper as opposed to tin plated.

I just pulled my bulkhead connector apart and it looks just like the day it was built...but I keep it coated/soaked with WD-40. That connector gets a bunch of water and snow in it every time you open the hood or wash the engine.
As I recall I ordered a voltmeter and vacuum gauge setup from the factory on my 77 RC. This was in addition to the ammeter. It's been a long time...just can't remember.

The article in Mad Electric is excellant, but I have no plans to bypass my ammeter. I have 4 brand new factory gauges that I am going to install when I tune up my dashboard this summer and the ammeter will be replaced as a matter of preventative maintainence.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
29,380 Posts
I just did that procedure from mad electrical to my 77 motorhome yesterday. I wasn't having problems with it, but I didn't want to either (besides, I like doing that kind of anal stuff).
Anyway, I also need to change my alt output wire which had been butchered in the past, so I thought I'd do it all.
The only problem I found with my original setup, was that the connector at the bulkhead was slightly melted, and the termianl was corroded just like in the photos from mad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Did you put in a volt gauge? If so what brand and what were your connection points?

When you check your terminals at the bulkhead, do you just pull them straight off or is there a trick to pulling them off?

Mac

KThaxton said:
I just did that procedure from mad electrical to my 77 motorhome yesterday. I wasn't having problems with it, but I didn't want to either (besides, I like doing that kind of anal stuff).
Anyway, I also need to change my alt output wire which had been butchered in the past, so I thought I'd do it all.
The only problem I found with my original setup, was that the connector at the bulkhead was slightly melted, and the termianl was corroded just like in the photos from mad.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
29,380 Posts
I haven't done the volmeter yet, but I intend to in the next couple of days. My m/h runs good, but really is a piece of junk, so I'm just going to put a cheapy Sunpro volmeter in it.
I have a little more respect for my RC, so I have only put Autometer gauges in it, and I also just got a voltmeter for it but I haven't mounted it yet.
Again, this is a m/h (van cab) so it may be different than your RC but.....It had a wire clip on the top of the bulkhead connector (looks like there should have been a bottom one too, but mine was missing) to hold it tite. After I removed the clip, I just had to squeeze the "tangs" that hold each connector on, then pulled each one out.
Mine weren't completely melted, but you could tell there been some heat there, plus those two terminals were the only ones that had corrosion like it the mad photos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,508 Posts
My gauge for my 86 is not the type or style in question. How ever, I have observed that over the years owners and previous owners have made alterations to the wiring in question with out proper knowledge of power draw or wiring handling capability. Most cases the changes them selves were not that significant, but when they are compounded with pour connections and placement in the wiring that can't support the current load of what your adding, you have a potiential for trouble. Then you end up with the problem that does need to be corrected as the web-link stating. If your wiring looks as bad as the article, either fix is as it was origially designed or replace the entire harness, or correct it to "safely" comply with the article and change the amp-meter with a volt meter. What ever you do be sure that you don't have a potiental electrical problem (fire=burned out vehicle) and correct it in a way that it will not cause a future problem.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,689 Posts
on my 79 rc I lit that cheesy little gauge up like a fircracker, I was however not very experienced at the time with vehicle wiring and didnt understand that the amp gauge was wired into whatever load i tried to put thru it, later i learned that 5 KC daylighters was over doing it a bit for the factory gauge, after the original and 2 jy gauges, I finally went to bypassing it, I have since semi retired that truck but i dont run one on my Cage either, it surely wouldnt handle the winch load, I am currently looking for a decent voltmeter to install on the Cage but havent found a good cheap one yet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good advice, Ram.

Lucky for me my wiring at that location looks fine right now, but I have not pulled it off and eyeballed it yet for any signs of overheating.

My thought is that if this is really a problem with older RC's I don't want to wait until it bites me first.

Mac

Ram said:
My gauge for my 86 is not the type or style in question. How ever, I have observed that over the years owners and previous owners have made alterations to the wiring in question with out proper knowledge of power draw or wiring handling capability. Most cases the changes them selves were not that significant, but when they are compounded with pour connections and placement in the wiring that can't support the current load of what your adding, you have a potiential for trouble. Then you end up with the problem that does need to be corrected as the web-link stating. If your wiring looks as bad as the article, either fix is as it was origially designed or replace the entire harness, or correct it to "safely" comply with the article and change the amp-meter with a volt meter. What ever you do be sure that you don't have a potiental electrical problem (fire=burned out vehicle) and correct it in a way that it will not cause a future problem.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
5,141 Posts
Mine is gone, it started to smoke one day and about caught the dash on fire, I replaced it with a volt gauge
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
5,141 Posts
just hook the two wires that go to the amp gauge together and wrap them with electrical tape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Back when I was young and stupid, I burnt up my '80 Power Wagon 200 while on a trip to Wisconsin. Right on the expressway, sparks, flame and just a bit of smoke. It took awhile to discover the problem and the PERMANENT fix (remember the stupid part).

I intend to bullit proof my '79 RC to avoid any such potential reenactment of that night. Although, I still have flashbacks whenever I pass that particular stretch of road, as I will be doing this afternoon!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,026 Posts
See my dual-battery how-to for what I did to mine. Bypassed the bulkhead entirely, and installed an Autometer voltmeter in the dash, as well as a cheap voltmeter and ammeter out in the engine bay so I can look at it while I'm futzing out there. Mine was melted almost out of the dash when I got it, and somebody had connected them together without tape.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Will do. Thanks for the tip.

Mac

GunPilot said:
See my dual-battery how-to for what I did to mine. Bypassed the bulkhead entirely, and installed an Autometer voltmeter in the dash, as well as a cheap voltmeter and ammeter out in the engine bay so I can look at it while I'm futzing out there. Mine was melted almost out of the dash when I got it, and somebody had connected them together without tape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had a 76 Dodge Dart Sport 340 that smoked the same area. Really shook me up for a while also. It happened at highway speeds. Not easy to see through all that smoke.

:)

TTorres340 said:
Back when I was young and stupid, I burnt up my '80 Power Wagon 200 while on a trip to Wisconsin. Right on the expressway, sparks, flame and just a bit of smoke. It took awhile to discover the problem and the PERMANENT fix (remember the stupid part).

I intend to bullit proof my '79 RC to avoid any such potential reenactment of that night. Although, I still have flashbacks whenever I pass that particular stretch of road, as I will be doing this afternoon!
 
G

·
I had continuous problems with my Amp meter. The wires kept coming loose and I would lose all electrical power to the RC. I smoked 2 Amp meters and ultimately did the Amp meter bypass and installed a voltmeter. I did the bypass similar to the process described in the Mad electrical article except that I didn't drill holes through the bulkhead connector.

The primary wires (red and black) on the inside (under the dash) are a monster to get to so I just focused on the engine side of these wires. I ran 2 new Fusible links to the starter relay and spliced the two primary wires together (on the back of the Amp meter just like the article describes.

After the bypass/voltmeter, I have a much more stable/reliable electrical system and am very pleased with the results. The most time consuming part of the process was "fitting" the voltmeter into the hole in the dash that used to house the Amp meter. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Questions:

New fusible links are available at Autozone or NAPA?

What brand of voltmeter did you use? I want to fit mine into the dash when the time comes.

Thanks,
Mac

The Moose said:
I ran 2 new Fusible links to the starter relay and spliced the two primary wires together (on the back of the Amp meter just like the article describes.

The most time consuming part of the process was "fitting" the voltmeter into the hole in the dash that used to house the Amp meter. :D
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top