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Ground...ground...ground!!!!

I can not stress this enough, CHECK THE GROUND. The ground is what everything else on the vehicle references it's voltage to.

Many problems can be related to a bad ground. Our Dodges, with the rubber engine/tranny mounts, don't insure a good ground between the engine/body. Same for the body/frame. The best way to insure a good ground (and eliviate/correct many problems) is to insure there is a good ELECTRICAL ground connection between the body/chassis/frame/engine. LOOK FOR THE WIRE. With our aging vehicles, most of which have been through more than one owner, it's not safe to assume the ground is there, especially if the engine has been replaced-the only way you can be sure is to find it. Inspect it closely.

I troubleshoot ground problems with my meter on the VOLTAGE setting. I clamp the leads to the body and the engine, route the wires so I can see the meter, and start the engine. ANY sign of voltage indicates a poor ground. Think about it, a GOOD ground is a SHORT and won't have any voltage, therefore ANY voltage indicates a bad ground. Insure the meter is set to read VDC. Same test goes for body to frame, especially with bumper mounted aux lights. Sometimes you have to actually drive the vehicle to see the problems.

I don't like using insulated wires for grounding. For one, they usually have larger guage wires which are more prone to stress fractures. Also, the insulation can hide the fracture. I prefer "Ground Strap" for grounds....go figure. It's generally smaller stranded, flat, open for observation, and "tinned" to prevent oxidation. But watch the ground points, as they can become resistive.

Glenn
 
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