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Hi All,

1978 280z 5 speed MT.

The problem: Zero power. Cabin lights don't turn on, brake lights, ignition, etc. - Charged battery. Not a ground issue (I used the jumper cable to connect to the battery's negative terminal and to multiple metal places/frame locations within the engine bay). Maybe a fuse issue, but all fuses by passengers feet *look* to not be burned. Maybe the fusible links...? The headlight switch fusible link had a brown fluid that came onto my fingers when I removed it, possibly from just burning...? Amp meter reads zero, but charged battery. I had just driven it for hours, an hour before too.

Back story: My brake light socket was screwed up from a burnt bulb warping the plastic spacer. I had to remove that plastic spacer and solder the connectors directly to the bulb. It worked when the bulb was outside of the socket. When I was putting the bulb back into the socket I think the solder touched the metal ring along the outside of the socket that wraps around the base of the bulb, maybe shorting something? The bulb didn't blow but it quit working. The car lost all power. After 5 min looking around the car regained all power then I turned the key off, but when I went to turn it back on all is gone again.

Thoughts of what this could be? Before I start ordering expensive fusible links and new fuses (to replace even though they don't look burned).

http://atlanticz.ca/zclub/techtips/fusiblelinks/index.html

Thanks for the great community!
 

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You can test your fusible links with a multimeter. There should be zero resistance from one end to the other. You can test your fuses the same way. Fusible links aren't really expensive. If you don't have a multimeter, get one. That will save you the cost of replacing things that aren't broken. Harbor Freight has one that's plenty adequate for under $10 - sometimes free with a coupon.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You can test your fusible links with a multimeter. There should be zero resistance from one end to the other. You can test your fuses the same way. Fusible links aren't really expensive. If you don't have a multimeter, get one. That will save you the cost of replacing things that aren't broken. Harbor Freight has one that's plenty adequate for under $10 - sometimes free with a coupon.
I have a multimeter. I actually used it to test the socket. I didn't think to use it on the fuses.

Thanks! I could only find a set for $20 on ZCarDepot, plus shipping. Do you know of alternatives that are in stock at local stores, maybe for other models?
 

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The car lost all power. After 5 min looking around the car regained all power then I turned the key off, but when I went to turn it back on all is gone again.
You should avoid big general terms like "ALL POWER". Doesn't mean anything. Losing might mean something, but gaining...how do you regain ALL POWER. Turn every possible thing on at the same time?

Anyway, it could be that you have dirty battery terminals. The heat from the current of a short circuit will cause the corrosion to heat up, and the heat will cause expansion, which causes open circuits.

If you have a meter check battery voltage then see which circuits have that voltage. Follow the voltage out from the battery.
 

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I have a multimeter. I actually used it to test the socket. I didn't think to use it on the fuses.

Thanks! I could only find a set for $20 on ZCarDepot, plus shipping. Do you know of alternatives that are in stock at local stores, maybe for other models?
Yep, they're more expensive than I remember. Here's another source: http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/CTGY/classic10a05

Take pdx's advice in the previous post too. It's always good, just don't piss him off ... :surprise :wink
 

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Fusible links are still available from the dealer. Part numbers can be found at http://www.carpartsmanual.com Of course, if you think fusible links are expensive, consider how much it costs to repair wiring when someone jury-rigs a fix. :grin

Do what pdx280 said. Also, when you are checking your fusible links, remove them first. Check the connectors on the link and link holder for corrosion. Clean them while you're at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Fusible links are still available from the dealer. Part numbers can be found at http://www.carpartsmanual.com Of course, if you think fusible links are expensive, consider how much it costs to repair wiring when someone jury-rigs a fix. :grin

Do what pdx280 said. Also, when you are checking your fusible links, remove them first. Check the connectors on the link and link holder for corrosion. Clean them while you're at it.
Thanks!

The volt meter in the car remains at zero but randomly the car will make the buzzing/ringing noise as if Im about to start it up, but no power. Why would a fuse stop 100% of power to car, but randomly let some through? I thought it would be all or nothing with a fuse, and only affect light the head lights, not whole car.
 

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Thanks!

The volt meter in the car remains at zero but randomly the car will make the buzzing/ringing noise as if Im about to start it up, but no power. Why would a fuse stop 100% of power to car, but randomly let some through? I thought it would be all or nothing with a fuse, and only affect light the head lights, not whole car.
Corrosion will do funny things like that. That's why sometimes just tapping on battery posts or wiggling wires will change things. Have you pulled your battery cables and cleaned both the posts and connectors? Did you check the connections on your fusible links? Heck, did you even test the fusible links yet?

When I said don't piss off pdx it was supposed to be humorous but it's also more of an overarching hint that when you get advice here on the forum, don't ignore it. If you don't want to take advice that's fine but tell us why. That way we can understand your situation better. We all give our time freely to help out fellow Z fans but will quickly stop if we find our time is being wasted.

Fusible links really aren't that complicated. Typically they are simply short pieces of wire that are half the size you would normally use to carry current of a particular amperage. They will melt first if the current is excessive, protecting all the other wiring in the car. Their behavior is a bit different than that of glass fuses which will blow much more quickly than a link. Their insulation is designed not to burn so there's another safety factor. All power for your car except for the starter itself goes through the fusible links so if they melt, you will get no power to the rest of the car.
 

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Just to clarify some points:
1. The light socket issue would take out the brake light fuse only unless someone monkeyed with the rest of the wiring harness.
2. The real issue may have started when you had the other issue, or you may have really noticed after the other issue.
3. If it is a northern car, it probably has plenty of corrosion in the wiring. That can make for tricky problems/diagnosis.

You may have a relay buzzing. Fuel pump/fuel injection relays are near the driver. You don't say anything about where the noise is coming from.

No offense, but one of the issues at hand is that you don't know enough to give a detailed description of all that is going on. That makes diagnostics challenging/impossible unless it happens to be a problem someone else experienced as well.
 
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