1979 Chero Wiring help!

Discussion in 'Ranchero Tech Help' started by Matt, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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    Afternoon guys! Little back history. My father passed away about a year ago unexpectantly of cancer leaving me his 1979 Ranchero GT. I grew up in this car. I am now 25 and have been to every car show within 250 miles of me since I could walk. I live in lower Delaware. Carlisle and Cruisin ocean city, MD have really gave me an addiction to the car scene. I have built two race cars now, 2 fox body's, one with a 466 and one with a 302. I am quite tech savvy but wiring always gets me stuck. The car has sat for past couple years and really took a tole on it. This used to be his daily up until about 5 years ago. The ignition in the column has always been iffy, tough to turn, and finally it broke. I have looked for replacement columns but no luck. I decided to buy a ignition panel with a switch and push button. I bought all new Auto meter gauges ( since half the gauges never worked anyway ). I had a aluminum cluster made just for the panel and gauges. I have googled for hours and even began cutting into wires but I can not find the wire to splice into for the ignition switch. so instead of turning the key forward and further to start it's a switch to turn on and push button starter. I can not find this wire. Any help at all is appreciated.
     
  2. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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  3. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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    My first thought was to go to Autozone and get a replacement key and tumbler, but the problem is actually in the column. the gear in there has snapped.
     
  4. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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    Assuming this is a stock Duraspark ignition? And how far along are you now with your mods? Can't quite tell from your post if you have a running car at this point?

    From a distance POV, you need 12v to the Duraspark box to enable ignition, and you need a pushbutton switch closure between 12v to the first small terminal on the starter solenoid -- that last makes the starter engage.

    Be aware that the stock 'starter' switch assembly does quite a bit more than just start the motor, it provides switched power to accessories also.

    Your can find lots of Duraspark wiring diagrams on Google -- the pin where it gets 12v is accessible on one of the Duraspark connectors. If wired directly, be aware that you will no longer have any safety switch function -- car can be started in gear.

    Chances are you can find a '79 wiring diagram on this board, try the search function at top.
     
  5. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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    I just dropped the motor back in actually. I was able to wire up the panel and get it to start off the button but no accessary. I have looked all over for a diagram, then again maybe I have no idea what I'm looking for. I have the wire for the starter solenoid. But I assumed there was a master wire for the entire car. ( as in turning the key forward ) the wire I temporarily was using would start the car but wouldn't turn on or off the electronics which ultimately meant it would not turn the car off.
     
  6. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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    has a msd dizzy, stock electronic electronic box and coil. it's a 351m.
     
  7. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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    I have never touched a '79, but in earlier Fords it would be a fat [maybe 10ga] yellow wire, entering the cabin through the big firewall connectors. Should be visible at the starter switch [in older cars, a box mounted on the column. Worked with a pushrod from that broken gear assy on your car] Disconnect the battery before touching that wire; accidentally grounding it will make a big spark and probably roast a fusible link.

    I can't help but think your best move is to try to repair the column you have. Custom cabin wiring is not a small task.
     
    Matt likes this.
  8. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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    Yeah that's the wire I tried to tie into, but no luck. Not sure what is going on back there, way too many wires for me. haha. might need to buy a salvage car and steal the column
     
  9. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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    Is it possible the main fusible link is already blown?
     
  10. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    First, Matt, the columns in the '72-'79 were subsequently used in the '80-'91 Bronco/F/E-Series trucks. I rebuilt mine using a column from an early '80s van and everything works. I also availed myself of installing newer speed control wiring and an '87-'91 Bronco/F-series steering wheel. Here's where I get fuzzy on what you attempted to do: did you remove the instrument cluster to gain access to the ignition electrical switch on top of the column housing? Doing so will really make checking things easier. Second, did you unbolt the ignition electrical switch and manually actuate the switch slider to verify the switch fully worked? Sometimes the switch can come apart or jam up simply because they wore out. Replacement requires no electrical knowledge. It's when the switch does what it's supposed to but there's still no power to accessories and the ignition, no starter cranking that you may have to start doing electrical diagnosis. Next, the mechanical portion of the ignition (lock cylinder, rack gear, actuator and actuator rod) needs to be looked at. The steering wheel will have to be pulled to access the guts of the column, and this is where the newer column will come in handy, providing parts to replace anything broken or stripped. When I did mine, I removed my column and did all the work on a workbench. IMHO as a master tech, you need to fix the column actuator and replace the factory switch, if it's bad. Then, you need to undo all the changes and fix the wiring you tied into. At some point in time, these items you installed will affect greatly the worth of your rig. Any modifications on an original car will do so. I don't have to worry on mine because it doesn't have the original engine or trans and was repainted. So I can restomod my rig and enjoy it.
     
  11. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    As for whether you have power at the main (yellow) wire at the ignition switch or not, got to Harbor freight and buy a 12 volt test light. Really cheap but very, very handy. All you need to do is clip the wire to the bare metal for ground, then use the pokey end to touch terminals or poke into wire insulation to find out if you have power.
    Go to the starter solenoid and find the fusible links (they all have rubber ends where they connect to the solenoid terminal) and clip the wire to ground. Then, where those connect to the regular wiring, locate the fat yellow wire(s) (I think there's two) and check both for power by poking into the wire--don't poke yourself--and looking for the tester's light to come on. If it doesn't, the fuse link may have burned. Wiggle it while the test light's hooked up, looking to see if the light flickers. If you do have power, then go to the ignition electrical switch (the instrument cluster's still out, isn't it?), pull the connector, clip the wire to the steel brace for the dash, and poke the yellow wire terminal. If there's power there, that tells you the ignition electrical switch is definitely bad.
     
  12. Matt

    Matt In Second Gear

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    wow andy thank you for specific reply. yes I have taken the cluster out. so tonight I fumbled around and I found a small gear on the floor board. after starring at it for an hour I pulled the tumbler out and guess what? slips on the tumbler and the car starts off the key. I taped my connections back together. now I'm a little sad because I have this cool ignition panel I didn't get to use. the motor is not original and I don't care about value, my father had it since new and I will never sell it. im thinking I still want to wire it up. maybe I tried splicing into the yellow wire at the wrong spot? all my wire modifications were behind the dash...
     
  13. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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  14. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    The wiring from '74 up is about 95% the same for the basic circuits. I have copies of both the '74 and '79 Ford diagrams.
     
  15. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Tonight, I just confirmed that my town's library still has the Motor and Chilton hardbound and softbound wiring diagram books, so I ran off another copy of the Chilton '79 diagrams, which are Ford copies. So go look in your local library and if they have those books, copy the whole shebang and put it on the shelf for when you need it.
     
  16. drlance

    drlance In Fourth Gear

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    As a word of caution........ (Personal experience here....) When you are looking at the wiring diagram for your 79, DO NOT be Surprised if your car isn't wired like the diagram shows!

    I had a thread on here where it seems 'some' 79 Rancheros have 76 dashboards and Instrument cluster wiring harnesses. Also, the 76 and 79 wiring diagrams show an electric choke.... mine doesn't have an electric choke, it uses a choke stove, so the diagram is just short of useless there....

    Those of us with the last year Rancheros have a hodgepodge of whatever was left in the parts bins since it was the last year of production. Just be patient and take your time with the wiring, I ended up making my own wiring diagram for my car. At least now I have a rough idea of what goes where.
     
  17. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Interesting. Of all the '79 intermediate cars I've run into, I've never had a wire that didn't belong, or a line on the diagram that wasn't also in the wiring harness. Is it possible yours was rebuilt by someone using older parts? Hell, my car's carb is from my '75 Elite, and I have a replacement rebuilt one waiting to be installed. Who knows what happened on yours?
     

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