An electical nightmare, where do I go from here?

DNA Strand

New Member
Jan 18, 2011
This has been something I have been putting off for almost a year now. I can't put it off any longer I need to get this car back on the road.

The last problem I had was a volt light that won't light up, the car left me on the side of the road and when I got it back to my shop I started to take apart the dash an see if the bulb was bad. I didn't look like the bulb was bad so I decided to pull out the gauge cluster. I had a hard time getting it out, I can't seen to find all the bolts.....anyway while I was trying to get that out the ignition buzzer started going off. No matter what I do the ignition buzzer is ALWAYS on. There is a group of mystery wires that go to the positive post on the battery and if I pull one off the buzzer goes off. It doesn't seem to power anything else, which is strange to me...

So after the buzzer started going off I got increasingly frustrated and gave up. The car has sat for almost a year now. So I charged up the battery to move it and started looking at the dash again and now I am seeing blue and yellow wires that are cut and just sitting behind the gauge cluster. When I pulled the RPM and boost gauges out every wire behind it has a butt connector on it! Someone has been back there and done a hack job. When I bought the car I was told it had "minor electrical problems" but hadn't seen any sign of them as long as Ive had it. I really don't know where to go from here....

Hardly anything on the gauge cluster works anyway, and I was thinking about just throwing it all in the trash and getting the new analog Dakota Digital dash, but I know its a ton of work to install all the new sensors and I'm not sure that would even fix my problems. I'm kind of at a loss here. What do you guys think? I'm really frustrated with the whole thing, I have had the car for years and done a TON of work on it over the years, but I have spent very, very little time driving it.
It sounds like the job is more than you can handle. My advice is to find someone qualified to go through it.

Maybe start fresh with a dash harness from one of the used parts vendors onsite would be the best route. Better than trying to undo someone else's hackery.
the phrase "time and materials" comes to mind here. I would imagine there is no "quick fix" for your ride. It will take someone with alot of familiarity and patience to make this right. If that is not you.....don't take it personally..... but set aside some money and reach out to someone in your area. Where are you?
I'm right around New Orleans, and don't know of anyone near by that is familiar with these cars. I understand and agree that I am not familiar enough with these cars to fix this, which is why I came here looking for advice. I know I can send the car somewhere and pay someone to fix it. I have a shop where I restore cars and have built a few resto mods from the ground up, so working on cars and re wiring cars is not something completely new to me, really I was hoping to get some advice from someone more knowledgeable about these cars in particular. That link to the wiring diagrams should help a lot, thanks williamsGN! And thank you Pronto, I think I will wind up replacing the dash harness and engine harness.

I think I'ma go back to my original plan and finish my turbo MR2 and then it seems like I might need to get into a major overhaul on this electrical system, which is what I was trying to avoid. Would it be easier to just rewire the alternator circuit so it will charge without the volt light?
If you are around new orleans i can possibly help you. Im in the north shore and have someone over here that is awsome with turbo buicks. He is a gm master tech and have worked turbo buicks alot over the years. He just got straightened out. Pm me if you want for my number and maybe we can the problem solved.
If you were trying to avoid electrical problems I wouldn't have bought a car with any known electrical problems. I'd go right to an uncut dash harness. Pull the dash and replace it. Check all the positive leads. There are six of them. 4 go to the starter and have fusible links in them. The other two are the positive cable and the ECM power lead which are actually one piece. Verify all grounds. Ground the frame to the block or battery. Once you replace these wires you will eliminate your current and potential future problems.
I agree the best thing to do at this point is to remove all the hacked wire harnesses and replace with good used harnesses. I had to do this once on a Monte Carlo. It requires time and patience. I removed the entire dash to do it. Also changed the harnesses in the engine compartment. But in the end it was so worth it. Much less hassle than trying to figure out what's up with the hacked wires.