help! new car troubles


the name is...DOOmass
Dec 31, 2003
Hi again, I have a problem. (Actually, hoping they are easy fixes...HELP!)
I just put money down on my first turbo regal. It's an '87 T. I got the temp tags this morning. My plan was to head on over and pick it up this afternoon...

no dice. It cranked over and started on first keyturn, but it seemed weak. I let it idle without giving it any throttle to see if it would stalled about 3 minutes later. It wasnt idling rough or low, and gave no prior warning before it stalled. Tried starting it again the battery was depleted.
I got a charger and tried again, it started and ran just fine. I gave it some gas and let it sit. I did not drive the car. After about 15 minutes, i shut it down to see if it would crank again. The battery doesn't hold a charge. The battery is less than a year old, both the original owner and I think the problem might lay in the alternator or the regulator. Can anyone give a diagnosis sight unseen?
I am hoping that this problem would be reversed with a new alternator; if anyone has any input that would be greatly appreciated.

Second problem: all running lights and headlights function: The turn-signals are sluggish and the brake lights do not function at all, headlights on or off (if that makes a difference). These are probably (relatively) easy fixes, perhaps the installation of a 'new' relay switch, or even better a .30 cent fuse.

If anyone can shed some light, it would make me very happy!

P.S. Thanks to those who responded to my Powermaster questions. Much appreciated.

Happy new year!!!! @#$% *#$@!!!!!!!!!!!
I'd replace the battery from the original place of purchase,check wiring connections at the alternator.If good,get a rebuilt from local parts place(easy swap).No taillights-fuze or bulbs (pull bulbs to check before parts run). Slow signals -weak dc power (batt) or flasher unit. This is what I would do to get it home and start checking everything else out .
I'd point to charging also. Check battery cables, alt cable, etc etc. Take a voltmeter and check the output of the alternator.

I wouldn't expect the light problems to be related, but you never know.
Congrats on the purchase

I would remove the alternater and bring it to AutoZone and have them check it out on their machine for voltage.

Total cost FREE FREE!!
Get the correct Delco battery. I bet 99.9% of your issues will be solved. Clean/check all your connections after.
I aggree with Pronto on the battery. Start with a known good battery.

After it is installed, start the car and check for 13-14 volts accross the battery terminals with a voltmeter to see if the alternator is charging.

As far as no brake lights, it is probably the white wire in the turn signal switch wiring. Follow the wiring from the turn signal switch under the steering column to where the harmonica connecter joins the body harness. The white turn signal wire on the inside of the turn pulls out of the connecter quite often. Reconnect the wire or use a butt connecter to join the two halves of the white wire and your brake lights will work again.
Where in MD are you, maybe I can help, hands-on.

The brake lights may just be the switch next to the arm on the brake pedal. It is not uncommon for it to come loose - that can drain a battery too.
Sounds like you may need a battery. Put a charge on it with a good charger and see if it will hold the charge.. If not, replace the battery..

Before pulling your hair about the other electrical issue, get the battery situation addressed. Lack of proper juice could be causing the other symptoms..

thanks a bunch for everyone's help, much my name implies, I'm a damn rookie! (thats what my father calls me at least..!)

I apologize for the length of this post...

Blown&Injected, I'm located just outside downtown Bethesda...the car and I are currently located in Allston, MA. *Hopefully* (yeah, right!...let me say *in theory*) I should be back around those parts sometime this week. Weather I return in a GM product is not certain...for once the Dodge is NOT the problem!
Where are you located?

I do have an Update, if anyone is willing to give their opinion:
Replaced alternator with a turbo specific part from AutoZone. Battery charges.

for the brake light problem, in our general search we did find that one fuse was blown. The fuse for key buzzer and power locks. (Sidenote: did notice that just sitting, the cigarette lighter was abnormally hot. It wasn't pushed in.) Replaced the brake light switch. No function. checked wire routing & bulbs. Everything fine. Hazards function.

we were about to just call it a night when I pulled a "well what does this wire do?" and gave it a little yank. Yup, every brake bulb lit up with the pedal. (Ground wire, on the pass side firewall).

Here's the chronology, hopefully make it easier to pinpoint the problem:
At shop, starts immediately, good idle at cold, let car warm up; everything running great. All lights/accessories function.

2 miles from shop, lose right rear brake light as well as 3rd light.
Fuel up, car doesn't start on first keyturn. Cranks over for a couple of seconds, then starts.

Merge onto the highway

-6 miles in, lose speedo on digi dash: doesn't black out.
-10 miles in, speakers from stereo begin popping in a specific rhythm (around 100 bpm). rate not affected by engine speed. Along with the popping, the clock flashes on/off. Turning radio off, clock remains on.

-(about) 14 miles in, lights dim. Noticing lack of power. Horn causes drastic decrease in headlights. Exit highway immediately, pull into gas station, car stalls while moving (maybe 10 mph). Call truck, attempt to turn over car had weak power.
***At the beginning of the drive, i reset the trip meter. Turning the battery on after the stall, the digi trip read 3.2 miles. Did it reset itself?

OK the "good" news. About the only thing we havent pursued fully is the grounds.
I contacted the original owner before all of this: He doesn't remember if he installed a ground relocator kit in the car. Said if he did they would be located in a blue plastic box in the center of firewall behind motor. If not, then there are 4 grounds connected to the pass side cyl head.

One more thing: Upon startup, the only dash dummy light that illuminates is the seat belt light. (on my first testdrive before i owned it, all check lights came up).

Thanks again!!!!