Gauges (and everything else electrical) going crazy -
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-05-2011, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Posts: 76
Gauges (and everything else electrical) going crazy

Finally got our 94 YJ (2.5) back from months of rebuilding after a frame swap, lift and everything seems to run alright. Except everything electrical is going crazy. i would drive it anyway out of spite but im rather afraid of the temperature gauge, because we had some cooling issues when we first swapped in the engine that a new thermostat SEEMED to take care of. i'm told that i need a fan shroud to keep it at the right Temp before i actually drive it any distances. Anyway, when i turn it on, it starts, runs and drives fine and seems to be circulating water fine as both hoses are hot. I'm not as concerned about the temperature but i can't tell because of my completely seperate electrical issues.

all gauges act 'funny' as in tachometer will drop immediately to zero when anything electrical is activated like turn signals or headlights or radio or whatever.
the temperature gauge is especially worrisome as it starts out normal then will peg either all the way right, or fluctuate wildly with activation of electrical things
the voltmeter seems to be functioning alright, but it drops very sharply with the activation of anything electrical, and reads very low (like 9) when ignition is on but not started; but cranks just as strong as ever.
The horn when pushed sounds like it is trying to sound, but is very choppy and weak, as if there is not enough power for it.

As im sure you can tell, i know next to nothing about electrical stuff. Weve taken the whole dash apart and pulled every fuse and every relay trying to isolate the circuit causing the problem. My grandpa theorizes that its shorting somewhere but we have no idea where to start looking for it and like i said we have torn the whole thing apart. Again, this is a recent problem developed after we got it back from the shop.


YJ Build: Hit tree at 40mph- trashed frame, exploded tcase, etc= FRAME OFF REBUILD! I started off with no experience, 16 yrs old (parents know less than i did),Now just have to drop driveline back in and body on. Everything i learned has come from jeepforum. You guys are amazing. Thanks.
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-05-2011, 04:41 PM
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Potosi
Posts: 308
Since you did a frame swap make sure you have a good clean ground from the battery to the engine block and to the body and to the frame. A bad ground can really do a lot of funny things to different components. That would be the first thing I would check. Good luck.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-05-2011, 05:18 PM
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
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Location: Hernando, Ms
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Check your bulkhead connector
It may be loose or corroded
Make sure the retaining bolt is good and snug when you put it back together
Also, the main harness coming into the cabin can have a bad connection
I used to have to give my harness a shove once in a while to make my gauges work again when they would shut off at random.

My oil pressure gauge stops working whenever it feels like.
It has scared me a few times when I notice it.
I have to tap on it to make it go back to working.

Don't forget, YJ gauges are notorious for being inaccurate.
But you do have a definite problem.
Fautly grounds can do strange things
If you find braided ground straps that are frayed or broken replace them with new ones.
They do more for your vehicle than you know.

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post #4 of 5 Old 06-05-2011, 05:20 PM
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
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If the ground checks out okay then I would suspect the battery is bad. I've seen a bad battery turn a '03 Ranger into a wildly possessed vehicle. Have the battery load tested to rule it out.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-05-2011, 08:02 PM
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 197
To expand on nonrubicon's post....also have the alternator tested even if you end up replacing the battery because it's bad. Many times a bad alternator can kill a battery even if the alternator seems to be charging. The rectifier bridge in the alternator could have a bad diode....thus leaking ac voltage in the system. Ac voltage alone can raise hell with a computer/electrical system designed for dc voltage. It's like speaking a foreign language to the computer!

'87 White YJ 4" RE suspension lift 2" performance accessories body lift Tom Woods CV driveshafts and SYE AX15 conversion 8.8 rear axle with l/s Dana 30 front axle with Powertrax No-Slip Traction System 35x12.50 Mastercraft C/T's WeBeR CaRbUeRaToR! KC Lighting
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