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Lost Electrical Power
#766630 October 20th 2020 4:57 pm
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Hey y'all, new to the forum. Just got a 1977 Dodge B100 318 in the past month. Been one issue after the other but overall runs good.

Today when I when I went to crank it I had no power at all on the inside of the vehicle. Battery & alt are brand new, fully charged, but no lights, stereo, ignition switch does nothing. I pulled the panel & there was no power on fuse box under dash, or ignition switch etc. I checked connections under the hood (I have run new power & ground wires from the battery correctly as old ones were scorched & abused). Checked the big box wiring harness connector at top right of firewall near battery & all looked fine. (A power wire had come undone from previous owner's mistakes but I've soldered that back together but originally when I got it that was a bad connection & I'd lose all power inside as well...but thats' been fixed, or at least as for as I could tell). Anyway, all sudden I have juice again & fired right up like nothing happend.

Question: Is there a voltage regulator or anything that would be going bad intermittently on these things or another known issue to consider? After 43 years & multiple owners there's quite a bit of shade tree electrical nonsense been had. I've corrected to most obvious home-wiring issues from when I bought it.

Thanks for any input.


1977 Dodge B100 318 POS
Re: Lost Electrical Power
CowboyVan #766650 October 20th 2020 8:37 pm
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I'm not very good with electrical but I would start by looking for a bad ground.
Have you tested the ballast resistor ? I can't remember if that kills all the power or just the ignition power.


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Re: Lost Electrical Power
CowboyVan #766657 October 20th 2020 9:46 pm
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I would look for a bad firewall connection where the main power wire goes through the firewall. My experance. Check the amp gauge if it has one.


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Re: Lost Electrical Power
CowboyVan #766679 October 21st 2020 4:21 am
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Fusible Link

Re: Lost Electrical Power
Meanmachine #766680 October 21st 2020 4:28 am
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Originally Posted by Meanmachine
Fusible Link

I 2nd that. They can break internally and cause intermittent problems.

Another thing that you may want to consider is to eliminate the #10 AWG wire that runs from the alternator through the bulkhead connector to the ammeter. That's a known weak point as well.

Drill a hole in the firewall, install a grommet, and run a new wire up to the ammeter.


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Re: Lost Electrical Power
Meanmachine #766686 October 21st 2020 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by Meanmachine
Fusible Link

There's actually a wire coming off the firewall bulk connector that says Fusable Link but there's nothing on the other side of the fuse...PO just unhooked the other end of the fuse connector & wire. No idea what that powered but I'm sure it was there for a reason. Ha. Is that what you're referring to?


1977 Dodge B100 318 POS
Re: Lost Electrical Power
doc yukon #766687 October 21st 2020 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by doc yukon
I would look for a bad firewall connection where the main power wire goes through the firewall. My experance. Check the amp gauge if it has one.

So I've had issue once before losing all power bc a power wire came out of the bulk connector right there at the firewall. I soldered a new wire & it's been fine since but I'm wondering if that connector isn't my issue. It has a shiny sticky goo running down it from PO. Something must've melted some time ago. Not really sure how you go about fixing that bulk connector if that's really the problem. Pull the dash & inspect the wires / connector I guess?


1977 Dodge B100 318 POS
Re: Lost Electrical Power
lukester #766688 October 21st 2020 8:37 am
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I have not checked the ballast resistor but I will. Thanks for the suggestion.


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Re: Lost Electrical Power
CowboyVan #766694 October 21st 2020 11:45 am
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The Fusible Link is a thicker gauge red wire that comes off the positive battery terminal and connects into the electrical bulkhead on the firewall. The bulkheads were known to corrode on the inside where you can't see it. I had an electrical shop pull mine apart and clean the terminal connectors many years ago. I had a 74 Dodge that would lose all power when I hit a bump in the road or shut the door. Problem was the Fusible Link had corroded and the wire was partially broken inside the plastic casing. In my experience with the ballast resistor, the motor will still turn over, but not start. When the fusible link was bad, there was no power to anything on the van, as if the battery was totally unhooked.

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Re: Lost Electrical Power
Meanmachine #766696 October 21st 2020 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Meanmachine
The Fusible Link is a thicker gauge red wire that comes off the positive battery terminal and connects into the electrical bulkhead on the firewall. The bulkheads were known to corrode on the inside where you can't see it. I had an electrical shop pull mine apart and clean the terminal connectors many years ago. I had a 74 Dodge that would lose all power when I hit a bump in the road or shut the door. Problem was the Fusible Link had corroded and the wire was partially broken inside the plastic casing. In my experience with the ballast resistor, the motor will still turn over, but not start. When the fusible link was bad, there was no power to anything on the van, as if the battery was totally unhooked.

That's exactly what this sounds like. I'll pull the bulkhead connectors, clean it & make sure it's not corroded. I also investigate the fusible link as well. I know the red one directly from the battery had a new wire directly spliced to the batter. It would come unhooked from the bulkhead & I'd lose all power. I soldered it together though & never had that problem again...but it's possible it's bad again.


1977 Dodge B100 318 POS
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