76 Dodge Ramcharger intermittently DEAD electrical system


Asked by bgood Dec 19, 2008 at 02:33 PM about the 1976 Dodge Ramcharger

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Intermittent problem in which there is a sudden and total loss of electric power -- as if the battery had disappeared. NO power, not even to keep engine running, no lights even.  Problem seems to resolve itself spontaneously as quickly as it occurred after sitting overnight.  Good battery, good connections, new alternator.  Where do I start?

16 Answers

Chris Martorella

Domestics are not my specialty especially not trucks. If i were u I'd start with the fuses then begin a systematic check of the vehicle's wiring. Something is probably popping in and out, possibly due to heat.

Adam Morgan

Electrical is not my forte, but.... I'd double check connections and then run a resistance check over battery cables, you may have an internal fray or break. Other than that I'd look at the ignition switch may be shorting and making the car think it's off. Beyond that I'd seek help as I'm not all that great with electrical.


Thanks, Chris I think something IS popping in and out, but whatever it is is like a master switch (analogous to the main breaker on your house electrical panel), not fuses. Seems there could not be more than two or three such components in a vehicle's electrical system. I'm not good with wiring questions (an understatement). That's why this defies any logical explanation that I can think of.


Thanks, Adam I have suspected that the problem might be in the steering column, perhaps the ignition switch. I'm not sure why this would kill the lights, though.


not ignition switch had same problem it would be factory splices or even the FUSIBLE LINKS

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

My problems were both (Wisconsin winters) as well and water contamination from sitting for 13 years I opted to replace my hacked wiring harness with a decent new harness from americanautowire.com I used a universal wiring harness


another possibility would be a lonely bad ground connection

Gary Moeller

I too have had a similar problem. I took it to the dealer and they diagnosed bad fusible link connections. They recommended replacing the fusible links with a fuse box undeer the hood. Sounds like a good idea to me. If I have ANY more problems in that area, I will do just that.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks, Gary My mechanic replaced some cables and I've not had the problem in quite a while. However, I'm not convinced the problem is cured. I'll keep your tip as the next thing to try if it happens again. It seems like a completely logical diagnosis. Regards, Bill


Do you have amp gage ?Checheck bat terms both cables both ends can by passone at a time using jumper cables .let me know about amp gage


Running into the same issue. Try a new voltage regulator, it might be getting heat soaked and shutting down. It's a cheap part like $15.00 .


i seen this before where your wiring harness goes thru firewall take screw out you should see that some connections are getting hot clean those and put electrical grease on them and reconnect tightly


there is also a know problem with the connections for the fusible link which supplies all needed power to run the truck i had same problem with my 69 charger i removed the plastic covers and soldered the connectors together ans heat shrank them solved the problem give it a try and see how it works for ya

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Thanks, Rammy I'll show this to my mechanic and see if it does the trick. bgood

Aaron Aarness

Had the same problem with a 76 Ramcharger with a 400ci V-8. One of the problems was a ceramic piece that plugged in under the hood. I forget what it did. However the biggest culprit was that I'd tucked the wiring harness for towing up under the bumper. Some unused and exposed leads would occasionally ground out and shut the whole truck down. It always did it when turning in a tight circle.


Clean your ground cable You have 2 or maybe replace bot wit new ones it may not hurt to put a extra on the engine ground cable are the main cause of this

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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