86 el camino no power

Asked by May 30, 2017 at 05:57 PM about the 1986 Chevrolet El Camino Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

have an 86 el camino with a new engine, about 7 days ago it died going down
a small hill and hasnt had any power to the car since. replaced battery and
alternator and ignition switch, upon replacing the battery had power to the
interior for 3-5 seconds but when tried to crank whole system died. battery is
side mounted, has new terminals. at a loss

6 Answers


Check your engine block to frame grounds, Rusty/crusty frames make for bad ground connections, so make sure they are clean connections on both ends. Check for bad battery terminal wires and Connections. May end up having to look for broken wires inside the outer shell of the insulation, look for all grounds to frame and to fuse panel ect.


The ignition switch or wire harness to it could also be problematic.


Also look for bad loose master fuses under hood and those under dash, loose connections or burned looking. Did you smell any wires burning? If so trace/track them down and replace the entire wire.

Does the power go to the fuses then the ignition switch, or vice versa? and then on to the distributor?


All power is fused before going to or entering the switch or device. One exception is the battery to starter solenoid which is employed to activate when the ignition switch is turned to start position which is fused before going into the switch and is ground at the battery and to the frame and engine to frame other grounds along the wire harness path ways. The computer or management module(s) are or can be fused as-well inside or outside just prior to entering the computer system to protect it. The electricity is sent threw the master fuse box/panel under the hood and then to the areas intended to go and some of these are either fused or relayed prior to going out and also the lighter components are sent to the fuse box inside the cabin likely under the dash or seat or both kick panels on each side of dash (just under) or up under dash above kick panels to fuse these in set or individually prior to going out to the device. The power itself cannot go out to the device if ground or power is broken and the power or positive side of the power may go straight to the device then the ground is fused prior to going to ground and vise-versa the device may be fused on the power side in same manner. So is the switch you speak of fused on the power side or ground side I would have to have the wiring diagram to know for sure but either way it can not activate if fuse is bad or ground or power is lost. The fuse can be on either ground or power sides. The main fuse panel under hood controls the power side first so most of those will on power side but can be on the ground side. They both work together, one without the other means it does not work. bad power wire then not power, bad ground then no power, bad fuse then no power, bad device then it does not work or work correctly.


Let me also explain it this way. The solenoid on the starter or prior to power entering the start to activate the starter is a switch that throws power to the starter. The ignition switch is also a switch. The ignition switch activates the solenoid. The solenoid is built to handle the power load unabated from the battery's full capacity. The ignition switch is not designed to handle the full load from the battery thus the solenoid has a switch that when the ignition switch is turn to start is activated and flips the solenoid on. This is done to protect the cabin from full load of the battery.

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