HILLMAN CAR CLUB
OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA INC

Tech Tips:
Hunter Electric Problem
HILLMAN CAR CLUB
OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA INC



From: Vic Hughes [v.hughes@austarmetro.com.au]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 8:07 PM
To: Hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

I've been driving Maxy the Hunter to and from work and he is proving to be very economical and generally reliable.  I would have said utterly reliable except for what happened this afternoon.  Got in, started up first time as always.  We got about 300 metres before suddenly the ignition/charge light came on and then went out and everything electrical stopped working.  No ignition, no lights, horn, blinkers, Nuthin!

It was like the battery had been completely disconnected, but a check under the bonnet showed that was not the case.  No wires melted, no fuses blown, nothing obviously wrong.  I pressed the solenoid button and it turned the motor over just like normal but it wouldn't fire because of no spark.  It was going dark and starting to drizzle so I did the only possible thing jiggled any electrical connection, I could find mainly those on the Alternator and Voltage regulator.  After 3 attempts at doing this, the electricity returned, Maxy started as normal and we drove home as if nothing had happened.

So, all you electro-sleuths out there, what is the problem?  Just a loose connection, or is something more sinister in the offing.  All suggestions welcome

Vic, the Voltaically challenged



From: John F. McRae [vk5po(at)bigpond.com]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 8:36 PM
To: Vic Hughes
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

Bastard when that happens!!  check those darn connectors under the dash Vic..  I am fairly certain that you will find the culprit there, and to check.  start the car again, and jiggle them..  hopefully it will "cut out" and you can pinpoint the fault mate.  Also another place to check is the wiring on the back of the Ig. switch too!  Good luck and I sympathise with your plight..'cos it did happen to me a few years ago, until I "fixed" it Vic
Cheers
John McRae
HEAPZ A 'UNTERS



From: Jan Eyerman [jan.eyerman(at)usa.net]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 1:35 AM
To: Vic Hughes; Hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: "Hillman " Electrical.....

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

There are two major possibilities (and I have experienced them both!) that could have caused this.

1) Check the wiring at the Ammeter (if equipped).  the entire electrical system wires through the Ammeter connections if either connector is loose then everything will shut down.

2) The fuse block....  if your car uses the Lucas 3 or 4 fuse unit it is possible that the problem lies there.  Despite the chorus of "Scions of Lucas" saying how wonderful Lucas is, there is a major problem in the basic design of the fuse block.  Specifically the fuse block is daisey chained accross the bases of the fuses.  I am not saying one fuse feeds into the next, but that the POWER for each fuse comes accross the base of the previous fuse.  A little corrosion on the first fuse will shut everything down.  There are two sollutions... one is to carefully clean the bases of each fuse and reinstall.  The second is to replace the fuse block with one from an auto parts store or hot rod shop.  I did the later after experiencing the same problem you did except that I was far from home when it happened I hot wired the car to get back.

Jan Eyerman



From: Keith Johnson [keiths55(at)bigpond.net.au]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 5:25 PM
To: minx
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electrical.....

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

I like your style Jan

Two foot of wire with a croc clip each end.  One to the battery hot side and one to volts side of the coil.
Try bypassing the computer in your modern machine that easilly. :)

Funny thing is that the same problem is the major cause of failure in modern cars.  The computer is no problem it is mostly bad connections to sensors etc that stops them.  The more everything changes the more it stays the same.

Servicing expensive medical equipment was the same most faults were leads and connectors.

Rule of thumb for the electrically challenged. Make sure all connections are clean and tight.  Then by "magic" it will all work again.

Keith



From: larry [59-hillman(at)prodigy.net]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 2:30 AM
To: Hillman; Vic Hughes
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

If it is wired like the rest of the Rootes cars & if the solenoid did turn over the engine & if the lights did NOT work:
The Battery is connected and grounded (earthed)
There are only a few wires that work the lights (it is not a fuse).  There is a Main wire from the solenoid to the regulator and then to the ignition and/or lights.
That's it.  There are no butt splices (lucas connectors wire to wire) just those TERMINALS.  One of those wires is broken or the terminal screw/Lucar is loose.
Last summer I rewired the front end of my '59 Hillman Minx and I can tell you every wire in the harness.  I can't imagine your car is that different.
Larry



From: Russ Maddock [sunbeammadd(at)yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 6:41 AM
To: Hillman List
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Does it still have the original fuse box?

When I first got my Hunter there were all sorts of electrical gremlins.  Someone tipped me off about the fuse box so we threw it away and fitted an aftermarket one.  I never had another electrical problem with the car.

Russ



From: John F. McRae [vk5po(at)bigpond.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 10:18 AM
To: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: "Hillman " Hunter wiring.

Vic, it would be highly likely that the problem lies in one of the Molex type plug/socket joiners under the dash, probably the white wire with the red trace.  You have described the symptom that is highly likely caused by the problem below.
I say that all that had happened was the POWER to the coil disappeared, thus the motor died, and your ign light illuminated

Here is what I did to fix the problem.

found the culprit(s), and used a jewellers type thin screw driver and removed the offending wires from within the connectors, and replaced the connectors with new ones.  I then put the connectors back into the molex plug/socket comb.  Make sure that you don't cut too much wire from the joiners, as it will be hard to rejoin them if the lengths are too short.

Fusebox:

I pulled that all out of the firewall, and totally removed the connectors and soaked it all in Vinegar to remove the corrosion that had built up over the years.
I doubt very much if this was the cause of your problem, but if you have parkers etc that seem to "flicker" doing the fusebox will fix that problem.
Tell me/us how you get on please, and if I can help further let me know please.
John McRae

there is only ONE car.. HUNTER



From: Keith Johnson [keiths55(at)bigpond.net.au]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 4:39 PM
To: minx
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter wiring.

Vic

The engine lost spark, the generator light came on and you came to a complete stop.  This means that whatever feeds power to the ignition circuit went away. The gen light comming on means that there is a path to ground on the switched side of the ignition switch.
I concur with all the other wise counsel :) one of those connectors is not working.
Easy fix is to get some contact cleaner (I use freon :) but something enviromentally friendly is all you can buy these days.  Pull each connector apart, spray with the cleaner.  Connect and disconnect them a few times. this may solve your problem.  If it is poor connections of the wires to the connector pins, then you are back to Johns "fix".

The fusebox is riveted together, so if the rivets under the fuse gets loose it will cause all sorts of fun.  I have cleaned these, hit with acid flux and soldered.  Remembering to wash off ALL the flux afterwards.

Keith



From: Ron Beckett [beckettr(at)optusnet.com.au]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 9:00 PM
To: Keith Johnson; minx
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter wiring.

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

The problem with the fuse box used on the Hunter (at least the Australian ones) is that the each part of the clip at each end of the fuse (if that makes sense) is separate.  The fuse holder clip isn't a single clip that would retain tension on the fuse.  The connectiosn get a bit high resistance, they get warm, the thermoplastic fusebox softens, the clips loosen even more, the clips get hotter, the plastic melts.  The connections under the dash to the fuse clips are Lucar spade connections.

It is an apalling design and was used on Range Rovers of the same era as well.

I disconnected the wiring on my Hunter and replaced the fuse box with one from a Japanese car many, many years ago.  That also gave me the opportunity to split the wiring over a lot more fuses rather than the three that the Lucas fuse box provided.

I wish I could do the same on my Range Rover fuse box.  It needs repair again.
A new one costs over A$400 it is quite complex (see how I repaired it last time at http://rangerovers.net/repairdetails/fusebox.html)

Ron



From: Vic Hughes [v.hughes(at)student.canberra.edu.au]
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 1:58 PM
To: Ron Beckett; Keith Johnson; minx
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter wiring.

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Ron,

This sounds quite straightforward.  Is it just a matter of finding a suitable fuse box (good 2nd hand??), mounting it and swapping the wires over?  Are there traps for the electrically challenged like myself?   I can read a wiring diagram and make sure that the appropriate wires are connected either side of the fuse so that the circuits can be completed.  I am also assuming that it is necessary to make good connections between wires and fuse holders.

Thanks, Vic



From: Ron Beckett [beckettr(at)optusnet.com.au]
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 7:03 AM
To: minx
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter wiring.

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Hi Vic,

At the time I did mine there were no suitable fuse holders available on the accessory market.  If I were doing it again today I'd use a Narva fuse holder with the modern blade type fuses.  See http://www.narva.com.au/Fuses_16.html

There are no traps as far as I can recall.  The wiring under the dash where it connects to the spade terminals will, in all likelihood, have melted insulation.  You'll need to cut that back and extend the wiring to wherever you mount the fuseblock.

Good joins are imperative.  I'd solder and cover with heatshrink if the wiring is still nice and clean and will take solder..

If you are mounting the fuse block under the bonnet, unwrap that black tape over the loom back to where it comes out of the current fuseblock grommet (the tape isn't adhesive backed), run the new wiring to the fuseblock but don't terminate it just yet.  Run any other wiring you need and then re-wrap it.  It will look stock.  Now terminate the cables to the fuseblock.  The reason for not terminating the ends at the fuseblock until the loom is re-wrapped is to merely get it neatly in the loom

I have a crimping tool for real Lucar connectors, not the usual insulated crimp connectors people use these days.

What I find is an excellent source of correctly colour-coded wire of the correct size is an old loom.
People throw them away when they strip cars.
Never!  They are too useful.

With the extra fuse position, you can rework the headlamp wiring.  Change it so that the headlamps are operated by a relay.  This will save your headlamp/indicator switch which is notoriously failure prone.  (The same switch was used on Ford Escorts of the same era.  I replaced the switch from a new one for an Escort but had to change the plug.  Colour coding was different, too.  However my recommendation is to fit a Bosch switch from an XF Ford Falcon.  It looks almost the same to the outside observer.  I have the drawings of the parts required to make it work.  After replacing the switch 4 times in about 15 years, I did this and drew conversion diagrams which I can email (in PDF format).  The wiring doesn't move with the switch like it does with the Lucas design and, as a result, the wiring never breaks.  The switch is far more robust.  The horn push is still on the stalk.



From: LINDEN M MALKI [importautosbdo(at)juno.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 5:27 AM
To: v.hughes(at)austarmetro.com.au
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

If the starter actually turned the motor, the main power connections are probably OK.  The commonest thing that kills the spark in a Lucas distributor is the little wire in the distributor between where the coil connects and the points.  On the 74 and down cars, the lead is available separately, there is an early (54412750) and a later (55413549); the difference is where the insulator fits into the distributor.  Sometimes you can get by with resoldering a new wire there, but the original wire is very flexible and I've seen replacement wires not work.
Linden



From: Tony Tynan [ttynan(at)iol.ie]
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 7:43 AM
To: v.hughes(at)austarmetro.com.au; LINDEN M MALKI
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

A tip to me from this or another old cars group is to use desoldering braided wire to rebuild the thing.  Costs pennies!   I will be running one of these as a test shortly.
TT



From: Graham Robinson 62 Husky [Leslie3008(at)bigpond.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 11:50 AM
To: Tony Tynan; v.hughes(at)austarmetro.com.au; LINDEN M MALKI
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Tony,
Braided stuff is fine as long as it doesn't short out against something it should be sleeve insulated anyway.
Gr.



From: Tony Tynan [ttynan(at)iol.ie]
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 12:09 AM
To: Graham Robinson 62 Husky; v.hughes(at)austarmetro.com.au; LINDEN M MALKI
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Yes indeed the insulation too on the originals is some kind of braided cotton, undoubtedly for flexibility.  If the stuff from the original connector cannot be salvaged along with the terminals I guess some alternative can be found, possibly outside of the automotive sector even.
All of this may not be worth the effort if new stock is available at a reasonable price of course
Rgds
TT



From: LINDEN M MALKI [importautosbdo(at)juno.com]
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2004 4:18 AM
To: ttynan(at)iol.ie
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Electro-gremlin

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

The common later style is readily available at about $8-10; the early type is still in the Moss book at $13.95.  I have both in stock, $8.50 each.  61 and down appear to be the early type, 65 and up the later, 62-64 used both, identified by dist number.  Should check dist number in general, as most of the distributors interchange and they do wind up in places they weren't born in.  (I have a customer with a 78 Spitfire which has a 61 Hillman distributor in it.)  The current supply is all for push-on (Lucar-type) connections; the old screw post ones are pretty well gone.  At one time, both type insulators came with both type connections.
Linden



From: John F. McRae [vk5po(at)bigpond.com]
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 09:02 AM
To: Vic Hughes

Hey Vic!

How are you getting on with that electrical prob mate?

I can't stand the suspense of not hearing anything!!!

I hope you have success.

John McRae



From: Vic Hughes [v.hughes(at)student.canberra.edu.au]
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 10:05 AM
To: John F. McRae
Cc: Hillman list
Subject: "Hillman " Hunter electrics

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Hi John,

I was just about to write about that.  Just to re-cap.... The problem is a sudden lack of electricity that seems to affect all systems, not just ignition but also lights.  It's happened twice while I was driving.  Both times the engine has died and while the moving car continued to turn the engine, (ie until I stopped or took it out of gear) the ignition light came on.  But after it had stopped, no lights came on anywhere.  I fixed it the first time by wiggling the wires at various connectors and fiddling with the fuses, but because I did that in a random way I had no idea what had made the difference.

Based on list advice I did two things, checked the wiring and connectors behind the dash (which look fine with no signs of melting or corrosion) and cleaned up the fuse box.  There was some corrosion here, but the holders themselves still grip the fuses firmly and cleaned up OK.  I drove the car a couple of times after that and thought I had solved problem, but this morning it did it again, this time at start-up in my driveway.  So I did one thing at a time.  Leaving the ignition switched on, I first wriggled the wiring at the back of the Ignition switch no change, Ignition light still out.  Then I removed and replaced the wiring block from the voltage regulator.  No change, ignition light still out.  Next I wriggled the wiring at the back of the Alternator...... and the ignition light came back on, the car started an ran normally.

So I am now absolutely convinced that the problem is at the alternator.  My next step will be to clean up all the wiring and connectors there.  Any further suggestions as to what might be causing it and why it is intermittent?

Cheers and thanks, Vic



From: Ron Beckett [beckettr(at)optusnet.com.au]
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 9:56 PM
To: Hillman list
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter electrics

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

If it is the original Lucas 15AC alternator, they suffer from diode pack failures.  The diodes fail in a mechanical sense.  The pack is made up of a number of plates onto which the diode junction as been electrically bonded.
The junction is then sealed with silicone rubber.  After some years the junctions break.

I found I could disassemble the pack and remove the broken diode, drill a hole in the plate, and press in a new press-mount diode.  The replacement diode needs to be the right polarity, i.e., anode to case or cathode to case depending upon which diode in the pack has failed.  All three diodes on a plate are the same polarity so it's easy to check.  Not all the plates are not the same polarity.  Cheap and easy fix.

Oh, one problem I had with my 660 when new (and this happened on the Nullabor Highway when it was a dirt road, middle of the night and absolutely pitch black) complete loss of lights at high speed.  A check revealed a blown fuse.  Replace fuse and get going again.  Not long after, it happened again.  And again.

Eventually I traced it to the courtesy light in the boot.  The cover over the connector wasn't fitted properly and the wire would swing around on the rough roads and occasionally short against the bodywork and blow the fuse.

Ron



From: Vic Hughes [v.hughes(at)austarmetro.com.au]
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 10:42 PM
To: Ron Beckett; Hillman list
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter electrics

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Ron,

But would diode failure explain he intermittent working?  Wouldn't it just shut down completely and not restart?  Like I said, most of the time it works fine, then the whole shebang shuts down.  I fix it by wriggling the wires on the back of the alternator.  After which it runs fine again until the next shutdown.

Please be patient, I am electricaly challenged.  However it's definitely not the fuses which remain unblown.  Perhaps I should just take it to my tame sparky, the one who recognised the Lucas C40 generator from the Alpine   :(

Vic,  who once had a headlight fuse blow when doing 90 mph at night on the F3 freeway going down the hill near Ourimbah



From: Ron Beckett [beckettr(at)optusnet.com.au]
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 8:11 AM
To: Hillman list
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter electrics

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

No, you're right.  I would have thought the car would continue to run off the battery even if the alternator lead is dicky.

Which lead seems to fix the problem.

I seem to recall the symptoms of a duff diode pack was low charge.

Losing a headlight on that hill at night is *not* something I'd want to do at freeway speeds!

Ron



From: LINDEN M MALKI [importautosbdo(at)juno.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 10:42 AM
To: v.hughes(at)austarmetro.com.au
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman " Hunter electrics

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

A diode failure normally takes out 1/3 of the alternator, as an alternator is actually three output circuits a third f a wave out of phase (that levels out the wiggles in the power output).  The "ignition" light actually comes off of the alternator (or regulator, on a generator system), and is the other end of a circuit coming off of the ignition switch.  So when you turn on the car but haven't started the engine, it only has voltage at the switch end so current can flow through the light.
When the engine starts and the alternator charges, it puts current back up that wire that balances the voltage from the other end and no current flows, and the light goes off.  If this is the wire you're wiggling when you fiddle with the alternator, that explains the light.  The main output wire on the alternator goes to a terminal on the starter solenoid which is connected directly to the battery.  If this wire gets loose at the alternator end, there is no current going back to the battery but if the battery is OK it can run for awhile during the day, but not long at night with the lights on.  (I once had this wire come off in a Datsun pickup at night and it ran about 10 blocks before it went dead.)  Check the other end of that wire at the starter solenoid -- that is a common power connection for most of the car.  It's possible that losing the alternator connection could allow the battery to drop just enough to turn you off but not so much that reconnecting it can't get it charging again.  The connection problems could be inside the alternator or outside.
Linden


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