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Automotive/2003 Suburban electrical problem


JD wrote at 2008-02-02 21:31:57
 I would install an other ground wire from the engine to battery neg. and another ground wire from the battery to the chassi (body also ) Pick a really solid place to attach to the body, and frame , be sure that there a is good, clean,  connection .  Use a heavy wire for the engine to battery , cause thats what carries the the current for the starter.  I would also look at the thru the firewall connection or where the harness attaches to the fuse block, very difficult, be sure to disconnect the battery ground, you don't need a dead short.   JD

Brandon wrote at 2010-08-13 21:47:42
We had a similar problem and there is a common ground on the top of the engine that caused similar issues on our suburban.  If you stand looking at the engine from the front there is a grounding wire that attaches to the top left rear of the engine.  I found ours was corroded and just fell off completely once I touched it.  I put a new end on the wire and cleared some paint off on the firewall (non-moving part) and attached it with a self-tapping screw.  Problem solved for less than $5.00.

ClockFixer wrote at 2014-06-17 08:52:06
A symptom listed in the above post is that the clock is reset, but closer inspection might reveal the clock is probably not reset until the engine is cranked. When turning the key to activate the accessories the clock is probably still correct. It is not until the starter is activated until the clock is reset and loses time. If this is the case the problem is most likely intermittent high-current fault to the vehicle ground, one that pulls down the voltage significantly. After reading the above answer I actually noticed sparking from near where the negative battery cable attaches to the engine block when the starter was engaged. Cleaning and tightening the bolt to the engine block did not fix the problem which was followed up with the purchase of a replacement negative battery cable. When I replaced the negative battery cable I also attached a new eye connecter to the small wire that also attaches to the engine block by the same bolt that attaches the negative battery cable to the engine block. This combination of new battery cable and new eye connecter repairs fixed the clock resetting problem and the battery drain problem.


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Ernest (Ernie) Kenward


The challenges I most enjoy are thoughtful technical questions of a trouble-shooting nature in both electrical, power electronic and mechanical systems, mainly automotive but also machine control and small-machine PLC applications. Please note, however, that I am NOT a walking shop manual! I DO, however, make it a point to have those manuals and other service literature for those vehicles I DO own, and highly recommend that anyone serious about maintenance or modification of their vehicles do the same; MOST of your answers WILL be found there. For that matter, I do NOT go out of my way to acquire shop manuals for any vehicle I do NOT own! That being the case, any general query to me along the lines of "What is the meaning of this code read from the ECU of my 2015 XYZ?" or "Where is the fuse for the windshield washer pump found?" (try your car's electrical distribution panel for a start!) will not go far. What I do offer is a pretty good collection of literature, insights and hands-on experience with 1950s to 1980's Ford products (plus a developing database of information and practice with the Mercedes diesel cars), along with an engineering perspective and the ability to design and implement custom control, electrical and mechanical subsystems for vehicles. For that reason, I am happy to make my thoughts and efforts available to those who are of like mind and/or are seriously making a point of learning about their vehicles. Use the Opportunity to Learn!


A key skill in my work and hobby pursuits both is STRATEGIC TROUBLESHOOTING. I am a senior instructor in Electrical Engineering Technology at a leading Canadian polytechnic, my areas being Electrical Power and Industrial Control, electrical and electronics design and manufacturing, and AutoCAD and related CAD/CAE software - plus equipment problem-solving and new equipment design and prototyping. Hobby-wise, I have 30-plus years of experience in auto restoration, mostly in electrical and mechanical systems. Ongoing projects include a 1959 Edsel Corsair, my 1978 Ford E250 class-B motorhome conversion, and the care and upkeep of my Mercedes 300CD. My vehicles become engineering test beds for electrical and mechanical upgrades as ideas present themselves. This includes the design and production of circuit boards to restore or enhance features for which no OEM replacement parts are obtainable, or where better specifications or reliability can be had via newer concepts. Regarding the E250 RV conversion, I designed and continue to revise a custom power distribution system, managed by a Programmable Controller (PLC); this has made most revisions as easy as uploading new firmware as I develop it. The "mini" PLC is a powerful device for custom automotive control systems. One good example (there are many) would be the Moeller "Easy Relay"; these offer a wealth of control, monitoring and variable-and-status display options for such projects. A good example project which has worked well is that one for my RV noted above, which has been on the job - revised in firmware only - for a decade now. It is a load management and charging control system to avoid the sulfation-induced early failure that often befalls deep-cycle batteries used in RV power applications. The battery installed in 2003 lasted long enough to more tnan pay for the PLC that contributed to its longer life ... and the PLC will be there for the next battery as well!

IEEE - senior member ... past WCC Student Activities; SME - senior member ... past chair, greater Vancouver chapter chair 318; Edsel Owners' Club - have served in various capacities on chapter executive during seventies; have been Power and Driveline resource on the Edsel Owners' Club "E-team" for more than a decade.

Graduate of UBC

Awards and Honors
Certificates of appreciation from IEEE and SME for work in student and chapter activities

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