Steering column gets hot.

Electrical and Ignition

  1. toolmanmike

    toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    On my way home from Farmington yesterday I noticed that the column shift bowl got pretty hot. I would say I couldn't hold my hand on it for longer than a minute. I think the only thing running through the switch is the ignition power which is a Pertronics unit and shouldn't take that much current. Anyone else experience this?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  2. straightlinespeed

    straightlinespeed Sometimes I pretend to be normal Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    Mike, you should have a bunch of wires that run up your column, turn signal, hazard, horn, ignition, light for the shift indicator. I would look at the white flat connector just below your dash. On my car you could see that the large Red ignition wire melted thru the connector. It was fixed at some point prior to me owning it. Im not a wiring guru, but Im pretty sure that connector is a weak spot and can cause a lot of problems. Just one area to look at.
     
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    • Moparparts

      Moparparts FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Could be the engine exhaust heat traveling up through the column depending on what year you have. My friend had that problem with his 73 Duster, he is running the early HP exhaust on his 340. He used insulation in between the column jacket and tube down at the bottom which helped with the problem. From the factory all they used was a piece of foam on some years/moldels held in by a nylon seal(foam) holder
       
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      • AJ/FormS

        AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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        Almost everything on the car, short of the lights,is in some way controlled by the ignition sw.If your sw is in the bowl, there you go; Put an ammeter in series with the battery plus, and start unplugging stuff.

        The biggest draws on that switch, are probably the heater blower motor and the alternator field circuit. If you have wired your start and run circuits together, for the ignition, you may be powering up the starter solenoid full time.IDK

        What are we working on? 70upA?
         
        Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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        • toolmanmike

          toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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          I need to check that out. I had a voltage regulator jumping in and out. I replaced the regulator but it was still charging at around 15 volts after a couple hours on the road. I had a regulator fastener that wouldn't tighten. I may have a weak ground. I have a nutsert kit coming to help that. Thanks for the tip.
           
        • 67Dart273

          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          If there's enough electrical heat up there to cause that, you should be smelling and maybe seeing electrical smoke and melting plastic (wiring, insulation.) I've never heard of the exhaust problem, but frankly, it makes more sense at the moment than an electrical problem
           
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          • toolmanmike

            toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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            I had that problem with my 66 until i put a new bushing at the base of the column. My car is a 36,000 mile original and the column bushing and seal could be gone! (like my valve cover gaskets) Thanks for the tip. I didn't think about that. I'll check that out!
             
          • toolmanmike

            toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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          • toolmanmike

            toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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            70 Swinger. original everything. When I was driving, nothing was running but the engine.
             
          • toolmanmike

            toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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            Good point. I didn't smell electrical that should have built up that much heat. Thanks, Maybe just a old column seal (I hope)
             
          • toolmanmike

            toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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            Still shaking this car down. It's a 36,000 mile original. I took it on a 3 hour (one way) trip and made my list. Overcharging, vibration @ 60-70. (original u joints I'm sure. Do a balance too), heat in the column. (a column bushing and seal would be a cool thing. Knowing it's probably not electrical would be a bonus), I wish Mopar power steering wasn't so loose feeling. More camber? (another thread). Thanks and please don't stop posting ideas. If you solved my problem thank you. You may uncover a fix for someone else's problems.
             
          • AJ/FormS

            AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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            Add 2 or 3 reaction discs into the P/Sbox, and Voila
            Less boost, more feedback,Less sawing on the wheel.A wee bit harder to parallel park, with an aftermarket teensy wheel. But I have popeye arms anyway.lol
            I picked up a kit from the local Mopar dealer. It had several different discs in there, of IIRC two sizes.That was 15 years ago or so. I think I got the PN out of their performance catalog.
            I don't recall how many of what size I ended up putting in. I think I did it twice to get it right, So that would be 2 extras for sure.
            I think E-Berg came up with an easier solution. It involved changing the boost pressure in the pump.I think it was a Saginaw pump. I had no luck with the Federals.They couldn't keep up.
            The hardest part about changing the discs was RnRing the box.
            What I ended up with was a box that feels sorta like a manual, but with a faster ratio.Thus, I could run a smaller diameter steering wheel with a fatter rim.Waaay more fun to drive.
            Maybe put some more air pressure in your tires?
             
            Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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            • toolmanmike

              toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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              ??? interesting concept. Tell me more.
               
            • 70dustah

              70dustah Well-Known Member

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              • RedFish

                RedFish Well-Known Member

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                I'll poke my best guess in here,,, the ignition switch is failing. These switches have quite substantial contacts inside and have a Bakelite back on a pot metal housing. A heck of a lot of heat can be generated here without offering smoke or odor. The first thing I would look at is the white plastic harness connector for/from this switch. It's under the dash. The failure is more often there but can be in the switch or even both places.
                And by the way, in the case of a 90 Geo I had, the key was getting pretty warm before that switch failed completely.
                I have no idea how this relates to power steering fluid pressure.
                 
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                • toolmanmike

                  toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                  Thanks and good to know. Power steering? I mentioned other things I'd like to fix. lol
                   
                • Mr Gorsky

                  Mr Gorsky I know words, I have the best words...

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                  Off the top of my head, pretty much everything in the cabin runs through the ammeter.

                  If your reading is normal, you're sweet and it's likely just engine bay heat.
                   
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                  • toolmanmike

                    toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                    My charging voltage is high though. around 15 volts. I want to make sure the regulator is grounded properly first.
                     
                  • halifaxhops

                    halifaxhops It's going to get stupid around here! FABO Gold Member

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                    Mike you have a light for the key? Mine had the wrong bulb in it and it got pretty warm.
                     
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                    • toolmanmike

                      toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                      I'll have to check. The whole shift bowl got pretty toasty though.
                       
                    • halifaxhops

                      halifaxhops It's going to get stupid around here! FABO Gold Member

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                      Maybe a easy fix.
                       
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                      • toolmanmike

                        toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                      • halifaxhops

                        halifaxhops It's going to get stupid around here! FABO Gold Member

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                        • Speedometer, instrument cluster, brake light, high beam, oil pressure, turn signal (interior): #158
                        • Heater and a/c control: #1892
                        • Radio: #1893
                        • Transmission gear indicator, ashtray light: #161
                        • Reverse indicator (four-speed transmission): #53
                        • Ignition light: #1445
                        • Glove compartment: #1891
                        • Dome light, trunk and underhood lights: #1004
                        • Fasten seat belts, electric defroster switch: #1445
                        • Headlights: #6014
                        • Front turn signals, rear stop and turn signals: #1157
                        • Backup lights: #1156
                        • Rear license plate, fender-mounted turn signal indicators, side marker lights: #168
                         
                        Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
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                        • KitCarlson

                          KitCarlson Well-Known Member

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                          Adding caster will make steering heavier, and more stable. Moog offset a-arm bushings indexed for that increase caster range.
                           
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                          • toolmanmike

                            toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                            Thanks for that info. I thought there were bushings for more caster.
                             
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