Check Engine light/ 12 v. coil wire

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Check Engine light/ 12 v. coil wire

Postby jimvette » 24 Aug 2005, 02:32

Hi All:

My first post...

I have an 83 Chevette 4 door automatic with 81,000 miles. It has been a really good car up until now and I enjoy driving it too! :D

I had to change the starter about 6 months ago. At that time I moved the coil over to the fender well by drilling one hole and using an existing bolt, it really helped out when I needed to change the starter (again) yesterday. So after changing the starter out, I notice a brown wire coming off the plug-in terminal off the coil that is not attached to anything. The car started well and even ran good but the "check engine" light is now ON and the gas mileage seemed REALLY bad today. I'm thinking the "massive" torque of the engine pulled the wire off the motor somewhere as it is only about 8-10" long.

Any idea where the wire goes? Is it a tach/rpm connection? What else would make the "Check Engine" light stay on?


here is what I have:
(gages are approx.)

left side of terminal
Heavy red wire (12 gage) from firewall (12v?)
thin red wire (16 gage) to dist.

right side of terminal
thin dark brown wire (16 gage) goes to/from dist.
thin light brown wire (16 gage) hangs down near dist. (wire in question)

I spent a considerable amont of time looking to see where it may connect but it is very difficult to see much in that area.

Thanks for any light you may shed on this issue.

Jim
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Postby Tortron » 24 Aug 2005, 06:44

likely to be a tech wire, but that dosnt explain the engine light. so im no help
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Postby shuvit-tim » 24 Aug 2005, 09:31

welcome to the forum jom, unfortunately i know little about american chevettes so cant be of much help :( try PM'ing chevettegirl - she seems to know her beans.
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Postby Chevette Girl » 10 Sep 2005, 07:14

Didn't get a chance to look under the hood yet, was too busy changing the radiator (Little Beast has been piddling on the floor of late)... But I don't think it's a tach wire, as far as I know Chevettes don't get those...

I'll try to get a better look this weekend... it'll give me something to do while the bondo sets :)
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Postby Chevette Girl » 15 Sep 2005, 04:13

So, JimVette, did you figure it out?

I'm afraid I'm not much help, I went under the hood with a flashlight and a mirror (no jokes, boys!) and tried to trace the wires (especially the brown one I found) from the ignition coil (mounted over the fuel pump in my car) to wherever they end up, but mine go into a black plastic wire-keeper and disappear behind the starter, and short of removing all bits that were in the way (sorry, not till I go in there to replace the valve cover gaskets will I dig that deep into my engine), I couldn't follow them past the starter. My car's wires are all hiding away, nice and tidy but it's not a good examination model... my other one might be better, I'll try to have a look next time I go out where it's hiding, and I'll also have a look at my spare engine next time I visit my mom (it's in my shed at her place), I don't think we disconnected anything more than we needed to remove it...

(I did discover an orange wire that's not connected to f***-all that looks like it should plug into something in the firewall but I don't see where it goes, any ideas on that one?)

So off to plan B - wiring diagrams. I may be an engineer, but it sure ain't electrical, I'm not sure what the coil is represented as on the diagram and of the 3 different ones I looked at (one in Haynes manual, two in 1986 GM Shop Manual), I didn't see anything labeled "ignition coil" or anything close, and I don't really know what the clusters of boxes with numbers in them represent (I suspect wiring harnesses or connections or something). So then I just started looking for anything with brown wires...

-front side signal lights. Probably not it.
-one from somewhere near the alternator that looks like it hits a wiring harness and turns into the red wire that goes to the starter. Probably also not it.
- one between the oil pressure switch and bowl vent valve. Probably not it, but there is one from the oil pressure switch that runs to a vacuum advance relay, which is the only thing I see on the diagrams that has 5 wires...
-one from something labeled "speed switch" that has 4 wires coming from it which meets up with the oil pressure switch eventually.
-one brown & white one from the vacuum advance solenoid that meets up with the vacuum advance relay and is also connected to something labeled "ssc solenoid"

I'd tend to think maybe it's got to do with your vaccum advance, which would probably affect your gas mileage noticeably and might cause the "check engine" light to come on?

(there's no mention in the diagrams of what goes to the engine light either).

Now, if I can only figure out what my orange wire is! :)

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Postby Chevette Girl » 17 Sep 2005, 01:35

done a bit more research...
:roll: I have nothing better to do than read Haynes for fun since my boyfriend's off reviewing Federation and Empire game books... :wink:

apparently when the Check Engine light comes on, there's a computerlike device under the dash somewhere around the hood release bracket, according to Haynes.

apparently, when you turn the ignition on and then use a wire to ground the diagnostic thingie, the "Check Engine" light will flash a code at you telling you it's working, then it will flash codes for everything else it thinks is wrong... each code flashes three times... the first code is 1-2, one flash followed by a pause, followed by two flashes. If you do this with the engine running, it won't flash 1-2 unless there's a problem with your distributor reference (wait till the ignition is on or the car is running before you connect the Test and Ground terminals - once I saw this done on a Datsun, we used a paperclip to jump the terminals).

1-5 is the coolant sensor circuit

2-1 is the throttle position sensor

2-3 is the M/C solenoid

4-4 is lean exhaust

4-5 is rich exhaust

5-1 is the Programmable Read Only Memory Calibration Unit.

If you try it and get something else, PM me that you posted it and I'll look it up in the Shop Manual, it's gotta be in there somewhere but it doesn't have an index like trusty old Haynes...

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lead pipe

Postby jimvette » 22 Sep 2005, 05:25

Hi chevette girl:

Thanks so much for the posts. I will check those asap.

I spent the last week digging and replacing the water supply to the house. It sprung a major leak under the foundation. It only took 3 days of digging and removing the rocks the ****ing plumbers put in the hole over the line 50 years ago to find it and the rest of the week to fix it. Several rocks were so big we had to winch them out!

Anyway, the aflicted pipe was snaked down through a jackhammered hole in a granite shelf below the foundation. the pipe was made of lead like the crazy romans used! It split about 4 inches down the side and used more water than a toilet flush the entire time it was on. Can't wait for the water bill :roll:

thanks again,

Jimvette
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Postby Chevette Girl » 24 Sep 2005, 00:27

I'll dig out the scanner and get you those wiring diagrams...

There are times I'm glad I own a condo, the water bill's paid for! And if the pipe split outside the house, it's their problem! :?
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