Jump to content

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse

- - - - -

'78 Brat electrical issues

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 DatSub


    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts
  • Portland, OR

Posted 03 July 2012 - 08:40 PM

My Brat has been running extremely poorly and I think it's something electrical.

I recently had some people work on this car and since it was returned to me, it's been bogging down a lot. When it does this, power cuts, I have to drop gears and give it the beans to get anywhere at all & I can smell tons of uncooked gas. Backfires too, mostly from carb, but also from exhaust.

Also, since it was returned, the indicator lights have been all effed & all gauges are bottomed out, except the speedo, which appears to run a bit slow. The only one that works is the parking brake indicator. When I have it on and hit the left turn signal, the fasten seat belts light flashes. The right turn signal just makes the brake light dim and brighten. Turn signals themselves work fine, as well as the headlights.

Here's what I've done so far:

Checked battery - holds charge @ 12.2 & have swapped with another same story.
Checked alternator - runs @ battery initially after start-up goes up to 15.2, then settles to 13.4-14.2 depending on how it's idling(I have no choke connected at the moment, but the problem is irregular in interval, so that doesn't seem to be a likely culprit). Because of it being up to 15.2, I swapped in a new voltage regulator. Works a LITTLE better, but still bogging down!
Checked impedence of coil @ all terminals - numbers match up.
Swapped fuses
Checked continuity - both battery terminals have continuity to the body - is that normal?

Heads are freshly rebuilt.
Fuel pump & filter are relatively new, so it's unlikely that's the problem.

I've also heard that alternators can still be going bad, though appearing to give fine voltage - could this be the case?

Kinda off-note: Can I swap in an EA-81 internally regulated alternator or do I then have to change out the distributor and coil as well? I've been thinking about doing the whole upgrade, but only have cash for the alt.

I realize I may have multiple problems, I am just stumped as all the diagnosis I have done so far has been fruitless, and it just seems strange. Any ideas?


#2 Brat78


    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • 131 posts
  • Richmond Hill, GA

Posted 03 July 2012 - 08:48 PM

What was it in the shop for?

#3 DatSub


    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts
  • Portland, OR

Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:53 PM

Well... I bought it from a shop. They re-built the block, but apparently didn't do much else, though it was described to me as a "daily driver" and would be able to take me around for work. I barely got home and it was barely running & misfiring a bunch, and I demanded they take it back and work on it. It turned out it was crossed spark plug cables! Even then, I found tons of weirdly wrong things, like really loose connections, 5 of the 8 fuses were the wrong amperage, etc.


Found that the bulbs in the dash are blown, by way of switching them around. Seems like something surged & blew some ************. Also, I wiggled the wires back there and now the gas gauge is all the way to the top. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure I don't have a completely full tank, though it may be nearly full. Haven't tested speedo.

Any other things I should check? What about that resistor on the coil?

Oh! I also checked the voltage and it is much more stable with this new voltage regulator. I didn't observe it go above 14.2 even when pulling the throttle.


#4 talldude


    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • 163 posts
  • Placerville

Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:14 AM

Whenever a bunch of things go wrong electrically, there is a chance you have a bad ground somewhere. Check all your ground wires/straps to make sure they are connected and that there is no corrosion or oxidization at the connection. Being old cars, even connected wires can have a lot of resistance and won't let enough electricity through.

#5 DatSub


    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts
  • Portland, OR

Posted 14 July 2012 - 12:11 PM

That's a good point, talldude. Especially now that I've gone through and replaced the coil, alternator, and voltage regulator & that didn't fix it(though it does seem a *little* better).

Also, please tell me if this seems to be a symptom of bad grounding - usually only my brake light indicator works in my dash - nothing else does except the gas alternates between showing empty and showing full. Well last night I fired it up and once it was warmed up, one of the turn signal indicators was flashing. My turn signal wasn't on and it was flashing irregularly.

Either way, I'm going to go through a diagram and check all the ground points. Thanks for the tip and I'll let you know how it goes. The next step if that doesn't work is to check the fuel pressure.

Thanks again!

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users