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Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina?


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Nriz
New User

May 22, 2019, 12:39 PM

Post #1 of 10 (182 views)
Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

My car abruptly went from running perfectly to extremely rough, and the dash lights started acting up at the same time. I got an OBDII reading, and it showed faults in the MAF and O2 sensors, random cylinder misfires, and a fault in a transmission chip. I was told that all these systems rely on electrical grounds to the chassis, so a fault with that ground would explain everything happening at once. I was told that I should check the negative battery terminal to chassis ground cable and the engine block to firewall ground cable. The battery ground was easy. The cable was a corroded mess and I replaced it, but I can't find the engine block to firewall ground cable. I was told it would be near the alternator, but I'm not finding it. Any help? It's a 97 lumina 3.1L.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 22, 2019, 2:33 PM

Post #2 of 10 (167 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

There won't necessarily be one from the engine to the body. Many of them go right from the battery negative to the body instead.

That was a pretty far out guess from somebody. Yes, every electrical component in the car utilizes a ground but they don't all use the same one. There are body grounds all over that car for various components.

Somebody that understands electrical systems needs to tackle one of those issues and see where it leads. They may or may not be connected.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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May 22, 2019, 3:43 PM

Post #3 of 10 (150 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

Follow the neg to engine block, lower part. Others throughout vehicles can be just bare braided wire with eyelets ends. By M.Y. 2000 or so most were cheap junk zinc and crumble like a cracker going thru that now on one.
Found that of all places Walmart by name has real copper, fine stranded cable with eyelet ends but in black insulation. Oh my then another whole place if you choose the right gauge has DIY copper ends so buy the longest ones and make them up for critical ones. Hard to find real solder too. Some butt head that long ago decided there shouldn't be lead (the metal) in solder! I have miles of it from ages ago but now not good paste as the good stuff makes smoke and an odor so that isn't sold => go look around I did. None.


Ebay that stuff and plenty of it if you need to make up wire and it work without endless frustration of child-safe products if the happen to eat the stuff!


Tom



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 22, 2019, 3:49 PM

Post #4 of 10 (145 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

As I already explained, there are no braided cables or "engine to body" grounds on these vehicles. The body ground goes directly from the battery to the body.

Individual components have body grounds points throughout the car also.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 22, 2019, 4:00 PM

Post #5 of 10 (139 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In





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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 22, 2019, 4:30 PM

Post #6 of 10 (129 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

Understood, unit body by rights whole metal body should be ground if right off the battery. They still end up here and there I notice when they are broken.
NAPA had a hard time finding even the cheaper metal braided ones I just like those better but not if they can't take it. Whatever total metal they used in my own '97 Chev anything is so weak a bump it's dust. More to make up if only have around too important.
Just BTW the one the crumbled the worst was near exhaust heat? Not road salt damage so blame it on metal type says there's no lead on package just the gauge? No part look up just ask for the right length of what you are replacing,


T



Nriz
New User

May 22, 2019, 4:44 PM

Post #7 of 10 (124 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

The far out guess was based on the odd mix of components to go out so suddenly, without affecting any other components. I'm certainly open to hearing other suggestions. Cash is quite short right now, so I need to try to fix it myself before I give in and pay a pro. I've got a temporary ride, so I don't risk damaging the car by driving it in this condition.

Anyway, I followed the wires from the negative terminal. One goes to the body ground, and the other ends right next to the starter. Would that be the engine block ground? It's a bundle of copper wire, the insulation shriveled back leaving the last 4 inches or so exposed. A little bit of green corrosion visible. I don't see anything the exposed wire might be shorting on. I don't have time right now to get a replacement, but I'll get on that tomorrow. Could a bad connection there be causing my troubles?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 22, 2019, 5:00 PM

Post #8 of 10 (111 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

You have what I very likely multiple different issues. As I stated earlier, you don't look for a single solution for all problems. You start with one problem and troubleshoot it as it is the only problem and see where it leads.

You are looking for a crystal ball answer to all the problems and we simply don't work that way. We systematically troubleshoot one problem at a time. If that leads us to a shared failure, then that's a bonus.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Nriz
New User

May 22, 2019, 5:13 PM

Post #9 of 10 (102 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In

Any suggestions on which issue(s) to start with and how to troubleshoot them? I'm not any kind of mechanic or other car expert, but I can fix most things myself if I can figure out exactly what's wrong. I just don't have the knowledge or experience to make a diagnosis.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 22, 2019, 5:18 PM

Post #10 of 10 (96 views)
Re: Where's the engine ground cable on my 97 lumina? Sign In


Quote
I'm not any kind of mechanic or other car expert, but I can fix most things myself if I can figure out exactly what's wrong. I just don't have the knowledge or experience to make a diagnosis.


And that is why you are going to need someone that understands and knows how to test electrical circuits and has the equipment to do it.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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