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Questions and Answers

A Wacky Wankel

Q. We bought this car about 6 months ago and the previous owner had lived in Washington state for a while. The salt water had corroded the negative battery cable to the point that it was not connecting at all. We changed both the pos. and neg. cables at the same time and ever since then, we have had weird electrical issues, especially with the gauges.

1. 1982 Mazda RX-7
2. 12A Wankel Rotary
3. Manual Trans
4. approx. 210,000 miles
5. Carb
6. No ABS
7. A/C - No P/S - No CC

When ever you use anything electrical, even the brakes, the temperature gauge goes almost, if not all the way, to max reading and the oil pressure gauge (which always reads maximum) drops to about normal. The car is not over heating the temp. gauge just reads that way. As long as the car is idle, and there is nothing else on (e.g. headlights, brakes, etc.), the temp. reads normal.

We have replaced the alternator with a brand new one and that did not resolve the issue. We replaced the alternator because it over-charged the battery and we thought the issue could be caused due to a faulty voltage regulator, but it turned out it was the wrong alternator to begin with.

The previous owner also had an alarm system and a massive stereo in the car before it was stolen. All the wires and some parts are still left from the alarm and stereo. We are at a loss of what to do. Please help.


A. There's two things I can suggest to correct this problem. First, get a chunk of 8 gauge wire and run it from the body to the negative terminal of the battery. Find a screw or bolt on the firewall to connect it to. Most cars have a second lead wire in the negative cable for this. You may have a good engine ground, but the body ground may be bad. The second is to remove all the alarm and stereo parts and tape off all the loose ends.

If neither of this suggestions work, then you will need to go to an auto electric shop where they have special testers to locate the problem.

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