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The "CHG" light is on, seat belt reminder chimes. Then CLICKS and shorts out on first crank.


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Hoping someone can help me with an electrical issue I'm having in my '77 280z.


This is a car that I've had for a while and has never been a daily driver under my ownership, and likely for some time before. It was a barn find I was going to use for the really nice black interior, but I ended up not needing it. It presents nicely, so now I'm planning on selling it after getting it running.


  • I used to start it every month or two and drive it around a bit. 
  • A year or two ago I accidentally used the wrong key in the ignition. The key became stuck, I couldn't deal with it at the time, and it sat for some time. 
  • I've now disassembled the lock mechanism and was able to remove the key.
  • I can now turn the ignition either with a screwdriver in the bare "ignition switch" piece, or by connecting the entire lock mechanism and using the key.
  • I have not yet reconnected the lock mechanism to the steering column.
  • I have connected a new red top battery. Plenty of juice.


So, I connect the new battery. Turn ignition to the first position. The Orange "CHG" light comes on:





  • Orange CHG light is on.
  • Car beeps 5 times or so (seatbelt reminder?)
  • I try to start the car.
  • Makes a single loud "CLICK".
  • Does not crank. "It's dead".
  • Orange light is now off.
  • I cannot get the orange light to come back on. Removing key, turning ignition back, etc. does not work.
  • Connections on the battery look fine and tight.
  • If I remove the battery and fool around with things for 5 minutes, the light comes back on for the next time. Not sure exactly what fixes it.


I should note that when the orange light is NOT on, the car is "dead". No seatbelt alarm. Does not crank, etc. Let me know if I can provide any other information.



  • What is the function of the CHG light? Should it be on when key is in first position? Does it being on indicate a problem?
  • Has anyone experienced this loud click + short before?
  • Is there some kind of security lockout due to the lock mechanism not being installed?
  • I notice the 2 wires below in my wiring harness. Now not connected to anything. Not sure if they ever were. Would these be an issue?
Thanks everyone.
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Without knowing what fooling around with things means, it has all of the symptoms of a bad battery connection.  The connection will pass low current, to light the charge light (which is correct, with the engine not running and the key on), and beep the seat belt beeper.  The high current draw of the starter when you try to Start causes the bad connection to heat up and open and everything goes dead.  Check the connections at the battery posts, and the cable itself if you have the clamped-on "fixed" cables.  They have to be cleaned with a battery terminal cleaner to be sure, and clamped tightly.  No screwdriver-scraping and press-on-and-twist operations.

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Everything sounds like it is working exactly as intended except for the click and then completely dead. And as Zed Head suggested above, that is probably as simple as bad battery cable connections.


The charge light is supposed to light up if the key is on and the engine is not running.

The beeper is supposed to beep six times or so before stopping.


Clean your battery terminals and cables and the "click-dead" thing should go away.


As for the two small wires hanging down below the steering column, I believe those two used to connect to your ignition lock. They are used to beep the beeper when the key is in the ignition and the door is opened. A reminder that you have left the key in the ignition. If you removed the ignition lock portion, you had to disconnect those two wires to get the lock out of the car.


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I got lucky with my '77.  The key code sticker was still stuck to the inside of the glove box lid.  A locksmith made a copy and after some more smoothing of the cuts it works like a charm.  The one that came with it would pull out in any position, fall out actually.

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