Does anyone recognize this automotive electrical problem? Is it easy to fix?

Quite some time ago–this turns out to be rather embarrassing–we had get a new alternator. So we took the car down to the shop, had them confirm that the problem was indeed the alternator, and told them to go ahead with the work.

When I picked up the car next day, just after dusk, I noticed something wasn’t quite right: none of the dash lights worked, and so I immediately headed back to the shop. There, they fixed the immediate problem by replacing a fuse or two, and for the time being everything seemed to be working correctly. Sadly that was not the case, because a major issue still existed, as it does to this day. The radio does not remember any presets–or even the last station listened to, the dome light doesn’t come on when you open the door, and the automatic shoulder belt retraction doesn’t work. In other words, with the one exception of the headlamps, signals, and parking lights, nothing works until you put the key in the ignition and turn it to at least the first position. For the shoulder strap extension and retraction mechanism to work, you have to turn the key to the second position.

The embarrassing part about all this is that I didn’t see the general pattern until long after the repair warranty had expired. I only know several things which should work as soon as you open the door now only work with the key inserted and turned to the first or second position clockwise of the initial “off” state. Radio stations can be preset and remembered, but only while the key is turned to at least the first position. Turn the car off and remove the key, and any presets are lost. I’m basically ignorant of how these electrical systems work, but I can only presume that the same source which is supposed to power the shoulder belt mechanism should also make it possible for the radio to remember the station presets, and that this should work before you put the key into the ignition.

Is this an easy fix, e.g. is it merely a matter of having the wrong fuses somewhere?

This is on a 59 Borgward?
While I might recognize the problem I don’t recognize the make, model, and year of the car since you didn’t bother to put that in your post.
Throw me a bone here would ya?

Sounds like someone moved the wrong wire somewhere, not the wrong fuse. Basically one of the unswitched circuits was moved to the switched circuit side of things.

There’s no reason to move wires around like that just to change an alternator, at least not on any car I’ve ever seen.

It’s probably not too hard to fix. Someone just needs to trace down the circuit in question and figure out what it’s hooked to now. Then again, following those wires is easier on some vehicles than others.

I would go with a bad main fuse. I would look up the actual wiring diagram for the exact car, but since the OP doesn’t care to give details like year make and model, they are on their own.

Have you checked all the fuses? I’d expect the unswitched circuit to have its own fuse, apart from the switched ones. Some cars have banks of fuses in more than one place, so find out where yours are, don’t just assume that when you’ve found them, that you’ve found all of them.

I go along with both Rick and Zenbeam. Some of the older models had fusable links in the unswitched circuits. A book with a schematic should make this easy to rundown.

Hell I have most wiring diagrams available via my professional database but when I don’t know which car…

look in your owner’s manual for the listing of fuses and see if there is a single fuse for those unswitched circuits. check the fuse to see if it’s good. even if it’s good put it in and out a few times to clean the contacts.

always good to supply make, model, and year of a device when asking questions about it.

It’s 1991 Infiniti G20–old car but low odometer reading if that matters.

And engine size (in liters), please. Doesn’t always make a difference, but it’s a required field when Rick and I want to look things up in our sources – and sometimes it does make a difference whether or not you might think it would.

Flay rod. Always the Flay rod. Gone askew on treadle, most likely.

Ok my online wiring diagrams for a 91 are marginal at best but here is what I can tell you from the (very) incomplete information I have.
The radio stay alive memory is from fuse Y. It should have power at all times. If there is no power on either side of the fuse the problem is upstream from there (closer to the battery)
There are also two fusible links shown. a gray on (75A) and a green one (30A). In the link box on the front left fender.
There is also 1 or moe circuit breakers shown on the left side of the dash.
I would start with the fuse/link box on the fender and make sure power goes in and out where it should.
If you don’t find anything there I would move to the keep alive memory fuse for the radio and work toward the battery. You will need to locate a more complete diagram then what I have. Sorry.

Still, it does give me something I can easily check, and at least some possibility of an easy fix.

Thanks for looking into it, and thank you to all who have participated in the thread.