To test your theory about a bad ground, pull the tail/brake light bulb and with the switch on check the two contact points in the bottom of the socket and the socket sleeve.
The sleeve should show as grounded. If not, ground wire is bad.
One of the contact points should not be grounded or have 12 volts (brake light)
One of the contact points should have 12 volts on it (Tail light). If not, something is open from the battery through the fuses, the ignition switch and the wiring.
That sizzle could be a bad battery connection. If it were a wire burning, it should have blown a fuse unless you use oversize fuses.
Last edited by GoMotor; 03-05-2017 at 03:17 PM.