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pyrodork
10-11-2010, 03:40 PM
well, maybe not so much a fire. more like a lotta, lotta smoke.

since i'm having issues with getting the car into gear, i thought i'd grease up the jerks and see what happens. so i start the car and try to shift into reverse or first. nothing going, so i thought i'd turn the wheel to see if it were stuck against the curb. once i did that, the engine started hesitating and eventually died. smoke came pouring out of behind the dash. then i saw it was under the hood, too. i wasn't even prepared for something like this, so i didn't have an extinguisher ready. i went inside and got a pot of water and poured it wherever there was smoke. well, turns out my ignition wire fried; taking nearby wires with it. two weeks of rewiring and now i have to do most of it over again. i haven't even seen what's behind the dash yet. i'm just done with this today. it was supposed to be driving this week... now i have to do all this crap again. this was the only good thing i had going for me recently. it's bull... it really is.

oh, and i rewired everything with either 12g or 10g wire.

Michidan
10-11-2010, 03:50 PM
Hey, I feel for you. It's a setback, nothing more. Imagine if someone was hurt, or if your whole car burnt up. That does happen.
When you're ready you can fix it. I have the 51 shop manual with a full wiring diagram in it, can scan it for you if you need one.

:)
And in a week or so, when you're ready for a laugh again, we should really talk about changing your screen name
:)

pyrodork
10-11-2010, 03:58 PM
Hey, I feel for you. It's a setback, nothing more. Imagine if someone was hurt, or if your whole car burnt up. That does happen.
When you're ready you can fix it. I have the 51 shop manual with a full wiring diagram in it, can scan it for you if you need one.

:)
And in a week or so, when you're ready for a laugh again, we should really talk about changing your screen name
:)

nah, i'll keep my screen name. :P

thing is, this setback is costing me weeks of time i don't have and supplies i can't afford. i'm only keeping the car at my house until it starts to get cold. then it goes 30 minutes away from me. i need to have it driving by that time! that time is coming up quick, too. so now i have to redo the electrical stuff, then tune it up and find out why the transmission (or clutch) isn't working! gahhhhh!!

i do have a shop manual and an enlargement of the wiring diagram. thanks, though.

ralt12
10-11-2010, 04:01 PM
I'd think long and hard about using water on a car fire.

pyrodork
10-11-2010, 04:11 PM
I'd think long and hard about using water on a car fire.

i had... i had nothing else available that wouldn't have caught on fire itself. i was more pissed off about it than anxious to get it out.

and i did disconnect the battery.

Michidan
10-11-2010, 04:13 PM
I hear ya. I did all my wiring 2 years ago over the winter in a cold shop. At least the soldering iron gives off some heat.
You'll get there.

pyrodork
10-11-2010, 04:32 PM
what gets me is why did this happen now, and not happen all last week when it was running? it wasn't until i turned the wheel that anything happened at all... and that doesn't make any sense. the only wire that got fried was the one that went from the ignition switch to the negative battery terminal... and that was hooked up even before i got the car. all i did with that was replace it from a 14g wire to 12g. you'd think that would have made it safer.

PlainBrownR2
10-11-2010, 04:52 PM
Welcome to the club, I had this happen earlier this summer on the '55. As a general rule when soldier wire connections together, that they are all wrapped in heatshrink or electrical tape. Unfortunately I missed a connection that branched my charge wire from the alternator. When the engine was running it butted up against a cast iron segment that was on the turbo and within a few seconds, we were off to the races. I shut the car off, grabbed some rags, and reached in a smothered the wire out. There's no thinking in these situations, because a brief lapse and the whole car could be lost. That's also a good incentive for having a fire extinguisher on hand, or something that will stop the blaze from spreading. Anyway, there's nothing like inhaling heated plastic while trying to prevent an utter disaster, lol. The electrical short fortunately only had taken out the charge wire, which stopped at the ammeter gauge, and the wire running back to the starter solenoid at the back of the car. The heat also did damage some of the insulation of the nearby wires, of which I'm glad for standards for gas and oil resistant polyacrylic wires on that front. Although it was only a couple of segments, I went back through and made sure all of the electrical connections were insulated, checked the other nearby wires for damage and taped them up or replaced them, and it gave me incentive to finally put in a fuse panel ahead of my ECU.

silverhawk
10-11-2010, 04:57 PM
Me and my Dad had that happen once. Scary stuff! You'll work it out, and when you get to drive it; it will be all worth it. :D

StudeRich
10-11-2010, 05:16 PM
Sorry for your loss. Keep in mind that NO wires come from the (-) Battery Terminal. The hot power feed wire to the Ignition switch comes thru the AMMETER from the large Solenoid Terminal that also has the (-) Battery Cable attached, maybe that is what you meant?

I would install a in-line fuse holder for those two legged plastic multi-colored plug-in fuses and use a 35 or 40 AMP fuse to protect the entire electrical system from shorts, in that wire a few inches from the Solenoid. And always carry a box of fuses in the glove box.

Also if you have any 16 ga. wire to power up all of the lights, units/accessories etc. except the charging circuit and any other wires shown on the wiring Diagram as 14, 12 or 10 ga. it will be cheaper, easier to work with and plenty of wire size for your use.

pyrodork
10-11-2010, 05:57 PM
Sorry for your loss. Keep in mind that NO wires come from the (-) Battery Terminal. The hot power feed wire to the Ignition switch comes thru the AMMETER from the large Solenoid Terminal that also has the (-) Battery Cable attached, maybe that is what you meant?

solenoid terminal... is that the little round can thing mounted on the starter motor? somehow those nuts got stripped, so i can't take the wires off or put any on. the wire i have connected to that is the upper, "horizontal" terminal. the lower "vertical" terminal has the wire the battery is attached to. but, no... when i got the car it was wired like that; one wire on the neg battery connector.


I would install a in-line fuse holder for those two legged plastic multi-colored plug-in fuses and use a 35 or 40 AMP fuse to protect the entire electrical system from shorts, in that wire a few inches from the Solenoid. And always carry a box of fuses in the glove box.

i'm always an advocate for fuses. but install this one on which wire?

edit: oh, i think i gotcha. not the one that the neg battery connects to, but the other one that goes to the ignition switch?

gearhead49
10-11-2010, 08:55 PM
My 51 is a wiring disaster and I would not even consider running power through the wiring. I just hot wire it to start it.
Planning on changing it to 12 volt pos and bought a 12 circuit street rod wiring harness off Flea-Bay for 80 bucks. it is similar to a EZ-Wire harness.
My 51 is going to be ratrodded or street rodded since it is RUFFER THAN A CORN COB!!!!!

StudeRich
10-11-2010, 10:48 PM
solenoid terminal... is that the little round can thing mounted on the starter motor? somehow those nuts got stripped, so i can't take the wires off or put any on. the wire i have connected to that is the upper, "horizontal" terminal. the lower "vertical" terminal has the wire the battery is attached to. but, no... when i got the car it was wired like that; one wire on the neg battery connector.

i'm always an advocate for fuses. but install this one on which wire?

edit: oh, i think i gotcha. not the one that the neg battery connects to, but the other one that goes to the ignition switch?

You are not reading all of my post, but if you take a close look at the Wiring Diagram you will see what I am saying. The power wire on your batt. cable goes on the INPUT side of the Solenoid switch with the Batt. Cable. The other large Terminal should have a copper strap to the Starter Terminal and NO other wires on it. The small wire on the small Terminal of the Solenoid is what "kicks" the starter and goes to the switch under the clutch pedal or a starter button or whatever someone used to start the engine in this "modified" car.

But the Main power wire to the dash I am talking about that's on your Batt. is the one that needs the fuse, and it does NOT go to the Ignition switch, it goes to the Ammeter and THEN to the switch. Verify all of this on the Diagram -PLEASE Otherwise you may have more "fires"

pyrodork
10-12-2010, 08:55 PM
well, i got my check today. bought a new starter button (but it doesn't cover the hole cut out for the old one), and some wire and other crap i'll have to take back tomorrow. rewired the button and taped off the others (only until i get around to replacing them). behind the dash really wasnt that bad. only one wire got melted, so that was an easy fix. where they all come through the firewall was the worst of it... and continually melting rubber bushing is still a biznatch.

anyway, longer story shorter, i got it all hooked back up and got the instrument cluster installed. found out that what caused the problem is that the cluster was sitting on top of the starter button and that shorted it out, melting the connections on the button. so before i reinstalled everything again, i taped off the terminals and metal housing with electrical tape. it was a biznatch and a half to get this new one in (different design), but i finally got it. got it started a couple times, but still can't get the floor starter to go. one of the wires heated up pretty well after i tried it, though, so that's disconnected now. had a problem with the connection for the dome light, so i redid that wiring, too, and made it a little longer.

as far as electricity goes, i still need to:
- find out why the turn signal indicators aren't lighting on cluster
- find out why gauge lights aren't lighting on cluster
- rewire the overdrive with new wire
- rewire the front to rear lighting with new wire
- rewire headlights/front turn signals

and, obviously, figure out what's wrong with getting it into gear. things are looking up, though.



But the Main power wire to the dash I am talking about that's on your Batt. is the one that needs the fuse, and it does NOT go to the Ignition switch, it goes to the Ammeter and THEN to the switch. Verify all of this on the Diagram -PLEASE Otherwise you may have more "fires"

didn't install a fuse this time because the only holder i found only goes up to 30 amps, not 40. i'll check ebay.

edit: found one on ebay.

Bud
10-13-2010, 09:52 AM
I've been installing a section of fusible link wire to the main lead of the electrical system harness of the older cars that I service. About a 6 inch length of fusible link 2 gauge sizes smaller than the wire it protects will keep the wire harness from destroying itself in case of a direct short circuit as the fuse link will vaporize when it's overloaded disconnecting the electrical system from the battery. On 6 volt cars, a section of 14 gauge fuse link is good and for 12 volt cars with a 12 gauge main wire, 16 gauge fuse link is good. It is available at the bigger parts houses either on rolls or short sections with terminals already connected. Bud

Pat Dilling
10-13-2010, 11:59 AM
In addition to the service manual, there is some most excellent advice on improving the electricals in old cars at this web page: http://www.madelectrical.com/index.shtml. I have used his schemes in numerous areas of my car and can attest that they work. He includes some good info on fusible links as Bud suggests also.

On a safety note, one of the first tools you should have if you plan on working on cars is a fire extinguisher. I keep two in my garage, one near the work bench and one near the door. They are truly cheap insurance, I saw a nice two pack at Sam's club this week-end for less than $20. If you are not working in a shop or garage, then have one near your usual work place.

warrlaw1
10-13-2010, 01:07 PM
You have my sympathy. Just getting mine on the road and have to put it away in a couple of weeks. My problem was tranny. The rebuilt was installed wrong by my good old boy and I lost three weeks and $1200. Zen and patience! It's running and driving great, now. Take a rest, let the blood pressure find equilibrium and let the car seduce you all over again :)

pyrodork
11-11-2010, 12:29 AM
Sorry for your loss. Keep in mind that NO wires come from the (-) Battery Terminal. The hot power feed wire to the Ignition switch comes thru the AMMETER from the large Solenoid Terminal that also has the (-) Battery Cable attached, maybe that is what you meant?

I would install a in-line fuse holder for those two legged plastic multi-colored plug-in fuses and use a 35 or 40 AMP fuse to protect the entire electrical system from shorts, in that wire a few inches from the Solenoid. And always carry a box of fuses in the glove box.


sorry to bring this up again, rich, but i'm not quite getting it. maybe the wiring on the car is wrong, but from the starter solenoid, there's a wire that goes directly to the ignition button i have mounted on the dash. are you saying this is supposed to be connected to the ammeter FIRST, and then from the ammeter to the ignition button? perhaps that's why it doesn't work when i connect the floor ignition button that way; individually or with the dash-mounted button? but when i'm looking at the wiring diagram, it appears that the floor-mounted button connects directly with the solenoid. the problems i seem to be having are the wire between the solenoid and the dash-mounted button. i thought i got it all good and protected with electrical tape, but something fried again and now the button isn't doing anything.

and to see if i understand right, connect the 40 amp fuse in the wire that goes from the solenoid to the ammeter? could you attach a picture of what you mean?

sorry to be so difficult, but i want to get this right without having to redo everything so many times.

and fyi, i did get the car moved to its winter spot; which is about 30 minutes from me, so it's not as easy to access it as it was when it was right in front of my house.

StudeRich
11-11-2010, 01:59 AM
Your problem in misunderstanding this, is that you have the Starter switch confused with the IGNITION Switch!
I was talking about fusing the ONE wire that carries all of the POWER that runs everything on the dash going to the Ammeter and then the IGNITION SWITCH Batt. Terminal, NOT the Starter switch. That circuit (one small wire actually) is entirely different, it does nothing but energize the Solenoid to close the circuit from the Batttery cable to the Starter to Crank the engine. The ignition circuit actually RUNS the engine, giving power to the Ignition Coil to make the engine RUN, not START. OK?

Someone who has a different way of explaining this, may have to jump in here if this does not work, as I have said this many times as clearly and simply as I can.
Did you enlarge and print the wiring diagram from the Manual to make it easy to follow the wires?

pyrodork
11-12-2010, 02:43 AM
i did, but i still wasn't understanding. but i'm 98% sure i got ya now. put a fuse in the wire that goes between the ammeter and the starter solenoid (the terminal where the battery is connected)? the wire that's labeled B (red 10 gauge); which is what it sounds like you mean?

or am i misunderstanding again, and you mean the wire that goes between the ignition switch and the ammeter, labeled D (black, 12 gauge) that connects to terminal B on the ignition switch?

again, sorry to be a pain. and again, i don't have the car right in front of me anymore so it's harder to visualize. i'm much better with photos and actual visualization than i am with diagrams.

StudeRich
11-12-2010, 10:44 AM
Please re-read my original post #10.

cycledog
11-12-2010, 08:48 PM
Sorry to hear the bad news. Although it does explain my college thesis that everything runs on smoke. Once you let the smoke out, it quits working.