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batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS

+Battery terminal wire melted!

Click for full size
Picture of battery wire
Please see attachment.. The car gave no indication in how it drove / performed / started, that this was happening. I drove it back from a restaurant at 9PM one nite, and the next morning it wouldn't start, and I found this. See notes in the picture as well.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
A hot line came into contact with your engine block or the car frame, causing a short... maybe.

The car didn't have to be running for it to happen. It might have happened after you parked. The battery juice is enough to melt those wires if there is a short.

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
Good point, but if that happened, wouldn't it have drained the battery down to 0 VDC? The battery has enough current to run the lights & ring the buzzer (I didn't use my MultiMeter on it in the morning, when I was trying to get to work, to see what the VDC was...)

NOTE: I'd had a problem in the past, where those smaller red wires didn't have good connectivity, and the insulation JUST began to melt a bit. I jumped on this and fixed it (re-crimped & used a new connector) and solved the situation.

if I had a continuity problem, I would have seen the wire melting over time, which I didn't. That sure was alot of heat.... If there wasn't so much damage, I could splice a new cable in & re-do the connector, but that wire is damaged all the way back to the point where it dissapears into the conduit.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to batsona
Well SOMETHING drained way too many amps without having a fuse protecting the circuit.

And your battery is nearly drained, since you say your car wont start. A nearly drained battery will still be able to run lights and even electric locks, but when you'll turn the key, you will just hear "tick tick tick tick tick" as the starter won't budge.

A short circuit can melt wires very quickly and suddenly. The melting insulation may have stopped the short by melting over the wire touching the car chassis or engine block. Or the voltage dropped low enough that the electricity couldn't go through resistance factors (like the chassis or engine block being dirty, oily, etc where the hot wire is making contact).

But I know little about cars, so it might be something else than a simple short.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to batsona
Biggest question is where does tha particular wire go and what does it feed?


MooJohn

join:2005-12-18
Milledgeville, GA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Windstream
reply to batsona
My bet is that wire feeds the starter. It's either shorted to something or the starter or solenoid suffered catastrophic failure which then shorted the line.

You can't fuse the starter supply so if something happens it's usually major.
--
John M - Cranky network guy


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to batsona
said by batsona:

Good point, but if that happened, wouldn't it have drained the battery down to 0 VDC?

A powerful enough current source can blow open a short, or a conductor leading to it, hereby making it into an open circuit.

Also, I think you were somewhat lucky that it didn't cause a fire.
--
Wacky Races 2012!


The Pig
I know you want to be me
Premium
join:2009-09-11
reply to batsona
The burnt wire doesn't look like it belongs there (it may be an add-on)!
I would think that if the carmaker was setting up the wiring for 3 wires they would have made a 3 way connector not a 2 then slip a wire in between the 2 wires!
You need to get a diagram for your car and see if it belongs there or not!
I say, "NOT!"

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to batsona
I'd say it's more likely loose connection and it's burned due to resistive heating

Whom ever put those left/right wires is the cause, as the main center conductor is obviously not tight into the main connector and using the bolts for accessory load was the fault as that reduced the compressive force of the center and primary wire


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

1 recommendation

reply to batsona
said by batsona:

Please see attachment.. The car gave no indication in how it drove / performed / started, that this was happening.

You do know that those battery repair ends are for temporary use only and that you are to actually replace the battery cable when the OE terminal end fails. Those repair ends are not made for continuous service and are only made to last a very short time so you can get the vehicle started again until you then properly fix the problem.

Preventable Electrical Problems
»www.agcoauto.com/content/news/p2···cleid/58
quote:
They're called temporary or emergency battery-cable ends. Be careful, they may also cause far more problems than they solve. These devices have been widely used over the years, and today we see quite a few problems.



Poor connections from temporary ends may cause electrical problems

Due to the high number of computers in use, vehicles today are extremely sensitive to voltage. Poor battery connections, like the one in the photo, can easily drop system voltage by two volts or more. While this may not seem that great, two volts represents over 16% loss of current, in a 12 volt system. Problems in the computer system can occur with less than half that amount of drop
What YMM (Year, Make, Model) is this vehicle? Go into the parts store that you use and purchase a replacement battery cable made for your specific car. It will take car of your overheated high resistance temporary battery end repair that has gone way past its service life. Properly crimp any accessory links and make sure to correctly route the new cable so it does not rub on anything or get melted by being too close to any exhaust parts.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to batsona
said by batsona:

Please see attachment.. The car gave no indication in how it drove / performed / started, that this was happening. I drove it back from a restaurant at 9PM one nite, and the next morning it wouldn't start, and I found this. See notes in the picture as well.

Is this your 2002 Focus ZX5???

You wouldn't have this reoccurring problem if you replaced the bad temporary terminal, poor crimps and cut cables with a new complete cable assembly as posted back in 2008 if this is the same vehicle.

»Burning hot battery terminal!

»[Help] Help Diagnose odd electrical problem....
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
said by Doctor Olds:

You wouldn't have this reoccurring problem if you replaced the bad temporary terminal, poor crimps and cut cables with a new complete cable assembly as posted back in 2008 if this is the same vehicle.

+1

Textbook case of a fried battery cable due to excessive resistance at the terminal connection. (Your 50-cent POS connector)


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to MooJohn
said by MooJohn:

My bet is that wire feeds the starter. It's either shorted to something or the starter or solenoid suffered catastrophic failure which then shorted the line.

You can't fuse the starter supply so if something happens it's usually major.

I'll second this guess. The center charred wire needs to be traced back to the end (or start) of the melting.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


MooJohn

join:2005-12-18
Milledgeville, GA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Windstream
reply to batsona
I suppose I should say this because I don't think it has been yet:

DISCONNECT THAT THING NOW!!!

The only thing that kept it from bursting into flame in the first place is that the wire burned until the circuit was broken. If something shifts and it connects, it will resume burning.
--
John M - Cranky network guy

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to batsona
If any of you need to use one of these battery terminals, do one thing first: Soder the bare copper wire first before you insert them into one of those cheap terminals. It will last about twice as long as bare copper wire.

»www.agcoauto.com/content/news/p2···cleid/58

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
reply to batsona
OP here...

---The OEM connector was a POS as well. A little corrosion got between the lead lug, and where the copper wire was crimped & I couldn't start the car one day.

---When I got home from work, I took it all apart - the big wire in the center was definitly corroded under that plate.

---Using 200grit sandpaper, I shined up the end of the copper cable & put it back under that plate (so I can at least start the car). When I did this, the car started right away - starter turned over at full speed!

--Drove car around neighoorhood for 10 mins - no heat on the cables, except taking into account it was 90F outside, and the connector is close to a hot engine.

---question: if the large center wire goes to the starter relay (only)? then how did hi resistance give me 300F temperatures to melt the insulation like that? There must be other electrical load on that cable other than when the starter is cranking.

--Wife's car has silver solder dripped into the end of the copper cable, to 'seal' it, so dust / corrosion doesn't creep in between the strands of copper, creating a hi-resistance situation.

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
reply to batsona
Click for full size
OEM Cable configuration
OP here again. Here's a picture of the OEM cable setup from my car, from an older post on this site. It still wasn't the prettiest. Plus, it still suffered from hi-resistance, and the rubber shrink-wrap melted away. That's what caused me to cut the ends off all the cables & re-engineer as in the pic I posted at the beginning of the thread.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
said by batsona:

Here's a picture of the OEM cable setup from my car, from an older post on this site. It still wasn't the prettiest. Plus, it still suffered from hi-resistance, and the rubber shrink-wrap melted away. That's what caused me to cut the ends off all the cables & re-engineer as in the pic I posted at the beginning of the thread.

If you cleaned the OE connector and sealed it with a battery terminal sealer it would be good for years and it would have outlasted the temporary terminal you are using now. Also causing issues and voltage drop/high resistance is the loose/poorly made crimps and the rusted clamp bar that is seen on the temporary terminal in your first image.

If you are not going to IMPO properly fix it by replacing the OEM cable then you should at the least get solid brass terminals, buy a quality crimper and redo the entire thing then seal it with a battery terminal sealer.

Like these:

Qty: 2 Solid Brass Top-Post Battery Terminal Heavy Duty Automotive Marine New
»www.ebay.com/itm/Qty-2-Solid-Bra···687ed96d




You might get 2 possibly 3 years service from them if you replace burnt wires, install new crimps using a good quality crimp tool, use solid brass repair terminals and then seal everything after reassembly.




Permatex Battery Protector & Sealer SA-9
»www.permatex.com/products/automo···aler.htm
* Stops terminal corrosion and increases battery life.
* Spray on battery terminals, in or out of storage. Aerosol - Level 3

Good Luck to you!
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
The brass connectors look nice, and they don't have those in my local auto parts store, so I'll have to find them [on eBay], as you showed.

I'm trying not to dump $400-500 on this repair until I really really have to - the car is 10 years old, and has 113,000mi on it. I'm trying to talk Santa into getting me a new car around Christmas time, if my bank account is nice to me....


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
said by batsona:

The brass connectors look nice, and they don't have those in my local auto parts store,

Do you have a boat/marine store near you? They use those all brass terminals in boat/marine applications and usually stock them.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
I'll try eBay, or somewhere online. I think the nearest marine store is in the next county (headed toward the Chesapeake Bay) (I'm in MD).

PS........ I'm at work now, and I drove the car to work this morning, (no A/C on) and all red wires were 'nominal' as far as temp goes (given they're sitting next to a hot engine.)


BronsCon

join:2003-10-24
Walnut Creek, CA
You drove the car with that wire bare like that? You realize if it shifts and grounds out, which is very likely given that it has no insulation of large portions of its surface, you'lre likely to have a fire at this point, right?

Good luck.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to batsona
said by batsona:

I'm trying to talk Santa into getting me a new car around Christmas time, if my bank account is nice to me....

VW has 0% financing for 60 months. Take the price of the car, divide by 60 and that's your monthly payment. They're basically giving you free money.

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
reply to BronsCon
BronsCon: That was a concern of mine as well. Further inspection showed that the insulation was intact when it dissapears into the plastic conduit. The cable is quite rigid given that its 6AWG or 4AWG; I've tried tugging on it, and it doesn't move at all really.

I realize that there's just too much damage, and I'll end up having the cable replaced at this point.

I've had this problem ever since I bought an Exide battery, which pretty much right away created what I'll call "white mice" on top of each terminal. --That's how much acid was leaking out past the terminals! That corrosion destroyed my factory OEM connectors & crimps, and I've been in this boat ever since. I take sandpaper to the connectors once every 6 months or so, and everything is good, until I see signs of heat/resistance cropping up. Unfortunately, recently, I didn't check soon enough!