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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    119

    Negative Ground Wire to Engine

    I have an extra 83 parts car, that has a rebuilt engine but the body is gone. Loaned it to a friend who's car was down. Had to tow it home today. The ground wire that runs to the engine block has all the institution burned off it and while all the Auxiliary lights and wipers etc work the starter just clicks and the Ground wire still gets warm but engine will not turn over. The starter clicks but will not turn over.

    Im thinking what ever shorted to ground was serious if it burned all the insulation off the Ground wire to the block. I have searched all the terms to think of calling this problem but im at the mercy of someone who may have experienced this.

    I metered the battery and its still good 12.9 volts
    Positive to engine gives 12.9 volts.
    The most important thing is it when you attempt to start the car that Negitive Ground from Battery to Block still gets warm.

    What would case all the insulation to the engine ground wire to the battery to burn off? A serious short to ground? or something else?

    If this is a short to Ground in the car I can find that but what is the most likely thing it burned up in the process?

    Thanks you guys are the best.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    St. Cloud, MN
    Posts
    3,609
    Either the starter itself locked up and shorted inside, or the engine is seized. I suppose the hot cable from the starter solenoid to the actual starter motor could have grounded on the motor casing, causing a short when the solenoid engages.

    Put a wrench on the crankshaft and check to see if the engine turns over by hand. If it's free, then time for a starter (and a new negative cable).
    Last edited by Road Ripper; 02-11-2012 at 08:11 PM. Reason: typo owns me :P

    Dan (DragonLady's husband) *RIP Tyler (2yo son lost to cancer)
    1986 P-type (Ruffian) black 6M 5 speed (formerly Lexusboy's), sitting.
    1986 P type MKII 2tone night blue met/silver met. 5MGE auto, waiting for summer.
    2005 Dodge Magnum Magnesium Pearl - new family car!
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country - Charcoal, family/stuff hauler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    119
    He told me he was going down the interstate and noticed the smoke and stopped and shut the engine off. After looking under the hood and seeing the negative wire to the Block still smoking he waited and it would not re start. That also tends to say the engine is not locked up. I can try to roll it off tomorrow to find out first if it is locked up second if is in fact a starter problem.

    The starter shorting would explain everything in a short to ground. But because the car was running down the highway how do you think that played? If the battery for what ever reason came in contact with the frame that would also cause a dead short but does not explain the cable continuing to get hot.

    Could a starter short out driving down the highway? Your right a starter short does make since if it were not running when it happened.
    Thanks for the Help in narrowing this down Dan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    St. Cloud, MN
    Posts
    3,609
    I forgot about the battery shorting. First, check the positive terminal of the battery to see if it possibly grounded to either the battery hold down bracket or the hood. I've had a battery that was close to hitting the hood, so i always stuffed a rag on top of the terminal and left the hood popped (I only moved the car in a parking lot this way).

    Thanks for saying it was running/driving when it happened. It sure helps to diagnose when you have the whole story.

    Hmmm, possible the negative cable burned badly enough from the short to damage it? It seems like it's good enough for a small amount of current (lights, etc) but can't handle heavy loads like starting. You could test this theory by using a jumper cable between the negative battery terminal and the engine (to bypass the burnt one) and try starting it. If it starts it's the cable, and if it clicks then the starter was probably damaged as well. I wonder if any fusible links burned out? Since it ran until it was shut off, it might just be okay. Good luck!

    Dan (DragonLady's husband) *RIP Tyler (2yo son lost to cancer)
    1986 P-type (Ruffian) black 6M 5 speed (formerly Lexusboy's), sitting.
    1986 P type MKII 2tone night blue met/silver met. 5MGE auto, waiting for summer.
    2005 Dodge Magnum Magnesium Pearl - new family car!
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country - Charcoal, family/stuff hauler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    119
    Dan thanks for hanging in there with me. Yes i thought about by passing the cable and clamping to the engine but to many things at the time. If the Engine ground wire got hot enough to burn off the insulation yes it could have cleaned or tarnished the connection.

    Could the starter short out while the car is moving and running?
    If the starter is shorted I can roll it off to see.
    Regardless of what shorted is there any other component that would fail under this circumstance? Like relays or voltage regulators? All the fuses are good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Clifton NJ
    Posts
    2,642
    starter could short internally when car is running due to vibration. But all fuses good is confusing since burning insulation off ground wire takes massive amount of current like a continuous direct short across bat. Pull fusible link that's supposed to protect starter and alt and see if starter turns engine. See TSRM and work your way down protection links and fuses.
    Best if you can get a hi amp clip on meter to measure current out of bat but a voltmeter across bat should show some bat voltage drop at these hi currents.
    84 mt 6mge with intake, exhaust, suspension, brake, and wheel mods
    85 mt 6mge stock

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