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Burned Wire

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by 7539, Sep 7, 2021.

  1. 7539

    7539 Donation Time

    I had a near catastrophe yesterday... took it for a drive and started smoking under the dash... shut it off, had a wire burning. Fortunately I got it out with no damage. It appears that it only burned the insulation off of one wire... it's a white wire that comes from somewhere around the voltage regulator, through the firewall and across, back through the firewall to near the overdrive relay. The overdrive quit the other day and the relay appears shot so I was going to other one... someone who knows (looking at you Tom) is that the hot wire from the hot post to the relay? Or am I missing something?
    Thanks in advance
  2. 7539

    7539 Donation Time

    It's the wire that runs down to the overdrive on the transmission
  3. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    All of the wires that connect to the ignition switch are not fused.
    It's a well known safety issue.

    ALL of these cars need two fuses to avoid smoke shows.

    First - a 350A in line fuse with battery, placed at the battery.

    Second - a 30A-50A fuse in line with the wire, that provides the battery feed to the ignition switch, placed close to the starter solenoid(relay) (This is generally labelled BAT going into the ignition switch, but the fuse should be placed near the starter solenoid, where it branches off from the direct battery feed)

    If you have those 2 fuses in place, this stuff will never happen.
    Fuses should burn open in a properly designed system, not wires.
    The original system is not properly designed.
  4. 7539

    7539 Donation Time

    I'll make those changes.. thanks!
  5. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    Good, I've ranted on this one many times before.
  6. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane Gold Level Sponsor

    Keep ranting, lest I forget when I get to rewiring my car.
  7. Alpine Addict

    Alpine Addict Platinum Donor Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have a quick release battery terminal on my car which is disconnected when I am not with the car. Also a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher.
    Shannon Boal likes this.
  8. Acollin

    Acollin Platinum Level Sponsor

    1966 series V mostly stock

    Would some please post some picture of the two fuse installations. I am fine with doing the work, but it would help me to see exactly how and where these two fuses are installed.

    thanks all
  9. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    What is it that makes you think it is "Shot"?

    Do any Yellow wires look like they have melted insulation?

    In a Series IV, the white wires go from the ignition switch to the coil and then goes to the gearbox switch . From the tranny a yellow wire caries that power to the relay, but only when in 3/4 gear.

    So look for melted insulation in the white wire going to the coil, then white wire running from the coil to the gearbox switch , and ALSO in the yellow wire running from the gearbox to the relay. If the yellow wire has any melting then the problem is likely in the OD wiring.

    I agree with Jerry about adding a fuse. The white wire circuit is the most vulnerable yet unprotected circuit in our Alpines. I have see n several melted white wires in my 55 years of Sunbeaming.
  10. Shannon Boal

    Shannon Boal Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have taken this to heart, have the thirty amp fuse already in place....looking into the 350 amp fuse, like the battery switch idea.....Deb and I had Alpine break-down yesterday, East of Columbia, SC. Car ran great 350 miles, started slight missfire, and failed to proceed. I checked fuel . Tried to test spark, totally dead electrically. BATTERY HOT, CABLES HOT....Wrecker driver dropped us at hotel near super wal-mart. Barb, Bill, Dan and Eric conferred with me....Eric said 'get a new battery from Walmart, get a voltmeter, and test it." So we did, and it ran. He said "most likely the alternator is dead", and it was. What caused this? The alternator failed, was charging wide-open, the battery got hot and SHORTED internally. This series V is fitted with a "single wire" Delco alternator. We replaced that, too, and all is well. The lesson here, is to have a voltmeter in the instrument panel. I understand that there is an original style/look gauge available from a guy in Canada
  11. 65sunbeam

    65sunbeam SAOCA Membership Director Diamond Level Sponsor

    Glad you are back on the road! One other clue you told me about your car-when the temp gauge and the fuel gauge start reading low, you are running on just battery power and the battery is about dead and soon the engine will stop! Happened to me about 2 years ago on a way back road almost an hour from the nearest tow truck. Thank you Hagerty for paying for that towing bill!
    It was my voltage regulator that decided to tell the generator to quit charging....
    Shannon Boal likes this.
  12. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Shannon, Glad to hear you are up and running. But your post here in this thread may confuse 7539, the original poster of this thread. It sure confused me. Posting about you adding a fuse was fine. But the rest of your story about what caused your failure has no bearing on what caused 7539's issue. Don't mean to be overly complaining, but just want to be sure 7539 understands your issue is not at all like his.

    And by the way, I think the fuses that Jerry suggested might NOT have prevented the issue you encountered. The fuse in the white wire circuit would have prevented the potential fire hazard in 7539's car. But in your case the real failure was the battery shorting internally, due to overvoltage from the alternator. There was likely no excess current in any wires involved that would have blown a fuse.

    Aren't you glad you were using a Delco Alt that could be replaced at a Walmart!!

    Shannon Boal likes this.
  13. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor


    Above shows the in line 30A-50A fuse.
    Center of the picture with the two hefty red wires in-out.
    (ignore the floating purple wire, I was making changes)

    This setup has the Rebel wiring harness installed under the hood.
    There is also a 4 position bus bar above the starter solenoid
    where the alternator, battery feed in, solenoid to starter feed out,
    and the "Battery Power to System" (30-50 fused) connect together.
    This just avoids all the stacked wires on the solenoid post.

    With the original Rootes wiring harness this red wire
    would go right to "BAT" connection on the ignition key.

    For the fuse near the battery I have one of these underneath the car,
    They have 350A fuses for them. You want a current capability a little less than the CCA of the battery.
    350A works nicely for the V6, and should be good for the original 4 cylinder engines.

    The short wire from the battery post to this fuse is not protected,
    if it chafes thru and shorts to ground that's a problem,
    so be fussy with the routing, chafe protection of this wire.

    And, as others have done, I also have a shutoff at the battery plus terminal:
  14. jumpinjan

    jumpinjan Bronze Level Sponsor

    Why would one fuse the battery? I don't get it and NEVER seen that on cars, airplanes or motorcycles.
  15. 7539

    7539 Donation Time

    So to answer one question I picked out of this... the overdrive relay is shot because the bottom is rusted out of it and I'm guessing it's original... maybe it's not shot but it's definitely in rough shape. The wire that melted runs from near the voltage regulator through the firewall under the dash to the other side of the car, back through the firewall and down under the car. I've got to jack it up and put in jack stands to say exactly where it goes...
  16. Shannon Boal

    Shannon Boal Platinum Level Sponsor

    There was likely no excess current in any wires involved that would have blown a fuse.

    Aren't you glad you were using a Delco Alt?

    I agree.....The spirit of my reply is that suggested fuses, or battery disconnect are not perfect. 7539, your short might have damaged your wiring, but if you had a fuse, you would break down and end up chasing an intermittent fault when-ever the connector touched ground. And, we experienced a short-related electrical failure which could not have been prevented with any of the fuses. A voltmeter, or battery temperature monitor might have.. .... My thinking is that, in a forum setting, we could develop a standardized circuit that gives the best compromise of reliability and safety. If I figure out the perfect arrangement, I will present it for peer review.
  17. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    In most cars, the battery is placed in the engine compartment and the power cable is very short. Minimal chance of that cable getting chafed and shorting to chassis ground. Auto Zone sells a fuse at the battery post that gets used in some cars (Hyundai???)

    In the Alpines the battery is in the back and the cable snakes through the chassis with a good chance of the cable chafing and shorting to chassis. That's the reason for the 350A fuse.

    Fuses near the battery are a very common thing in any system that has long high current cables off the battery.
    Boats use them all the time. Required by ABYC regulations. (Google "Battery Terminal Fuse" for examples)

    Experimental aircraft with metal airframes use them too.
    Motorcycles, I have no idea. But I surmise the cable is short in that application with minimal chance of a short out.
    Shannon Boal likes this.
  18. jumpinjan

    jumpinjan Bronze Level Sponsor

    That sounds like a solution, looking for a problem.
    I'm driving these Sunbeams for half a century (as well as others) and I have never seen a battery cable short to ground because the jacket had failed!!!
    I have also participated in homebuilt aircraft and never heard of such a thing either.
    Shannon Boal likes this.
  19. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Jerry, I have no disagreement about use of a fuse on the main cable from the battery, although, like Jan, I have not seen an insulation failure in that cable. But the point of my post was only to point out that that fuse would likely not prevent the overheated battery due to overcharging that Shannon experienced.

    Shannon Boal likes this.
  20. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    Do what you want.
    As I illustrated above, fuses at the battery are used in boats, some cars, and some aircraft.
    The 350A fuse protects the battery cabling that snakes thru the car, the alternator connection and the starter connection.
    What I am suggesting protects that group of high amperage connections.
    What I am suggesting has nothing to do with "I have never seen" or "never heard of" statements.
    H#ll Auto Zone sells 19 different fuses set up to go directly on the battery in cars, so that's nonsense.

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