North American Turbocoupe Organization



Smoke!!
unclefalter Offline
Member
#1
Parked my happy running 88 TC on Monday. Left it for a couple days, came out to start.. nothing. No power anywhere. So I tried charging the battery. Zero. Charger won't charge it. So I removed the battery connections, cleaned everything, tried again. Nothing. Removed the battery entirely and tried charging directly.. zero. So then a buddy says 'Hmm, maybe it's just really discharged, could try jumping it'. Okay - so we put it back in and hook up. As I'm attaching the negative cable to the dead battery, I get spark. Nothing I'm not used to. Things seem okay. Then as I go over to crank it, I see smoke coming up. It's coming up the starter solenoid (I think that's what it is)!! So I immediately disconnect. Smoke stops, I pop off the cover. I don't see any major damage anywhere, but it looks like the boot on the dark green wire going to the solenoid smoked up good. Also found a couple of rat turds on the power steering pump cap. Ugh.

Here's pictures:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0...sp=sharing

Did I just fry the whole car? How do I proceed (safely)? I do have another battery.. but I'm worried about compromised wiring now..
88 TC 5spd - Black/Raven
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#2
Maybe rats chewed up the high current cable from the solenoid to the starter and it is grounding out to the frame somewhere? It will take a detailed inspection of all the wires coming off the starter solenoid to locate the problem.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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BogusSVO Offline
Member
#3
Look like the fuseable link, the green wire as you call it, is burnt out, that will need replaced also
Owns more Turbo FORDS than the law should allow....and still getting more

85 TC going under the knife
84 Turbo ranger --($800.00 ebay) Redneck work truck
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unclefalter Offline
Member
#4
Ah.. that was the fusible link that burned? I guess it did what it was supposed to do then? Smile

I did find a spot on that wire where the insulation had ripped open a bit and might have been touching metal.. but I don't know if that happened before or after the smoke event.

So far no sign of trouble with the high current cables. Is there any possibility a severely bad battery could have caused this?
88 TC 5spd - Black/Raven
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#5
Unlikely a failed battery was the cause.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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unclefalter Offline
Member
#6
Thanks guys. And it wouldn't spark and smoke like that connecting the battery charger too? I had the battery charger plugged in and on but it wouldn't charge.. I don't know if it has some kind of protection circuit against dead shorts and that's why nothing happened.

I think there is a possibility we got the battery cables reversed. I remember we had the colours wrong at one point and thought we corrected, but I wasn't looking at both ends -- trusting my friend that he had them the right way.

Would I be risking disaster putting a known good battery in there and trying to hook up again? The fusible link is not broken, apart from the damage to the boot. I'm NOT planning to leave it like that, but it'd be a lot cheaper to drive it to the garage for repair rather than have it towed. I would assume if I put the battery in, hooked up positive and then got any kind of major sparking off connecting negative I'd have time to yank it back off right away..

The battery is *definitely* dead though. We tried a 50A charger with it and no dice. I had had it discharge once on me last year for no apparent reason too.
88 TC 5spd - Black/Raven
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#7
Connecting a jump battery with reverse polarity is bad. Could have damaged some, or all of the electronics and / or the alternator diodes. Fix the fried fuse link, get a known good battery and try to start it and see if everything works, including the charging system.

NEVER trust anyone else to hook up jumper cables. Always check and double check jumper cables before making the last of the 4 connections!
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#8
unclefalter Wrote:The battery is *definitely* dead though. We tried a 50A charger with it and no dice. I had had it discharge once on me last year for no apparent reason too.

Okay well let’s take this one step at a time. First: You have a bad battery. Last year I tried to charge my battery after my TC sat for a few weeks and it was no go, would not charge—although the charger tried multiple times—it was 3 years old and apparently about worn out. So it was off to Sears to exchange it. Turns out it had a bad cell.

A lot of weird stuff can happen when you have a bad battery. Should you try installing a fully charged one? *I* would.

Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#9
Jeff K Wrote:NEVER trust anyone else to hook up jumper cables. Always check and double check jumper cables before making the last of the 4 connections!

I posted my comment before I read Jeff’s. Agreed completely; if you only blew out the fusible link after the incorrect jumpering you are VERY lucky.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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unclefalter Offline
Member
#10
Thanks guys.

I did a careful inspection of the wiring and found the fusible link took the brunt of it.. nothing else melted or shorted. It does appear that I had a 'visitor'.. telltale rat droppings. We have a rat problem in our area unfortunately and even a garage isn't safe. There was one wire in there that looked chewed but it was a long disconnected wire to an ancient Ungo Box alarm. Anyway, we checked out the fusible and apart from the ugly melting to the insulation at the boot there, it was still intact. I borrowed a battery from my Edsel and hesitantly hooked it up.. no problem. Started the car.. no problem. No smoke, no weirdness. All electronics are aok. I took the win and moved the car (which was all I was trying to do) and then disconnected it all. So now I need to figure out where to get another fusible link, and how to disconnect it at the end opposite the starter.

I still have no idea what went wrong. I had driven the car for 2 weeks solid when I parked it.. parked it for two days and then went out and the battery was stone dead. My friend took it back to his shop and charged it with a 50A charger he has.. it tested ok. So we're scratching our heads. It's not a shorted starter or anything like that obviously. I did find some telltale rat turds on top of one of the fill caps, and there was one wire that had been chewed but it was part of a disconnected harness for an ancient Ungo Box alarm system that is long gone. I have no idea how it went all sparky/smoky... I mean, it's possible we screwed up the order of jumper cables - but we were talking about it and we were following point by point the directions on the tag attached to the cables. I'm really cautious with that stuff.

Anyway, the car survived and I do hope there aren't wires I haven't found that are chewed/shorted. I'd really hate for the whole thing to go up in smoke. Love that car.
88 TC 5spd - Black/Raven
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