Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

Did I fry my electrical system?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Oblin Goblin, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. Oblin Goblin

    Oblin Goblin 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2000
    Posts:
    205
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    It's kind of a long story so you'll have to bear with me for a minute. I was out wheeling with one of my buddies today. At one point I shut my truck of for a minute and when I went to start it again nothing happened. I tried a couple more times and still nothing. Then I noticed some smoke coming from right rear corner of the hood. I had my buddy hit the starter one more time so I could try and find where the smoke was coming from. I saw sparks coming from the wires going into the starter solenoid which then started a small fire. By starter solenoid I mean the little cylinder attached to the starter that 3 small wires go into. I assume this is the starter solenoid but I could be wrong. I assume the starters for gas engines are similar to the ones on the diesels so I hope most of you know what I’m talking about. After dousing the fire we decided we were going to pull start my truck but first I wanted to cut the wires that appeared to be throwing up sparks so I didn't have any more fires. It turns out that those wires that go to the starter solenoid and the solenoid itself serve some important purpose in the electrical system, because when I cut them I lost all my electricals. I had to reattach the wires by wrapping them with duct tape. I didn't have anything else to use, but I figured it would at least get me home. We were able to get it running again and I managed to get out of the boonies, although some of my electrical stuff like the headlights and blower motor only worked intermittently. While I was driving I noticed the volt meter was fluctuating quite a bit. I would hang around 12-13 volts for a while; sometimes it would come up to the bottom of the red zone where it normally sits while the engine is running. For a few minutes it kept edging into the red zone and then falling back. About a half-hour down the freeway something blew. All of a sudden ALL my electrical stuff came on, the glow plugs, all the dash lights, the wipers, the washer motor, etc. Then it all just quit, along with the engine. I found at least one of my make shift wire connections had come undone. When I reconnected them and turned on the ignition everything (wipers, glow plugs, etc.) came on again. I knew even if I got it started again I wouldn't make it very far so I called AAA and got towed the rest of the way home.

    Does anyone understand the consequences of my stupidly cutting those wires? How does the starter solenoid play such a vital role in the electrical system? What the heck happened when my electricals started freaking out? Did I fry my electrical system?

    Thanks
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2000
    Posts:
    36,166
    Likes Received:
    1,363
    Location:
    E-town baby!
    I think you'll be OK once you get all the wires fixed and secured where they are supposed to go. I had a similar problem a few yaers ago when the main lead going to the solenoid lossened up a bit and started to short out. It caused the alternator to go nuts and sent enough power to my headlights to burn them out in less than a minute! I fianlly got over to the side of the road and patched it up a bit till I got home and could do a decent job.
    Aside from needing 4 new headlights everything was OK after the wiring was repaired.

    Rene
     
  3. loudnowlouder

    loudnowlouder 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2001
    Posts:
    539
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ellicott City, MD
    you'll need to replace the wires you cut...dont patch them, replace them, the patchjob that you did is the reason for the lights and other electrical stuff coming on and off...it wasnt able to get a steady current over the broken connection.

    the reason you need those wires is simple....if you look at the positive terminal from your battery it goes directly to the solenoid on the starter, without that wire you've disconnected the battery so nothing will work...
    the other wires go into the main wiring harness i do believe ( on my gas truck at least)....and from there they hit the alternator, which recharges the battery while the engine is running, and also all other electrical components...if your solenoid caught fire, then somethings majorly wrong with it, thats going to need to be replaced...
    that should solve your problem...
    new wires and starter/solenoid and it should be good as new...

    however there may be a chance that a few other things arent going to work since there were large fluctuations in the system voltage...but its mostly small things like headlights etc....
    check the battery as well, you more than likely discharged a lot of the juice from the battery since it wasnt being charged consistantly, so you may have to put it on a charger before you start it up with the new starter.

    other than that your electrical system should be fine...

    but the next time remember...if you dont know the function of the wire, dont cut it cause you run the risk of causing an even bigger fire
     
  4. Oblin Goblin

    Oblin Goblin 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2000
    Posts:
    205
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    I've got things pretty much patched up, though I haven't started the truck yet. From the checks I've made so far it appears everything is working except the wipers, which won't shut off as long as the ignintion is on. Any body know why they won't shut off and how to fix them?
     
  5. Overkill

    Overkill 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2002
    Posts:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    As a temp patch job you can pull the fuse, until you get it sorted out
     

Share This Page