Need Help, Had a Wire Catch on Fire!! - Ford Mustang Forums : Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-02-2011, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help, Had a Wire Catch on Fire!!

Hi, Ive been working on my 93 Cobra constantly lately in hopes to have it back on the road. I was setting it up for drag but i couldnt bring myself to cutting up the car so the project was immediately stopped. So i figured Id build a well handling sleeper car instead while attaining a completely stock looking car. Well Im extremely close to firing this thing up and i run into a issue yesterday. I was putting new window seals in the doors so i was using a pretty much dead battery with a battery charger to run the electrical system and verify every thing is working on a low amperage. I was running the 12v 10 amp and 40 amp setting for pretty long durations (10-15 minutes). I wanted to check if the new fuel pump was working correctly so i popped it on the 12v 200 amp engine start setting just to check it then i was gonna turn it back down. Well i got the charger on that setting was about ready to turn the key to the run position and smoke just starts flying. Now i dont remember if i turned the key to the run position or not. well after running over and unplugging the charger fast and blowing on the wiring I was puzzled as to what caused this and why. after looking for couple minutes i found the victim. It was the Green wire that connects to the black orange stripe wire which goes to the alt. This happened at the starter solenoid side only nothing else went up in smoke. I had the alt tested a couple weeks ago which was fine. obviously this optima battery i have is garbage wasnt even no 3 weeks old before it failed. So What would have caused this to light up? I am figuring in the charger setting i had it on but i dont see how that would cause it but im just lost atm. All the wiring is in good condition. i have new motorcraft battery cables. the negative is on the engine block and inner fender. I have the engine to firewall strap connected. i was questioning if i had the solenoid wired wrong but i dont see how. Ive looked at wiring diagrams and it looks correct. Anyone know what may have caused this. Im afraid to even try to fire this thing up now because of this. I was feeling gutsy after words and reconnected the charger on the lower amp settings and had no issues. I did find a thread regarding that Ford Motor Company acknowledged this problem in 1996 and issued Technical Service Bulletin No. 96214, which instructed dealership technicians and do-it-yourselfers to install an upgraded wiring-connector kit (PN E5AZ-14305-AA) to eliminate the possibility of an electrical burndown. Is this the alt side only or is this for any part of the wire doesnt go up? i know i dont have this fix and was wondering if this would resolve my issue? If anyone has any ideas or things i should check please let me know. I lost my barn a year ago in a fire with alot of parts. I dont want to see my Cobra go up to!

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post #2 of 3 Old 09-12-2011, 11:06 PM
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Hi Sleeper,
Without actually looking at the car in person, I am not sure how much help anyone can be online. However, I would like to offer a few suggestions. We don't recommend a charge rate higher than 10 amps on our batteries, so running a charger on our batteries at 40 amps for 10-15 minutes isn’t the best idea and 200-amp charges can cook any battery in short order and should also be avoided entirely.

explains how to properly recharge an Optima battery. When your battery is fully-charged (about 12.6-12.8 volts for RedTops and about 13.0-13.2 volts for YellowTops), leave it disconnected from your vehicle for 12-24 hours afterwards. If it holds close to the maximum voltage when disconnected, you probably didn't hurt the battery too much and it should be fine. If that is the case, then once the battery is properly charged, you should be able to check out all systems without the need for a charger to be hooked up.

Bill Howell
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
OPTIMA Battery Power Pack Nation

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post #3 of 3 Old 09-14-2011, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that info Optima Bill! Learned stuff on the horrible 2g alt set up and now some on batteries. It'll be nice info to have around. Well in case any one is interested on what happened with this particular wire I pretty much got it figured out with the help of a few people and some of my past experiences. I ended up taking the harness out and removing all the covering and any tape that the alt wires were on to inspect it completely. All fuseable links were good. I did notice that closer to the the section it jumps to 1 wire (starter solenoid side) the black/orange wire was getting pretty stiff. It was like that for at least several inches. The yellow/white wire was good and the single green this all connects to was obviously toasted. So first thought immediately was that's a prime area for resistance from that point to the solenoid since its closest. I was told its called crystallization but im sure there's a more correct term. Basically it just causes a wire to not conduct properly and makes the end the current is on start on fire or fry fuseable links. So I got lucky and got a complete front harness outta another 5.0 from a wrecking yard. i took this one apart as well and swapped the wires into my harness which was pretty easy. The wires were all good no stiffness. I went and got a Motorcraft starter solenoid (expensive but having the correct length mounting studs was a must) and ordered a 3G alt upgrade. Ill have a fresh battery on the system and should have it finished this afternoon. So hopefully no issues arise and i can finally have the Cobra some what finished!
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