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Ground battery cable melts when trying to start


CHETMO's Avatar
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04-02-04, 08:02 AM   #1  
CHETMO
Ground battery cable melts when trying to start

88 Dodge Van 15 pass small battery groung cable to firewall melts when trying to start. Put new starter in several months ago when trying to figure out why it was clicking when key was turned on to start. It was the ground wire then. Also put a new battery at that time,along with a starter relay. ANY IDEAS?????

 
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MO

04-02-04, 08:55 AM   #2  
Just something to check - See if there is a "chassis bond" from engine block to a frame member. It should be a fairly heavy gauge cable, or even the braided stainless steel strap kind. If not, the small ground wire going to the firewall may be trying to carry ALL the starting current, and it will be a lot. If you don't see a bond cable or strap, you might want to add one or two. I used to work on ambulances, and quite often, any number of electrical problems were traceable to insufficient ground. Give it a look and let us know what you find.

 
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04-02-04, 03:36 PM   #3  
If the ground cable from the battery does not go to the engine look for the chassis to engine cable like CMil mentioned. All connections must be tight and making good connection to carry the high starting amperage.

Has someone replaced the cable with one that is too small? (wire size)

 
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04-02-04, 04:00 PM   #4  
I would look closely at the battery negative cable and clean where it attaches to the block.Actually they are so cheap I'd put a new one on.If the body ground is melting during cranking the starter is attempting to ground though the body because the path to ground through the neg cable is lost or severly restricted due to corrosion,or being too loose.

 
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04-02-04, 04:34 PM   #5  
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Im going to try the ideas tomorrow thanks folks. Chet

 
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04-02-04, 09:53 PM   #6  
mike from nj
to summarize what everyone said,

i would look very closely at the negative battery cable. it splits in two halves at the battery, one thin segment goes to the body, one fat segment goes right to the driver's side cylinder head (right under the air pump, smog pump) it's a little tricky getting the pump loose, but you will clearly see the cable bolted to the head under it. i agree with davo, just replace the cable with the correct style (a double ender) and thickness wire and your problems should be solved.





on the same subject, i once worked on an older diesel truck(not a dodge) and the negative cable like yours was lost to the block. the only connection between the body and the engine was the dipstick. it was towed in for slow starting, and when we tried it, the dipstick tube started smoking and then glowed orange. we had some raised eyebrows with that one.

 
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04-04-04, 04:26 PM   #7  
CHETMO
I changed the ground battery terminal, along with a larger wire to the fire wall in a different spot. The van now does not burn the ground wire, but still does whom, whom, then starts. seems like it runs ok but now the temperature gauge,and the oil pressure gauge goes to high, when starting to drive off. It doesstay on the high side until I stop the van HELP MR WIZARD......

 
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04-06-04, 02:38 AM   #8  
mike from nj
what condition was the large ground wire between the battery (negative terminal) and the engine's cylinder head? especially the connection at the head?

 
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05-04-04, 08:32 AM   #9  
CHETMO
Its Fixxxxxxxxxxed

SORRY I DID NOT GET BACK WITH ALL OF YOU, IVE BEEN UNDER THE WEATHER, CHEM TRAILS AGAIN I GUESS. IT WAS TWO THINGS. THE ORIGINAL GROUND, THICK WIRE WENT BAD SOMEHOW , EVEN THOUGH I SANDED BOTH ENDS OF CONTACT TO FRAM HAD TO FIND DIFFERENT AREA TO GROUND. tHE SECOND STARTER WENT BAD, AND THE AUTO PARTS STORE TESTED IT AND SAID IT WAS GOOD,WE HAD A WAR THERE UNTIL FINALLY THE MANAGER GAVE IN, HEY IT RUNS NOW , ALL GAUGES SEEM TO BE FINE NOW...... THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR HELP. CHETMO

 
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