BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER.... A's, G's & E's


Up in Smoke...almost

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Magic Bus

Number of posts : 1413
Location : -Gateway to the West - St Louis Missouri
Registration date : 2009-12-02

Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Magic Bus on Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:27 pm

The other day I drove Magic around  a little bit.  I noticed it didn't crank as fast as it has been and figured the battery was living on borrowed time.   So I put a trickle charger on it and today I went to drive it and I had NO battery at all, completely dead.  

I was  a little surprised because I had the trickle charger on it.

So I grabbed another new hot battery I had in another car and proceeded to install it.  Positive cable on.  All good.

Went to install the negative cable and knew right quick something was bad wrong.  Sparks and smoke were flying like I was welding my negative cable to the battery,  Woah,  serious smoking and sparking,  scary.

A quick inspection under the hood looked ok.  Under the dash, key switch, wiring harness...looks ok.   Tried the negative cable again.  Same sparks, smoke and scary noises!

So I unhooked the positive cable  off the solenoid.  Neg cable on.  All good.  Start inspecting wires off the solenoid..  Shocked   here we go.  The wire off the one wire alternator that I installed through the mounting bracket with the heater hoses, in order to keep it off the exhaust and away from the carb linkage had either overheated from current or vibrated the insulation off of it and was touching bare ground.  

NO WONDER THE BATTERY WAS DEAD!!!

The wire was protected in other areas by a black flexible loom and it had melted through parts of it.  

Looking back its probably not automotive wire?  Not sure.  And Ive probably only ran maybe 6-8 tanks of gas through it since I got the paint on it.  At this point Im just very happy that it didn't catch fire and burn the van and the garage down.  

Im replacing the wire, charging the battery and hoping it didn't fry the alternator too.  

Im open for suggestions on the exact type and size wire to use if anybody knows for sure. I think this wire is a #10 guage.

Apparently Im a lucky man.

This is the part that was rubbing on the heater hose bracket right next to the passenger seat.

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uante

Number of posts : 1193
Location : Tempe, Arizona
Age : 55
Registration date : 2014-01-26

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by uante on Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:32 pm

Serious Smoking and Sparks! Not Good! Glad there wasn't a lot of damage to your wiring...certainly must have been spooky though!
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donivan65
Governor
Governor

Number of posts : 11462
Location : San Diego, California
Registration date : 2008-05-12

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by donivan65 on Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:32 pm

Everyone of you guys with a Vintage Van needs to connect one of these fusible links to the little wires that are connected  to the end of the positive battery cable,,,,so WHEN,,,,,,,not IF,,,,,any wire shorts out and catches the van on fire,,,,,,,this link will burn out and disconnect the battery from the van,,,,,,,you need 10 gauge wires to the fusebox, ignition switch and alternator output,,,,,its the best $3.99 you will ever spend on your van,,,,


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Bruce67Econoline

Number of posts : 809
Location : Charleston SC
Age : 58
Registration date : 2014-01-25

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Bruce67Econoline on Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:22 am

Fire Bad!
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panelmanrd

Number of posts : 764
Location : kcmo
Age : 56
Registration date : 2009-10-04

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by panelmanrd on Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:39 am

I run an 8 gauge wire form the alt to the starter on my one wire.
used to have a 10 gauge but changed it to the 8 no problems since.
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Seth G
Vintage-Vans Listings Manager
Vintage-Vans Listings Manager

Number of posts : 1718
Location : Anacortes, WA
Age : 44
Registration date : 2013-04-24

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Seth G on Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:51 am

Scary stuff Magic. Glad it wasn't worse. I would use ABYC marine DC wire sizing. Being a "critical" feed and being inside the engine compartment(hot) the wire should be sized for 3% loss. #10 is only rated for 30 amps @ up to 10' circuit length @ 3% loss. 80-100 amp alternator, you should be using #4.

I use this Ancor chart at work, it's very handy

http://assets.bluesea.com/files/resources/newsletter/images/DC_wire_selection_chartlg.jpg
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Magic Bus

Number of posts : 1413
Location : -Gateway to the West - St Louis Missouri
Registration date : 2009-12-02

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Magic Bus on Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:41 am

panelmanrd wrote:I run an 8 gauge wire form the alt to the starter on my one wire.
used to have a 10 gauge but changed it to the 8 no problems since.

What kind of problem did you have with the 10?
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Magic Bus

Number of posts : 1413
Location : -Gateway to the West - St Louis Missouri
Registration date : 2009-12-02

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Magic Bus on Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:43 am

The challenge seems to be to be able to find a connector that will jump from 8 guage to smaller 12 guage that comes with the inline fuses.  

And I really don't even know how much this old gm one wire alt puts out? 60 amps? Im no electrician so Im not sure how all the amp/wire ratings connectors all come together.

I can certainly solder, crimp, cut wire and turn bolts, but this is a custom retro fit...just trying to get it right this time.
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donivan65
Governor
Governor

Number of posts : 11462
Location : San Diego, California
Registration date : 2008-05-12

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by donivan65 on Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:58 am

Hey,,,,,unless you put some high amperage equipment and a 130 amp alternator in your van and a Diesel engine to actually turn that alternator,,,,10 gauge works just fine,,,,
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donivan65
Governor
Governor

Number of posts : 11462
Location : San Diego, California
Registration date : 2008-05-12

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by donivan65 on Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:15 am

An 8 gauge wire would be a good investment for future equipment,,,,you can open up a 10 gauge connector and solder an 8 gauge to it,,,,,,and you want to solder any feed wire connectors anyways and not just crimp them,,,,,


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Seth G
Vintage-Vans Listings Manager
Vintage-Vans Listings Manager

Number of posts : 1718
Location : Anacortes, WA
Age : 44
Registration date : 2013-04-24

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Seth G on Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:07 pm

I agree, even with a large alternator, unless you are using the power available you will not see that kind of load on the wire. Weak battery, headlights on and electric fans(s) and you may be get above 60 or 70A. Especially through a 50 year old harness. All the same, if I had a 100 amp alternator I'd use at least 6 gauge. Wire is cheap. If you want to fuse it, use a 10 guage fusible link or run it through a fuse block like an anl @ the size of your choice. jmo
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RodStRace

Number of posts : 3022
Location : Chino Valley
Registration date : 2010-01-21

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by RodStRace on Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:49 am

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Magic Bus

Number of posts : 1413
Location : -Gateway to the West - St Louis Missouri
Registration date : 2009-12-02

Re: Up in Smoke...almost

Post by Magic Bus on Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:49 pm

Rod, that is a great piece and would be perfect for this application.


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