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Old 09-27-2011, 12:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Pls HELP! N00b may have fried electical by arcing battery

Hi new to zuk's, this forum, and mechanical repairs in general so any help is greatly appreciated. I have an '89 sami which I inherited from my dad. It only has 60k original miles and I have loved driving it the short while I've had it. It needs some work, but i'll get to that in another post.

My first project though was to replace the battery cables because someone suggested that as a fix to the fact the zuk would fail to start at random intervals and the battery wouldn't hold a charge and sometimes would die while driving due to battery being discharged. Anyway, after checking the battery, the alternator, etc. I was told it may be the fusible link and to replace the cables. I changed them out from the battery to the starter (+) and chassis (-) as these were the only two I could find. (still not sure how the alternator charges the battery if no cables connect the two) and charged the battery.

I connected the positive cable to the battery. But when I went to connect the negative battery cable I got some major sparks and then a "snap" and smoke that appeared to be from my fusible link (I hope! ) on the positive cable I just replaced. It also smelled really bad. I think maybe I don't have it grounded correctly.

I have a Haynes manual I bought to help in the upcoming projects I will undertake. But, it is pretty vague on battery info and I just don't understand the electrical system/schematics info. Since I am so new at this i just don't know what to do next. Any help and next steps would be greatly, greatly appreciated! I fear I may have fried some electrical components or done some major damage .

Last edited by libertyfordean; 09-27-2011 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is it possible that you inadvertently reversed the battery leads when making connections? If not, you need to go back and recheck the work you did - you may have gotten that positive battery lead to the starter touching somewhere it shouldn't.

Forget about the Haynes manual or put it on your coffee table (it isn't much good as a repair guide), and then make your way over to Ack's FAQ Suzuki Sidekick and Geo Tracker 4X4 offroading information, there should be a link to a downloadable Suzuki factory manual there, along with lots of other good stuff.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The large battery cables, both (+) and (-) go directly to the starter. The (+) goes to the starter solenoid, and the (-) cable goes to the engine block at the bell housing. These carry the starter current, which is usually a few hundred amps. There should be no significant spark when you connect the cables to the battery.

A very important wire is the smaller, short black wire coming from the (-) battery clamp and going to a nearby chassis point. It is the only chassis ground for the electrical system. Make sure it's good with a clean connection. If it goes bad, current tries to get to back to the battery (-) through the clutch/throttle cables -- not a good thing.

You can check the fusible link by gently stretching the ends. If it's blown, it will give, 'cause the wire inside is melted open. Fusible link wire uses soft, fireproof insulation, so don't replace it with ordinary wire or you'll risk an electrical fire. Lowrangeoffroad.com has 'em for ~$7. I carry a spare, but it's very rare for one to blow on an unmodified rig. If you need to repair a link immediately, you may be able to buy 0.5mm(squared) fusible link repair wire at the auto parts store and solder in a temporary repair, although US link wire is a different color than the Samurai's green wire. There's a chart of Asian color codes in my gallery. (0.5mm^2) is about a US #20AWG. As best I can figure, the US Chrysler equivalent is ORANGE (20AWG). There's a good discussion of (Chrysler) fusible links at: MiniMopar Resources and also at: MadElectrical

Edit: I bought my spare fusible link from Suzuki, around $8 IIRC. Should be easy enough to repair if you can solder and find replacement link wire locally. Alternatively, you could replace it with a 40A MAXI blade-type fuse. The blowing characteristics of the large MAXI fuse more closely match those of the fusible link. This element is intended to protect the wiring, and not anything else. So it's a very slow-blow design. I like to keep my rig original, whenever possible, so I just bought a spare.

Last edited by Merlin93; 10-13-2011 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Fordem and Merlin93. I finally got around to looking at your posts and retracing my steps when I created this problem. I want you both to know I appreciate you answering.

It is a little embarrassing to admit what I am about to tell you... fordem, you were right. I did switch the leads when attaching them to the posts. actually, I put the battery in backwards from the orientation it had when I took it out and just automatically assumed I put the right leads on the right posts. But, I had the negative hooked up to positive and positive hooked to negative. That is why I was getting major sparks. Would this have done any major damage? It did blow the fusible link, but I am worried it fried some other wiring.

The battery still has a charge, but I am a little scared to hook it back up and I didn't know if I could because the fusible link is blown. Can I hook it up without the fusible link? Also, do you know whether local shops (auto zone, napa, etc) or suzuki stores that carry one of these to replace the one that blew (thanks for the pic Merlin93)?

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/n...ibleLink-1.jpg

Guess I kinda showed just how new I am to all this, heh? At any rate, I appreciate your help!

Last edited by libertyfordean; 10-12-2011 at 08:57 PM.
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