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Stonejag

URGENT: check your battery wiring TODAY!

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Had a nasty breakdown earlier so I thought it would be worth warning everyone!

 

Was on my way to work (at 60 on a single carriageway A-road) when the dash went blank, radio turned off and engine died - I found the hazard lights inoperative a second or so later - just rolled to a stop at the side of the road. Popped the bonnet before jumping out but no smoke and a cold battery so I relaxed a bit and rang the AA. Luckily I still had my hugely padded hi-vis jacket in the boot which was doubly handy - not only because it was sodding freezing and I'd forgotten my coat but also as a bit of warning to the traffic, which miraculously continued to miss me for over 20 minutes.

 

Anyway, the AA dragged me up the road to the next layby - we'd narrowed it down to wiring already (failed alternator would have kept running off the battery and my alternator warning light works, battery wouldn't cause it to die) but almost immediately found the culprit - a single thick wire, red with black tracer. to the positive battery terminal had parted ways. The failure was under the insulation so not visible until the last strands gave way, but it was a little tight (routes into a thick black insulation sleeve running behind the battery) and had obviously suffered metal fatigue. The last four or five strands were a little longer so were the last to go - it was very misty and I was only 5 minutes into my trip, so I had the front and rear fogs and heated rear window on: must have been too much current for the last section which (luckily!) went fusible-link on me. On inspection the the insulation was bubbled so it must have been running hot for a while. If it hadn't been under tension when it went I could easily have been looking at a loom fire.

 

Therefore - please check your permanent live feed at the crimped end for any signs of weakness, and renew if necessary! I was quite surprised everything is distributed from the same wire - more ingenious German Friday-afternoon engineering - but if it splits you could be left stranded on the middle of the road without hazard lights, or stranded in the middle of the road without hazard lights with your engine bay on fire!

 

If you aren't already carrying an extinguisher, please consider it! Could be the best £40 you ever spend...

 

Stone

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Thanks for the heads up. Will check mine asap. I must get around to getting an extinguisher too.

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Cheers for that I'll give mine a check before I head back to England with the VR. Managed to acquire a brand new quantum fire extinguisher from a Mercedes that was traded in a couple of weeks ago but can't help but think leaving it in the boot might not be the best idea as I'd rather have it close to hand if the worst did happen.

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I always worry that a fuel line failing or old wiring will be the thing to end my corrados life. Will be checking it all.

 

Sent from my X10i using Tapatalk

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Cheers for that I'll give mine a check before I head back to England with the VR. Managed to acquire a brand new quantum fire extinguisher from a Mercedes that was traded in a couple of weeks ago but can't help but think leaving it in the boot might not be the best idea as I'd rather have it close to hand if the worst did happen.

Mine lives in the footwell behind the driver's seat - if I need it I'm going to have to get the door open regardless (and I rarely have passengers in the back) so I figure it's worth the odd clunk as I go round corners!

 

The sleeving seems a bit long if anything, so it holds the end of the wires at quite a tight angle as they exit it. The wiring has a bit more movement on mine as the battery is a Bosch replacement and the metal retention clip doesn't screw down low enough to grip the protrusion on the base very well. As well as recrimping the end of the wire I'm going to try cutting a slit in a rubber block and fitting it over the bracket so the battery can't slide left-right. Hopefully then it'll stay together!

 

Stone

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Cheers for the heads up.

 

Any extinguishers you can recommend?

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I always carry a dry powder extinguisher in the booth after what happened to my last rado ! Cheers for the heads up

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Mine's a 2kg dry powder too - make a hell of a mess when used but the best match for both solid and liquid (fuel) fires. Worth going on a training course if you can wangle one out of work, volunteer as a fire marshal or something ;)

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Taking your advice seriously, went to Hallfords on lunch today and bought a small dry powder extinguisher (£17). It's now placed behind passenger seat, I hope will never have to use it on my car.

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Just checked mine, looks like its had it, will be replacing it thats for sure, its really wobbly around the connection there.

 

2012-03-22134731.jpg

 

---------- Post added at 2:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 2:03 PM ----------

 

Think i've actually been looking at the earth

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found the culprit - a single thick wire, red with black tracer. to the positive battery terminal had parted ways. .

 

Have you got a photo of this wire as I can't find it.

 

All red or a thick black. Agrees with the 1995 Wiring Diagram and 1994 is the same.

 

.

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Have you got a photo of this wire as I can't find it.

 

All red or a thick black. Agrees with the 1995 Wiring Diagram and 1994 is the same.

You are quite right - on closer inspection it is a solid red wire. The reason I thought it had a black chaser is because the insulation is charred! :eek: I have obviously had a very lucky escape.

corrado-batterywire.jpg

 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CHECK THIS WIRE BEFORE YOUR LOOM CATCHES FIRE!

 

Stone

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The wire end is not OEM. Its been remade and badly at that!!

See the brass ring tag to the front and slightly below the one you are pointing out. Thats OEM and it should look like that.

 

And the one underneath the faulty one behind the OEM looks a badly repaired crimp as well.

 

This is the original installation, 2 views:

Top - Looking towards the windscreen washer bottle.

Bottom - Looking towards the left radiator fan.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]56545[/ATTACH]

 

Ignore the two blue ring tag connections along with the double red partly sheaved in black. They are not standard Corrado.

 

The OEM are all brass coloured crimped ring tags. 2 single red wires and a double red wire.

 

Somebody has bodged a double repair on those two cables in your photgraph and both need remaking properly.

 

And the OEM lowest (double red) in the photo next to the black fabric pipe has broken its insulaltion as well. Thats just waiting to happen!

 

.

Edited by RW1

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Cheeky, I repaired both those silver crimps and they're solid as anything ;) The original OEM brass one was what had failed, I had to snip a good inch off the end before recrimping it to get back to a good bit of wire. The temporary AA repair was just folded on with pliers, I pulled it off the wire end without even having to uncrimp it...

 

The silver crimps aren't going anywhere, they're both crimped correctly with the appropriate tool. I might revisit them at some point if I find some of the original style terminals (to give a little more strain relief) but the second crimped point was where the original wire failed!

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These tales are always helpful to everyone and help build our knowledge of what sh!t can happen to us unwitting souls.

Remember, though, guys, you do not need to use your current-drawing fog lamps unless the visibility is less than 100 metres in fog/smoke or blowing snow. IIRC.

In Scotland, the police will delight in booking you if you do.

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since reading this thread I have checked the wiring and also the battery. Replaced the battery with new Bosch Heavy Duty item, which in itself seems to have transformed the car electricaly speaking. I also now have a small powder fire extinguisher in the cabin and a larger one in the boot!!..

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I would steer clear of powder to be honest while it is very effective at puting out a fire, it's dangerous for the health, yours and the car, the powder is extremly cancerous and will also quite likely kill your engine if ever used foam is I would think a better option or CO2 for anything electrical.

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I think this is partly a small lesson about connectors to use under the bonnet, they should have 2 crimps that peel over in an 'm' shape as with the OEM ones, the inner one making the contact with the cable and the outer clamping the insulation, as well as making a firmer grip on the cable this helps prevent moisture entering the insulation and corroding the wires especially in an exposed position like the battery positive terminals.

I hate the modern cheap radio/alarm install crush type connectors, 9 times out of 10 you see bare conductors sticking out of the back of the connector when you look under the dash of an old car. Trouble is they are cheaper and quicker than the proper connectors, and the crimping tools for the proper connectors are much harder to find.

 

As RW1 has done, if you need to add any more connections for headight relays etc, it's always better to add some extra protection like heat-shrink tubing over the cable end and crimps.

It's a good reminder to check things like live feed cables and fuel lines in the engine bay at regular intervals along with the things that can let you down less seriously like water hoses, sensor connectors and aux belts.

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I would steer clear of powder to be honest while it is very effective at puting out a fire, it's dangerous for the health, yours and the car, the powder is extremly cancerous and will also quite likely kill your engine if ever used.

 

Hmm, not that I know of, The most common powder is actually sodium bicarbonate aka baking soda, which is pretty innocuous in itself. There are however other powders used and one or two of these have a carcinogenic rating taken in combination with flow enhancers etc of 0.01 ppm. Powder is not exactly the most efficient of fire extinguishants as it relies a lot on the CO2 used to discharge the powder as an initial extinguising medium and the powder only to inhibit further ignition by absorbing and cooling the flammable substance involved. If an extinguisher was dangerous to health it would be banned as were for example CBF (Chlorobromodiflueroethane) Wullie Me, Graduate, Institute of Fire Engineers. The worst thing about powder is the bleedin mess it leaves behind which can be a pain in the A**se to get rid of. If it's dry hoover it up, or, as in most cases when used on an engine, pressure wash it away.

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Your right there Willie,nice quals you have too! I'm the SHEF at my place and have never really heard of carcinogenic fire extinguishers, heard lots on ozone depleting ones which have been taken out of service like halon was replaced with A.F.F.F

 

I've set a 3kg powder off in my building before by accident while doing my monthly inspections,powder goes everywhere! Found it difficult to breath when suspended in the air as it happened so must work well in high concentration on localized fire. Perfectly honest as its an ABC cat is best for a car fire as damage has already occurred to your car,you don't care as long as it doesn't spread. I know about this because I've had a corrado die in a fire so been there done that!

 

Anyone have any thoughts on using a mk3 cable as they'll still be available? Not checked mine yet but will do.What cable thickness is it again?

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