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Old 11-18-2019, 11:08 PM   #1
?meister
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Default Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

2001 SC2 has been recently blowing the IGN 3 fuse intermittently. Replaced the starter 5 months ago. The IGN 3 fuse blew a single time a while ago. I replaced the fuse and hadn't had a problem since then until now. I don't remember for sure if it was before or after replacing the starter. It seems like it was longer than 5 months ago. I thought I had found the recent problem. I believe the right angle terminal on the large post on the starter that goes to the alternator was making contact with the small switch post/terminal (purple wire). Maybe I put that on wrong when I changed the starter. The way the 2 right angle terminals were on the large post (the other being the big red wire going to the battery) formed a Z or zig-zag shape. I thought the plastic divider between the terminals was supposed to prevent contact. I rotated the alternator terminal 180 degrees so the 2 terminals formed a T shape, and it was no longer anywhere near the small switch post. Seemed fine but blew again a few trips later. When troubleshooting the problem earlier I purchased a new ignition switch after mistakenly testing the old switch (that I had pulled) as bad. I hadn't noticed/realized the little pin/plunger on the back of the switch has to be depressed for some of the switch positions to have their proper continuity. I realized my mistake before I had put the new switch in, but put the new one in anyway because I had mail ordered it and did want to mess around with returning it, if I could. All that to say the ignition switch is brand new. Also, I didn't see any fried ignition switch wires. This is getting long but want to give as much info as I can. So when it blew last I wanted to try and pinpoint the culprit blowing the fuse. I replaced the IGN 3 fuse and also jumpered the transmission range switch connector with a 10 amp fuse. The car started (indicating it might be the tranny switch, but hard to say because of the intermittent nature of the problem) and drove it home. Got home, shut it off, restarted it. Shut it off again and as quickly as I could I reconnected the tranny switch. It restarted again but the starter stayed engaged after releasing the key from start/crank. The car even stayed running after turning the key off. At that point I was panicking and not sure what I did (if anything) to get the starter to disengage and the engine to stop. Is it most likely the starter got damaged by the terminal contact described earlier?

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Old 11-19-2019, 12:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

More questions. If I jumper the transmission range switch for an extended period (to troubleshoot the intermittent problem), could/should I use a 30 amp fuse (for the jumper) because the IGN 3 fuse is 30? Or maybe 20 or 25, to ensure that is the one that would blow, and is cheaper than the IGN 3 maxifuse? I only have 2 more 30 amp maxi spares. I have a ton of the regular ATO size. A 10 amp worked, but am wondering if I should go higher amp. Are all fuses of the same amperage functionally the same, no matter their size?

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Old 11-19-2019, 12:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

Letting the "PPL wire" terminal short-circuit to the large terminal for the battery/alternator terminal would force the starter to be cranking all the time, and sure would not be good for the starter. However, if the starter operates OK after that short is corrected, then the starter is probably not damaged and I would quit fretting about it.

I can't think of any way the starter itself could affect any fuses. I admit I didn't study the text of your post thoroughly, but my impression is you have a wiring problem in the ignition/start switch circuitry.

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Old 11-19-2019, 12:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

Hmm, I suppose if the starter solenoid was shorted to ground or the winding was shorted to be very low resistance, and that 30A fuse supplies power to the ignition switch, then the shorted solenoid could take out the switch. I think that is a rare type of failure, but if you had the solenoid/starter energized for extended time, due to the PPL wire short, then the solenoid could have over-heated and burned the winding insulation. Same for the starter armature winding... it may be time to take the starter to your FLAPS for testing. Don't buy the starter there, though; order the $40 one from <dbelectrical.com>

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Old 11-19-2019, 12:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

I keep thinking of more things. After "fixing" the starter terminals I forgot about the jumper I had on the transmission range switch. The car got driven over the next 2 days, being started 7 times without fail. I then reconnected the TRS connector and it failed on the third start attempt. Given that, now I lean toward a bad TRS.

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Old 11-19-2019, 01:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

Certainly any short-to-ground in the PPL wire circuit could blow the fuse, but that range/safety switch is mostly plastic, so I wouldn't expect such a short there; but not impossible.

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Old 11-19-2019, 01:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

Yeah, I'm fuzzy on whether the terminals on the starter were really shorted. If they were, I think it would only crank if the key was in the run position. It's hard to say if that ever happened because you generally turn it quickly past run to start. What made me think there was contact, or that they were very very close is by what happened when I got under the car to jump the starter. I wasn't paying attention and used a screwdriver to make contact between the large post and the alternator terminal (which are already in contact). The car started. I didn't realize what I had done until later. The alternator terminal and switch terminal must have been so close that very light pressure by the screwdriver made them contact.

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Old 11-19-2019, 01:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

If the alternator/battery post and starter motor post were connected all the time the starter would be running all the time. The only time the 2 are connected is when the post the purple wire is on receives 12v or you jump the terminals. Even if the terminals are jumped the engine won't run unless the key is in "run" or someone's hacked up the wiring.

I believe the purple wire circuit is fused @ 30a in the UHJB, but the starter motor itself has an unfused 6awg connection direct from the battery. Not sure which fuse the circuit use's, could be IGN 3...99% sure it's in the owners manual.

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Old 11-19-2019, 07:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

I feel a little brain dead about my previous statements about the starter cranking. Yes, after thinking clearly, if the the big post terminal was connected to the smaller switch terminal it would crank all the time, no matter where the key was. The only known time the starter cranked more than it should have was the one time described earlier after I had remounted the terminals so they couldn't contact (the TRS/NSS was connected). My immediate plan is to jumper the TRS/NSS (with a 20 amp regular fuse) and attempt to start it twice a day for a few days, maybe a week. I have extra vehicles so it can afford to sit for a while. So far it hasn't failed in that condition. If it never fails I plan on leaving it that way and not replacing the TRS/NSS.

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Old 11-27-2019, 02:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

I would Not place a large value fuse anywhere in the harness without some care.

Suggest careful examination of the vehicle's wiring diagram before proceeding.

Good to determine What caused the 30Amp fuse to melt.

If the solenoid on the starter were commanded to remain ON for a while
(minutes rather than the normal seconds) that might cause enough current to flow. (DC coils build up current flow with time).

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Old 12-03-2019, 09:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Is my starter blowing my IGN 3 fuse?

Still has not failed with the TRS/NSS jumpered. I can only conclude that part is bad and is what was blowing the IGN 3 fuse. I'm not replacing it and just leaving the jumper in place. I used a standard fuse as the jumper because it fit so nicely in the connector. For a permanent jumper I took a 30 amp fuse and had someone solder a wire across the test tabs on the top of the fuse. If a fuse was to blow I wanted it to be the one in the UHFB, which is much easier to get at. I then used a cable zip tie to hold the fuse in the connector. For overkill I wrapped it all over with tape.

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