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Had Hotwire Starter Fire Mishap and now Car Wont Start

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Ok, been hotwiring 99 legacy more than a year without any problems. I was using a light switch for the on/off and a springy button thing to engage the starter. It all worked well, and was simple for my gf to use as well. Then I found what i thought was a really cool new switch and button combo that would both fit well and look much better, so i took the light switch and button off and thats when things went south. I got sidetracked doing something with my neighbor, and during this time while all the ignituon wires were just hanging free, my gf decided she needed to drive to the store.

I heard her yell and saw the cloud of smoke come from under the hood. The big wire connecting the selenoid to the starter had fried - all the insulation was burned off and after it cooled down i taped that wire back up but it was clear the starter was done.

So i got a new starter, and now when i try to start the car it sounds like somethings not engaging. Theres no cranking sound, just a constant sound like things are just rotating. The cars been dead about a month now and i dont know what to do. I thought the starter may not be turning the flywheel but it is. I also cleaned all the ground wires i could find , had both the starter and alternator tested, and made sure theres spark. Its the weirdest sound trying to start it, everyone whos heard it says the same thing - that theyve never heard that before and that it sounds like somethings not engaging.

I dont know what to do please help

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This is why you ALWAYS put a FUSE on any wire coming from the battery +. And you should ALWAYS disconnect the battery negative whenever doing ANY kind of electrical work.


Lucky the car didn't just burn to the ground.


You can't tape up a burned melted wire and expect it to still work. The internal resistance of the wire will not allow the proper amount of current to pass through to engage the starter solenoid like it should. Its fried, it needs to be replaced.



It's really too hard to say what else might be damaged under the dash or under the hood because of that wire. Hopefully it will work after you replace the wire (get a 30 amp fuse holder and fuse to put at the battery end).

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Have you made sure your battery is good and fully charged? If it cranked for a long time or got drained when it was cooking the insulation off the old wire and then sat for a month or more it might just not have enough oomph in it.


I would just replace the wire from the starter solenoid to your pushbutton, don't rely on the old burned taped up wire. Or try using a fused jumper wire, fused as close to the battery + as possible, then use that on the solenoid and see if it cranks normally.


I did have a strange slow cranking type issue on my '96 before that I thought was the timing slipped or something funny like that, and it turned out it was something with the supply to the starter solenoid (I guess many people have put in an interposing relay from what I saw on other posts), but I just put the fused wire from battery + through a pushbutton from NAPA right to the starter solenoid which sounds like what you did and that works great.

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