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One step forward, six steps back


Guest ambr607
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Guest ambr607

After getting the gas tank wrestled back into place and replacing the fuel line I was excited to finally get the 62 Special running again and pulling fuel from something more appropriate than a coffee can. I still haven't finished the brakes so I was restricted to idling in the driveway but it gave me a chance to check for leaks, check the repaired radiator and new water pump for leaks, and admire all the lights I got working.

Apparently the voltage regulator picked this evening to remind me I have a long way to go. I heard it click a few times and noticed the lights flickering a little but thought nothing of it. Let it idle a few more minutes, shut it off, tightened some hoses, ran it again for a while and then shut it off.

I was in the garage at my bench when I noticed a bad smell and looked out to see the Buick engulfed in smoke. Lots of popping and crackling coming from the area of the regulator. I got the battery disconnected just as little flames started to appear. Once the smoke cleared I was able to assess the damage:

Regulator fried and the main harness from the regulator to generator melted to bare wire. I guess it's time for a new wiring harness and convert to an alternator... :(

Hey but the upholstry shop will probably have the seats recovered by the end of the week :rolleyes:

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Guest ambr607

If I had gone straight up to the kitchen the old car would be a smudge in the driveway! After things cooled down I took the cover off the regulator and found the 2nd and 3rd contacts burned. All the wiring along the main harness from the regulator to the generator is toast as well. All I can figure is the load of all the lights on at idle was too much and the contacts welded closed.

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Guest shadetree77

I had a similar ordeal one time with a Cadillac I used to own. It was my own fault though. Put a different battery in and didn't pay attention to the fact that the posts were set up opposite from the battery I took out. Hooked it up backwards and poof!! Alternator caught fire!! I too was able to unhook electrical and put out the fire and all it cost me was a new alternator but man, that was scary. I worry about that all the time on my 52 Special with the original wiring harness on it. My dad laughed at me when I installed a fire extinguisher in the floorboard. I'm gonna have to show him this thread. Glad you were able to save her though! Good luck with the re-wiring.

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Guest ambr607

Definately will be a fire extinguisher on board. Dad told me about snuffing out a carb fire with his hand many years ago. There will also be a battery disconnect switch either under the dash or on the battery. Thankfully I didn't have the connectors tightened down. I don't think I would have had time to find and use a wrench!

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Well, since we are all coming clean on electrical messes .....

I , too, had a near catastrophe with the 58 RoadSmasher about 1998.

I had attached a commercial "fast start" charger ( a BIG one on four wheels!)

to the car to awaken it from a long sleep ...... Unfortunately, I left the key "on" and walked away for about 4 minutes ..... Turned around and the car was engulfed in acrid smoke!

Fried every wire under the hood associated with the charging/starter/ignition circuits; right up

to the bulkhead connector. In fact, by the time I caught it, the bulkhead

connector was starting to melt .....

The fix?

Ended up enlarging the color schematic from the shop manual (so could actually see it)

and bought LOTS of color coded wire and set about replacing the entire under hood harness - wire by wire.

Also, since the key was "ON" it fried the coil and points and the regulator and the bakelite starter switch at the carb ........ Took me 3 weeks, but a new battery and some prayer & she fired right up and great....! I am more religious now.......!

take heart, at least the old cars have simpler under hood wiring and can be repaired

with some diligence!

mike

PS MAKE SURE THE KEY IS OFF ON OLD BUICKS BEFORE QUICK CHARGING THEM

PPS NEVER WALK AWAY FROM A BIG QUICK CHARGER LIKE I DID

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Never did find out why, but a buddy of mine had a 67 Ford wagon, would not start. We had the hood open, as he was trying to start it the main wiring harness began to melt, was the oddest thing I'd ever seen. Needless to say we got the battery disconnected as soon as possible.

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