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1983 Ford Ranger electrical issues

Samwilcox41

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So I just bought my first truck and it was running fine for the first 3 days and out of no where it wouldn’t start I tested my voltage on the battery and I was getting 3volts I tried jump starting it and nothing happened still would not start so my buddy said battery is toast so I went and bought a new one and put it and right when I hook up the negative the wires connecting to my solenoid start smoking. Is this a problem with the solenoid itself or the wiring ? The cable coming from the positive terminal was extremely hot and melted a bit at the end for the little bit it was hooked up . I looked at the wire and it was a 14gauage wire and the one from the negative is way bigger is it supposed to be like that ? Any information will help!
 


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You have a 14 gauge wire from battery positive to the starter solenoid? :icon_confused: That ain't right. Pictures would help.
 

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I would suggest taking a deep breath... and have another look. No way a 14 gauge wire would carry enough current to operate the starter. Also... unless the key was in the crank position when you hooked the battery up... there should be no current flow to the starter relay.
 

ericbphoto

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Pictures would definitely help here. If you got that much current flow when hooking up the battery, there is a bad problem somewhere.
 

Samwilcox41

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You have a 14 gauge wire from battery positive to the starter solenoid? :icon_confused: That ain't right. Pictures would help.
I’lll send pictures when I get home today but I thought something was up from that because that is the one that got hot and melted
 

Samwilcox41

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Pictures would definitely help here. If you got that much current flow when hooking up the battery, there is a bad problem somewhere.
Would it be a short or something drawing way to much power ?
 

Samwilcox41

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I would suggest taking a deep breath... and have another look. No way a 14 gauge wire would carry enough current to operate the starter. Also... unless the key was in the crank position when you hooked the battery up... there should be no current flow to the starter relay.
The key was in the position right before you have to hit the button on the bottom of the Column to take the key out
 

Samwilcox41

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ericbphoto

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oh, my. You do have a mess there. The pictures still don't clearly show all these wires well. But as far as I can see...

When you connect the battery, the short thick wire from the starter relay should connect to Battery + (positive 12volts). That long thick wire that looks like it has a red clamp on it appears to be the - (negative) connection to the battery. The negative battery clamp should probably have 2 wires. one of them goes to the engine block to ground it. The other (smaller wire) goes to the body.

electrical drawing here. The battery and its connections are on the left side of the page

That small black wire you are holding in the third picture, where does it go to and from?
 

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Agreed, that the pics don't show everything well, and that you have a mess (no offense intended). The best that I can make out, it looks like you've taped up positive battery terminal- the short black cable that's attached to the starter solenoid. IF that other untaped red-colored battery terminal is for your battery ground, you'll need more than that black wire going to the radiator core support. Like ericphoto says, the battery negative cable needs to go to the engine block through a cable at least as big as the positive cable. Originally the truck should had a thick, heavy gauge black wire on the battery negative terminal that went through a terminal clamp on the frame before ending up bolted to the block. From your pics it looks like you lack the thick cable from the engine block to the battery negative terminal.
 

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First thing you do... go buy new cable ends... and cables.

This is simple stuff and easy to correct. I agree it appears you're missing your engine ground.
 

Samwilcox41

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oh, my. You do have a mess there. The pictures still don't clearly show all these wires well. But as far as I can see...

When you connect the battery, the short thick wire from the starter relay should connect to Battery + (positive 12volts). That long thick wire that looks like it has a red clamp on it appears to be the - (negative) connection to the battery. The negative battery clamp should probably have 2 wires. one of them goes to the engine block to ground it. The other (smaller wire) goes to the body.

electrical drawing here. The battery and its connections are on the left side of the page

That small black wire you are holding in the third picture, where does it go to and from?
36264
36265

That is coming from the red terminal connecting to the frame going through that plastic thing in picture 1 and then connection to the solenoid with only a washer between the connection from the other terminal.
 

Samwilcox41

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Agreed, that the pics don't show everything well, and that you have a mess (no offense intended). The best that I can make out, it looks like you've taped up positive battery terminal- the short black cable that's attached to the starter solenoid. IF that other untaped red-colored battery terminal is for your battery ground, you'll need more than that black wire going to the radiator core support. Like ericphoto says, the battery negative cable needs to go to the engine block through a cable at least as big as the positive cable. Originally the truck should had a thick, heavy gauge black wire on the battery negative terminal that went through a terminal clamp on the frame before ending up bolted to the block. From your pics it looks like you lack the thick cable from the engine block to the battery negative terminal.
Okay this is makes sense but this also has me wondering how the truck ran fine for 3 days right when I bought it? Any info would help
 

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Okay this is makes sense but this also has me wondering how the truck ran fine for 3 days right when I bought it? Any info would help
Luck?
 

Samwilcox41

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First thing you do... go buy new cable ends... and cables.

This is simple stuff and easy to correct. I agree it appears you're missing your engine ground.
This is my first time ever dealing with wiring thankfully it’s a old rig so it shouldn’t be to hard but how do I know what types of cables and what not to buy ?
 

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