Oops! Shorted battery pos cable, now no start - DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums - Dodge Intrepid, Concorde, 300m and Eagle Vision chat
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Oops! Shorted battery pos cable, now no start

I was disconnecting the positive battery cable (at the charging post near the front of the (2.7) engine compartment) to reset my HVAC system, which had stopped selecting modes, and accidentally grounded it to the body. Lots of sparks.

Now, the engine won't crank. When I turn on the ignition, all the dash lights happily illuminate, but not a hint of activity from the starter.

Checked battery voltage, which was slightly low, so charged it up. No luck. Put on a load tester and it showed voltage under load was at the low end of acceptable ... but it shoulda at least produced a "click." Then tried a different charger with a "start" setting (55 amps). Hooked it up, and still not even a click.

Checked voltage drop from pos terminal to a body ground and it's negligible. Wondering if I blew out a cell inside the battery (probably 5 years old)? Or is there a fusible link somewhere?

Any suggestions? I should note that the car started half an hour before all this, and I haven't been having starting issues. Thanks for any help!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 08:08 PM
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Check your fuses in the box under the hood. I seem to recall posts where people have hooked a battery up backwards (or attempted) and blew a fuse. Dont remember which one.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 10:25 PM
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Check fuses "C" and V" in the Power Distribution Center under the hood.

C=40 amp
V=10 amp

C is the supply to the starter motor via the starter relay contacts. V is the power for the starter relay coil.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 10:28 PM
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And in the future if you need to disconnect the battery for a reset of electronics or to do electrical work you should remove the negative cable at the passenger side strut tower. That cable actually has a plastic loop on it where you remove the nut and then pull the cable up and put the empty loop on the stud to keep it from moving.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 01:35 AM
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Also, in the future, if for some reason you do want to disconnect the positive jump post, first do what RON said and disconnect the neg. jump post. That way, if the wrench you have on the pos. jump post touches body ground anywhere (which it almost certainly will), you don’t damage the wrench or otherwise cause damage to the car or injury to yourself. In fact, maybe what you did was shorted to ground thru the wrench and you just didn’t describe it that way.

In many of my past posts about disconnecting the pos. jump post (usually to clean its terminals due to poor connection), I give that advice about first disconnecting the neg. jump post before putting a wrench to the pos. jump post for that very reason. I started giving that advice after I failed to do that very thing, only I was lucky that there were no after-effects other than a wrench with some permanent arc burns/pits.

Example of one of those posts from the past:

(from post no. 6: https://www.dodgeintrepid.net/35-new...noid-wire.html)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peva
... Disassemble the pos. jump post, sand the cable terminal faces, and re-assemble making sure the nuts on the stud are *tight* - you need a wrench on both nuts torqueing against each other to do that. Be sure to disconnect top cable from neg. jump post before putting any wrenches to pos. jump post - if you don't disconnect that ground and wrench touches any surrounding metal while on the pos. jump post, there'll be lots of sparks, and possible damage or injury to yourself...


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Last edited by peva; 11-16-2019 at 01:49 AM.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Update: problem still not solved

Thanks for all the replies so far. Here's what I've done:

--checked appropriate fuses and relays in the engine compartment -- all good.
--discovered that if I left the door open while trying to start, I could hear a "click" from the engine compartment (presumably the starter relay), and also hear the fuel pump running. So it appears the computer is doing what it should.
--removed battery, cleaned top, shined up terminals and battery cables, topped off low cells w/ distilled water, and replaced. Clamps and cables at battery seemed fine.
--charged up battery again, put back in car ... and still nothing except a click.
--swapped positions for a couple of relays just in case I had a bad one. Nope.
--put the load tester on the battery again. It reads at the lower end of the range, but still acceptable. Battery is approx seven years old.
--hooked up the Dodge to a running vehicle w/ jumper cables and tried again. Click.

At this point, I've gotta believe it's the starter (or starter solenoid). But how could briefly shorting the positive cable have fried either of those components? I've gotta think they're related, since I don't believe in coincidences, but can't understand how or why. All thoughts appreciated.

Now for a rant: If I was going to design a car and locate the battery in the most inconvenient, annoying, inacessible location, the result would be the Intrepid. And despite the advice in the service manual, it's actually much faster and easier to remove the battery from the top by removing the air cleaner box than it is to dick around removing the cover in the wheel well. Plus, at least in my case, I had to jack up the front a bit anyway to get enough clearance between the top of the battery and the tire to slide it out of the way.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 06:34 PM
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DIAGNOSIS AND TESTING - CONTROL
CIRCUIT TEST
The starter control circuit has:
˛ Starter motor with integral solenoid
˛ Starter relay
˛ Transmission range sensor, or Park/Neutral
Position switch with automatic transmissions
˛ Ignition switch
˛ Battery
˛ All related wiring and connections
˛ Powertrain Control Module (PCM)
CAUTION: Before performing any starter tests, the
ignition and fuel systems must be disabled.
˛ To disable ignition and fuel systems, disconnect
the Automatic Shutdown Relay (ASD). The ASD relay
is located in the Power Distribution Center (PDC).
Refer to the PDC cover for the proper relay location.

STARTER SOLENOID
WARNING: CHECK TO ENSURE THAT THE TRANSMISSION
IS IN THE PARK POSITION WITH THE
PARKING BRAKE APPLIED.
(1) Verify battery condition. Battery must be in
good condition with a full charge before performing
any starter tests. Refer to Battery Tests.
(2) Perform Starter Solenoid test BEFORE performing
the starter relay test.
(3) Perform a visual inspection of the starter/
starter solenoid for corrosion, loose connections or
faulty wiring.
(4) Locate and remove the starter relay from the
Power Distribution Center (PDC). Refer to the PDC
label for relay identification and location.
(5) Connect a remote starter switch or a jumper
wire between the remote battery positive post and
terminal 87 of the starter relay connector.
(a) If engine cranks, starter/starter solenoid is
good. Go to the Starter Relay Test.
(b) If engine does not crank or solenoid chatters,
check wiring and connectors from starter relay to
starter solenoid for loose or corroded connections.
Particularly at starter terminals.
(c) Repeat test. If engine still fails to crank properly,
trouble is within starter or starter mounted
solenoid, and replace starter. Inspect the ring gear
teeth.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 06:47 PM
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Better get a VOM and start checking continuity on the starting circuit. Otherwise starter replacement time if you don't know how to properly troubleshoot wiring and electrical circuits. Guess it'll be an expensive learning experience for your mistake.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 07:10 PM
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Take a pair of jumpers and jump both of them from metal on the engine block to body ground (maybe the brake lines at the distribution block underneath the computer) and try again
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinfish View Post
Take a pair of jumpers and jump both of them from metal on the engine block to body ground (maybe the brake lines at the distribution block underneath the computer) and try again
As thin as the walls on the brake lines are on many of these cars from corrosion, I wouldn’t be scraping are mechanically clamping anything to the brake lines or attempting to create concentrated current entry/exit points on them. But yeah - try creating another ground path as a test.

Last edited by peva; 11-16-2019 at 08:41 PM.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peva View Post
As thin as the walls on the brake lines are on many of these cars from corrosion, I wouldn’t be scraping are mechanically clamping anything to the brake lines or attempting to create concentrated current entry/exit points on them. But yeah - try creating another ground path as a test. :beerhug:
yeah, I'm from California so we generally don't have that problem, but there aren't many good places on these cars to find an unpainted body ground
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-17-2019, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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helpful vido on youTube

Was browsing around the Web tonight and ran across a video from a guy replacing the starter on an Intrepid. He says, as I recall, that the commutator shaft (sp?) probably got a burned spot on it when somebody screwed up a battery installation, so maybe that's my problem. Hoping to get the non-starting car into my garage Sunday so I don't have to work on it in my driveway at below-freezing temperatures. Looks like the starter is a PITA to get out ... different size bolts, requiring extensions, a swivel fitting, metal shim to worry about, etc. I can't wait! (The video is for the big engine, so maybe ... just maybe ... it'll be easier on my 2.7.)

Here's the youTube link:
.

However, I'll also try the fixes/tests described by the three previous posters before pulling the starter. The car has just over 100k miles on it, so probably the original starter.

Are we having fun yet?
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-17-2019, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinhealey View Post
Was browsing around the Web tonight and ran across a video from a guy replacing the starter on an Intrepid. He says, as I recall, that the commutator shaft (sp?) probably got a burned spot on it when somebody screwed up a battery installation, so maybe that's my problem. Hoping to get the non-starting car into my garage Sunday so I don't have to work on it in my driveway at below-freezing temperatures. Looks like the starter is a PITA to get out ... different size bolts, requiring extensions, a swivel fitting, metal shim to worry about, etc. I can't wait! (The video is for the big engine, so maybe ... just maybe ... it'll be easier on my 2.7.)

Here's the youTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWcYEMAUmWg .

However, I'll also try the fixes/tests described by the three previous posters before pulling the starter. The car has just over 100k miles on it, so probably the original starter.

Are we having fun yet?
The starter is definitely a PITA. I just had to do mine. I'd do everything possible to try and test it before pulling it. Also, once you get it up in the air, I'd get under there and try and give it a decent rap or two with a hammer. If there is a burned spot sometimes that'll get it past it. No guarantee its not going to come back however.

Another thing that comes to mind is that 2nd bolt up that holds it to the bell housing should have a large ground cable on it. You can check to see that it's tight. Also you can try and sister the ground right at the starter body to the body ground or even directly to the battery negative terminal to try and eliminate everything in between as a potential problem spot.

You can take a voltmeter and take measurements while it's attempted to be cranked starting at the starter lug and working your way back towards the battery to try and find your bad connection. For instance, if it stays at full battery voltage right there then it's probably your starter that's bad. If it drops considerably there then you could test it at the wire side of the starter terminal. If it is high there but low on the lug itself then that connection is dirty. Then if you pierce the wire there (if you can reach it) and test again and it's high on the wire but low on the starter terminal then the wire is corroded inside the connector that bolts to the starter, etc...

I learned a couple of shortcuts you can hit me up for while doing mine if you end up having to do yours.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-17-2019, 05:37 PM
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Oh, BTW, that vid is of a 3.5. Here's the one for the 2.7:


He did a pretty good job, but there are a few tips I discovered that would make it easier.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-17-2019, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Slowly making progress

Well, I finally got the starter out today, bench-tested it, and of course it worked. However, I had done the hammer-tapping trick earlier (which I learned on fuel pumps for British vintage cars), so I don't know if that made it work or not.

The hot feed wire to the starter has power at all times. I haven't tested the trigger circuit yet because I need a highly trained assistant (my wife) to help, and she's at work.

The cables to the starter looked fine - no evidence of overheating. However, re a previous post saying one of the mounting bolts should have a ground wire connected: Mine doesn't. Will definitely consider adding one, though!

Unless it turns out the trigger circuit to the starter solenoid is no good, I'm going to replace the starter anyway ... mainly because it's such a difficult job that I don't want to do it again. The only good part of today's work was that none of the nuts and bolts were corroded.

Stay tuned ... there may be light at the end of the tunnel!
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