I had driven 1/2 mile from home when truck went dead, nothing worked! Radio, dash lights, power steering & brakes, lights, everything dead. Tried to start, nothing, not even a click. Its another 1/2 mile to my work, all steep downhill, so I try to bump start the rest of the way there. Nothing happens. I coast into the lot at work, and as soon asa I stop extremely chemically smelling smoke is billowing from under the hood. I grab an extinguisher and put out the fire although I never actually saw flames something caused the steel braiding on the power steering hose to get so hot it melted the hose itself and ignited the fluid inside. It was still boiling out when the smoke and extinguisher powder cleared. Upon further inspection I found the coil wire had become exposed as well and appeared to have arced to the steel braids. I replaced all the bad stuff cleaned out engine bay and still everything dead. Battery showed very low so I charged it a few hours. Truck started but as soon as anything electrical, blinkers, radio, brake lights, was activated engine would die. I could start again with volt gauge jumping erratically as it ran, but any acceleration also killed it. Then I discovered the cleverly hidden ground strap between the block and firewall was bright green with corrrosion to the point that it had broken in two! Was this the cause of the fire? I have since tested the coil, alternator, battery, continuity of wires, cleaned up all connections, but no auto supplies in my area had a grounding strap similar to mine. One dealer suggested a battery ground wire but that was about 4 times the diameter of the original strap. I fabricated one myself using copper wire I salvaged from an old extension cord, braided it together ( I knew that rope splicing merit badge would come in handy someday!)And soldered to the same size connecting rings as the originals. Ran great for two days then a quick stop at the store, I come back out and dead again, everything dead, coasted it back down to work, no luck bump starting. My strap creation held fine look good every thing tests fine. Even took alt and bat to auto parts for bench test.I am baffled. Won't even turn over now with fresh charged battery. Any ideas?
Thursday, November 15th, 2012 AT 7:04 AM