Well okay, this car has a lot of problems

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Well okay, this car has a lot of problems.
My father bought it for me, for my first car three months ago.

Pretty much it ran fine at first, he said the power steering was just empty.
Power steering has a major leak, never caused me problems though since I never added fluid, it ran fine without except for the turning the wheel being very hard when stopped.

A month and a half later, I'm driving up HW-50, my car just loses power, slowly lose speed, so I pull over.
Sat there for five hours, checked all the fuses, everything.
I had a few out, but nothing important.

Turns out, it was the timing belt.
I guess what made the steering so hard, was affected by the timing belt.
It was somehow really jammed and it tore the teeth off and everything.
Got it replaced.

My mechanic said the Tranny slips in first gear, I have a bad oil leak, and I have a bad power steering fluid leak as well.
I get down to pick up my car, drive maybe Seven miles down the road, BAM!
Loses power, and I had to back down a hill, on a mountain with a huge blindspot into oncoming traffic, to get to a safe spot.

We thought maybe the tensioner wasn't right and the timing slipped,
wasn't the problem.
We spent all day checking things, thought it was the distributor, since the power wasn't going to it.
We checked a fuse,

I don't know what it's for, I'm assuming the distributor, what happened was, the guy I had bought it from, he pretty much made a makeshift fuse.

With a 30a fuse, one of the small skinny ones, with two cords and the ends to slide onto where the fuse would actually go onto.
That was the problem, to get to the auto shop, we the wires, and connected them to create a nonstop current to make up for the fuse or something.

It worked, ran fine.
We get to the auto parts store, turn the key off, thinking it would be fine.

We go in, see if we can find a right fuse,
It was the very right fuse that is attached to the positive side of the battery.

I do not know what it is for, but we bought a 50amp to be safe, even though we thought it was a 30a.

We started it, it instantly blew.
We then put the connected cords back together and connected it, tried starting it.
Didn't start anymore, and it would get really hot.

We're thinking maybe as we blew that fuse, we possibly blew something else.

Does anyone know what fuse that is, and where those wires lead to?
Also does anyone know why it may have done that?

Thank you for reading all this and taking the time to help!
Thursday, November 1st, 2012 AT 6:47 AM

1 Reply

Wow, I thought the days were long gone when people put in wrong-size fuses. Think of that fuse as a safety valve on a water tank. If the tank will burst at 100 pounds of pressure, you put a safety valve on it that will trip at 80 pounds. A 120 pound valve won't do very much if the tank already exploded.

Electrical circuits are expected to carry a known amount of current and no more. If that current goes too high the wires will overheat and could start on fire. Look inside a toaster to see what can happen. To prevent that we choose fuses that will pass the intended amount of current, and just a little more, but not enough to overheat the wires. When something happens to cause that current to go too high, the fuse blows to protect the wiring and other components. Putting in a larger fuse doesn't fix anything. The fact that the previous owner put some kind of jumper in there to bypass the safety device proves he's stupid and prefers a cobble-job quick fix over a proper diagnosis and repair. The fact that he would sell the car to someone like that is worse. When something shorts intermittently and blows the fuse, it might let you sit on the side of the road, but what do you have now? You're sitting on the side of the road with who-knows-what-else is damaged.

You need a wiring diagram in a service manual to figure out which circuits that fuse feeds. Sometimes it's easy to see the obvious things that are likely to short. Sometimes it's an unusual cause that is unique such as a wire's insulation rubbed through or the wire is pinched and touching the car's body sheet metal or a sharp metal bracket.

If you have a little understanding of electrical theory, here's something that you can do to try to find the short without continually blowing fuses:

Replace the blown fuse with a pair of spade terminals, if that's the type of fuse it is, then use small jumper wires to connect them to a 12 volt light bulb. A brake light bulb works well. When the circuit is live and the short is present, the bulb will be full brightness and hot so be sure it's not laying on the carpet or against a plastic door panel. Now you can unplug electrical connectors and move things around to see what makes the short go away. When it does, the bulb will get dim or go out.

A 30 amp fuse will be feeding either something pretty big or multiple smaller circuits with their own additional fuses. A short on one of those smaller circuits would blow its own fuse so you can ignore those. The first thing that comes to mind is the radiator fan motor. Unplug that, then see if the test bulb goes out. For that to blow its fuse it would have to be switched on by the fan relay so you may not see that make the test bulb bright if the engine is cold. Also move wiring harnesses around and watch if the bulb flickers or goes out.
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Thursday, November 1st, 2012 AT 11:01 AM

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