4Runner Electrical Problem

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Apr 22, 2004
Cradle of Humankind, South Africa
Ok, so I am driving my 1984 4Runner in the snow today when I get the smell of electrical burning. Then everything cuts out, truck is dead. I dump the clutch and it starts up again, turn around and head for home. Somehow it makes it the 17miles home. The truck was showing that it was charging the whole way home.

I get home, turn it off and then try to restart it. Just get a click and the gauge is dead. Then smoke starts rolling from a ground strap between the rear of the engine and the body. A little comes off of one of the battery posts too.

Any ideas where to start looking? I am not an electrical guy at all, but if I kind of have an idea what happened I can start looking for the culprit. Like why did the ground wire get all toasty?

there are some fusible links connected to the high amp fuses. check the integrity of them.
also, if you have accesorirs, disconnect all of them, and see if that cahanges the problem.

have you ever had a click come from the starter before? you know how those copper contacts wear out.
have you tried jumping a hot wire to the stater exiter wire?
are the wires at the starter tight?

recently, a customer brought in a pos ford. he was in the snow, using his wipers to clear off the deep stuff on the window. that caused the motor to draw too many amps, and overload. luckly the fuse blew.

also check for voltage drop at the battery, to the ground strap.
connect leads of your DVOM to the strap, and to the neg batt terminal. if you get voltage, theres a draw or short.
Cool thanks, that will give me a start.

No, the starter has never done that nice little clicking noise before. I have driven this truck in the same sort of conditions with all the accesories running with no problems. I have actually been pretty impressed with its charging system (I just recently bought it and put it into "service" right away). But the PO did have some accesories wired in, so I will start with the trouble shooting and concentrate on his wiring.
could have been the starter not disengaging, just a thought. I've herd people having there truck nearly catch fire because of that.
Eric Winkworth said:
could have been the starter not disengaging, just a thought. I've herd people having there truck nearly catch fire because of that.

Bingo! That was it. Finally got it torn apart today, starter didnt disengage and probably shorted itself out. Didnt hurt too much other then one ground wire. Dont know about the battery, lights and all the power windows still work....
Check your ground. What I bet is that you have a very poor ground to the body and then to your starter. Your starter does not disengage because of an inadequate ground. When you start smoking ground wires it is a sign of a bad ground. Just a thought. Seen it many times on rusted frames and ground straps.

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