"Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

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"Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby EPfiffner » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:15 am

This is one of the craziest electrical issues I have experienced, and a good example of how one thing leads to another, so I had to share:

we are taking the Beretta on vacation in a couple weeks so it was oil change time. I had never put plug wires on it since I've owned it, so I figured that would be a good idea. I also realized I have put 30k on the car! I was pretty surprised and thought time for a fuel filter too.

Got some nice belden plug wires on RA closeout for $9.

So I get this all done yesterday, not bad at all and I took my time moving some harnesses around with zip ties to keep them away from potential rub points.

I start the car and it sounds perfect for about 30 seconds or so, I was just getting ready to back it out of the garage.

All of a sudden: stalls. I think oh it's probably from when I changed the fuel filter. So I crank and crank, nothing. w

Now I'm like: Sh$t! I decide to check for spark, nothing. I'm thinking what the hell happened?he'll

So I get out my OBD 1 scanner thinking id check for an rpm signal. It keeps coming up "no data" so I'm checking the connections and everything.

Then I notice no check engine light! Luckily I thought to check fuses. Fuse #1 is blown, it has a vague description of "fuel injection and electronic control" or something like that.

I put another 15a fuse in that I borrowed from my pickup and as soon as I turn the ign to crank "snap" I hear the fuse blow.

so going through what work has been done and what could cause this, I found it. Somehow I had moved the fuel injector harness just enough that the spinning rear bearing on the alternator had rubbed through the insulation on one of the wires and shorted out!

I had to take the belt off and get the alternator out of the way, but once I repaired the insulation, wrapped the harness, and put it back together it fired right up!

I gotta admit I either got lucky, or I should just be proud of my troubleshooting because I had it figured out and fixed in only an hour or 2.
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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby GT_Indy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:44 am

EPfiffner wrote:This is one of the craziest electrical issues I have experienced, and a good example of how one thing leads to another, so I had to share:

we are taking the Beretta on vacation in a couple weeks so it was oil change time. I had never put plug wires on it since I've owned it, so I figured that would be a good idea. I also realized I have put 30k on the car! I was pretty surprised and thought time for a fuel filter too.

Got some nice belden plug wires on RA closeout for $9.

So I get this all done yesterday, not bad at all and I took my time moving some harnesses around with zip ties to keep them away from potential rub points.

I start the car and it sounds perfect for about 30 seconds or so, I was just getting ready to back it out of the garage.

All of a sudden: stalls. I think oh it's probably from when I changed the fuel filter. So I crank and crank, nothing. w

Now I'm like: Sh$t! I decide to check for spark, nothing. I'm thinking what the hell happened?he'll

So I get out my OBD 1 scanner thinking id check for an rpm signal. It keeps coming up "no data" so I'm checking the connections and everything.

Then I notice no check engine light! Luckily I thought to check fuses. Fuse #1 is blown, it has a vague description of "fuel injection and electronic control" or something like that.

I put another 15a fuse in that I borrowed from my pickup and as soon as I turn the ign to crank "snap" I hear the fuse blow.

so going through what work has been done and what could cause this, I found it. Somehow I had moved the fuel injector harness just enough that the spinning rear bearing on the alternator had rubbed through the insulation on one of the wires and shorted out!

I had to take the belt off and get the alternator out of the way, but once I repaired the insulation, wrapped the harness, and put it back together it fired right up!

I gotta admit I either got lucky, or I should just be proud of my troubleshooting because I had it figured out and fixed in only an hour or 2.


Dont forget to replace the fuse in your pickup. lol. :)

I've been there before. Fix one thing only to realize your fix caused something else to fail a certain way. Then your stumped and wondering "now what."

Now and then in the past I used to wonder if that rear alternator bearing would ever hurt the wires or if the alternator would melt those wires. Now I want to go zip tie them away from the alternator. lol.


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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby EPfiffner » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:05 am

GT_Indy wrote:
EPfiffner wrote:This is one of the craziest electrical issues I have experienced, and a good example of how one thing leads to another, so I had to share:

we are taking the Beretta on vacation in a couple weeks so it was oil change time. I had never put plug wires on it since I've owned it, so I figured that would be a good idea. I also realized I have put 30k on the car! I was pretty surprised and thought time for a fuel filter too.

Got some nice belden plug wires on RA closeout for $9.

So I get this all done yesterday, not bad at all and I took my time moving some harnesses around with zip ties to keep them away from potential rub points.

I start the car and it sounds perfect for about 30 seconds or so, I was just getting ready to back it out of the garage.

All of a sudden: stalls. I think oh it's probably from when I changed the fuel filter. So I crank and crank, nothing. w

Now I'm like: Sh$t! I decide to check for spark, nothing. I'm thinking what the hell happened?he'll

So I get out my OBD 1 scanner thinking id check for an rpm signal. It keeps coming up "no data" so I'm checking the connections and everything.

Then I notice no check engine light! Luckily I thought to check fuses. Fuse #1 is blown, it has a vague description of "fuel injection and electronic control" or something like that.

I put another 15a fuse in that I borrowed from my pickup and as soon as I turn the ign to crank "snap" I hear the fuse blow.

so going through what work has been done and what could cause this, I found it. Somehow I had moved the fuel injector harness just enough that the spinning rear bearing on the alternator had rubbed through the insulation on one of the wires and shorted out!

I had to take the belt off and get the alternator out of the way, but once I repaired the insulation, wrapped the harness, and put it back together it fired right up!

I gotta admit I either got lucky, or I should just be proud of my troubleshooting because I had it figured out and fixed in only an hour or 2.


Dont forget to replace the fuse in your pickup. lol. :)

I've been there before. Fix one thing only to realize your fix caused something else to fail a certain way. Then your stumped and wondering "now what."

Now and then in the past I used to wonder if that rear alternator bearing would ever hurt the wires or if the alternator would melt those wires. Now I want to go zip tie them away from the alternator. lol.


Yes I stole 2 fuses actually, the tail lights and the brake lights I think they were, so won't be driving that until I get some spares!
This actually reminded me that I should keep some spares with me.

That whole situation where the P/S lines, alt wires, FI wires, and plug wires run together back there is kind of ghetto.
On my car, I'm not sure if it's a PO's repair or stock, The return line is rubber under the alt, and then it switches to steel line down closer to the rack. The rubber hose barely leaves clearance for everything else.



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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby ifixalot » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:22 am

That was good thinking to go over what you had done to find the problem.
My daughters Saturn blew a fuse related to the oxygen sensor. It caused problems
and warning lights but still ran. I disconnected the oxygen sensor and the new fuse did
not blow. I figured the senor heater had shorted out so we bought a new one and installed it.
She took the car for a ride and all seemed well until she got back home and backed up on the driveway.
As soon and she shifted into reverse, the fuse blew again. So, I thought I moved the wire loom
to the sensor and the wire looms moves just a little when the engine rocks so I examined the loom.
Sure enough the loom was resting on a bolt on the engine and the years of vibration had caused the
blot head to wear through the loom cover through the wire insulation shorting out the fuse.
I zip tied the loom after wrapping it in tape. End of problem. Too bad I couldn't find it before we spent
$60 on an oxygen sensor we didn't need.



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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby GT_Indy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:02 pm

Yah, fuses are one of those things you never think to get spares for because they rarely go bad, so when they do need to replace them you never have them. lol.
For me the 20 amp fuses always seem to be in short supply.


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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby Rettax3 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:50 am

GT_Indy wrote:Yah, fuses are one of those things you never think to get spares for because they rarely go bad, so when they do need to replace them you never have them. lol.
For me the 20 amp fuses always seem to be in short supply.

For everyone here old enough to remember VHS :D , I have a library-type super heavy-duty clamshell case full of blade-type fuses (maxi, mini, and micro). Every time I used to hit the junk-yards or scrapped-out a car or just got a spare harness with an engine I bought, I pulled the fuses out. Now, I have all the spares I (should) ever need, and I make efforts to keep an assortment in each car too, along with a few spare bulbs.

I recently had an electrical issue too, on a neighbor's Astro van. They had taken it into the dealership a few years ago for a no-start issue, and they had replaced both the Park/Neutral safety switch (AKA range/position or PRNDL switch) and the pigtail to it, they did a nice clean job splicing in the wires with crimp fittings, heat-shrink tubing and dielectric silicone grease, but left about 10 inches too much wire attached to the new plug and didn't stagger the cuts and crimps (so there was a large bulge in the loom where the crimps were). I hate crimps anyway, but what could I say about it?

Anyway, the Park/Neutral switch went out again, and this time they brought it to me, it actually was shorting out and popping the start fuse, I could see the resistance to ground drop to zero when I pushed on the PRNDL switch housing -problem solved. The same day they picked it up, it failed to start again -intermittently. The new switch was good, the fuse was good, nothing I could find wrong and it kept working for me... I thought maybe the relay as it seemed to be getting hot (Astros use a back-and-forth wiring setup for the starter, going through two fuses, the ignition switch, the PRNDL safety switch, and a relay before finally reaching the starter solenoid, and the PCM even gets involved to authorize the relay actuation... Stupid, just stupid). Finally cut open the wiring and found out that when the dealership crimped the wires, they mashed them so tight that they cut all but one strand to the PRNDL, so when I had replaced the switch the wire bundle had moved enough to cause a bad intermittent connection, in all likelihood it was this bad connection that caused the first replacement PRNDL switch to eventually fail and start shorting out.


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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby GT_Indy » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:36 am

Rettax3 wrote:
GT_Indy wrote:Yah, fuses are one of those things you never think to get spares for because they rarely go bad, so when they do need to replace them you never have them. lol.
For me the 20 amp fuses always seem to be in short supply.

For everyone here old enough to remember VHS :D , I have a library-type super heavy-duty clamshell case full of blade-type fuses (maxi, mini, and micro). Every time I used to hit the junk-yards or scrapped-out a car or just got a spare harness with an engine I bought, I pulled the fuses out. Now, I have all the spares I (should) ever need, and I make efforts to keep an assortment in each car too, along with a few spare bulbs.

I recently had an electrical issue too, on a neighbor's Astro van. They had taken it into the dealership a few years ago for a no-start issue, and they had replaced both the Park/Neutral safety switch (AKA range/position or PRNDL switch) and the pigtail to it, they did a nice clean job splicing in the wires with crimp fittings, heat-shrink tubing and dielectric silicone grease, but left about 10 inches too much wire attached to the new plug and didn't stagger the cuts and crimps (so there was a large bulge in the loom where the crimps were). I hate crimps anyway, but what could I say about it?

Anyway, the Park/Neutral switch went out again, and this time they brought it to me, it actually was shorting out and popping the start fuse, I could see the resistance to ground drop to zero when I pushed on the PRNDL switch housing -problem solved. The same day they picked it up, it failed to start again -intermittently. The new switch was good, the fuse was good, nothing I could find wrong and it kept working for me... I thought maybe the relay as it seemed to be getting hot (Astros use a back-and-forth wiring setup for the starter, going through two fuses, the ignition switch, the PRNDL safety switch, and a relay before finally reaching the starter solenoid, and the PCM even gets involved to authorize the relay actuation... Stupid, just stupid). Finally cut open the wiring and found out that when the dealership crimped the wires, they mashed them so tight that they cut all but one strand to the PRNDL, so when I had replaced the switch the wire bundle had moved enough to cause a bad intermittent connection, in all likelihood it was this bad connection that caused the first replacement PRNDL switch to eventually fail and start shorting out.


Wow. That is why I only use soldered joints and wrap them good.

I used to do the same thing with relays from the junk yards. But I since used them all up.


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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby woody90gtz » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:00 pm

Haha nice catch. I help spare fuses in everything. I even brought a spare ecm with me to Berettafest... Haha


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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby Rettax3 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:14 pm

woody90gtz wrote:Haha nice catch. I help spare fuses in everything. I even brought a spare ecm with me to Berettafest... Haha

You know your car is getting older when you start packing spare ECMs for it... :D


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1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
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Re: "Routine maintenance" turns in to no-start!

Postby EPfiffner » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:50 am

Good stories everyone, and I can relate.

She's still running fine, I got some spare fuses, a set of tools, and hell I'm going to pack my OBD1 scanner too. No spare ecm though, my parts collection is sparse.

Heading out Friday morning. I live in a world where the beretta is the most reliable vehicle we have lol

The trailblazer i just bought my wife burns oil as fast as you can dump it in, so home it stays.




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