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New starter burned up and almost caught fire.

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CakeDOTexe
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New starter burned up and almost caught fire.

Post by CakeDOTexe »

Hello. A few days ago I replaced a problematic cheap aftermarket starter with a remanufactured one from Bosch. It worked flawlessly until yesterday. Out of nowhere, with no warning after a short few mile drive, I went into a store for a few minutes and came out to a strong electrical burning smell. Car won’t start. I had it towed home and found the burning smell came from the starter itself. I pulled the starter and had it tested and it was completely dead. I didn’t notice any burning on the wires connected to the starter other than mild discoloration of the copper wire that connects the solenoid and the starter motor. It seemed to be lined up correctly with the guide pin going in its slot and felt tight solid. I didn’t notice any weird noises or anything leading up to the failure.

I just want to know what might have happened. I’m nervous to put a new starter in now and risk a fire. Could I have just been sent a bad starter? Maybe I did something wrong (it was my first time ever changing a starter)? I feel like everything was hooked up properly, I put all the wires on the one terminal and the signal wire on the tab, even sanding down the cables before connecting them to make sure they had a good connection. The video I was following by Robert had some sort of support bracket that connected the starter to the side of the engine that the old and new starter didn’t have, idk if that might have something to do with it.

I still have to contact the warranty department and get a new one, I hope the let me keep this one so I can do a tear down and find out what exactly happened. For now I would appreciate some feedback to what might have happened so I don’t accidentally start a fire installing the new one. Thanks!
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BlackBart
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Post by BlackBart »

CakeDOTexe wrote: 20 May 2022, 13:47The video I was following by Robert had some sort of support bracket that connected the starter to the side of the engine that the old and new starter didn’t have, idk if that might have something to do with it.
I wouldn't think so, unless that grounds it (?).

A long time ago, I put a new starter in my '94 (I knew even less than I do now!). I hooked it up wrong somehow. Nothing shorted or fried, it just wouldn't work. I took it back off, took it to the shop, they said nothing's wrong with it. Only after I got back home and studied it did I realized it was connected incorrectly. I was lucky.
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abscate
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Post by abscate »

Someone goofed and let the pigtail touch the metal case. Probably an incorrect figment of that rubber gasket. That’s a direct battery short to ground. Yikes
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CakeDOTexe
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Post by CakeDOTexe »

abscate wrote: 20 May 2022, 14:17 Someone goofed and let the pigtail touch the metal case. Probably an incorrect figment of that rubber gasket. That’s a direct battery short to ground. Yikes
You’re talking about this wire and gasket correct? The burning smell is is coming from the motor itself on the side that goes in the transmission. I’m guessing a short would cause the motor to spin and probably would have went until it burned itself out.
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humbertoflores63
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Post by humbertoflores63 »

When I install a starter, I normally cover the expose wire w/ liquid tape to avoid any moisture problems.

scot850
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Post by scot850 »

Might be a bad starter. Could be it is not returning once started and staying connected but then you would hear that.

The bracket is a support bracket and nothing else. There are 2 versions a long and short one depending on what was fitted to your car and it connect to the block to support it. I use them but have read of those who have deleted them.

Might also want to make sure the ignition key is not shorting and sending a signal to the starter when running.

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yanga001
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Post by yanga001 »

Could be a poor connection off the the solenoid wire to wherever it goes into the starter motor. The poor connections tend to glow hot as a surge of current is pulled through a small amount of material. This would allow it to start and work normally until the connection, and internal insulating material burn up. That would more likely be a product of a poor rebuild as it should have strain relief on the exposed copper.

This is consistent with the noted discoloration of the copper wire going into the motor and not the parts going into the solenoid. It could be a short to ground but I would expect significant draw over the cars electrical system and other issues to present.
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CakeDOTexe
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Post by CakeDOTexe »

I know this is a dead topic but I thought I would give an update if anyone is curious. I went and warranted the starter motor and was able to install a new one. Been about a month now with the new starter and no issues! Still find it unacceptable that the first one shorted out like it did.

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abscate
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Post by abscate »

Thanks for the follow up

Bad parts out if box is no longer an unusual event in this business , unfortunately.

Bosch outsourced its rebuilding to low wage world 3-5 years ago, so remanufactured Bosch no longer means OE quality.
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Post by kallekula »

One of these are great to have in the car. Especially if you just have bare minimum insurance.
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BMW 540i 2002
S70 Base 2000

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