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Old 05-16-2017, 07:36 AM
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Please Help (Fire)

Ok, so yesterday I tried to install my cb, a President Johnny 3. Powered to the battery with an eyelet to the positive terminal, ground to the body. Ran the wires across the back of the engine bay, through the hole in the firewall by the driver, behind the side panel, behind the a-piller plastic, across the top of he windshield behind the plastic trim, and through the hole near the footman loop where the CB was going to be mounted. Except I never got to the mounting because while I was starting to do it the hot wire from the battery CAUGHT FIRE. I didn't see flames, but there was a TON of smoke, enough that I had to bring out the fire extinguisher. Looking at the hot wire afterwards revealed that the plastic/rubber red coating had been melted off in most places (this was NEW wire), and everything that wire was touching all along its route was visibly burned. I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong. One thing possibly is that I had to extend the wires because the wires coming out of the Johnny were not long enough, so perhaps those connections weren't done well, but the fire never actually reached them (it went from the batter toward the cb, but the connection points were closer to the CB still). I did not have a fuse near the battery (it's closer to the CB) which I realize is a mistake that I won't make again, but of course not having a fuse isn't going to START a fire. So before I re-attempt, does anybody have an idea of where I went wrong? THANKS

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Old 05-16-2017, 07:46 AM   #2
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I assume at some point the positive wire came in contact with the body and shorted.

If I am reading this right you connected the positive to the battery before routing them and before they were connected to the radio. Instead connect the wires to the radio 1st, then run them to the battery and connect.

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Old 05-16-2017, 07:54 AM   #3
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Sounds like you had a short somewhere between the battery and the fuse. You may have damaged the wire's jacket when routing, and the damaged spot found a ground.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:38 AM   #4
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That's why any added hot leads should be fused at the battery. And yes ,not having a fuse will start a fire. That's why circuits are fused. If something is pulling too much current, like a short, then open the circuit.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:47 AM
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thanks for your replies. Slopoke1, the wires were connected to the radio before the battery. Sorry I realize my initial post was confusing on that point. I was just trying to describe the path of the write, but it came from the radio first (radio came with them already connected).

sparky: Sorry I misspoke. I realize not having a fuse can start a fire, I meant not having a fuse can't start the original problem, such as pulling to much current. In my 2nd attempt I'm going to fuse at the battery to avoid a fire, but I'm also trying to figure out what could have caused pulling too much current in the first place. Any other suggestions greatly appreciated!!
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:07 AM   #6
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You say the burnt power wire didn't make it all the way to the radio? Then where the wire stopped burning is where you found ground. It sounds like you stripped the insulation off at some point running the wire most likely through the firewall?

The last thing you can check is put a meter on the positive and negative leads of the radio and make sure you don't have a dead short in it somewhere. You certainly pulled some current for some reason and you don't want to do that again! (Obvious statement I know.)
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:34 AM
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You say the burnt power wire didn't make it all the way to the radio? Then where the wire stopped burning is where you found ground. It sounds like you stripped the insulation off at some point running the wire most likely through the firewall?

The last thing you can check is put a meter on the positive and negative leads of the radio and make sure you don't have a dead short in it somewhere. You certainly pulled some current for some reason and you don't want to do that again! (Obvious statement I know.)
Yes! I realize I sound like a complete idiot, but of course that must be right. Which helps me realize where it must have happened, which is behind the plastic trim piece above the windshield. I think when I stuffed the wire back there and then jammed the plastic shut, I caught the wire on one of the metal clips. That would do it, right?
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sitka View Post
Yes! I realize I sound like a complete idiot, but of course that must be right. Which helps me realize where it must have happened, which is behind the plastic trim piece above the windshield. I think when I stuffed the wire back there and then jammed the plastic shut, I caught the wire on one of the metal clips. That would do it, right?
For sure!
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:32 AM   #9
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Yes! I realize I sound like a complete idiot, but of course that must be right. Which helps me realize where it must have happened, which is behind the plastic trim piece above the windshield. I think when I stuffed the wire back there and then jammed the plastic shut, I caught the wire on one of the metal clips. That would do it, right?
Sounds like you might have found the problem area.

Working 12 VDC is generally safe, it won't shock you, but those batteries can deliver a whole lot of current real fast.
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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Your 1st and biggest mistake was running ANY wire that connects to a Positive voltage without 1st putting it inside of wiring loom.

Here's my write-up for my onboard air install as a reference. Jump down to the electrical section for your purposes and notice the protective wiring loom on those red wires.

https://www.wranglerforum.com/f314/in...d-2037162.html

There's a reason all the OEM wires are wrapped in that stuff and the biggest one of them is to reduce the likelihood of causing the problem you just observed by not using it.

It's $3 at HF.
https://www.harborfreight.com/1-4-qu...rap-66985.html

Here's a few reasons you want to use that stuff.
1. When you run wires, you risk scrapping them and damaging the protective insulation on them by preventing the insulation from coming in contact with any metal or other objects you're running the wire through and thus causing a short situation. (Edit: Your situation would have been prevented if you had used wire loom, which would have protected the wire from getting damaged by the metal clip.)
2. It prevents the wire insulation from getting worn out over time. So in the case, even if you hadn't damaged the insulation on the wire when making the wire run, that wire will be resting on top of metal and other objects. When you drive, it causes vibrations, including causing that wire to vibrate against the objects it is resting on. With enough vibrations over time, it will wear through the insulation, cause a short, and thus cause a fire in return. It's like taking a piece of sand paper to the wire's insulation, eventually it WILL wear through to expose the metal wire. So you're actually lucky, you caused the problem early in your routing while you were there with your Jeep. You could have caused the same type of failure to occur when you weren't there due to wire wearing over time and burning your entire Jeep to the ground when you weren't there and a fuse like you noticed wouldn't have protected against that.
3. It adds an added layer of protection against heat. Those wires are in your engine bay, it gets hot in there. Heat causes the insulation to get hot, soft and possibly even melt over time, and causing a short, and in return causing fire.

Summary: You want to reduce the risk of causing a fire and using wiring loom is a simple and very cost effective way to do that. If you run any wire that doesn't connect to ground (-), you run a high risk of causing a fire. Maybe not immediately, but eventually it is bound to occur.

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