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1988 2.5td electrical fire


Tdi Guy
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Purchased a 90 2.5td. Previous owner stated he tried to start it and it started to spark and smoke near the starter. I also see that the heavy gauge brown wires that go into the ignition switch have melted a bit at the terminals. What could have caused this. Not sure where to starts.

Funny thing is I purchased another truck with the same setup 10 years ago for parts. It also had a complete electrical fire that started in the same area. Is this common with the 2.5td?

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Common for most pre 1990's trucks, some pretty bad flaws in the wiring design, with the introduction of the Defender came relays and upgraded loom which was improved but still lacked... My 86 truck had part of the loom go up last year, turned out the circuit for the instrument lights wasn't fused at all...

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when I had the 2.5NAD in mine the two brown wires ran from the alternator, round the back of the engine, over the hot cylinder head in through the centre of the bulkhead, then pretty much straight to the ign switch from memory. Not a fuse in sight as it's the perm live, unfused until the purple appears.

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I'm rewiring a 1987 110 at the moment and can confirm that the brown wire is unfused. In fact, it seems that the brown is a code for permanent live and all fuses are downstream from there! Which is reasonable if the wiring is nicely tucked up and not rubbing anywhere but, as soon as you start fiddling, you become vulnerable. You could put a heavy duty fuse on the starter solenoid connection (or wherever you take your feed from) but it's not likely you'd do that until the line met the bulkhead anyway.

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It's not just the 2 Browns that are unfused, the red/white back to the starter solenoid from the ign switch is unfused, along with the glowplug heater wiring or at least used to be on mine. When I chucked the 300tdi in I put a decent sized fuse block on the engine side of the bulkhead with and 80A and a 100A fuse in. The glowplug gained a timer relay and the red/white gained another relay

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It's not just the 2 Browns that are unfused, the red/white back to the starter solenoid from the ign switch is unfused, along with the glowplug heater wiring or at least used to be on mine. When I chucked the 300tdi in I put a decent sized fuse block on the engine side of the bulkhead with and 80A and a 100A fuse in. The glowplug gained a timer relay and the red/white gained another relay

Not a bad idea. I just put a 60amp push button ("momentary on") direct from brown to glow plugs, using a mental timer. A fuse before the button would be a good plan...

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Yes, I would think that if you held the key on the glow plug cycle for too long you could heat up the wires and start a fire for sure don't you think?

don't need to hold the key, the brown/red is 12v live the key move only diverts the 12v to another set of contacts so glowplugs are powered.

I had a dash loom meltdown a few years ago, my front fog light switch live contact was touching somewhere it shouldn't have been & caused me to replace the complete dash/main loom,

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Is this the same issue with the 97 and up 300tdi Defenders? Do they have any unfused wires too?

Thanks.

On those it all goes initially via the fuse box on the n/s of the bulkhead, except alternator to starter,battery to starter and a small feed to a diagnostics socket (and unofficial additions). Some of the fuses are pretty hefty though, so may not blow immediately unless seriously provoked, ie they'd probably happily fry a small wire downstream if it wasn't a massive fault current.

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On those it all goes initially via the fuse box on the n/s of the bulkhead, except alternator to starter,battery to starter and a small feed to a diagnostics socket (and unofficial additions). Some of the fuses are pretty hefty though, so may not blow immediately unless seriously provoked, ie they'd probably happily fry a small wire downstream if it wasn't a massive fault current.

Thanks for the reply guys. I will go though the wiring on my 97 and will install fuses or breakers where needed. Some of the older BMWs have in line fuses on the main b+ close to the battery.

There is an electronic breaker which I have seen in Canada for around 30 dollars. It has a key fob and serves as a short circuit breaker and a battery drain protector.

It's really neat in a way because with the remote you can totally disable main power from the battery.

Cheers.

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There is an electronic breaker which I have seen in Canada for around 30 dollars. It has a key fob and serves as a short circuit breaker and a battery drain protector.

It's really neat in a way because with the remote you can totally disable main power from the battery.

That sounds interesting! Post a link if you find it!

Si

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I was driving my '83 thru a tunnel and pulled out my phone charger out of the cigarette lighter, sparks flew,

there I was at in heavy traffic in a tunnel at 100kmh with my dashboard trying to set itself on fire.... Nerve wracking stuff.

Needless to say when I put my megasquirt in I will be adding a few fuses and relays...

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