Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

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Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 26 May 2018, 11:17

Hi all - I’m away on hols with family, was getting ready to go for drive, plugged cig lighter charger in with cable but no phone and next minute we’ve got melted wires and smoke. 240 was plugged in at the time.

I’ve managed to pull wires through and all casings have melted. Tried taking fuses out to isolate it. No 3 fuse has blown but the 2 wires were still live. Tried disconnecting leisure battery to wall of sparks, have now taken starter off instead. Wondering what I can do next? Need to cut power to cig lighter to see if I can still drive. I can’t really get to the wires easily - currently have 2 stripped and melted wires hanging out dash and bored kids - Help!

I’m wondering if I’ve melted another wire behind the dash so have a short - do I connect it up and pull fuses 1 by 1?
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby itchyfeet » 26 May 2018, 12:21

Call your breakdown recovery, get this wrong and you could loose the van to fire.
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby 937carrera » 26 May 2018, 12:31

OK, so it looks like electrics aren't your strong point, lets see what can be done if you can't / don't want to go for the recovery option.

Fuse 3 supplies power to interior lights, radio and cigarette lighter, so that's the correct one to blow. This is normally wired from the starter battery, unless the van has been modified to get the power from the leisure battery. (like mine has)

Can you tell us what camper conversion you have - it probably won't matter, but might be relevant.

When you remove the batteries always take the negative off first. It stops the spanner acting as an earth with the shower of sparks you saw.

Unplug the mains power, then disconnect the earth from both batteries. That will allow you to safely put the starter back on.

You need to cut back / make safe any bare wires.


Then I would reconnect the leisure battery first, reverse order this time positive first - don't tighten the earth connection just place it on the battery post. You can remove it quickly if you need to.

Try switching the ignition on. Nothing should happen.

Ignition off, reconnect the starter battery and try the ignition again.

The best you can probably hope for is that you can use the van, but without radio/charger/ standard interior lights.

Hope that helps, please feel free to ask away if you are unsure.

Do you have a multimeter to test for voltage ?
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 26 May 2018, 13:03

ok I had already disconnected 240v hook up and removed Negative off starter and leisure. POS and sparks makes sense I wasn’t thinking straight.

Problem I have is any bare wires are behind the dash. 3 was blown and the 2 wires from lighter were still live so I’m suspecting another wire is shorting.

Could I pull fuses until those 2 are not live anymore to see which if any other circuit or wire has melted.?

Am I right in assuming that if 3 has blown they shouldn’t be live still?

We’re here until Monday so can get recovery to go home if I need to

Trying to pull stereo to make room to work. I think I can see a stripped wire behind dash.-
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 26 May 2018, 13:08

took multi meter out and forgot to put it back. I do have crimps and wire etc tho and set of fuses
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby 937carrera » 26 May 2018, 13:23

Yeah, it's easy to do daft stuff when you're in a panic :)

Here's a wiring diagram, in case you don't have a manual with you, page 7

http://syncrosport.com/info/wiring/VW_Transporter_80-92_SP_DG.pdf

The issue is that the wiring from the battery to fuse 3 is permanently live. Of course only one side should be live, when the fuse has blown the other side of the fuse should be dead. (connections B11 and B12)

What engine do you have fitted ?

Can you upload a photo of the fusebox ?
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 26 May 2018, 13:42

ok hoping upload has worked. Engine is a AAZ.

So do you think my assumption about another melted wire is correct? Making s circuit? Or if only one side was live would that explain Sparking when wires touched?

I’ve taped them up but they were taped up together behind dash so not sure what’s melted
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby 937carrera » 26 May 2018, 13:51

Upload worked fine, and can see it's a late van from the type of fuse.

Here's a link to a diesel engined van http://syncrosport.com/info/wiring/VW_Transporter_80-92_CS_KY_JX.pdf page 6 in this one, but looks the same.

Can you upload some more photos of the damaged wiring

How do you know the cigarette lighter is still live if you don't have a meter ?

It's possible there could be another wire shorted / making contact. One of the reasons for asking for photos is to see the damage and the colours / gauge of the wires
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 26 May 2018, 14:43

will take some pics but I don’t think it will help as there’s not much left of them. I’ve taped them up to stop them touching.but they were originally taped together so it’s a mess and you can really see.

I think it’s live as they were sparking when I tap them together even though fuse is blown. Could this do this? I thought not unless something else now completing the circuit.

Sorry my electrics knowledge is basic
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby 937carrera » 26 May 2018, 14:52

So it sounds as though there is a permanent live wire (probably unfused, and not necessarily using fuse 3) that has been removed from somewhere and taped up (badly). If this touches another cable that provides a route to earth (usually brown), then you will get sparks & fireworks.

Middle29 wrote:Sorry my electrics knowledge is basic


No worries, just seeing if we can help so you & the family can enjoy the rest of your holiday & return home as originally planned. You can always fall back on the recovery option. Whereabouts are you holidaying ?
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 26 May 2018, 17:07

Yeah thanks appreciate the help - We’re camping in Norfolk broads near filby broad.

So I’ve reconnected the leisure and that all seems fine- wires not live.

Connected starter - wires live but van starts.

Disconnect starter and Connect hook up (leisure still connected) and wires live

Nothing set on fire but we might get sparks and fire when going over bumps on drive home :(
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby 937carrera » 26 May 2018, 17:43

OK, just asking on the remote chance you were in my neck of the woods, or if there's another member near you that can help.

The power being there when on 240 makes sense as I believe that split charge Westy electrics charge the starter battery.

Sounds like you are intending to drive the van home. Trim / cut / insulate to make sure that the loose / exposed wires cannot contact each other or earth. Consider cable tying them so they cannot move if possible.

I wouldn't replace fuse 3 and if you can get away with it, only push the earth connection on the starter battery. I have done this on numerous cars where I isolate the battery to prevent it draining while stored. They will almost always start and run without tightening the clamp.

Fingers crossed for you, enjoy what's left of your holiday and good luck. :ok
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 28 May 2018, 14:18

Hi so I managed to drive home ok nothing on fire. The wires are all taped up. I'm about to take the top of the dash cowling off to get a good look.

Now I remember reading about a mod to run the interior lights and radio off of the leisure battery. I've had a chance to think about what happened and the charger I plugged into the fag socket I've used hundreds of times, the difference this time was that the hookup was still plugged in, obviously plugging in the charger completed a circuit and I suppose those wires would only be thin. I'm wondering if someone had done the mod to run that stuff from the leisure badly / unfused - its the only area that seems temperamental.

Thanks for all your advice while I was away.
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby Middle29 » 28 May 2018, 14:23

I've noticed the cigarette lighter light bulb has a wire missing from it...
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Re: Melting fire from cigarette lighter AWAY WITH KIDS HELP

Postby 937carrera » 28 May 2018, 18:10

Delighted you got home with no further issues.

Having the 240v on will not have made any difference to what happened. The 240v with a charger simply provides the 240V circuit and 12v for running electrics / charging the starter battery on a Westy.

What I suspect has happened is there were some wires that became loose, or were loose and not secured that then found a route to earth, quite possibly the wires for the cigarette lighter.

The mod you are looking for is to supply fuse 3 direct from the leisure battery, rather than from the starter battery. That way you can charge phones, listen to the radio, have cab lights on without flattening your starter battery.

I have done it, based on the excellent instructions from James Akers at https://vwt25.blog/2016/05/19/rewiring-stereo-to-leisure-battery/. I chose option 2 as it's the non destructive option. :ok

What you are doing then is removing fuse 3 and directly providing voltage to the output side of the fuse. Use you multimeter to make sure you are plugging the spade into the correct side.
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