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MG MGA - Smoke got out

Dang! I let the smoke out of my wiring harness. I am seriously bummed out. The front right parking light was dim compared to the left so, I wiggled the rubber boot and it went out. I drove 10 feet back into the garage when I saw the smoke. I shut down everything as quickly as I could but the damage was done. Red circuit from the double bullet connector on the right side of the engine bay back into the harness was fried. The red wire running to the front of the car is not burned. So, it's most likely from the switch. I haven't inspected it carefully yet to see what caused it. It may have nothing to do with the parking light since the wiring running in that direction was not fried. How practical is replacing just the red wires that burned? I guess that depends on how far into the loom the wires are damaged and if any of the other wires inside the loom are damaged as well. Help. Feeling a little ill now.
David Holmes

On closer inspection the wires running to the rear of the car are fine but the the one running to the front is fried. So, probably short at the front right parking light. :-( The wire running from the light switch to the connector in the engine bay is toast.
David Holmes

Yup, that makes sense. If the RF lamp wire shorted to ground, the heavy current would draw from the lighting switch to the RF lamp, and all wire along that path would cook.

Your harness may not be as dead as you think. Overloaded wires are primarily heaters, not fuses. It is possible to melt a lot of plastic insulation around one wire without melting much of the adjacent wire insulation and without burning the wire or shorting it to other wires.

Disconnect the RF lamp from the harness, and disconnect the red wire snap connectors in the engine bay. Use a test light to check continuity of the two red wires, switch to engine bay and engine bay to RF corner. If the wires are still connected end to end, and they are not shorted to any other wires in the harness, then it is most likely still functional without tearing the harness apart. If so, then you can reconnect the snap connectors in the engine bay, and use a test light to verify power output at the RF corner with switch on. Then correct the shorting problem at the RF lamp, and reconnect it.
Barney Gaylord


Just a reminder that smoke recharging kits are still available.

Steve Gyles

Thanks Steve, You have succeeded in delaying my work in the garage by twenty minutes! Craig Bolton should be given an award for creativity or else he simply has too much time on his hands. I have forwarded your link to my daughter (it was her MG that I tried to burn up) in hopes that she is consoled by the remedy of simply recharging the smoke system. Also thanks Barney for the encouragement.
David Holmes

I was able to get it all sorted out. The front right parking light had shorted out against the body of the socket. I was able to save the majority of the wiring harness and had to replace about a foot of wiring in engine bay and about the same under the dash. I tentatively switched on the light switch and... bravo all the smoke stayed put and Sir Lucas was put back in place. For the time being that is. Thanks Barney for the tips and encouragement.
David Holmes

Can you say FUSE?
Lot better than "Oh my god my car is burning to the ground"

FR Millmore

Yes, as FRM says, "Lot better than "Oh my god my car is burning to the ground""! My extra fuses have already saved my wiring harness if not my car. The short circuit in the number-plate lamp would have cooked the wiring from the back of the car to the dashboard switch had it not blown the fuse on my extra fuse panel under the dash.

Lindsay Sampford

This thread was discussed between 18/02/2013 and 19/02/2013

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