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Starter Flame then Smoke

4111 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  cmh_brickster
5 days ago, I went to the grocery store and when I came out the 2000 Jetta 1.9L TDI would not start and would crank like with a weak battery. I walked home about 10 minutes came back and jumped it. The next morning it started and I drove to buy a new battery. It started again I went home and installed the new battery. Since then I've probably started it about 12 times. So then this morning, I start it, drive somewhere, it sits for 10 minutes and then it has the same weak battery syndrome. I cranked it and cranked hoping it would turn over. I opened the hood and there was smoke coming from the starter solenoid connection area with a flame. I blew out the flame. I tried to jump start it. No success, just more smoke. I felt the positive battery cable leading to the starter and it was very hot. I assume I need a new starter. A guy at work says it could be that the alternator is overcharging. What should I do??? :confused:
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Most auto parts store will test the battery or alternator for free. Most should have the machine that tests it on the car too. You could have gotten a defect battery

Depending on how hot it is and how long you cranked the engine, it's possible that you fried the starter, causing the smoke.

Another guess- shorted wire is a possibilty. Another guess is stuck starter. The bearings get old and the starter gets clogged with dust, causing it to stay engaged, this acts like a generator and can do crazy things with the electrics. Also the voltage regulator on the alternator could be bad.
Wowm, a flame? That could have gotten bad. I recommend getting the error codes before replacing any parts yet. The starter might be good you just said that there was a fire in that area. Maybe a bad solenoid?
My plan is to remove the starter, alternator, and battery. I've already bought a new starter so I'll replace it and have the alternator and battery tested. Whatever tests bad I'll replace.
Also check for wiring shorts and pull any engine codes. Good luck, a flame in the engine bay is no joke!
Also check for wiring shorts
How do you do that? Open the harness and check for continuity?
I wouldn't open the harness, just clean around and check for rubbing wiring and seal any spots with high temp electrial tape. There are lots of little areas where it could rub.
I changed out the starter. Very easy job. Then I started it with no problems, drove it to AutoZone and they tested the alternator. It tested good. Everything is running fine now. Thanks all.
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