fried my car??

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I have made a big mistake with my 1989 Toyota Camry. I had a bad water leak, which I thought was coming out of the engine block or water pump. I removed my alternator to get a better look at things but when I was trying to prise off a plastic cap, I touched the screwdriver to a metal contact on my alternator and there were sparks and then my radio died.

Both the battery and alternator are new (2 months). My headlights still work, but the radio is dead, and the car is completely dead - won't start. All you can hear is a relay clicking when you try to start it.

I knew that I should have taken it to my mechanic from the very beginning, but you do dumb things when you are broke. Right now the car is stuck in my driveway and I just want to get it running so that I can take it to someone who knows what he is doing.

Any ideas on what might be wrong, what have I fried??

posted by  torrentmonkey

check ALL your fuses first b4 jumping to anything

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

What have you fried you ask. Who knows. There isn't any one thing that happens when you do such a... stupid thing. Rookie mistake... alot of people have done it. What you need to do is get a multimeter and wiring diagrams and start testing.

A word of advice. When working on anything electrical, or remotely electrical, always disconnect the battery's ground.

posted by  DodgeRida67

I have checked all my fuses, there are some relays that are enclosed which I can't check. Any ideas on where I can find a wiring guide online??

posted by  torrentmonkey

You can test relays. You simply pull them out, apply power to the correct terminals and check continuity at the correct terminals (or OHMs, or both, whichever floats your boat the highest). There are two ways you can find out the correct terminals you need to use... one is a little involved to explain and the other is a wiring diagram. You will be needing a wiring diagram anyway so take that option.

No ideas on where to get one. You might want to check the Hayne's manuals at an autoparts store. Maybe even buy one if you have a bad memory.


posted by  DodgeRida67

You havent fried anything. I agree with everyone here. I've done it being dumb and in a hurry before too. I've seen dem sparks that make you go 'OH FUGG!!!!' many a time. It's more overblown than you think. You can lock some relays easy and blow a fuse quick but a real electrical problem seldom comes from a simple connection between hot and ground by a lost tool or part for a few moments.

Look for the obvious blown fuses and watch for quirky problems like panel lights bugging out and maybe misread indicators to indicate bad relays. If the car is running and not just dying on crank you probably didnt hurt anything big time. That is part of what those fuses, fusible links, and relays are there for. To prevent a break or surge in power.

But for future reference:


PS: There are no relays you cant 'pull' and 'check' they just look confusing but they are basically big fuses that let power in and out on check. If you cant figure out how to pull them get a Hanes or Chilton guide or call your local dealer and see if you cant BS the info about them out of the mechanic on a slow day (PS: This also works finding out where the dealers mechanic drinks on friday night and buying a few rounds for him).

posted by  Blue_Frog

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