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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1990 fulls size 302. Today I drove to the super market with no problems (starting or driving), parked, bought food, attempted to start the truck and it wouldn't start. At first I had power but as soon as it tried to turn over, I heard a light thud/click, and then no power (period). I checked my fuses under the dash-looked good. I left it alone for about 5 mins-got power, but no start. After that, no power again-ever. I had a buddy jump start it-power came on, but when I tried to crank it-the negative side of the jumper cable started to smoke-repeated attempts resulted with the same problem (bronco still didn't start). Has anyone ever had this problem; is something pulling too many amps? I assume it's either the battery, starter, or alternator (or all), but I live in Alaska (it's really cold) and I really would like to spend as little time as necessary outside troubleshooting. The whole jumper cable smoking issue is weird. Thank you for any help you can provide.
 

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To test it, just put the jumper cables from the neg batt post to the block somewhere. That's how I found that MY neg cable was bad. It started right up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will try the battery to chassis idea however, what would cause the jumper cable (negative side) to smoke when trying to crank (jump starting-my side), something seems wrong.
 

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Lick my balls
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Ground the jumper cable to the block, like the Dr. said and watch that cable, if it starts to smoke stop and take off your starter, and check it out of the truck. That is what I would suggest.
 

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I just replaced (today) the starter in my 78, it wasnt too bad 3 bolts and its off, Idk on your year though how hard, but if it sounds exactly like the broplem I had with mine before I replced the starter, execpt the smoking Neg.
 

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Bad cable(s) or bad connection(s). I've had this problem on a few trucks in the past, most recently on my Granpa's 89 Bronco(exact same problem). To verify it I replaced his pos and neg batt cables with mine and it fired right up(because tightening them up didn't do anything). Got 2 new battery cables and viola problem fixed. Actually only the pos was bad but the neg was corroded pretty bad and it was only a matter of time before that became an issue too so we just replaced both. Even if they look ok they can still be corroded under the insulation where you can't see, especially if they're the original ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The smoking came from the actual jumper cable (negative side/my side) whether it was hooked to the battery or the chassis. I tried starting it by attaching to the chassis as the Dr. suggested-no luck. Cleaned all the connections, messed with the cables-n/h. Finally shot gunned the system (starter, battery, alternator, and the fender relay-works great now. One thing that is bugging me though is the battery power-I just need some reassurance. When the bronco is running, the battery gauge shows a bit past the middle (in between the - and +) looks good to me. However, when I am about to start it (accessory power?), the battery gauge is pretty low, barely in the white. I never looked before, but now I'm weary. Is this correct, or does it seem like I'm still drawing to many amps. Thank you for all the replies.
 

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Hook up a volt meter and come back with some numbers.
 

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Steve83 said:
Was it just the cable clamp where it touches the battery, or where the wire attaches inside the handle, or the whole cable: end-to-end?
Mr Rooster said:
The smoking came from the actual jumper cable...
Wanna try again?
Steve83 said:
Was it just the cable clamp where it touches the battery, or where the wire attaches inside the handle, or the whole cable: end-to-end?
:shrug
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The smoking seemed to come from where the wire attaches inside the handle . I checked the voltage at the battery with the vehicle off-12.4 VDC. With the vehicle on it reads 14.6 VDC. Does this seem right. Today it didn't seem to struggle too much to start, but during the cranking portion, the battery gauge is barely over the red. I don't remember it being this low ever-seems to be getting worse. Once the vehicle is on, it reads in the middle. If I put the fan on, it drops a divsion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thats fine, I have another set. Do the voltages sound right. Is there an easy wat to check if I have something drawing too many amps?
 

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Yes, the KOEO & KOER voltages are right. Fuses will blow if something pulls too much current. Many parts stores will test the starting & charging systems free in the parking lot - call around. Even if you have to pay a shop to check, it's worth it to know, and it shouldn't take them more than 5 min.
 
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