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Old 03-27-2020, 12:52 PM   #1
1998 Boxster Silver/Red
 
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HELP!!! In a "Starter" pinch

I'll try to make this an exercise in brevity.

I'm no electrical whiz. Once before I removed the starter... reinstalled it... all good. At that time I was going to correct the Bendix gear screech. Gear popped in and out nicely, reinstalled.

This time... yeah... not so much.

Removed my starter. Cleaned it up... cleaned some gears... got it all back together. So far so good.

Went to reinstall it. Here's the step by step...

Got the starter positioned... top bolt in.

Got the bottom bolt (went in through the front engine cover).

There are two wire posts. One is a smaller diamter post, and to that I atached the funky looking connecter. All good.

For the other post, the larger one... I had two wires to connect. Both fairly heavy duty (think battery cable). One of the wires slipped right on. The other wire took a bit of tugging, twisting, and pulling. Finally got it on... tightened down the bolt.

Reinstalled the throttle body... tightened everything up. All would seem well.

Went to the frunk. Positioned the positive cable to the positive post. When I put the negative cable on the negative post... a nice big spark. Left it on for the 10 seconds it took me to turn on the ignition... no dash lights at all... then disconnected both battery cables.

Immediately came into the house to appeal to the forum for guidance.

I'm not touching the car until I get this figured out. Car is in the carport... in the service mode. Windows halfway down. If I don't get this figured out today I'll throw on the cover... and attend to it in the morning. With your help I'd like to get it back to normal today.

Thank you!!!

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Old 03-27-2020, 01:05 PM   #2
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Are you sure both of the heavy duty wires go to the same post? Isn't one a ground wire, and the second the battery wire? Please double check the two big wires.

Just a thought.

-Eric
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:14 PM   #3
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I haven't done this job on my car, but here's the Pelican article on it: https://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/83-ELEC-Starter_Replacement/83-ELEC-Starter_Replacement.htm
See pic 5.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:35 PM   #4
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"Are you sure both of the heavy duty wires go to the same post? Isn't one a ground wire, and the second the battery wire? Please double check the two big wires.

Just a thought.

-EricThe yellow circle was the easy one."

Yes... one of the wires (the one I had to massage on) is grounded to the top of the secondary air pump on the passenger side.

The other wire... from where it originates I don't know... but it was clear it went to the larger post. It fit right on... and I had disconnected no other wires.

"I haven't done this job on my car, but here's the Pelican article on it: https://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/83-ELEC-Starter_Replacement/83-ELEC-Starter_Replacement.htm
See pic 5.

I had seen that pic... and it didn't help me at all.

Thank you, both, for the input. I remain flummoxed.

The yellow circle wire was a no-brainer.

The red circle has the smaller diameter post... and that connection came from the left... the wire coming from the small loom with another wire connected to the part that snaps onto the electrical connection on the throttle body.

The grey circle is where I connected the two heavy duty wires (one of wires took some massaging to get on the post).

I don't even want to reconnect the battery. Perhaps I blew a fuse. However, I first have to identify if properly I reconnected the starter. It's not rocket surgery... and it appears the heavy duty wires went where they were supposed to go. I'm lost.

Any other ideas? Thank you.

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Edit: OK. I see what you're saying, Eric. That wire from where I don't know it comes likely is from the battery... I'm thinking it comes fronm the square box with a positive wire goint to the altrnator. So I guess a new question is:

Should that wire go to the red circle post? That would mean that there's two wires connected to that post. Should there only be one of the heavy duty wires... the ground wire coming from the top of the secondary air unit... connected to the larger post? Should there NOT be two wires connected to that larger post... and I was incorrect trying to put both heavy duty wires on that larger post? That would mean that I connected both a ground and positive wire together... and on the ground of the starter. Should there be two wires connected to the red circled post?

Since I had no dash lights wafter the battery sparked... which fuse should I be looking at?

Hmmm. I'll wait for a response from anyone.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:46 PM   #5
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When you were tugging on that wire, you potentially shorted it to ground. You'll want to start there. Indirect that wire it's full length.

Oh, but first: I've often seen the round loop connector get chocked just-so, and it touches the body of the starter or solenoid. Check that first.

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Old 03-27-2020, 01:54 PM   #6
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Thank you, Maytag. I figured it out...

I watched a couple of vids, again... and discovered my error...

The ground wire I "massaged" onto the starter... HUGE error. That wire I was supposed to connect to the bottom bolt connecting the starter to the motor. Damnit.!

So... I'l pull off the TB... remove that bottom starter bolt... and affix the ground.

That inspire some other questions before I return to the car...

Do you believe I damaged the starter by connecting the ground wire to that larger post? It's clear to me, NOW, that I connected both a positive and nagative cable to the starter.

The dash lights didn't come on? What do you think happened there>

So... should I get everything back in order... affix the battery cables... and turn on the ignition waiting to see if I have dash lights or... are there some other steps I should take before I tackle everything.

Thanks!!
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:00 PM   #7
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Thank you, Maytag. I figured it out...



I watched a couple of vids, again... and discovered my error...



The ground wire I "massaged" onto the starter... HUGE error. That wire I was supposed to connect to the bottom bolt connecting the starter to the motor. Damnit.!



So... I'l pull off the TB... remove that bottom starter bolt... and affix the ground.



That inspire some other questions before I return to the car...



Do you believe I damaged the starter by connecting the ground wire to that larger post? It's clear to me, NOW, that I connected both a positive and nagative cable to the starter.



The dash lights didn't come on? What do you think happened there>



So... should I get everything back in order... affix the battery cables... and turn on the ignition waiting to see if I have dash lights or... are there some other steps I should take before I tackle everything.



Thanks!!
You're probably okay. There are risks, but most systems are pretty insulated from a major fault. You'll know soon enough.

No other steps to take.... except finger- crossing, which we can all handle on your behalf.

Usually, in my experience, with a dead short like that you'll let the smoke out of the wires first....

Fingers crossed.

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Last edited by maytag; 03-27-2020 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:01 PM   #8
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Do you believe I damaged the starter by connecting the ground wire to that larger post? It's clear to me, NOW, that I connected both a positive and nagative cable to the starter.
I doubt it damaged the starter, but most likely it fried a main fuse somewhere, or a fusible link, if these cars have one. The 'big spark' you mentioned in the original post was a big red flag for me. That's why you got no dash lights.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:04 PM   #9
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I doubt it damaged the starter, but most likely it fried a main fuse somewhere, or a fusible link, if these cars have one. The 'big spark' you mentioned in the original post was a big red flag for me. That's why you got no dash lights.
Right. The big spark! Arghhhhh.

I'm going to pull off the TB... disconnect fron the starter the ground wire... so at least I can close up the car... assuming the "spark" didn't blow a major fuse.

Hopefully when I get back in the house I'll have some more guidance from you Pros.

Thanks, Man!
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:18 PM   #10
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OK. Removed the ground from the positive post.

Battery connected... dash looks like its usual setup. Chime... all lights... whew.

Now I go struggle with getting the ground on the bottom starter bolt... zip everything back up... and we'll see.

Thanks, all, for the guidance.

So far.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:42 PM   #11
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OK. Removed the ground from the positive post.

Battery connected... dash looks like its usual setup. Chime... all lights... whew.

Now I go struggle with getting the ground on the bottom starter bolt... zip everything back up... and we'll see.

Thanks, all, for the guidance.

So far.
That's great news!

I was just going to suggest checking the main fuses in the current distributor which, I believe, is near the battery. Just follow the positive cable from the battery and it goes straight to it. It's #11 on the diagram. Good luck!
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:06 PM   #12
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If your second heavy wire has a flat lug with a notch in it, it should bolt onto the red circled bolt. It should only fit one way, the notch positions it. It is position so it can’t touch the other large wire from the battery (black box you mentioned).

Let me know if I can clarify further.

-Eric
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:18 PM   #13
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There is no fusible link between the battery and starter, so you just put one helluva strain on your battery (and the cables). See if it starts. If not, charge your battery and go. If anything, it may have reduced its lifespan.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:27 PM   #14
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There is no fusible link between the battery and starter, so you just put one helluva strain on your battery (and the cables). See if it starts. If not, charge your battery and go. If anything, it may have reduced its lifespan.
Correct. No fusible link, but it does have a current distributor with fuses in it. According to the diagram, the battery cable goes straight to it and the power gets distributed from there.

If it went straight to the starter without some kind of fuse, and with it being shorted for such a long time, he would have surely melted the cable.

Hopefully, at worst, it just blew one of those fuses.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:52 PM   #15
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No, the “fuses” you are referring to are actually called fusible links and are in the current distributor.
The starter cable absolutely, positively does not pass through any of them.
Just to be clear: this is fact and not up for debate.

Positive cable goes from battery to an insulated bolt that passes through the front “firewall”. From there, it splits between the current distributor and another cable that runs through the center console, then through the rear firewall (with the shifter cables) to the distribution block at the top of the engine. From the distribution block, it splits again, with one cable going to the starter and the other going to the alternator.

In other words, the main cable for starter power is direct connected to the battery with no fuses or fusible links, relays or breakers in between (just two bolted “Y” connections).
The starter cable is quite heavy and can carry a lot of current. I wouldn’t be surprised if it melted a bit somewhere, though.

Take another look at the wiring diagram. It’s a straight shot. Failing that, get under the dash and see for yourself (I have many times ).

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Old 03-28-2020, 03:08 AM   #16
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No, the “fuses” you are referring to are actually called fusible links and are in the current distributor.
The starter cable absolutely, positively does not pass through any of them.
Just to be clear: this is fact and not up for debate.

Positive cable goes from battery to an insulated bolt that passes through the front “firewall”. From there, it splits between the current distributor and another cable that runs through the center console, then through the rear firewall (with the shifter cables) to the distribution block at the top of the engine. From the distribution block, it splits again, with one cable going to the starter and the other going to the alternator.

In other words, the main cable for starter power is direct connected to the battery with no fuses or fusible links, relays or breakers in between (just two bolted “Y” connections).
The starter cable is quite heavy and can carry a lot of current. I wouldn’t be surprised if it melted a bit somewhere, though.

Take another look at the wiring diagram. It’s a straight shot. Failing that, get under the dash and see for yourself (I have many times ).
OK, then I stand corrected. I actually thought about it afterwards and realized that I've never seen a fused circuit to the starter in any car. It's always been a direct cable run from the battery. In that case I fear he may have melted a wire. I hope I'm wrong there too.

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Old 03-28-2020, 03:34 AM   #17
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OK, then I stand corrected. In that case I fear he may have melted a wire. I hope I'm wrong there too.
Thank you, again, everyone for chiming in with suggestions, recommendations, and information.

Dogs had me up at 2 this morning, Pacific.

Today I'll hook back up the TB. Yesterday kicked my ass, and I was out like a light at 730. That bottom starter bolt... the ground wire... kicked. My. Ass. While I didn't invent any new profanities... my neighbors likely were wondering why I kept repeating the same two words-four syllables string.

I was comforted when yesterday, after I removed from that starter post the ground wire, and the car chimed and the dash lights lit up. After I hook up the TB I'll see if she fires up.

I'll report back.

Have a great morning!
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:55 AM   #18
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Thank you, again, everyone for chiming in with suggestions, recommendations, and information.



Dogs had me up at 2 this morning, Pacific.



Today I'll hook back up the TB. Yesterday kicked my ass, and I was out like a light at 730. That bottom starter bolt... the ground wire... kicked. My. Ass. While I didn't invent any new profanities... my neighbors likely were wondering why I kept repeating the same two words-four syllables string.



I was comforted when yesterday, after I removed from that starter post the ground wire, and the car chimed and the dash lights lit up. After I hook up the TB I'll see if she fires up.



I'll report back.



Have a great morning!
Imagining the contortions to get to that bolt.... have you started doing what I do, and wear your belt with the buckle over your hip, instead of front and center? ;-)

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Old 03-29-2020, 05:08 AM   #19
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Maytag... seriously. Contortions.

Piper... I didn't even go looking for any fuse or panel... didn't want to ruin the good mojo fromn finding the dash light up.

The good news... got everything buttoned back up... hit the ignition... she fired right up. I should have known... or suspected... that something was amiss when I attached the ground to the starter positive post. I had the pliers and was twisting the ground wire so that the piece on the end, with the hole, would slide on the post. So much so that when I figured out my eff-up... the wire lost it's shape to nicely meet that bottom bolt... coming in fron the front engine cover.

What I ended up having to do was remove completely the ground wire then struggling to "re-shape" it so that I could push the starter bottom bolt through it and into the starter bottom bolt hole.

That. Was. A Pain. In. The. Ass.

Leaning over the passenger side of the car with one arm carefully pushing and manipulating the socket and extension while the other arm tried to maneuver the ground wire hole so that the bolt would fit through. That took a half hour plus of trial and error. When finally the bolt met the ground wire hole it took another half hour of trying to get that combination to align with the starter botton bolt hole. I must have had that wire and bolt in and out of the engine area 30 times... carefully pulling it from under... and then moving it back into position amid the small myriad of wires and hoses... each time reshaping the heavy duty wire so that the bolt would enter the starter hole. I used some "sticky"... and tape... to hold the bolt onto that ground wire hole. I'm certain my neighbors heard me talking to myself.

Finally... the bolt met the hole and that's when my patience REALLY kicked in. Through the front engine I got the bolt to "stick" and snugged her up.

Thank you, again, fellas for being there with ideas, guidance, and direction. This forum really serves as a "neighborhood". A neighborhood filled with 986 enthusiasts.

Have a great day!
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Old 03-29-2020, 05:32 AM   #20
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WHEW! Glad you're good!

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