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Had to go and look at a Land Rover today that had an electrical fault - apparently it was ‘fizzing’ - water boiling on a bolt in the chassis. The new owner had very sensibly disconnected the battery as soon as they saw it. A previous owner had added a shedload of extra wiring for lights, horns, radios, and the obligatory winch. There is also plenty of wiring for other stuff, bare wires all over the place that have no apparent purpose etc.

The main power feed to the winch went directly off the +ve battery terminal, down the following routing:

143ABAF4-CF9E-4E22-A6CD-F1AB6E10C6FC.thumb.jpeg.88bf847e5506690eb80e21499860161b.jpeg

 

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Yes, that’s a heavy gauge non-fused +ve cable wedged between the chassis and radius arm bush, then cable tied along the arm before jumping back to the chassis. 

Luckily despite being fitted with huge mud terrains, a winch, snorkel etc it doesn’t look like this 110 has ever really been off-road - more modified for looks. It’s not the first time in the last month that it’s tried to toast itself - the dipstick tube was loose and it came into contact with the +ve alternator terminal. That made some pretty sparks...

For fuck sakes, if a job needs doing, do it right.

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That’s where this one is a bit weird. The PO clearly spent a lot of time and effort on the car, all of the bits bolted to the underside have been painted, there’s been good stuff like a Kenlowe fan and an oil pressure gauge added etc. It’s also mostly screwed together pretty well, overkill really in some places. But whoever they were I wouldn’t trust them to fit a sidelight bulb, let alone the Blackpool illuminations this thing has. I reckon by the time I’ve stripped out the excess wiring it’ll sit an inch higher and I’ll have made a fortune weighing in the copper.

Next step is to go around the vehicle thoroughly and check there aren’t any more bodges like this lying in wait...

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Thats quite shocking... (sorry, sorry everyone, I wont give up the day job)...

Some years ago a local farmer asked me, rather then an electrician, to repair the underground cable to his sheds because it had been put through an alcathene pipe many years beforehand and quite close to the actual water pipe and one day the plumber came to fix a water leak and dug down to find the pipe, got his hacksaw and...

Nobody got hurt, just lots of sparks.

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When I wired up the winch on my Disco 1 the wiring goes through the grill up to the battery in the offside front inner wing. I wired mine to a kill switch so it’s only powered when in use. I heard too many stories of folk wiring winches in direct, then someone comes along and free wheels it over the top and hooks it to the rear towbar. Set it to winch in and boom, one crushed Landy. 
 

this is almost as bad as that picture that did the rounds of someone securing wiring to a propshaft 😂

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I once added a pair of spot lights to a Citroen AX.  I took.a feed from.the battery, added a fuse, split into.2 feeds, into 2 relays, one for each light, with the signal, coming from.the main beam via a fuse, and the earth going straight back to the battery.  Then the whole lot was covered in heat shrink and.cable tied to bits that didn't move. 

Paranoid that I might set fire to it ? Yes indeed. 

Unlike a bloke i know who owned a body shop and built a CalibrE kitted mk2 cavalier convertible, and airborne with no fuses, no relays,  which he lost in a fire. 

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Used to see some terrible attempts at wiring when I sold alarms and stereos in the Max Power era. 

Mostly badly fitted amps with live wires just twisted together and insulated with sellotape, pushed through holes in the bulkhead with no grommets or even once, coming out of the bonnet, over the wing and in the door shut. 

Cars that cut out when the stereo was turned right up because they had taken the live feed for their boom boom stereo from the coil +. 

Indicators that flash all at once because they scotch locked the alarm wire into both sides on the same wire. 

I don't know of any fires caused by them but that was sheer luck on their part. 

Not much of it worked properly though. 

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It's obviously a Land Rover thing... three days into ownership of my cursed S3 109" I encountered a darkened country lane and reached for main beam, confident that this combined with the four Ring Rally Giants on the bull bar would melt the tarmac ahead of me.

 

And they did... for about three seconds before I was plunged into total darkness. Near total darkness, to be absolutely precise, as there was some illumination from the fire that had started in the instrument binnacle. Once that had been dealt with, a quick inspection revealed that the absolute throbber who fitted the 100cwt of poundshop spotlights clearly hadn't heard of relays, and wired them all into the main beam circuit.

 

Naturally I went over the whole thing with a fine tooth comb after that, and found all sorts of shit going on; wires running here there and everywhere - none of them fused, some just dangling in space. My favourite was one that ran diagonally across the underneath of the chassis as the crow flies to the rear fog light because he wasn't capable of using a multi meter. Best of all, though, was the inline fuse holder, containing the biggest fuse I've ever seen, in between the batteries and the actual fusebox; I don't know what the fuck he was hoping to achieve with that?

 

ONE LIFE, BUY A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.

 

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I heard Delboy's Capri (aka pratmobile!) had a similar problem with all the extra headlights drawing too much current & draining the battery.  Whoever had customised it didn't think of putting in a higher rated battery.  At least once while filming it struggled to start because of this. 

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The battery is under the passenger seat on these so I can understand the wiring on the chassis rail (sort of) but the radius arm 🤭

Had a 90 in the other day . The owner had refitted the wheels , all of them, with the wheelnut champhers on the outside and the flat surface to the wheel. Every wheelnut on every wheel was the wrong way round.

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the new to me Volvo had a high beam that wasnt ,

and it was one of those toggle systems that had you fully  pull the lever to swap dip/main , not a quick flick back or forth .

one dark night on the single track roads between the ditches  on the moss , I selected main.. and nothing ...  q pull and hold on lever for flash main beam    , still nothing .

oh yes let go , and pull again , back to dip ...  and could see the road again

driving in the pitch black is fun , turned out it was a slack lucas connector ....

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I did hear about someone who restored a sports car with knock-on wheels but accidentally swapped the hubs around not realising they needed to be on a particular side of the car.  

They did lose a wheel once it had worked itself loose, but fortunately they  were going at a slow speed & managed to stop before scraping the underside too much.

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23 minutes ago, meggersdog said:

The battery is under the passenger seat on these so I can understand the wiring on the chassis rail (sort of) but the radius arm 🤭

Had a 90 in the other day . The owner had refitted the wheels , all of them, with the wheelnut champhers on the outside and the flat surface to the wheel. Every wheelnut on every wheel was the wrong way round.

some points for consistency?

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I love rewiring, I always remove any bodgey wiring done by a previous owner. Always solder and use heat shrink and then wrap it in that fabric tape, it looks OEM. I hate those red and blue plastic spade connectors!

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9 hours ago, Timewaster said:

Used to see some terrible attempts at wiring when I sold alarms and stereos in the Max Power era. 

Mostly badly fitted amps with live wires just twisted together and insulated with sellotape, pushed through holes in the bulkhead with no grommets or even once, coming out of the bonnet, over the wing and in the door shut. 

Cars that cut out when the stereo was turned right up because they had taken the live feed for their boom boom stereo from the coil +. 

Indicators that flash all at once because they scotch locked the alarm wire into both sides on the same wire. 

I don't know of any fires caused by them but that was sheer luck on their part. 

Not much of it worked properly though. 

It's bad enough on a car. Imagine the horror I felt when we were replacing some floorboards in my old house we found the house wiring had been treated in the same way! The ring main just cut and twisted together! Junction boxes were bought, every wire traced, a lot of floorboards raised. Needless to say I was less than pleased!

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My HiAce camper had been rewired at some point by a complete prat who clearly had a stock of red wire. Everything, including earths were red. Even better was that they had directly wired up the radio, clock, fag lighter as they clearly hadn't worked out where the fuse box was and reason they didn't work.

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15 hours ago, DSdriver said:

some points for consistency?

I once spelt a word wrong in a university assignment, 32 times. And correctly once.  Every mistake had a red ring around it. The correct spelling had a green ring around it leading to an arrow and a comment in the margin, saying I can forgive spelling mistakes but i can't forgive inconsistency.   

In the case of wheel nuts, the risks are somewhat higher than upsetting an OCD spelling pedant 

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My wifes mate bought herself a "motorhome" which was basically the innards of a caravan fitted halfheartedly into a rusty transit.

Anyway, she said that the lights inside only worked for the first night she owned it and since then nothing has, so she was just running an extension cable off the mains hookup to an old desk lamp.

 

Here's the "leisure" battery:

image.thumb.png.7b64295f51218bb4d7b6c9a7990bbc2c.png

Luckily it was 100% flat because there was no way to actually charge it!

 

The wiring was insane - The only fuse (that blue inline holder) was wired directly across the battery terminals, so obviously had blown.

 

image.thumb.png.1322dcc3b7e201ca3fd9d38ad40b0b5d.png

I genuinely can't fathom what the fuck it needed all those wires for - the only electrics was three old labcraft lights robbed from a 1980s caravan, Half thw wires just sort of looped round or went nowhere - I genuinely thing someone just randomly connected things together until the lights worked and then left it exactly as it was.

 

The main battery used to go flat if she left the van more than a few weeks - She'd had the RAC out and they'd fitted her a new battery (at massive cost) twice.

image.thumb.png.163a95420f46b12297108d165ce5d344.png

Directly wired off the battery with 0.75mm flex and chocolate blocks was am unfused, unswitched chinese mains inverter that was just sat there making a loud whining noise and was always quite hot to the touch. 

I was supposedly just fitting a new leisure battery for her, but it turned into ripping out and completely rewiring everything.

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11 minutes ago, busmansholiday said:

My HiAce camper had been rewired at some point by a complete prat who clearly had a stock of red wire. Everything, including earths were red. Even better was that they had directly wired up the radio, clock, fag lighter as they clearly hadn't worked out where the fuse box was and reason they didn't work.

The Lucas DPC smart solenoid*, had 3 black wires by design. It was designed to meet the 15 minute immobilization regulations that came out in 1995. 

 

*an On Off solenoid which had electronics stuck to the end of it, which pulled a plunger to allow fuel.to flow. 

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My mate used to say bodges all finished to a very high standard.

 

Basically he meant people took a lot of time to do things to the best they could, without really understanding what it was they were actually doing, or how whatever they were working on, actually functioned.

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12 hours ago, 2flags said:

It's bad enough on a car. Imagine the horror I felt when we were replacing some floorboards in my old house we found the house wiring had been treated in the same way! The ring main just cut and twisted together! Junction boxes were bought, every wire traced, a lot of floorboards raised. Needless to say I was less than pleased!

 

Sounds like you've been to my house... the speciality of the previous owner was strip lights in every cupboard/wardrobe, with the associated wiring pushed into the back of the nearest socket. Turn off the breaker for 'Downstairs Sockets' and two stay on, because some throbber decided that it was easier to shove the wire through into the garage and add them to that circuit. And, yes, wires twisted together... wires that contained 240V.

 

Mains electricity is one of those things - like gas - that I will not fuck about with. I find it alarming that there are so many people who will without a second thought, when they're clearly incapable.

 

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I did buy a car once where the po was furious that the inlet manifold gasket supplied and then fitted by himself was the wrong one and wasn’t fitting properly; I had a look (I’m hardly an expert ) but could see it was fitted upside down/ back to front.  Easily sorted and not safety critical at least.

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2 hours ago, cobblers said:

the only electrics was three old labcraft lights robbed from a 1980s caravan,

if they are genuine labcraft Fluorescent lights, then they might be worth holding onto if the "caravan" gets refitted/scrapped etc

since labcraft are one of the very few people who made Low voltage DC Fluorescent light fixtures that actually drove the Fluorescent tube they where rated for at full power/current

(although im not sure how their 80's stuff is and it can vary between fixture, but I know some of their later models even included cathode preheating, the decadence!)

most consumer low voltage DC Fluorescent fixtures just ran the tube in cold cathode mode into an early death

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