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I have a 1970 Impala and that small wire from the Positive terminal has now burnt twice on me. 1st time I thought it was because the wire was old, insulation was cracking and it shorted on the metal behind the headlight. So I replaced the wire drove car for over a week and it happened again... this time when i was driving and the car went dead, smoke came out of the hood, I opened the hood, the small wire was burnt and laying against the metal behind the headlight. Also, the headlight wires and alternator wires burnt all the way thru and a wire in the bundle going from passenger side to driver was glowing / on fire. So, since I was on the freeway, I replaced the small wire started the car and drove home. Now I am in need of figuring out WHAT and WHY this is happening... Any suggestions on where to start? BTW, two weeks prior to the 1st time the wire burnt, I replaced the alternator and voltage regulator. Could they be wired up wrong? I personally do not see how that could have happened but is it a possibility?
 

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Check all your grounds on the battery cables. You should have a good battery to engine ground, a good engine to frame ground, a good battery to body ground, and a good body to frame ground. Also make sure all the battery cables are in good condition. Also put a volt meter on your battery while it is idling, it should read between about 13 to 14.5 volts (you mite need to give it a little throttle to get the volts up if they are low at idle) but if your idle is set correctly you should see atleast something above battery voltage at idle. 14.5 volts is pretty much the highest amount I like to see and anything over you start running into overcharging issues. Wiring in an older car like yours should be able to handle a little more than 14.5 volts without burning up so I suspect its a ground or poor condition wire issue. The first thing to go when over charging is all the lights most of the time. A truck i had charged at 18 volts and blew out every single bulb in the truck because the regulator became disconected. I would get some wiring diagrams and a volt meter double check the wiring and perfomance of the alternator and regulator then check the battery cables and conections. Also have someone load test your battery to make sure it's not internally shorted. All of what I stated are simple guidelines so please do your own research and get the correct manuals to be sure of your vehicles specs, Good luck.

Jay
 
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