BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Oct 2003
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Saved my C tonight
A warning to all owners with cell phones installed: My 1994 C 220 had a cellphone installed, the motorola type that hangs on a bracket in the passenger foot well, and the connections, maybe for a head phone? inside the consol. Also in the consol was a cigarette lighter type plug, that I assume must have been used to charge something? In any event, the wiring goes from inside the consol to the fuse box beside the battery, and a ground wire ran over the hot post of the batter (hot post is covered by a plastic cover) and screwed into the chassis.
THe wires at teh fuse box are piggybacked onto 3 fuses, one red, one yellow and one green.
It is tax time and earlier today I rummaged in the consol and cleaned out everthing but a spare aa battery and my tic tacs. Leaving tonight to run to the grocery, I realized I had left my cell phone on my desk.
I left the car running. I jumped back in, closed the door, and could not breath: I got back out quickly, gagging, then realized there was smoke. I stuck my head in and turned the car off.
Got a breath, realizing that the smoke was coming up from the consol. I opened it, and with the key off the short circuit that had been frying the wiring stopped and things began to cool.
So after a few minutes, i separated the wires, turned on the key, everything looked fine, and decided to put the car in the garage until later. Which I did.
Then I thought, perhaps I should disconnect the battery.
I opened the trunk and there was wafting smoke, coming up the right side of the trunk; I got a wrench, fumbling to get the negative terminal loose, meanwhile, the thin ground wire the attached to the frame had burned off all of its insulation and then split dropping done onto the positive terminal as I was fumbling with the wrench. Got the battery disconnected and all was quiet.
What apparently happened was that while I cleaned out all of the paper from inside the consol (Piece of luck!) the wires inside the cigarette lighter thing twisted, shorting out.
THis is the key part: Normally, everthing is fused and wires can't burn up like the electric eye on your stove. But these leads we tapped into the hot side of the fuse on the fuse box!
So the fuses never blew, and these wires melted, not only the thin telephone wire gauge wires, but the thick green and red wires at the fuse box.
If I or my daughter had been driving, this would have been a disaster. If there had been ignitable material on the wires in the consol, flame would have surely erupted.
If you have one of these old un-used cell phones, or its remnants, take the time to ensure it is properly disconnected. If you have phones or stereos that have been jumped to fuses, remove the fuse to be sure it is attached to "fused side".
Luck was with me. I pass the lesson on to all.