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Thread: I love the smell of burnt plastic in the evening

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date:  Jul 2014

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    My VIN:    16306

    I love the smell of burnt plastic in the evening

    Driving the DeLorean home from work Friday night, A/C running, I'm sitting at a red light a mile from home, and I start to smell something burning. I look over to my passenger side, and see an unhealthy amount of smoke coming from somewhere behind the passenger seat. At this point I think the car's on fire, so I kill the A/C and turn the car off, preparing for the worst as I pop the engine cover. Thankfully, I see nothing, no smoke, no fire, everything looks fine back there. Go back into the cabin though and smoke is still coming out from behind the passenger seat, and I start to smell burnt plastic. At this point I realize if must be coming from the relay compartment. After about a 5 minute wait, the smoke starts to clear up, start the car up, and make it home.

    Open up the relay compartment and sure enough, discover the fan fail fused jumper wire has melted. The other relays looked fine and nothing else appears to have burned or melted.

    Couple questions
    1) I've never heard of this fused wire melting to the point of generating so much smoke before, is that known to happen with it?
    2) Is the wire melting like this a sign that my fans might be on their way out? The car still has the original fans from what I know, and I've never previously had any overheating issues or problems with them.


    Probably time for me to order Dave's solid state fan fail unit
    Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Aug 2018

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    Quote Originally Posted by ? ? ? ? View Post
    Driving the DeLorean home from work Friday night, A/C running, I'm sitting at a red light a mile from home, and I start to smell something burning. I look over to my passenger side, and see an unhealthy amount of smoke coming from somewhere behind the passenger seat. At this point I think the car's on fire, so I kill the A/C and turn the car off, preparing for the worst as I pop the engine cover. Thankfully, I see nothing, no smoke, no fire, everything looks fine back there. Go back into the cabin though and smoke is still coming out from behind the passenger seat, and I start to smell burnt plastic. At this point I realize if must be coming from the relay compartment. After about a 5 minute wait, the smoke starts to clear up, start the car up, and make it home.

    Open up the relay compartment and sure enough, discover the fan fail fused jumper wire has melted. The other relays looked fine and nothing else appears to have burned or melted.

    Couple questions
    1) I've never heard of this fused wire melting to the point of generating so much smoke before, is that known to happen with it?
    2) Is the wire melting like this a sign that my fans might be on their way out? The car still has the original fans from what I know, and I've never previously had any overheating issues or problems with them.


    Probably time for me to order Dave's solid state fan fail unit
    The fused jumper was meant to be a temporary fix. Unfortunately DMC went under before they came up with a permanent solution. At some point it will fail (as you’ve seen). Dave’s solid state unit is a good idea. While you’re in there, you should replace some of the other relays that are known to generate excess heat:
    RPM relay, Lambda relay, radiator fan relay.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

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    If you remove that fused jumper entirely, what do the ends of the spade connectors look like? The reason I ask is I had one of those in my car and noticed a little melty melty, but caught it sooner than your burnt plastic and smoke scenario. The male spade connectors were tarnished and to me it looked like the entire current was going over just a small portion of the metal surface and on into the wire and fuse holders.

    I have the original fans too and never had any overheating issues. I've got my eye on new fans though, but not sure if I would do anything differently with the fused jumper contraption. I replaced it after I saw that discoloration and will do again if it reappears. I have gotten into the habit of checking these kinds of electrical things in the Spring each year before the season starts. Just looking for wear and tear and possible problems. Hoping to catch them before it gets costly.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Leonardtown, MD

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    Common problem if your still running OEM fans. Of course the 30 amp draw is the main cause but it' probably because the fan fail socket pins are not clamping tight enough on the jumper pins. One of my friends jumpers actually caught fire.

    You probably will need a new socket and five new pins to crimp on the existing wires. You probably can not pull the old pins from the melted socket.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  5. #5
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    Join Date:  Jul 2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    If you remove that fused jumper entirely, what do the ends of the spade connectors look like? The reason I ask is I had one of those in my car and noticed a little melty melty, but caught it sooner than your burnt plastic and smoke scenario. The male spade connectors were tarnished and to me it looked like the entire current was going over just a small portion of the metal surface and on into the wire and fuse holders.
    They don't appear too bad. Appears to be some slight melting along the one side though.
    Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Join Date:  Jul 2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    Common problem if your still running OEM fans. Of course the 30 amp draw is the main cause but it' probably because the fan fail socket pins are not clamping tight enough on the jumper pins. One of my friends jumpers actually caught fire.

    You probably will need a new socket and five new pins to crimp on the existing wires. You probably can not pull the old pins from the melted socket.
    So thankfully, I didn't have any issues disconnecting the jumper from the socket. From what I can tell, the existing socket doesn't appear to have been ruined. I don't see any clear signs of melting or burns there. I'm hoping I got lucky and only the jumper was ruined.
    Attached Images

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    You got lucky. Your problem was BUSS brand fuses. I ran testing of them and they will melt running near the rating of the fuse. Your fan fail socket does look good in the photo.

    Make sure you use LITTELFUSE brand fuses.

    I recommend all owners not run OEM fans.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ras12's Avatar
    Join Date:  Apr 2012

    Location:  New England

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    My VIN:    10350 & 2083 SEARCHING FOR VIN#16664

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    Fans

    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    ...I recommend all owners not run OEM fans.
    Dave, based on wt you have heard from other owners and your own experience which fans do you recommend?
    ---------------------------------
    SEARCHING FOR VIN #16664
    ---------------------------------

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2021

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    My VIN:    Coming, hopefully!

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by ? ? ? ? View Post
    Driving the DeLorean home from work Friday night, A/C running, I'm sitting at a red light a mile from home, and I start to smell something burning. I look over to my passenger side, and see an unhealthy amount of smoke coming from somewhere behind the passenger seat. At this point I think the car's on fire, so I kill the A/C and turn the car off, preparing for the worst as I pop the engine cover. Thankfully, I see nothing, no smoke, no fire, everything looks fine back there. Go back into the cabin though and smoke is still coming out from behind the passenger seat, and I start to smell burnt plastic. At this point I realize if must be coming from the relay compartment. After about a 5 minute wait, the smoke starts to clear up, start the car up, and make it home.

    Open up the relay compartment and sure enough, discover the fan fail fused jumper wire has melted. The other relays looked fine and nothing else appears to have burned or melted.

    Couple questions
    1) I've never heard of this fused wire melting to the point of generating so much smoke before, is that known to happen with it?
    2) Is the wire melting like this a sign that my fans might be on their way out? The car still has the original fans from what I know, and I've never previously had any overheating issues or problems with them.


    Probably time for me to order Dave's solid state fan fail unit
    Glad it wasn't catastrophic!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Leonardtown, MD

    Posts:    8,240

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ras12 View Post
    Dave, based on wt you have heard from other owners and your own experience which fans do you recommend?
    I've not heard any complaints from any of the vendors fans. I have Toby fans in my car which fit in the OEM fan shroud.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

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