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Oops! forgot to disconnect battery cables before removing

the starter-motor wires on my awesome '96 jeep cherokee sport 4.0L inline-6 cylinder when lower end of solenoid wire touched chasis, truck attempted to crank 2x’s, followed by “hissing” sound for several seconds and puff of smoke. yikes! i’m guessing that after i replace bad battery cables and starter, i’ll need to check all my fuses and fusible links. any other suggestions would be appreciated.

from “i (royally) messed up.”

You’re going to need a new battery at least. You killed that one. Because when you ground the positive side to ground, you turn the battery basically into a welder. And it’s going dump all it’s amperage right then and now. The hissing sound was probably from the hydrogen gas escaping from the battery when you turned it into a welder.


There used to be ads for using car batteries to do welding. I wonder if anyone still does that. Tester is right, the battery may be a goner.

Wait a minuet! You say, “…truck attempted to crank 2X …”, and, then, “…and replace starter…”. Isn’t “crank” what starters are supposed to do? And, if the starter is doing what it’s supposed to do, why are you changing it? I must be missing some other function of the starter; but, I can’t figure what.

If the wiring got hot enough to damage the insulation then you will have to replace it. Since the short to ground bypassed the fuses, they should be ok.

Batteries only generate hydrogen when you charge them, not when discharging.

I’d just put everything back together, charge the battery and give it a try. Unless the short circuit got things hot enough to melt the insulation, it’s probably OK.

Look under Battery Service Precautions. “WARNING! Batteries Can Explode: When the electolite inside the battery breaks down, (through discharging), it releases hydrogen gas.”


Then again, there may be no problem. You are not the first one to_____ and get away with it. Insert any words.