Smoke in the Cockpit

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by JLS, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. JLS

    JLS Guest

    I switched on the ignition on my '96 Saturn SL2 recently and acrid
    smoke, like smoke from burning wires, poured out from behind the
    dash. I think the smoke originated near the ignition switch but can't
    be sure.

    I turned off the switch and disconnected the battery. Later I
    reconnected the battery and with a fire extinguisher close by, I tried
    to get it to do it again, but it wouldn't. I looked at fuses but
    didn't see any of them open. I'll do a continuity test on them next.

    The ignition is now dead.

    Anybody know what the problem might be? I'm thinking it's the switch
    but don't really know for sure.

    Any hints from Saturn mechanics?

    I've enjoyed this little car, replaced the starter, alternator, water
    pump, and a few other things with the greatest of ease and a Haynes
    Repair Manual. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Does anyone know the pinout on the ignition switch so I can test it?
    Or does anyone have any advice on how to test the switch? Or focus on
    the problem? Thanks a million.
    JLS, Dec 3, 2010
  2. JLS

    danielr Guest

    i had a similar situation few years ago.
    when i replaced the wiper blades in my SL97, out of stupidity i didn’t
    realize that the one on the passenger side had become jammed by the
    antenna. then, i tried to test the new blades.
    upon turning on the ignition, smoke came out of the dash. QUICKLY, i
    shut if off and (upon realizing the blade stuck), corrected the
    i thought that the smoke had come from the windshield wiper motor, and
    that my quick reaction had saved it.
    nevertheless, as i had no immediate problem, sighted relief and kept
    going; but few months later, i had starting problems.
    the mechanic diagnosed that the computer (PCM), was damaged.
    he had removed and opened it, and showed me the PCB with several
    charred copper traces lifted , and one of them cut.
    i got a new PCM from a firm in Florida.
    actually, there are two companies; one of them didn’t have it in
    stock, but offered me to repair mine. the other company works on an
    exchange basis.
    Google and you’ll find them.
    be prepared to kick (approx.) 200 bucks.
    access to the PCM is easy: two plastic (snap into) plastic cups expose
    the screws which hold the dash.
    once removed, access and removal to the PCM is immediate (if i recall
    properly, there is only one connector).
    good luck

    danielr, Dec 4, 2010
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