Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted my [Archive] - Team Camaro Tech

: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted my


Brentmc
Feb 25th, 11, 08:01 AM
The ignition switch on my Camaro has been sticking for sometime. It would not return to "run" when I start it and it would continue to try and start the car. The key was also sloppy in the keyhole and it was generally worn out after 40+ years of working.

So...I start the car last weekend, it runs for 5 seconds and white smoke starts to come from the ignition area of the dash. I turn off the key and the car does not stop running. I pull out the key and it still does not shut off. I run to the battery shut off and finally get the motor to stop.

I check my dash wiring harness and the brown/white wire from the ignition switch is completely melted from the switch all the way down the harness..taking all the other wires touching it with it.

My classic car insurance says that they do not cover "wiring issues". They do however cover mechanical and switch-related issues that result in melted wiring.

The aduster is calling this a "gray area" and will get back to me on whether I am covered.

My question to the group: is it plausible that a faulty ignition switch caused this issue? If so, how can I *prove* this to the insurance company?

Thanks,
Brent

HwyStarJoe
Feb 25th, 11, 08:38 AM
I can easily see where the ignition switch could cause this, as it is a mechanical switch. Have you ever opened one up? I had to take mine apart and clean it so the spring, which is a wear item, would operate the switch properly. The switch is also adjustable so that it actuates the different elements inside (START, RUN, KEY ON, OFF, ACC) at the correct time(s).

I can also understand why he'd call this a 'gray area' because for all they know the switch in your car is 40+ years old. It's expected to wear out and cause problems at some point. Maybe not to a catastrophic effect, but you get the idea.
It's a tough call.

Brentmc
Feb 25th, 11, 09:02 AM
Reading further into the policy it seems that they do not cover damage "due to and confined to" a mechanical or electrical failure.

Reading other posts and intepretations of this...the company should cover the damage that was caused by or "due to" the ignition switch's failure....but not the switch itself....

I'm hoping anyway...

HwyStarJoe
Feb 25th, 11, 09:58 AM
From an owners standpoint, having a project car that we put all our love and time into, I hope you can get some compensation from insurance. At least enough to cover the new wiring harness.

alanrw
Feb 25th, 11, 10:50 AM
If a switch on a 2011 fails and causes a short, the new unfused wiring will fry. If the insulation was intact, most likely, the switch caused the meltdown.

alan

RSDannyG
Feb 25th, 11, 07:10 PM
You need to read your policy to determine what the coverage is. Do not reply on an adjuster's paraphrasing of the coverage. Most standard auto policies contain an exclusion similar to this: the following are excluced: mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure (other than burning of wiring) which under this exclusion means the burning of wiring is covered. Next you have to determine the common accepted definition of "burning" ie does it include melting of the wiring insulation?, does it require there to be a flame.

Again, read your policy.

Good luck.

12run
Feb 26th, 11, 11:09 AM
Not taking sides here, but if you knew the switch was bad why didn't you fix it? From a safety standpoint that's a big no no. If you knew the wheels were loose would you still drive it?

DOUG G
Feb 26th, 11, 12:14 PM
I wouldn't even call the Ins.Co. for something like that. Would be different if the whole engine compartment burnt or worse yet, a total loss.

I knew it was bad, I didn't fix it, I have no one to blame but me. IMO

Brentmc
Feb 28th, 11, 05:07 AM
Hmmmm....12Run and Doug--thanks???

While I was not looking for a cry-fest over melted wires, I didn't expect a "you deserve it" response either.

I knew the ignition switch would occasionally not return to "run" and that the key did not fit tight into the slot. I did not know it would melt my harness.

I actually purchased a new GM ignition switch from the dealer and have been trying to install it. I have been struggling with getting the lock cylinder to release and have actually damaged the dash in the attempt to get it out.

The repair bill with labor/towing will coming to around $1,350. That's worth a claim and is why I have insurance.


I knew it was bad, I didn't fix it, I have no one to blame but me.

Not taking sides here, but if you knew the switch was bad why didn't you fix it? From a safety standpoint that's a big no no. If you knew the wheels were loose would you still drive it?

12run
Feb 28th, 11, 01:20 PM
responsibility : the quality or state of being responsible : moral, legal or mental accountability

DOUG G
Feb 28th, 11, 01:28 PM
Brent, Wasn't trying to kick you while your down. Just stated what I'd do.

But...if your car leaked/burns oil and you let it go to where the engine seized...who's at fault and who should pay ?

Just sayin'.

RedJet
Mar 1st, 11, 02:06 PM
Wow. Tough Crowd.

It is plausible that the switch caused the problem. If you have all of the old parts you could attempt to perform a "post mortem" examination. Even if it is for your own sanity to determine the root cause of the failure. You may not like what you find but that is the downside to discovery.

If you do find something will the adjuster take it under consideration? If not, its just an academic exercise. Probably worth a call to the adjuster to ask how they are coming to their determination and if you could provide a picture docuemented tear down and failure analysis of the system would it effect their decision.

Brentmc
Mar 2nd, 11, 04:50 AM
Brent, Wasn't trying to kick you while your down. Just stated what I'd do.

But...if your car leaked/burns oil and you let it go to where the engine seized...who's at fault and who should pay ?

Just sayin'.

Doug--no harm/no foul. I had no idea that a loose ignition switch could melt my harness...chalk it up to lack of electrical savvy on my part--I just saw it as an inconvenience that I was trying to fix.

Either way, it was not negligence at all...the last thing I want is more problems with my car. I normally go overboard in trying to keep things in good working order and using good, quality parts...

Brentmc
Mar 2nd, 11, 04:51 AM
Wow. Tough Crowd.

It is plausible that the switch caused the problem. If you have all of the old parts you could attempt to perform a "post mortem" examination. Even if it is for your own sanity to determine the root cause of the failure. You may not like what you find but that is the downside to discovery.

If you do find something will the adjuster take it under consideration? If not, its just an academic exercise. Probably worth a call to the adjuster to ask how they are coming to their determination and if you could provide a picture docuemented tear down and failure analysis of the system would it effect their decision.

Jereme--good idea--I will do that and see what I find--I can't afford (time and sanity wise) this to happen again.

Brentmc
Mar 2nd, 11, 04:59 AM
Not taking sides here, but if you knew the switch was bad why didn't you fix it? From a safety standpoint that's a big no no. If you knew the wheels were loose would you still drive it?

12Run: I see that you are an electrician and have given a lot of good electrical advice on TC. That would make you an ideal person to answer my original question. What inside of an ignition switch could happen that would melt a wire in the harness?

I have not yet taken mine apart to triage it.

Thanks.

prostreet69camaro
Mar 2nd, 11, 06:27 AM
Brent,

I am a electrician and have slept at a Holiday Inn express.

1- A wire melting like you had,, the wire would have to go to ground. A dead short.

2- If the ignition switch was left on it sends power to the starter solenoid. But you would think it would turn the starter motor. But if the switch is bad it will let a little current/volts go to the starter solenoid. Depending on how long it is in that position the wire starts getting hot and eventually melts.

I would say it was your ignition switch that did it.

Brentmc
Mar 2nd, 11, 06:57 AM
Brent,

I am a electrician and have slept at a Holiday Inn express.

1- A wire melting like you had,, the wire would have to go to ground. A dead short.

2- If the ignition switch was left on it sends power to the starter solenoid. But you would think it would turn the starter motor. But if the switch is bad it will let a little current/volts go to the starter solenoid. Depending on how long it is in that position the wire starts getting hot and eventually melts.

I would say it was your ignition switch that did it.

Thanks Mike--I appreciate the response--big lesson learned for me here and I will need to go through all my wiring to ensure everything is tidy. I'll triage the switch and see what I find there.

I need to sleep at Holiday Inn express more.

12run
Mar 2nd, 11, 01:17 PM
I agree with Mike. A partial connection to the solenoid could heat the wire enough to melt the insulation causing a short. Even having it stick on a few times will heat it enough to break down the insulation. The next time you try to start it, POOF.
For the record, I never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

abbiejohnson32
Mar 10th, 11, 10:37 PM
So, will your car insurance (http://hartfordauto.thehartford.com/Auto-Insurance/Classic-Car-Insurance/) be covering damage caused by a faulty ignition switch OP? Big learning here for most of us.

Brentmc
Mar 11th, 11, 03:57 AM
So, will your car insurance (http://hartfordauto.thehartford.com/Auto-Insurance/Classic-Car-Insurance/) be covering damage caused by a faulty ignition switch OP? Big learning here for most of us.

The the item that failed and caused the damage is NOT covered (i.e. switch). The damage that resulted IS covered.

1320King
Apr 19th, 11, 02:49 PM
I am rebuilding a 69 Camaro at this time and will replace the ignition lock cylinder just in case. Thanks for posting your experience.

Geezer
Apr 19th, 11, 04:14 PM
The contacts in the switch will over time get pitted and covered with spatter from the repeated electric arc making a coarse surface on the contacts. Eventually the fine spatter particles can melt when the contacts come together essentially welding the contacts in place and they won’t release. This is a common occurrence that I’ve seen happen with the contacts in my central A/C condenser for the house, also with the contacts on my air compressor.
PS, If the component is bad, spank it.... If it is defective, replace it...

Brentmc
Apr 20th, 11, 04:12 AM
If only I had know that this was even possible, I would have replaced the entire ignition switch immediately. Live and learn I guess.