Here's a tale from a reader who knows about automotive electrical circuits and quickly figured out what was wrong - perhaps his quick thinking can save you from problems in the future.

Reading problems with unusual fixes reminded me of a Corvair I had many moons ago. (This car had a manual choke.) One morning after I turned the key to start it, I happened to look back and noticed smoke coming out of the engine compartment. ( Remember, this was rear engine car.) I quickly shut off the car, lifted the hood, but found nothing. When I started it again, the same problem. Smoke. Looking and poking around, I happened to touch the choke cable, and it was hot. Now, this threw me for a loop. There not supposed to be any electrical current going through the cable, this is strictly a mechanical thing. I started the car again, and observe the choke cable getting hotter and hotter. Then the light clicked on in my head. I quickly checked the block to body ground strap, and sure enough, it was broken off. The juice was going through the choke cable, and since it presented high resistance, it heated up. Since then I always try to look for the simplest most obvious problem first before I get into heavy duty diagnostics.

Editor's note: There are no car on the market today which have a manual choke cable but there are many other paths to ground that can cause headaches if the main engine ground strap is corroded or broken - its a good thing to check out first when you have flaky electrical problems.

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