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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2001 Kia Sportage, 4 cyl, approximately 130-140k miles.

This is turning out to be a very ugly problem so I’ll explain what started it in the very beginning and work up to now so everyone has the whole story… I apologize for the thread's length but I was trying to be as detailed as possible in hopes that helps someone figure out the problem easier. Maybe someone can make a suggestion that we haven’t thought of before?

Initial problem: {10A METER} fuse blew out randomly knocking out instrument panel lighting.

Initial Resolution: Kept replacing until problem mysteriously went away on its own.

New problem: {30A HEAD} fuse blew out when turning on headlights. Vehicle could still be driven but only during daylight hours. Very inconvenient.

Resolution: Took the car to a local mechanic recommended by a co-worker. The mechanic had the car for a few days and called us saying he was able to fix the problem. Went to pick up the car and was told “yard varmints” or “chippies” (the mechanic’s terms) chewed through a ground wire. This is somewhat believable because the chipmunk in our yard uses the cars as hiding places from the neighbor’s cats. Supposedly he cut and repaired the chewed section which fixed the problem. He didn’t specify where he found it at (I went looking for it and could not find any obvious splices).

Recurring problem: {30A HEAD} fuse started to blow out again within 3 days of local mechanic’s fix.

Resolution: Drove car up to my personal mechanic (approximately 2hrs away) and told him to work on it at his leisure and let us know what he finds. Mechanic has the car for a little over a week and says he was unable to find where it was re-ground and simply by-passed the entire line by running a new ground from the right headlight harness to the headlight relay above the under-dash fuse panel. Problem did not recur after that.

New problem: {15A MAIN} fuse blew on the way home from my personal mechanic stranding me on the interstate for several hours on a Sunday. Had the car towed back to personal mechanic’s garage.

Resolution: Personal mechanic calls next business day and states that the {15A MAIN} fuse had blown and it was a simple fix, no charge. Mechanic states that there may be a short somewhere else in the car that he was unable to find and to “jump on the front bumper to jiggle all the wires”. I drive home the following night with my fiancé to pick up the car – blew 4 fuses on the 100+ mile journey home. Between fuses 3 and 4 we had to jump on the passenger’s side of the front bumper like an angry gorilla to get it started again (this was within two blocks of the house). Fiancé was able to drive the car to work the next 3 days – problem recurred sporatically. Diagnostic codes at this time were (in this order) P0560 SYSTEM VOLTAGE MALFUNCTION and P0340 CAMSHAFT POSITION SENSOR CIRCUIT MALFUNCTION.

Recurring problem: Problem worsened from just blowing randomly to {15A MAIN} fuse blows when car hits a bump or gets jostled by uneven pavement. Fiancé gets stranded on main drag in our city going back to work from his lunch break and has to be towed back to the house. After much more jumping on the car and jostling of wires the car starts long enough to back it into the garage. I inspected every wiring bundle I could see under the vehicle and re-wrapped them with fresh electrical tape (old tape had melted off). I found no obvious signs of wire damage/chafing/rubbing that might cause a short. After putting the battery back in the car started, made it out into the driveway, was successfully turned off and restarted, was driven to the end of the street where it made a u-turn and returned back to the driveway, was successfully turned off and restarted again and left to run for approximately 30 minutes, and did not restart successfully after that. Now {15A MAIN} fuse blows as soon as the key is turned to the “ON” position. Inserting the key and ACC positions are functioning normally but as soon as the key is turned to “ON” the fuse pops. If I turn the key past “ON” and into the “Start” position it will crank but it will not start. The only diagnostic code that I could pull is P0560 SYSTEM VOLTAGE MALFUNCTION.


What we’ve done so far:
  • Tested/charged battery
  • Replaced main relay and played the “swap the relays” game – both relays can be felt clicking simultaneously with the blowing of the {15A MAIN} fuse when the key is turned to “ON” position
  • Removed alternator, had it tested at AutoZone – tested good
  • Pulled every fuse in both fuse panels and inspected
  • Pulled the engine compartment fuse panel completely apart and checked each wire connection to the fuses – found that the {15A MAIN} fuse is sistered/jumpered to the {10A ECU} fuse. Only one wire connects to the {10A ECU} fuse which joins it to the{15A MAIN} fuse just below it.
  • Pulled the ECU and the harness kick-plate – inspected all of the harnesses for damage, replaced some gooey electrical tape with fresh
  • Disassembled the ECU and checked all of the solder points and verified there was no internal damage (it looked virtually brand new/untouched inside)
  • Pulled the under-dash fuse box and visually inspected all of the harnesses
    for any signs of damage/fraying/chafing/rubbing – found that the fuse box was only held in with one bolt and was in crooked so I straightened it out and tightened the bolt
  • Sanded the three ground connectors in the passenger kick panel area near the ECU, the battery terminal connectors, and the battery ground to the battery tray
  • Called the initial mechanic who claimed "yard varmints" and a message for him to call me back and explain where he re-ground what so that I can verify the connection or if he even did the work in the first place because my personal mechanic couldn't find where the first guy spliced/re-ground anything (if he can't explain what wires he did the work to I smell a lawyer's visit in his future)
Current Theories:
  • It’s a short in the ignition itself which means tearing apart the steering column and removing the driver’s knee air bag
  • It’s a short in the ECU despite how undamaged it looks, we’re going to try and pick up some spare parts (another ECU, relays, sensors, harnesses, etc…) at a u-pull-it junkyard this weekend
  • The camshaft position sensor is shorted but the code can’t come up because of something to do with the power being cut when the fuse pops and it doesn’t have a chance to be written to memory??? (I know I’m out on a limb with that one)
  • There is a problem with the starter motor that blows the {15A MAIN} fuse and causes the no-start condition (problem originally noted in documentation for some 1998 Kia Sephia)
  • There is a problem with the battery ground which would mean taking out the battery tray and checking all the ground connections as far back as I can reach/see
  • The short is somewhere behind the firewall where I’ll never be able to get to
The DTC’s are somewhat confusing because in the booklet for my scanner it shows P0560 as “System Voltage Malfunction” and P0340 as “Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit Malfunction”. In some of the Kia documentation it shows it P0560 as “Back-Up Line for Power”. Some of the web resources I’ve been looking at shows P0340 as “No Cam Signal at PCM” and P0560 as “Powertrain Control Module (PCM) Backup Voltage Circuit” or “ECM Back-up Circuit Low Voltage”. I’m guessing the P0340 is because there is no power going to the CPS due to the blown main fuse? And what exactly do they mean by saying “Back-Up Line for Power”? I’m going under the assumption that ECM and PCM are referring to the ECU in the passenger floor area (only because I know in Cadillac’s they were called ECMs until the mid-2000’s when they started referring to it as the PCM).

I have almost every diagram for the electrical system of that vehicle and most of them look like they were drawn by a confused middle school electrical theory class. Some of them aren’t the best quality images either so some of the text is blurry which doesn’t help. I’m at a serious loss considering we’ve spent over $600 fixing this just so it would pass inspection (can’t pass without headlights!) and it’s worse now than when the problems started. I can’t afford to put any more money into it and we can’t sell it in this condition. I spent the last 3 weeks inspecting every inch of visible wiring I could find after work and now I'm to the point I’ll take any suggestions/advice you can come up with!

Update (7/16/09 6:39pm): The ignition key gets very very hot if left in the "on" position while testing the car. I left the key in the "on" position while testing the amperage/voltage/current in some of the connections under the hood trying to decide what was before and after the blown fuse and the car tried to electrocute me. I leaned down over the (uncovered) engine bay fuse box to check a connection and apparently caught some bare skin on top of the blown 15A main and BBBZZZZZ YOUCH! After it tried to electrocute me I ran around to the driver's side to pull the key from the ignition and it was hot enough to make me drop it on the floor for fear of being burnt.
 

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-If you pull the MAIN relay and replace the 15A MAIN fuse, does it blow?

-What about if you unplug the ECM harness, does the fuse blow?

P0560 System Voltage Malfunction
DTC Description
The ECM provides ground to one side of the coil of the main relay and the other side is connected to the battery. The ECM monitors battery voltage and the voltage after the main relay.
If system voltage is out of the threshold value, the ECM judged as a fault and DTC is set.

Based on the description, it sees no voltage after the fuse blows and sets the CEL.

Now, you said you retaped a wiring bundle because the old tape melted off. Melted as in overheated and melted off? If so, what wiring bundle is this or where is it located? Melted electrical tape is not a good sign.

If you haven't done so already, sign up for a free user ID at http://www.kiatechinfo.com
Theres alot of useful information and if you're good at reading the ETMs, it'll probably be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's correct, if I remove the main relay and put in a fresh 15A main fuse (regardless of whether the fuel pump relay is in position or not) then the fuse does not blow when the key is turned "on" position. I have not tried anything with the ECM harness undone as I wasn't sure what affect it might have on things... I was hoping to find that in one of the documents as a troubleshooting step but no luck there.

I figure it's setting the code because pin 54 (EGI main relay) on the harness has no voltage (but I haven't verified this). With the 15A main fuse blown there shouldn't be any voltage at the main relay right? Logically, something that's kicking on in the "on" position that's not on in "acc" position has to be causing it. So far I've printed off schematic W (Electrical Wiring Schematic) and B-1a (Engine Control System) and mapped out what is before/after it in line and where everything connected is supposed to ground to. I've verified all the ground connections that might affect this as far as I know.

As for the wiring bundles I re-taped: The harnesses under the vehicle were in such a place that they were exposed to the elements and anything/everything that the vehicle ever drove over. In Pennsylvania, that translates into a lot of liquid, snow, road salt, mud, and whatever flies out of potholes when you run over one. The best I can describe it is the tape surface separated from the glue holding it on leaving tape hanging free and a really sticky half-taped bundle of wires. In hindsight, I should have taken pictures. The bundles that I got from topside were in considerably better condition but were still embarrassing. I'm guessing they used cheap tape at the factory and didn't use a whole lot of it when they wrapped stuff.

I've spent the last 3 and a half weeks that I've been working on this piece of junk reading every piece of documentation in the KiaTechInfo site that pertains to this model vehicle for 1999-2002 model years. I figured maybe the magical answer was hiding in some oddly named innocently named document but no luck... Lots of cryptic information and diagrams that were over-complicated.

After it tried to kill me today I'm ready to destroy the damned thing but we can't function in a one-car household due to extremely different shifts.
 

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That's correct, if I remove the main relay and put in a fresh 15A main fuse (regardless of whether the fuel pump relay is in position or not) then the fuse does not blow when the key is turned "on" position. I have not tried anything with the ECM harness undone as I wasn't sure what affect it might have on things... I was hoping to find that in one of the documents as a troubleshooting step but no luck there.
Well based on the ETM B-1A, at the MAIN relay, pin 4 should have voltage. If you jumper pins 4 and 2, does it blow the fuse?

I'm not sure if the ignition switch is at fault here. Based on ETM A Starting System, when the ECM gets the signal to start the engine and grounds the start signal wire, voltage goes through the ignition switch and a 10A fuse ST. SIGN through the starter relay, etc. If the problem is in the switch, I would think that the 10A fuse would blow first instead of the main (I think thats correct). Have you found ground 1 (in Ground Distribution) and checked that? Kinda makes sense what you stated about jumping on the passenger side of the bumper to get it started. If you do find it and its all clean, you might run a wire from the negative post on the battery to the ground. You may have a bad ground in chassis to that point.

I figure it's setting the code because pin 54 (EGI main relay) on the harness has no voltage (but I haven't verified this). With the 15A main fuse blown there shouldn't be any voltage at the main relay right?
Your correct in that thinking.
 

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The tape my wire bundles are wrapped in are not the cheap electrical tape with the gooey adhesive that resembles brushed on tree sap. My wire harnesses are all wrapped tightly with high quality wrap and the ends of the tape are tied off propperly to avoid unraveling. It's possible that someone already went through your wiring harness to ad/remove/repair/ or diagnose the wires. The cheap electrical tape would indicate tampering.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
If harness 1 in Ground Distribution is what I'm thinking it is then it's the one right behind the head lamp assembly? I have to check that tomorrow when I get home from work. I think that's close to (or is) the harness my personal mechanic spliced into to reground the headlight fuse problem. He ran a large gauge wire from the ground of a harness in that area, along the chassis wall, across the underside of the dashboard and into a relay harness above that fuse panel. I'm not sure which relay harness it was but it's one of two that snap into holders above the brake pedal.

If I can't find anything wrong I'll run that new ground from the negative post. Right now the negative post goes to the metal battery tray and then further down into the engine but I didn't look any further today due to being shocked. I've still got a raging headache from it *curses the car*.

This vehicle was purchased used in Aug 2007 with approximately 100k miles on it. It was bought at one of those buy-here-pay-here places and had some problems before it was paid off. Namely the rusted gas tank that set us back about $450 because the tank inspection campaign covers up to 2001 models but the repair campaign only covers up to 2000 models and the Kia garage held it hostage saying they wouldn't release it unless we paid them to put the new tank in saying it would be "unethical" to let us have it replaced anywhere else. We've also needed a both O2 sensors replaced and a new front cat. converter installed. The O2 sensors went last year sometime (but not at the same time) and the cat. was installed within the last 4-6 months.

Most of the wire bundles in the rear of the vehicle (that I know were untouched by both mechanics) also have the same gooey tree-sap electrical tape as what I found around the engine and transmission. I'm thinking that's the original tape for that vehicle... I don't ever remember seeing any decent electrical tape on it since we've had it then again I don't have any history on it from before it was purchased so something could have happened then.
 

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If harness 1 in Ground Distribution is what I'm thinking it is then it's the one right behind the head lamp assembly? I have to check that tomorrow when I get home from work. I think that's close to (or is) the harness my personal mechanic spliced into to reground the headlight fuse problem. He ran a large gauge wire from the ground of a harness in that area, along the chassis wall, across the underside of the dashboard and into a relay harness above that fuse panel. I'm not sure which relay harness it was but it's one of two that snap into holders above the brake pedal.
Yes ground 1 should be around the pass. head lamp assembly. Looking at the Head Lamps ETM, I would guess that the wire runs to the headlight relay, but you might confirm this in case of future problems.

This vehicle was purchased used in Aug 2007 with approximately 100k miles on it. It was bought at one of those buy-here-pay-here places and had some problems before it was paid off. Namely the rusted gas tank that set us back about $450 because the tank inspection campaign covers up to 2001 models but the repair campaign only covers up to 2000 models and the Kia garage held it hostage saying they wouldn't release it unless we paid them to put the new tank in saying it would be "unethical" to let us have it replaced anywhere else.
That sucks about the fuel tank repair. I had an 02 Sportage 4 door with 147k miles come through that still needed the Fuel Tank Repair benefit done. The bulletin states that it only covers within 10 years or 130k miles so it was obviously out of coverage. We called our DPSM and he said to do the benefit and goodwill any repairs it needs. The protector shield was rusted apart in spots and the owner had chicken wire and rubber straps holding it up. The tank wasn't leaking but had a spot that was rusted where the undercoating rubbed off. After I swapped out the tank, you could see inside the tank where the rust was penetrating into the tank. I guess what I'm trying to say is the dealer should have checked with the DPSM to see if KIA would cover it.
 

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Fixed my headlight fuse that blew upon starting car

I got lucky with a hunch but have had this same fix for other older vehicles: I used Dielectric grease (I buy 8oz cans at least) and used it on EVERY ground I could see. Then I put in another new headlight fuse (#8 or so by now) and it is fine now. Those old rusted ground points can have you chasing everywhere for a fix - now I always check those 1st.

It is also a good idea to use this dielectric grease at you battery connections, where wires are crimped to terminals etc. it is like a gooey solder for helping pass the maximum current through those connections. It can't hurt, is cheap, and may fix and avoid later electrical grounding issues (as well as stave off corrosion!)
 

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I would suspect the short in the area where you had to rewrap the harness as the harness would not have had a sticky type of tape used by the factory. I would also use a length of split plastic sheathing to protect this area. I also agree with the post about the earths. With the shorting problems, Is it possible that the car may have been submerged at some time?
 

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Same Problem

Sorry to hear the luck you have had with you vehicle....I think we might have the same problem...mine started with the engine turning but no start...checked the fuel filter...that was good...replaced fuel pump....still no start...then checked fuses found a problem with the 15 main fuse...got replaced and was able to start...but only went two miles before the problem happened again....since then rechecked the fuse and found it was blown again..replaced it and truck started for only a minute then it blew again..I think my problem is the main ground next to battery...looks corroded and all melted to hell so I am going to replace and keep you posted to see if maybe same thing with you.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We had the Kia towed to a local import mechanic who said he specialized in that crap in hopes of having him fix it... well at least I think his half-assed attempt at fixing it was crap. He had the car on his lot from the end of July until the middle of September without it moving an inch, after several phone calls to question the status he stated he thought the entire main engine fuse panel needed to be replaced because there was a short in it somewhere and it was "too complicated" to find. He quoted us $395 for a new one assuming he could find the right one, he kept finding ones for the newer model but nothing that matched what we had in this one. He didn't quote us what the labor would be to install it but I'm assuming it would have taken his butt at least a few hours if not a few days at the pace he worked. We asked him to take another look at it and see if he could track down where in the panel the problem was and I would try and fix it myself by re-seating the wires in that area. He had the car pushed into his garage bay where it sat for another month and half, until the end of October when I said enough was enough. He didn't do a damn thing to it while it was in his building, charged us $30 for "glancing over it" and we had it towed to a storage garage in town.

I went out and bought a gently-pre-used Ford Expedition XLT to replace my fiance's korean tinker-toy so at least we had another vehicle to drive in the winter. I doubt my little sports car is going to do any good in Pennsylvania winter. I figure at some point I'll drag it back to the house with my new truck and push it up into the garage where I can work on it at my leisure and re-go-over all the grounds and the connections and see where that takes me. Call it a "project car" if you want, more like "garage space filler/thing to play with when bored"...

And yes, gperez1992, our problems started with similar symptoms. Initially the problem was when we went from parking lights to full on head lights the headlight fuse would blow rendering the car impossible to drive at night. My personal mechanic diagnosed a bad ground at the passenger front headlight and ran that new cable to reground it back to some relay under the dash panel on the driver's side. On the trip home from his shop the car completely lost power doing 75 mph on Interstate 81 southbound. I managed to muscle the wheel enough to get to the shoulder just before it came to a complete halt with a minimal amount of the ass end in traffic. I managed to push it the rest of the way off the road by myself and called home to have my father come out and help me with getting it started but when he got there we couldn't get it started so we had it towed BACK to my mechanic's lot. When we picked up the following weekend we went through 7 fuses in the 100 miles back to our house, the last being a block and a half from the house where we had to vigorously jump on the front bumper of the car to get it started and it made it just to the driveway and quit again. After that it didn't start again, just one blown fuse after another after another. It HAS to be a bad ground somewhere it's just a matter of where.

The ground next to the battery on this one was corroded all to hell too so we took a dremel with a sanding tip to both it and the frame and cleaned it up real nice but that didn't seem to fix the issue. I read somewhere that P0560 on a Kia means "loss of power to the ECM or internal ECM failure". I've had the ECM of that car apart on my kitchen table and inspected every solder joint for a break and I know that it's not physically faulty but could something in the software have gone foul or maybe the harness?

If we can get it running again that'll become our "beater" car we can haul crap in and get dirty inside and particularly not care two-hoots about. If we can't get it running we're going to see which gets us more money - turning it into a scrap yard for $400 or parting out the good pieces on craigslist since it has a new front cat and a new fuel tank with new skid plate and then selling the leftovers to a scrap yard for whatever per pound they'll give us.
 

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Hey does your car have a aftermarket stereo in it? I have found when people just cut the wiring harness out they leave exposed wires in behind and they can short out, would explain the headlight fuse blowing. If you have a stock deck sorry just trying to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nope, stock cd player unit. I'm leaning towards maybe a short at the ECM harness? It's instantanous when you turn the ignition key into the accessory position the 15A main fuse pops. I'm going to have him bring me the ECM today and then tonight I'm going to take some hi-rez pics of it and spend some time analyzing the solder joints on the boards to see if maybe it's a cold solder joint popped or if it's a smear or rust or what... I remember two years ago the windshield cracked from a rock and we found 3 inches of water in the passenger floor and didn't think anythign about it and just vacuumed it up. Now that I'm thinking about it a bit more, I didn't know then that the ECM was right there and the harness probably got a bath...
 

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Problem Solved.

I had the exact same problem and chased through all the suggestion that others were giving on this and other threads. My Sportage 95 killed going down the freeway and would not start. I finally got it towed home and noticed that the 15A fuse was blown in the box with the relays. I chased and chased problems from the fuel pump, to following every inch of wire, to cleaning all the grounds, but I kept blowing fuses.
I got to thinking it was the computer, but it wasn't.
I replaced the Cam Sensor -- that's the answer, and the thing is fixed and running better than when I owned it. Best of luck, all.
 

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Hello, I saw your post and wondered if you ever resolved this problem. If not, and if you still have the vehicle, I have a suggestion for you. I have some experience in electrical work. You stated that the key got hot. This indicates that the key itself is directly involved in the shorted circuit. I would venture to say that the short is in the ignition switch. One way to test this out is to use a volt/ohm meter. You will need to gain access to the wiring terminals on the ignition switch. Draw yourself a diagram of the wires and which terminals they are on. Remove wires from terminals. Turn the ignition switch to the "ON" position (where it normally blows the fuse) Select OHMS on your volt/ohm meter. Connect one of the leads from the meter to the terminal on the ignition switch that is ALWAYS energized from the battery EVEN in when it is in the OFF position(aligator clips can be used to connect the meter leads to the terminals- make sure your meter is not touching any of the other terminals). Connect the other lead of the ohm meter to a metal part of the outside of the ignition switch. If the meter shows a closed (shorted) circuit, called continuity, between the battery terminal and the outside of the ignition switch, THERE IS A SHORT. You can check each of the terminals on the ignition switch this way by keeping one lead on a metal part of the outside of the switch and moving the other lead to each terminal, one at a time. Anyone experienced in using a volt/ohm meter can help you to make sure if this is a problem. Hope this helps.
 

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Crazy question as I know this is an old post but with the problems is this using the chipped key or a plain off shelf cut key? Me having my one problem/s with our kia. Bad thing thing is over 20 years ago when I first ran across these new cars called Kia's man they were cheaply built and junk.
 

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Regarding the above electrical issues, No.

OP had an electrical short that "mysteriously fixed itself" on it's own - the (original) cause of the electrical short was never correctly diagnosed, or addressed. Subsequent electrical issues "shifted" the issue, from the "root cause" of the initial problem - and it was all down-hill from there.

Tip and Rule #1:
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Particular to the 1G Sportages, especially if living in the "rust belt", it is imperative that -all- primary, and chassis, electrical ground points affecting the issue circuit(s) in question are inspected & cleaned, if experiencing -any- electrical issues (such as low voltage / dimming / fuses blowing / etc.),

and that -all- aftermarket accessories (remote alarm / starter, stereo/amp, aux.external / interior lighting, trailer wiring, etc.) are disconnected from the factory electrical system during issue resolution:, as a -primary diagnostic step-.

Above is to ensure proper (factory expected) electrical voltage to components / wires being tested during issue diagnosis -> resolution. ... And to allow the "root" cause of the issue to present itself .. on factory-wiring only: so it can be identified, and corrected.

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A possible "clue" was posted in the thread above. The Camshaft sensor has a (+12v) supply tied to the circuit path of the (original) issue. The Camshaft sensor, located on the back of the cylinder head / very close to the firewall, and driven by the exhaust camshaft, is also in close proximity to the exhaust manifold / and shield. *If the wiring had degraded / -> was causing an intermittent (short) on the +12v supply lline: that would explain the "shorting fuse after every bump" / the Camshaft DTC code presented.

Tip and Rule #2:
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Following ground point inspection & cleaning: scan for any DTC codes and check wiring related to any sensor(s) issue(s) presented. In short, work the codes first - inspect, test, and electrically troubleshoot any DTCs present before 'diving' into extensive (alternative) wiring troubleshooting.

Tip and Rule #3:
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Write -everything- down. Dates, fuses / circuits suspect or affected, troubleshooting steps taken, improvement or resolution noted ... Keep a (written or electronic) notebook, accessible when you are driving the vehicle / on the road.

re: 1st gen KIAs - true, they were not manufactured for the goal of long term ownership ( IIRC the "stated" lifetime was 8-10 years - I had read somewhere from (some) original KIA Motor Corp. honcho years ago..) but the fact there still are more than a few on the road, 20+ years later - is always good to see.

Regards, GottaCruise
 

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Reference to the original poster from years ago...
#1 open or shorted grounds DO NOT blow fuses... A ground wire shorted to ground won't do anything bad...It's all ready at ground potential... SO his mechanic has no concept of electrical wiring... A ground wire feeding the headlights opening would cause the headlights to either dim or go completely out but would NOT blow a fuse...

#2 Crank sensors on these engines had wiring insulation that became brittle and fell off the wires causing shorts of the B+ feed to either another bare wire or to the engine block... This was a VERY common problem... The insulation was an attempt to make "green" plastic that failed... Replacing the crank sensor with a good one cured the blown main fuse/ignition fuse problems... The engine just normally moving while running was enough to move the wires and short the B+ to ground and this blew the fuse(s)...

#3 Rodents ARE a problem with wiring as they have teeth that constantly grow out and they love to chew on wire insulation to wear their teeth down.... Also the problem has become a big one as the formula to the plastics now uses "soy" and rodents love to have a tasty meal from them... Another "save the world" green moment failure... Honda had to make a electrical tape with capsaicin (hot sauce) embedded to stop the chewing critters...

I have added these facts so that anyone reading this thread may have correct commonly known answers and not go through the headaches the OP had...
Dave
 

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2001 Kia Sportage, 4 cyl, approximately 130-140k miles.

This is turning out to be a very ugly problem so I’ll explain what started it in the very beginning and work up to now so everyone has the whole story… I apologize for the thread's length but I was trying to be as detailed as possible in hopes that helps someone figure out the problem easier. Maybe someone can make a suggestion that we haven’t thought of before?

Initial problem: {10A METER} fuse blew out randomly knocking out instrument panel lighting.

Initial Resolution: Kept replacing until problem mysteriously went away on its own.

New problem: {30A HEAD} fuse blew out when turning on headlights. Vehicle could still be driven but only during daylight hours. Very inconvenient.

Resolution: Took the car to a local mechanic recommended by a co-worker. The mechanic had the car for a few days and called us saying he was able to fix the problem. Went to pick up the car and was told “yard varmints” or “chippies” (the mechanic’s terms) chewed through a ground wire. This is somewhat believable because the chipmunk in our yard uses the cars as hiding places from the neighbor’s cats. Supposedly he cut and repaired the chewed section which fixed the problem. He didn’t specify where he found it at (I went looking for it and could not find any obvious splices).

Recurring problem: {30A HEAD} fuse started to blow out again within 3 days of local mechanic’s fix.

Resolution: Drove car up to my personal mechanic (approximately 2hrs away) and told him to work on it at his leisure and let us know what he finds. Mechanic has the car for a little over a week and says he was unable to find where it was re-ground and simply by-passed the entire line by running a new ground from the right headlight harness to the headlight relay above the under-dash fuse panel. Problem did not recur after that.

New problem: {15A MAIN} fuse blew on the way home from my personal mechanic stranding me on the interstate for several hours on a Sunday. Had the car towed back to personal mechanic’s garage.

Resolution: Personal mechanic calls next business day and states that the {15A MAIN} fuse had blown and it was a simple fix, no charge. Mechanic states that there may be a short somewhere else in the car that he was unable to find and to “jump on the front bumper to jiggle all the wires”. I drive home the following night with my fiancé to pick up the car – blew 4 fuses on the 100+ mile journey home. Between fuses 3 and 4 we had to jump on the passenger’s side of the front bumper like an angry gorilla to get it started again (this was within two blocks of the house). Fiancé was able to drive the car to work the next 3 days – problem recurred sporatically. Diagnostic codes at this time were (in this order) P0560 SYSTEM VOLTAGE MALFUNCTION and P0340 CAMSHAFT POSITION SENSOR CIRCUIT MALFUNCTION.

Recurring problem: Problem worsened from just blowing randomly to {15A MAIN} fuse blows when car hits a bump or gets jostled by uneven pavement. Fiancé gets stranded on main drag in our city going back to work from his lunch break and has to be towed back to the house. After much more jumping on the car and jostling of wires the car starts long enough to back it into the garage. I inspected every wiring bundle I could see under the vehicle and re-wrapped them with fresh electrical tape (old tape had melted off). I found no obvious signs of wire damage/chafing/rubbing that might cause a short. After putting the battery back in the car started, made it out into the driveway, was successfully turned off and restarted, was driven to the end of the street where it made a u-turn and returned back to the driveway, was successfully turned off and restarted again and left to run for approximately 30 minutes, and did not restart successfully after that. Now {15A MAIN} fuse blows as soon as the key is turned to the “ON” position. Inserting the key and ACC positions are functioning normally but as soon as the key is turned to “ON” the fuse pops. If I turn the key past “ON” and into the “Start” position it will crank but it will not start. The only diagnostic code that I could pull is P0560 SYSTEM VOLTAGE MALFUNCTION.


What we’ve done so far:
  • Tested/charged battery
  • Replaced main relay and played the “swap the relays” game – both relays can be felt clicking simultaneously with the blowing of the {15A MAIN} fuse when the key is turned to “ON” position
  • Removed alternator, had it tested at AutoZone – tested good
  • Pulled every fuse in both fuse panels and inspected
  • Pulled the engine compartment fuse panel completely apart and checked each wire connection to the fuses – found that the {15A MAIN} fuse is sistered/jumpered to the {10A ECU} fuse. Only one wire connects to the {10A ECU} fuse which joins it to the{15A MAIN} fuse just below it.
  • Pulled the ECU and the harness kick-plate – inspected all of the harnesses for damage, replaced some gooey electrical tape with fresh
  • Disassembled the ECU and checked all of the solder points and verified there was no internal damage (it looked virtually brand new/untouched inside)
  • Pulled the under-dash fuse box and visually inspected all of the harnesses
    for any signs of damage/fraying/chafing/rubbing – found that the fuse box was only held in with one bolt and was in crooked so I straightened it out and tightened the bolt
  • Sanded the three ground connectors in the passenger kick panel area near the ECU, the battery terminal connectors, and the battery ground to the battery tray
  • Called the initial mechanic who claimed "yard varmints" and a message for him to call me back and explain where he re-ground what so that I can verify the connection or if he even did the work in the first place because my personal mechanic couldn't find where the first guy spliced/re-ground anything (if he can't explain what wires he did the work to I smell a lawyer's visit in his future)
Current Theories:
  • It’s a short in the ignition itself which means tearing apart the steering column and removing the driver’s knee air bag
  • It’s a short in the ECU despite how undamaged it looks, we’re going to try and pick up some spare parts (another ECU, relays, sensors, harnesses, etc…) at a u-pull-it junkyard this weekend
  • The camshaft position sensor is shorted but the code can’t come up because of something to do with the power being cut when the fuse pops and it doesn’t have a chance to be written to memory??? (I know I’m out on a limb with that one)
  • There is a problem with the starter motor that blows the {15A MAIN} fuse and causes the no-start condition (problem originally noted in documentation for some 1998 Kia Sephia)
  • There is a problem with the battery ground which would mean taking out the battery tray and checking all the ground connections as far back as I can reach/see
  • The short is somewhere behind the firewall where I’ll never be able to get to
The DTC’s are somewhat confusing because in the booklet for my scanner it shows P0560 as “System Voltage Malfunction” and P0340 as “Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit Malfunction”. In some of the Kia documentation it shows it P0560 as “Back-Up Line for Power”. Some of the web resources I’ve been looking at shows P0340 as “No Cam Signal at PCM” and P0560 as “Powertrain Control Module (PCM) Backup Voltage Circuit” or “ECM Back-up Circuit Low Voltage”. I’m guessing the P0340 is because there is no power going to the CPS due to the blown main fuse? And what exactly do they mean by saying “Back-Up Line for Power”? I’m going under the assumption that ECM and PCM are referring to the ECU in the passenger floor area (only because I know in Cadillac’s they were called ECMs until the mid-2000’s when they started referring to it as the PCM).

I have almost every diagram for the electrical system of that vehicle and most of them look like they were drawn by a confused middle school electrical theory class. Some of them aren’t the best quality images either so some of the text is blurry which doesn’t help. I’m at a serious loss considering we’ve spent over $600 fixing this just so it would pass inspection (can’t pass without headlights!) and it’s worse now than when the problems started. I can’t afford to put any more money into it and we can’t sell it in this condition. I spent the last 3 weeks inspecting every inch of visible wiring I could find after work and now I'm to the point I’ll take any suggestions/advice you can come up with!

Update (7/16/09 6:39pm): The ignition key gets very very hot if left in the "on" position while testing the car. I left the key in the "on" position while testing the amperage/voltage/current in some of the connections under the hood trying to decide what was before and after the blown fuse and the car tried to electrocute me. I leaned down over the (uncovered) engine bay fuse box to check a connection and apparently caught some bare skin on top of the blown 15A main and BBBZZZZZ YOUCH! After it tried to electrocute me I ran around to the driver's side to pull the key from the ignition and it was hot enough to make me drop it on the floor for fear of being burnt.
The Main fuse is an 80 amp
112797
 
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