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So, on this rainy Tuesday, I went out to drive my trusty Corolla, and found that it would not start, would not crank. Al the lights work, the sunroof works, the headlights work, but the engine doesn't turnover and there is no click sound from the engine bay.

No click sound tells me that the starter motor solenoid is not being engaged at all.

While I was turning the key, at once point I smelled the odor of burning platsic. This happened within a few minutes of trying to start the engine.

I located a ground wire from the front of the engine on the engine block but (below the intake manifold, near the power steering pump) that leads to the right fender. Normally there is a piece of plastic bridging the two sides of the wires. The piece of plastic had melted through, suggesting high current between the engine block and the right engine wall fender area.

Barring being hit by lightning, I assume that the ultimate source of the high current is the battery (525 CCA), or maybe the alternator output.

Battery voltage was 12.48V.

I haven't been able to thoroughly check the rest of the wiring, but I will later.

I also want to check the starter motor and starter solenoid.

I wonder if another ground was missing or damaged, I'm told a common cause of rerouting high current is the failure of another ground wire somewhere else.

Defective battery is also a possibility.

Defective alternator is a possibility.

I last used this car on Friday for a long business trip (~200 miles worth of driving) and I noticed that the car was performing much better than it had been of late.

Besides replacing the wire, checking for blown fuses, praying that the ECU isn't fried, checking the alternator, checking the battery,
what else should I consider?
 

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Check the ground that goes from battery negative post to engine block ( tranny housing) and fender. It may be broken /loose/ corroded. The ground that fried might have been trying to pass the current meant for that negative battery cable. Also the starter solenoid contacts are replaceable and could be part of the problem as it's a common issue. I attached a link on how to do it. Did you replace the fried ground and did the engine start ? When you get it running Autozone and Advance do free battery/ charging system checks.


http://www.4x4wire.com/toyota/maintenance/starter/
 
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