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My Bussmann Melted (Replaced)

TL;DR - I've replaced my Bussmann fuse/relay box because the old one melted around some of the connectors.

This issue has been ongoing for a while, but initially I didn't understand what was going on. Initially, I thought that I was having a problem with my HID-modified Hellas (see previous rig reviews) and so I contacted the manufacturer to see about replacement ballasts, and verified that all the pins were properly seated in the back of the Bussmann.

After reseating a couple pins, I tried replacing the relay that was powering the Hella's, and that seemed to solve the problem... for a while. However, a trip or two later, two relays stopped working:

  1. The one that powers the Hella's - an 10A draw on a 30A relay.
  2. The one for my hi-beams - also a 10A draw on a 30A relay. Note: Hi-beams don't usually route through an aftermarket relay, but they do for me as a result of my halogen headlight upgrade, which I love.

After replacing the relays (again), everything worked (again) for a little while longer until I ran the hi-beams for the better part of 8 hours on a trip down to Death Valley - at which point, they just "turned off." A fourth relay had failed, and this clearly wasn't a coincidence.

I decided it was finally time to take a much closer look at the Bussmann, which @Sandman614 had built for me, and at the very least, upgrade all of the wiring from 14ga to 10ga. However, my closer inspection showed me that the wiring seemed to be OK, it was the connections themselves that were causing a problem.

Note how several of the holes seem to have melted. The correspond to circuits where I was having issues.

At this point, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to fix this Bussmann, so I had a decision to make - direct replacement, or upgrade to something like a SwitchPro? For now - mostly because I didn't want to re-wire the entire truck, as opposed to due to cost - I decided on a replacement, figuring that I could clean up the wiring - primarily by adding longer pigtails - a bit at the same time.

My original Bussmann was functionally sufficient, but hard to work with when the pigtails were only 6" long.

A few taps on the keyboard and clicks of the mouse later, I had a new Bussmann in hand and set to work wiring it all together.

Bigger wires everywhere.

A much cleaner package to work with in the engine compartment.

So what went wrong with the original? I don't know for sure, but my suspicion is that all of the rough roads and bouncing around was just too much for the mechanical connections between the relays and the pins that push into the rear of the Bussmann. Over time, that jostling caused the connections to become loose, resulting in poor contact. Poor contact means heat, and that heat both melted the Bussmann and overheated the relays, causing them to fail.

That means my second Bussmann will - likely - also meet the same fate, but I hope to have secured another couple of years before that happens (the first one lasted 5 years). At that point, I'll likely figure out a different solution.

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