Q: 95 Ford Explorer, replaces battery and starter relay, no power, just clicking with no key. Smoke from positive cable. What is it?

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1995 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

Before the car had interior power but would go away when you turned the key. Removed the key and it started clicking.

Replaced the battery and starter relay. There’s no power running through the car when I turn the key. Or even open the door. The car then started clicking on its own with no key. The fan turned on its own for 2 seconds and shut off. Started getting smoke from the positive cable and the clicking started up again. When I put the key back in, everything stopped but still no power. I disconnected the battery. Could it be bad wires or a shorted starter? Should I replace the starter relay as well?

My car has 273000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like what you are describing may be related to a faulty starter relay or some faulty wiring that may not be producing a proper connection to the starter. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is not working properly, you may notice intermittent starting problems including no response when turning the key to start. Generally, when this does fail, it does so very randomly and usually without warning other than intermittent starting. The power from the battery will still power other accessories such as radio, horn, etc., but you may not have any power to the starter. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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