The starter solenoid has very large contacts to carry the batterys full current. Its wire coil is actuated by a smaller current from the ignition switch, at which time the iron core slams down to make contact and turn on the starter motor. Most non-Ford starter motors employ a solenoid built into the motor itself. This type of solenoid not only provides the motors electrical power but also mechanically engages the starters drive gear onto the flywheel.
The damage caused by overheated wires is easy to find; but if only a single wire has overheated and melted at some point, you may have to use a circuit tester to find the break. If the damage is in an open run of wiring, you may be able to mend separate wires without taking out a section of the loom. If it is in any part of the covered sections, you need to remove at least part of the wiring loom.
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