Tuesday, January 3, 2012

old cars have a way of knowing

I think the Van suspects my infidelity. Over the past few days while I've been coming to grips with the reality that I need to get a new car, the van has been sickly. It started as a head light flicker at idle speed, so subtle I wasn't sure if it was my imagination or not. This morning, after having gone public with my intentions, the head light flicker was much more pronounced, and the amp meter was twitching while idling. I expected the voltage regulator to kick the bucket at any moment on both the trip to and from work, leaving me stranded.  But like the old champ it is, the beater van got me there and back.
I'm not pushing my luck tomorrow though. It's off to the nearby autozone first thing in the morning for a new alternator.  A couple of hours of wrenching and it'll be as good as new old. And, don't say anything to the van, but I'm going to test drive a new car tomorrow.

Update:  So as I noted in the comments, some testing pointed toward a bad battery. So off to autozone I go this morning to get a battery. The autozone guy squares up, puffs out his chest and grabs his battery tester. I'd already done this, but I'm like, ok whatever I'll humor the guy. Out to the van and pull the lever to pop the hood and...nothing. Hood does not pop. It sticks sometimes, but if you bang on it just right like the Fonz, it will pop loose. No pop this time. I swear I felt like I was trying to give cough medicine to a 2 year old, lips clamped shut.
Long story short, I got the hood open, cleaned up the latch and re-lubed it.  I can hear the van in the driveway as I type, "No, no, no, no, no, no!"


  1. Your poor jilted jalopy!

    But at least you pay attention to things like flickering inconsistencies and jumpy gauges. Some people wait until they're stranded and then say, 'Oh yeah ...it's been acting funny ...oh, for about a month now!' Sheesh!

  2. I hope it's the regulator. That is fairly cheap and inexpensive. Unfortunately, these things like to go in bunches- could be the battery, wires, or alternator. Or any combination of the four.

    I hate Automotive electronics.

  3. I'm with you TG - hate auto electrical. some testing this morning showed the alternator pushing a consistent 14.3 volts under load, which was good news. Plunked a new battery in it. After sitting for over 24 hours and particularly on cold days, it would just barely turn over (but I do give it credit for starting). So, my theory now is that the battery was headed south.

    HB, having some automotive mechanical knowledge is like a mental disorder frankly. slightest unusual noise, smell or driving response and I'm already trying to mentally diagnose what's wrong.
    shade tree paranoia.


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