Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cyg Fights the (Lack of) Power

After I awoke yesterday, I went out to start the Cygmobile so LC and I could go to Weight Watchers. It turned over briefly, then stopped. From that point on, it merely clicked. I checked and saw that the positive battery terminal was quite corroded.

We used LC's car instead for the rest of the morning. Upon returning, I cleaned the terminal to the best of my ability with hydrogen peroxide and a brush, and then the Cygmobile started. I drove it up to the nearby Advance Auto Parts to get a new terminal clamp to replace the one that had corroded. But it wouldn't come off, no matter how much hydrogen peroxide and/or WD-40 I applied to it. What appeared to be coming off instead was the positive battery terminal post. Now the car wouldn't start again.

The battery was a Sears DieHard that I'd gotten from the nearby Sears auto center, so I decided to arrange for a tow over there with my insurance company. When the tow truck arrived, the driver took a look at the battery and deduced that it would have to be replaced, having tested it with his charger. He saw that the post was loose and concluded that the corrosion must have leaked out recently. It may or may not have; the battery had a plastic cover on it, which I inadvertently fried on the engine block! Oops.

The driver steered me away from Sears, which I only went to because it was open on Sunday, a fact that turned out not to matter. So I trapsed back up to Advance and got a battery for only $70 (who knows what Sears would have charged me, even though the battery was only a year old). I didn't need it to be the longest-lasting battery, not for the Cygmobile and its 164K miles. In the process, I took back the old battery with the terminal clamp still attached to the post. I would need to strip some of the positive battery cable to reattach it to the new battery later, having had to sever it from the old one.

Confused yet?

I brought the new battery back in LC's car and proceeded to reattach it to mine. I turned the key. Nothing. Turned it again. Nothing. Turned it again. Still nothing.

I figured it could be because I was having a hard time tightening the bolt that secured the clamp to the post. So I went out again and bought a wrench set with open ends on one side and closed ends on the other, which we did not have. And a bag to keep them in, since I knew they wouldn't fit in our current toolbox.

Tightening the clamp properly, nothing still happened. I called my father in frustration, unable to think of what I was doing wrong. He couldn't think of anything either. But before we hung up, he had me pray.

That prayer worked, because I got the idea to ask my neighbor Chris who is always tinkering with his car. He and a couple friends came over, checked the charge of the battery, and checked the fuses as well.

Then upon closer inspection, they saw that I had forgotten to attach one other wire to the positive terminal post. No wonder nothing was happening. As soon as they touched it to the post, the car started. So I attached the wire to the clamp, hooked the negative post back on (not without a brief shock), and started the Cygmobile right up.

I'll be back with another presentation on "How Not To Be A Mechanic" next week. And did I mention that the temperature hovered near 100 degrees for most of the day? I so needed a bath.

After that, we went to our first Frederick Keys game of the year, where we met up with Silvergirl and Silverhubby. They were running late, but that enabled me to get a couple of free tickets for them from a group that had quite a few no-shows. We enjoyed the game, a 5-1 Keys win, the kids running the bases afterward, and the fireworks to wrap up the evening. And on the way out, we got several gratuitous loaves of Sara Lee wheat bread! Then we went to Chick-Fil-A for some of their shakes and lemonade. Good to spend an evening with friends.


Mom2BJM said...

I'm with you on the car issues Cyg! No fun! A week ago as I sat in a parking lot for DH to meet up with me, I heard something clunk in under the hood. This is my 1995 (or is it 96?) Taurus with 117k miles on it. Power steering was gone. Who knows what else? I turned it off, and left it there when DH came. DH is not mechanically inclined when it comes to cars, but thankfully my little brother is. (I made sure to thank my dad for teaching him much of what he knows!) LBro came with me a coupla days later and found that the idler pulley had come off... just fell off. The bearings inside were melted together and so it was done. After 3 auto parts stores, we finally found a replacement for about $25 , got the car into some shade, and he fixed it for me. So other than the part and a large soda I bought him, I came out on the cheap end! This is the car we need to get rid of, but not before finding the $$ to be able to get a newer used car...

Silvergirl said...

DH is good with car repairs, thankfully. He also has a brother who owns a car repair place, so what he can't do himself, he takes to his brother's shop (Carriage House Automotive, off of Rt 26.)

Sure had fun Saturday. It was like a mini peep meet. I hope to see yas Saturday at the WW meeting. I'm doing well so far this week.