I love it when something ends up being much easier than I’d anticipated, but it doesn’t happen that often. It makes my day much better when something simply works, rather than my usual routine, which involves spending 5 hours to do a 30 minute job. Of course, I’m talking about car stuff, particularly mechanic work. I can handle paint and bodywork in a timely manner, but when it comes to something that should be simple, I generally struggle. Here are some great scenarios:
1. Parts store gives me the wrong part
2. I don’t have the appropriate hardware
3. My efforts don’t actually repair the problem on the first go-round…aka misdiagnosis.
4. Something magically happens during the repairs that causes another problem.
5. Multiple trips to the parts store
Here’s an example of an uneasy fix dealing with Scenario number 4 on my list. Over a month ago, the starter on the Corvette was on its last leg. Making a bunch of noise pretty much every time I cranked it and I was afraid it would eventually kill the flywheel. I had a Jegs min-starter at the shop, so I thought, hey I’ll go swap starters…should take about 30 minutes. Old starter is off, new starter is on in less than 20 minutes, but when I go to test it out, nothing happens. No click, no nothing. So I re-check the wires on the starter, and make sure the battery terminals have a good connection. Still nothing. So I crawl back under the car, take the wires off the starter and put them back on, making sure everything was in the right position. Nothing. I cross out the solenoid just to make sure it actually works. Yep..it works.
After almost two hours of struggling, I had run out of things to check, so I jiggle the switch and eventually crawl under the dash, which happens to be extremely crowded in a ’64 Corvette. That’s when I found the problem. At some point in the car’s life, someone cut the wire and apparently reconnected it by stripping the two wires and simply twisting them together. No connecter. Somehow, as I was changing the starter, this very important wire had come loose from its lack-luster connection. Are you kidding me? I fix the wire, turn the switch and it fires right up.
Alright now for a story of an easy fix. It happened this past weekend, and it involved another starter…this time on my wife’s ’67 Camaro. We first experienced a problem on the car’s first road trip, which was to the Spring Grand Run in Pigeon Forge, TN back in April. It was a problem with the solenoid, because it would intermittently lose juice, and not crank. Lovely! So every time we’ve driven the car since then, we carry a screwdriver, just in case the solenoid acts up. And it’s been acting up a lot lately…as in every time. So I decided to pull the starter off and get a new solenoid for it. I break the starter bolts loose, and then proceed to remove the wires from the solenoid. One wire was loose on its terminal, so I had a moment of ingenuity and decided to tighten the bolts, hook my other wires back up and see if the loose terminal was the issue. Sure enough, it worked! I quietly rejoiced as I tested it five more times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. I know it’s a long blog just to say that I like when stuff works the way it should, but I figure most car guys deal with this same situation.