Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Gods are testing me

After yesterday's triumphant MOT pass I took the car for an extended test drive, out through the countryside and, purely by accident, through Buckleberry. I saw a few cameras and even passed a small film crew (so if you see a white PI on TV, it's me :-)

The car went well, stopped well, in fact I was very happy, so happy that I thought I'd go and pick up my wife from work when she finished. All was fine except the odd hiccup and the engine started to feel a little strange - like I was in too high a gear all the time. Must be the timing I thought, until we almost got home, then the car spluttered and died. It was not in the best of places for roadside fettling and although it turned over and tried to fire the battery went dead pretty quickly - I dispatched the perplexed wife to go fetch the modern car and she towed me home.

I had to go back to work so just put the battery on charge and left it. I returned later, turned the key and she sprang into life! A brief check this morning reveals the alternator isn't charging :-(

I don't recall any warning lights coming on and I don't recall looking at the ammeter and seeing anything amiss. Today the dash lights behave normally, the ammeter shows a slight discharge but then it's so slight and I'm so unfamiliar with this gauge (it's usefulness or accuracy) that none of this is especially useful to me. Maybe a bit of under dash investigation is needed to make sure everything is well connected?

Now the alternator is not an old unit, I think it's the one that was on my Vitesse that makes it a recon one that's now done about 6000 miles at the most.

I'm going to dig out my spares and see what I have but I'm more suspicious of the wiring than the alternator. I've had other wiring issues with the front of this car and yesterday's attempts to start the car resulted in that hot wiring smell we all fear.

Investigation into the smell revealed a rather crusty connector to the starter relay (it's a high torque one) so I replaced the whole wire and connectors right back to the loom but I can't think that was anything to do with the car dying on me.

So a little more paying work then it's out with the tester and see what the alternator circuit's like, if that's OK then a quick alternator change and back out for an extended test drive, again!

Just mumbling under my breath now "I'm going to the Isle of Wight in it if it kills me!"

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