About jk1.net

About ->Check Email

 Navigation
  Home
  Joel
  Karen
  Lauren
  Melanie
  Noah
  Owen
  Peter
  Photo Albums
  Email us

News Archive
2004
Nov 29 - Lauren's B-day Party
Nov 25 - Thanksgiving 2004
Nov 24 - The Sands of Time
Nov 23 - NetFlix
Nov 22 - Dinosaur Museum
Nov 21 - Joel Falls
Oct 21 - Goodbye, Altima!
Oct 4 - Bringing the Van Home
Oct 4 - JK1.van
Aug 24 - Munch, Crunch, Munch
...more

 Search
 Linuxmobile Back from the Dead
by
After catching rides to work with a neighbor for a couple of weeks, I finally got some time to "work" on my car. Since the end of the year was approaching, I only had a few days to decide whether to keep it or to donate it for a tax write-off. I charged up the battery, put some more oil in, and tried to start it. To my great astonishment, it started up fine! So I used it to drive to work on two days. On the second day, I was driving home in the dark, and my headlights kept getting dimmer by the minute. That clued me in that the problem was electrical. The engine must have killed because the alternator wasn't putting any juice out, and the battery drained enough to not be able to supply the spark plugs. Luckily, I made it home before that happened again, although my headlights were so dim I could barely see to drive by the time I pulled into the garage. On Saturday, I decided to try to replace the alternator myself.
 

I drove the car up onto front-wheel ramps in my garage, then proceeded to remove the alternator. I'm no mechanic, so it took a long time for me to figure out what bolts to remove, and especially, how to get the alternator out of the car after unhooking it. Since it's too big to come out, I spent quite a while trying to pull it out the top or wriggle it out the bottom, all to no avail. I contemplated whether it would be easier to remove the carburetor or the axle to get it out. Then I realized that the alternator mount could be removed from the engine block, which gave just enough room to pull the alternator out the bottom. While removing the alternator, I realized what had caused it to fail: the belt-tension bolt was nowhere to be found. This meant that the belt slowly loosened until it didn't have enough grab to reliably run the alternator. I suppose that wrecked the alternator and its belt over time. Since the shot alternator belt was the third belt, I had to remove the other two to replace it. That took me some more figuring out since I've never replaced belts either. Since I forgot to buy a replacement tension bolt and since the AutoZone guy sold me belts that didn't fit, I had to put the repairs on hold until last night. I finished installing everything last night and started the car up. It was nearly midnight, and I really hoped that the loud belt-squeals wouldn't wake my neighbors. If they did awaken, they now know as well as I do what a too-tight belt sounds like. Did I mention that I'm not a mechanic? So I really have no idea how tight to make the belts. I loosened them a bit, and tried again. That seemed to do the trick, so I lowered the car down. When I started steering, an even louder belt-squeak started echoing through the neighborhood. I'm not sure if I aggravated the power steering pulley when I had its belt too tight or what, but it was screaming like an angry demon. Not wanting to risk having a neighbor show up with a shotgun, I decided to call it a night.

This morning I tightened some bolts that I forgot to tighten, then tried again. The belt was still screeching, but I just let it screech for a few seconds and it quieted right up. I called it good, and drove to work. So I guess my bucket-of-bolts will live to see another day. I'm not sure why I take so much pride in driving such an experienced car (for lack of a nicer way of putting it). At least it provides great amusement to my co-workers and friends.

Photo Albums




"A sunny morning, a flower growed."
--Lauren (3/2005)

LinuxMobile Odometer

[ About JK1 | Joel | Karen | Lauren | Melanie | Noah | Owen ]

2005 - J K One Productions