Bill Roper's Journal
Mildly Bad News 
6th-Dec-2010 11:55 pm
I needed to go pick up our new glasses and contacts back in Evanston today, but first I needed to run get lunch. The Five Hundred started very rough and seemed to be seriously misbehaving, but I figured I'd give it a try. And I got it to lunch fine. After that, the car started fine, so I headed out to Evanston and picked things up there. Then back to the car, which started fine, and home.

This evening, I took Katie with me to pick up the pizza since the ladies at the counter had been asking about her. The car started fine. We visited briefly, grabbed the pizza, got in the car, and the car did not start fine.

In fact, the car did not start at all and the electrical system did several bad things reminiscent of the previous time when the battery had died on short notice. After futzing around with it for a minute, I gave up, called daisy_knotwise to pick us up, and took the pizza back into the store and asked them to put it in a warm place while I waited for rescue.

Katie had fun visiting and Gretchen showed up before too long. We went home and had the pizza, but because no one could guarantee that my car wouldn't get towed out of the lot at the shopping center if I left it overnight, I called AAA for help. They said someone would be there in an hour, so Gretchen and I piled Katie and Julie back in the car and went back to the pizza place.

I figured it would be a while before AAA got there yet, so I decided to try starting the car. And an hour and a half after it had failed to start, it started. Not entirely happily, but it started.

I called AAA on the cellphone and canceled the tow truck. Then I carefully drove the car to Meineke where I dropped it off for the night with a note suggesting that they might be able to find a better battery for it than the two Ford Motorcraft batteries that had failed. I read the note back to Gretchen and dropped it in the slot with my keys.

On the way home, I said to her, "At least, I didn't say 'POS Ford Motorcraft' battery."

"Oh, did you say 'Ford Motorcraft'? I thought you'd said 'Ford Motorcrap'. Rick would have liked that."

Well, I hadn't, but apparently I should have. :)
7th-Dec-2010 11:51 am (UTC)
If you've 'lost' two batteries that quickly and severely, I'd also have them look at the electrical system. The battery is draining too quickly, so either there's something drawing power that shouldn't, or the alternator isn't working correctly.
7th-Dec-2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
It doesn't sound like the battery to me. If, when you try to start it, then it turns over briskly as normal then it's not the battery. If it's very sluggish sometimes but then starts as you seem to be saying then I'd suspect the high current wiring between the battery and ground or to the starter motor via the solenoid or maybe from the alternator/regulator.

The very rough running could be low volts - but it could also be some other problem like too rich a mixture caused by something wrong with the engine management system.

If a new battery does fix it then I'd be on the lookout for a charging problem (alternator or regulator) or once again the high current wiring to the battery. There have been cases in the past of leads where the lug was crimped *over* the insulation rather than having it stripped off first!
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