8 Year Old Car Battery + 20 Degrees F = No Go

Yesterday I had a need to go the bank.  Get my son in the car, strap him in, sit down, put the key in the ignition and turn the key.

Nothing.  Turn the key again, and I finally get a ve-e-e-e-ery slow crank, but the car starts.  Once Big Red gets moving of her own accord, she’s happy!  We drive, handle the bank (drive through), get back home, and the red-headed lady is still raring to go.

This morning was a different story.  She wanted nothing to do with starting.  I tried using the 12V power adaptor jumper my parents got for me a few years back.  It fits, but doesn’t seem to charge the car from my wife’s still-strong PT Cruiser.  I finally break down and do a standard jump from the battery using proper connections to Red: nothing directly attached to the battery, as it says to in the owner’s manual.  Let her charge for a few minutes and we’ll be good, right?

Rerr…  Dead… 

I give up and do a direct Terminal-to-Terminal link.  I know, cringe in fear for improper connections.  But, it started the car.  Yay! 

Get the car rolling and think, okay, the battery will hold enough charge to get me started once I find a battery at work.  So, I get to work without incident.  I check a few websites and call the misses with prices.  “Why not call RA?”  (As you regulars know, I never use full names without permission.)  Oh, yeah!  He’ll get me a deal!  And so he did, almost $30 cheaper than anywhere else!  THANK YOU RA, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE IF YOU READ THIS!  Anywho, I go out to my car with a co-worker in case I need a jump.  Turn the key…

Nothing…  GRAH!!!  Jump the car, get to Kunkle’s in Dover, and get an Exide battery.  (I totally forgot they existed…)  The guy behind the counter is nice, helps me get set up and lends me a nicely transportable socket set and I go out to swap the battery.  In khakis and a long-sleeve cotton collared shirt, just the clothes I’d pick for this kind of work.

Today, I am re-affirming my general hatred for Automotive Design Engineers, and Engineers in general.  At least, the ones who don’t care about the people who’ll be fixing their stuff later.  The battery is tucked in behind the passenger-side headlight and under the unibody support cross-beam.  Okay, that’s not a problem, remove the support, slide it out, done, right?  WRONG!!!  Instead of leaving the space for the gigantic battery to be lifted out, there is not only another small support welded into place, but the damn engine fuse box!  Really?  There wasn’t any other place IN THE ENTIRE CAR to put it?!  Luckily, I was able to rotate the battery on the pan, then kind of roll it out after removing the fuse box cover.  I say luckily because the last thing I wanted to do was to try and remove the fuse box considering I only knew of one (1) nut that connected it to the strut tower.  This is only possible because of the creation of sealed, maintenance-free batteries, otherwise I’d be coated in battery acid!  Get it through your heads, engineers, someone’s gonna have to go in there some time and fix/change/replace things eventually!  Installation was the reverse, carefully roll the new battery in, try to twist it back into place, lock it in, attach the terminals and re-install the support.  Only scratched myself three times, which is much better than when I had to replace the Cruiser’s half-shaft (that I ended up putting in backwards, thankfully it’s generally workable in both directions). 

Then I take the old battery in and inadvertently drop it on my hand.  Well, my right ring finger.  On the wooden desk.  While it’s still frozen…

Today just sucks…

Luckily, I get to go home to my wife and baby!  In 4 hours…

And in other news, The Dream-Stalkers’ continuation, TDS: The Trial of the Vampiress, seems to be garnering some good reviews.  It wasn’t as hard to write as I thought it’d be.  Let me know what you think!

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