The Gods Of Internal Combustion Are Unhappy Yet Again

Fuck my life.

And just because it’s been at least a week since they last yanked my chain, they decided to Double Down this time.

Oh yeah baby.

It started yesterday shortly after I woke up.

I’m sitting here trying to clear the cobwebs and get my heart started when The Wifely Unit stops watching her damn Soap Opera just long enough to turn to me and tell me that the Battery Light came on in her little hoopty fucking Ford Focus the day before, twice.

(Insert a blood pressure spike and a barely audible string of the most vile curse words known to man here.)



Shit, Shit, Shit!

I already know without even opening the hood that’s what it is and I also know where that little bastard is mounted at too.

The thing has a dual overhead cam inline 4 banger in it and the alternator is mounted just below the back valve cover, right up against the firewall.

They want you to take it out from the bottom.

You have to get to the belt tensioner from underneath just for starters anyway.

I staggered out in the garage and grabbed a cheapie meter, went out, opened the hood, checked the battery terminals real quick to make sure they weren’t loose and fired the little whore up. Stick the leads on the battery terminal and see it reading about 14.7.

For two seconds.

Then it starts jumping around and goes to 15.8, 17.4, 14.6, 16.5 and finally 17.9.

That’s enough.

It’s over charging.

More vile cuss words.

I get online, check NAPA to get an idea of what they are going for and see them anywhere from$139 to $325.

Ahh yeah, no.

Then I made the mistake of calling Costs Less.

Here we fucking go.

They want Make, Model, Year, Engine size and ENGINE CODE, plus what color interior it has and has it ever been driven by anyone other than little old ladies?

Wait, let’s back up here a minute. Engine Code?

Yeah, it should be either a 3 or a P  in the engine code

Where am I supposed to find that I ask?

I dunno, the VIN number or something, I just see that it wants to know the engine code.

This is my first clue.

This clown is one answer away from asking me if I want fries with that.

I fucked around with that for about ten minutes, got frustrated and did what I should have done from the Get Go.

I called Tony’s.

Stu answered the phone and in less than sixty fucking seconds, I had him setting one out for me for $139 and a $65 core charge. While I was up there I got a new front engine mount for the little bastard because the whole car has been vibrating at idle since last Summer.

When I get to this, I am going to see if I can take the motor mount off and get enough room to get that fucking alternator to come out the top by prying the engine towards the radiator.

It’s going to be close, I know. Just maybe though.

Either way I have to take a whole bunch of crap off from that corner of the engine compartment just to see the damn thing and all of the connectors and bolts are going to be Remove By Braille.

So I have this little project waiting for me

Then today, because she doesn’t trust the little POS now, she wants us to take the Bronco to go over to her parents for Thanksgiving.

(More muttering and cursing)

That means I gotta clean it out so we can get all the shit she wants to take plus get 3 of us in it.

So I do all that. Then she wants a box to take all the food she made yesterday.

I’m looking at her like, WTF?

Ya ever heard of an Ice Chest dear?

I got four of the fucking things for cryin’ out loud.

Oh yeah she says.

So then I gotta go unfucking bury one of those out in the Temple of Tools and trust me, they were fucking buried but good.

Get all that, just getting ready to go and The Kid shows up. So now there is a big change of plans.

Of Course!

It is finally decided she will go with him, me and the our Autistic son will go in the Bronco with all the shit.


See ya over there.

They gotta stop and get gas.

Bye now!

We drive the thirty five miles over there, I am listening to every squeak and rattle coming out of the engine in that Bronco like my life depends on it the entire way.

I’m not liking what I am hearing either. Sounds like the rocker arms are getting noisy, low oil pressure.

We get about a mile and a half away and I stop at a little Mini Mart to get the boy a Pepsi.

Get back in the Bronco, hit the key and Ruh, Ruh, Ruhruhruhruh, Ruh.

Like the battery isn’t charged up.

I know damn good and well it is and it’s not very old either.

( the inside of the Bronco is now turning blue and people going in and out of the store take a quick glance and then avert their eyes)

I get on the phone, call the wife and they had just went by. They turn around, I get out the jumper cables, the kid pulls up and pops the hood, twenty seconds later the Bronco fires up and off we go.

When I get ready to leave four hours later the damn thing cranks right over and fires right up.

That screams Heat Soaked Starter to me.

As soon as I got home a few minutes ago, I pulled in the driveway, shut it off and it cranked right back up.

No time to heat soak.

So now I have that shit to deal with also.

It just never fucking ends.

I just want this damn Bronco to get me through the Winter. That’s all I ask.

I am completely Upside Down in the sonofabitch and will never get even half of what I have into it back and have decided that I don’t fucking care at this point. As much as I like that thing, I am sick and tired of fucking with it and knowing that the engine bearings are shot, it damn sure ain’t worth throwing good money after bad and sticking another engine in it.

In the mean time, I just can’t wait to go change this alternator, out in the driveway, in forty degree weather.



13 thoughts on “The Gods Of Internal Combustion Are Unhappy Yet Again

  1. The older I get the more I think a shit-simple vehicle with optional nothing and plenty of engine access room is the answer. Like my mid-70s F150 with the 300 truck 6 and manual trashmission. But I would like air conditioning…and AM/FM…and the electric windows are really handy and the Partner in Crime would need power steering…and….and….CRAP. Now it’s the car I have now. #$&%.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually…
      You have pretty much hit the nail on the head.
      I have had several early and mid sixties Ford trucks and I think it’s time for another one, just like you described. Straight six and a four speed.
      Fuck everything else and go back to dirt simple.
      As a matter of fact, I have already started looking.
      I would like to find one in decent shape yet affordable and have it be the last motherfucking rig I ever buy for the rest of my life.


  2. My Camaro does the same thing with the starter after it’s been running a while. Suspected it was heat from the headers. You confirmed that. I guess I need to install a heat shield.
    Good luck with your new project…


    • It’s a gift I was born with.
      While I know there are some who point and laugh or shake their heads in disgust I would like to point out that I am not making monthly car payments on a vehicle that I can’t work on when it does break down.
      I honestly don’t know how people do it on top of housing, insurance, utilities and everything else I have to pay out the nose for every month.


  3. Here is the automotive financial calculation.

    decent shape + affordable = unobtainable.

    Sincere good luck but make sure you have a current unicorn hunting license, just sayin’.


    • Me Today: “Ya know, I kinda think I’d like one of those. I think I’ll start looking for one.”

      The Whole World Six Months Ago: “That’s it, we’ve bought the very last one of those and we’re not gonna sell them ever.”


  4. And just think, you could have avoided all this by being the proud owner of a 1949 Dodge 1 ton truck with a flathead & 4 speed non-synchro tranny. You could stand up next to the engine between the fender & eng. to work on it. Mine had poor planing of the head & block so would have to change the head gasket bout every 2 years, but only took less than a day, no biggy. My favorite truck ever! And no one could figure out how to steel it, starter button was a foot operated pedal onna floor….. Simplicity has it’s benefits, progress, not so much, unless you thrive on complications……


    • Right on! One of my first cars was Triumph Spitfire MK III. Totally
      friggen old school. I grew with a single mother and 3 sisters, so I
      had access to all the emery boards I needed. Ignition points burn
      out? No problem. Pull out a screwdriver, an emery board, and
      ballpark the gap with a driver’s license and you are one the road
      again. The dual SU carbs out of synch? Get one of those card-
      board tubes from an old coat hanger. Cut to equal lengths, adjust
      the carbs with one tube in each ear.

      In those days, you did not have to haul a ton of tools to deal
      with most issues that come up on the road or at home. A
      tiny hand box in the trunk was enough to practically overhaul
      everything in the car!

      PS Simplicity is much more reliable in the long run.


  5. Phil,
    I had a similar problem, but with a GM cars some years ago. I don’t know if Ferd is similar. The positive wire on the plug going into the alt had broken, causing the alt to interpret the loss of positive input as very low voltage. I could have melted ice cream at 500 yards with the headlights, the alt was on steroids trying to charge the “dead” battery. I had to flip on everything on the car that used power to suck up the excess and get it home.


  6. Here is a tip Phil: An old fashioned analog meter is better for visualizing
    voltage fluctuations because you can actually measure the peak to peak
    values. It is old school, but it works. Your Fluke can be set to measure
    min/max values. The cheapie meter may not have that function. The
    min/max feature would be more accurate than an analog meter, but in the
    proper range, the analog meter is accurate enough.


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