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Old 03-13-2008, 04:43 PM   #1
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Stupidity at home

Well I got to tell you that sometimes my own stupidity astounds me. I have an uncanny ability to turn an inexpensive simple task into a long drawn out expensive one. I know this isn't truly an A/S story but if I can teach at least one person to KISS (keep it simple stupid) in regards to their A/S then my life will be complete.

Well my saga began with a dead battery in the boss's (wife's) car so I carted it down to the auto parts store and replaced it, job done. Right? well not so fast. While she was driving home the next day from work the car started acting bad, the lights were real dim and then it died in the middle of the road. Needless to say I was being called withing a minute but being at work I could not help SOOO she walked home.

Well with what she described I figured right away that it was a bad alternater so I went back to the auto parts store and bought a new one for $160.00 and a $75.00 core charge. Due to the size of the engine compartment it took about an hour and a half to change it out (had to remove the oil filter first) I put the old one on a shelf right behind me then went on to start the car, well guess what, the car started but I could tell by the lights and gauges that I still had a problem. As I walked around to check the connections I bumped the shelf and down crashed the old alternater and broke off part off the casing (dang).

NOW I decide to K.I.S.S. and start at the simplest point by checking the fuse box under the hood. Guess what............. a 60 amp alt fuse was blown (dang again) so back to the store and $4.39 later my wife's car was running like a champ.

The moral of this story is that if I kept it simple at the start then the whole job would have only cost me $4.39 instead of $160.00 for an alternater I didn't need and $75.00 for a broken core as well as the ire of my wife. So to all you out there in A/S land remember K.I.S.S.
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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I seem to be a bit that way, too, but with computers and web work. Maria and I do pro-bono work on the chamber of commerce and village websites for the local community one over, which the folks over there take to mean that we do purdy-much-anything with computers. So a couple of days ago we wound up spending nearly the whole day -- not on websites, but fixing computers for the folks in these offices. (At least we used it as an opportunity to go out to eat for once.)


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Old 03-13-2008, 05:06 PM   #3
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You are not alone brother.

Lets bow our heads for the Mans prayer.

Lord, I'm a man.

I can change, If I have to.

I guess.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:09 PM   #4
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I've been there myself...Except my events usually take longer, cost more, and involve some sort of medical treatment....

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Old 03-13-2008, 05:22 PM   #5
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Shushhhhhh!

Just keep quiet and they will think that the battery fried because of the bad alternator. Recognizing this, you replaced the protection fuse to reinforce the new, and better, alternator. Your the Hero! Repair shop logic
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:29 PM   #6
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Ha! I think we've all been there.

I try to live by these two simple questions when trouble-shooting electrical problems:

1) Is it plugged in?
2) Is it turned on?

The two questions are a bit more subtle though than their obvious prose would indicate. In your example, Question #1 would have been answered as a "No" since the blown fuse created an open circuit and therefore it was not "plugged in."

Anyway, the good news is that you figured out your problem, and perhaps this lesson will help you avoid a $1000 mistake in the future.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:49 PM   #7
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I've seen this soooo many times where a part is changed for no reason. I have learned in the many years in aircraft maintenance not to jump to conclusions and just start changing parts. I also utilize the kiss method in troubleshooting by also looking for the simplist solution first. I have been bit in my youth by making assumptions and paid dearly for it. Soooo as I have matured (gotten older but not, by all means wiser) these little life lessons don't happen as often, or maybe I just don't remember them any more.
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:12 PM   #8
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I too had thought that I had outgrown these kind of mistakes but I guess I regress every now and then. On a good note, I did get another tool to add to my tool counter
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
You are not alone brother.

Lets bow our heads for the Mans prayer.

Lord, I'm a man.

I can change, If I have to.

I guess.
Ha! Gotta like Red Green! Unfortunately, though, it sounds as if duct tape was not used in this repair.
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:24 PM   #10
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I am the guy that constantly preaches the "check the fuses first" gospel. I preach this because I have graduated from the school you are currently enrolled in...
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:35 PM   #11
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Jerry, I feel for you (although I am not a men, so I cannot recite the man pledge - even if I do love Red Green) and I have a story of equal ineptitude to share.

I needed to use my rider mower recently to pull our garden cart around and do some spring cleaning chores around the yard, but it would not start. About every other year we have to replace the battery, so I figured it was time. Dave picked up a battery at the feed store and I hooked it up, but got distracted and never even tried to start it until a week or so later. When I did, it just made an awful grinding noise at the starter.

So I figured I had heard that noise from a starter before, and it was time for the semi-annual teardown of the rider mower. I hate this mower, every couple years I have to do something major to it. So I tore the engine apart and got the starter off. Sure enough, it looked like the gear wasn't retracting like it should. So I went on ebay and bought a new starter. A week later I had it installed and put everything back together. Turned the key and - heard that awful grinding noise again, and then nothing.

So I went back and checked my battery - no charge. Well, maybe I wore it out trying to start the mower. So I hooked up my battery charger, and it set off an alarm for reverse polarity. Huh? I looked closely. Even though the new battery was the same brand as we always get, the posts were reversed. I had hooked it up backwards!

Oh, if only I'd just put the charger on the old battery to begin with! Now the new battery will not hold a charge, so I have gone back to the old battery. But it still won't start the mower, in fact even fully charged NOTHING happens when I turn the key. So I have traced it to the solonoid, and there's no voltage getting there from the battery, so I will replace that battery cable to start with. Then maybe the solonoid. Then I hope I don't have to tear that engine open again to put a new starter in it - again. What a nightmare!

KISS indeed!
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:43 PM   #12
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Steph, many of those riding mowers have in-line fuses, or fusible links. Check to make sure you didn't blow a fuse when you hooked the battery up backwards.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
So I went back and checked my battery - no charge. Well, maybe I wore it out trying to start the mower. So I hooked up my battery charger, and it set off an alarm for reverse polarity. Huh? I looked closely. Even though the new battery was the same brand as we always get, the posts were reversed. I had hooked it up backwards!
You're lucky.
We had a lady about two weeks ago who did that and burned her car down.
But - you won't do it again, and a fairly easy lesson learned. I'm glad it wasn't worse.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:07 PM   #14
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Brutal day. If the Man Prayer doesn't help, try lifting a few heavy objects and grunting a lot. That usually does it for me. Well, that and a few beers and some mumbling to myself.

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