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  #1  
Old 07-28-2018, 09:14 AM
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Default Car Broke Down First Drive

Could use some advice. 59 bird broke down last night. When I opened hood the black battery terminal (it's a twist top type) smoked a little and part of the metal melted.

Bc it was raining the tow driver wanted to hook me up to power so I could close windows. When he touched the exposed wire to that battery terminal the car turned over and started but without the key in the ignition. He asked if my car was Christine. Couldn't close windows though until I put the key in ignition and set to the left (power mode). Didn't try turning to the right.

I got towed to a shop last night and today im here but they are closed. Until Monday.

I replaced the bad battery terminal with a brand new one. When I was putting the new terminal back in place on the battery the car again began to turn over which was scary and I couldn't safely tighten the bolts in place while electricity was flowing. Key not in ignition. Car didn't have the power to start and eventually it's attempts to start faded and ended and I could then tighten the bolts.

My question is this - should I now get someone to jump start the car? And drive to another shop? I'm afraid the car won't turn off when I take the key out. Or leave it here because jumping it could cause damage? Something weird going on? The shop I am at is supposedly very good and the owner has many classic cars. But I'm also anxious about getting the problem resolved more quickly.

Advice appreciated. At shop now.
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2018, 09:38 AM
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It sounds like you have a bad solenoid or a short in the ignition switch that is sending power to the solenoid with the key off. Any shop should be able to diagnose the trouble very quickly. Replacing the solenoid is easy if that's the problem. You probably wore the battery down. That's why it stopped trying to start and you were able to tighten the cable.

John
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:49 AM
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I don't advise jumping the car and trying to drive it. Have it towed to another shop if you want it fixed right away.

John
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:52 AM
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Thanks guys. I have decided to keep it at this shop until Monday to play it safe. I hope it is an easy fix
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Old 07-28-2018, 10:12 AM
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X2 with John - switch or solenoid are the most likely culprits.

Any evidence of mice in the car or under the hood?? - those critters can make shorts in the wiring and really cause havoc.

I'd disconnect the battery until Monday even though it may be drained. Good luck.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:25 PM
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No evidence of mice but thanks for the thought - don't want to leave any possibility unexamined. Someone looked at it and thinks it is not solenoid. So that leaves the ignition switch if he is right.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:30 PM
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Also was told solenoid looked new.
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj335 View Post
Also was told solenoid looked new.
I wouldn't go by looks. Especially if it's foreign made. If you pull the wires off the front of the solenoid that eliminates the ignition switch as the problem. If it still turns over when you touch the battery cable to the battery then it has to be the solenoid.

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Old 07-28-2018, 09:17 PM
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NEVER go by looks. Every electrician knows to check energized circuits for yourself. In this case, you can use a test light, multi-meter (OHM or volt meter) or a continuity tester.

A new solenoid is more likely to stick than one that has been in operation for a long time because the contact surfaces are not aligned. They need to 'wear themselves in' like new brake linings. - Dave
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Old 07-31-2018, 02:26 PM
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Update for anyone interested:

1. The verdict is that the points were fried, points in the distributor not creating enough spark for some reason.

2. Additionally, the cap (distributor cap?) located near front of engine bay was not properly in place - mechanic said it was put on wrong (backwards or at a 180 degree) and not making proper contact.

3. A spring was also put on in the wrong spot by whoever previously worked on the car so that the lightest touch to the gas created a big rev action and took a long time to go back to idle. He put a new spring on in the correct location to alleviate this.

4. Wire connected to the starter was rotting. Didn't cause the car to break down but I am having it replaced to prevent a future incident where I get stranded and car won't start.

All in all it doesn't seem to me like anything major needed to be done thankfully. As per Ray, I will ask if they tested the battery for proper voltage output so ensure no cells were damaged by the short-out.

Appreciate any feedback or thoughts on all this.
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