Oh, that’s what they mean by moody…

Had a bit of a breakdown in the car today. I got Lorne to jump the car battery just before he and Adam and Chris left for their weekend of biking at Whistler Bike Park. I let the car run for a good half an hour after they left, driving it around the alley a bit and testing all the electronic control things like fans and headlights and radio and so on. It seemed okay, although a bit weird – when I turned on the headlights, it kind of lost power for a split second before turning them on. Not a normal thing for Huffy to do.

After the half hour or so had passed, I figured I’d put the car back into its parking spot and shut it off to see if it would come back on again. I was hopeful, since I bought a new battery for it about two months ago. I put my foot on the brake after backing in, put it into park, and the car just went *poof* and shut off, completely losing power. I tried restarting it – it refused to even turn over. I have no idea why it would shut down so thoroughly like that – maybe the alternator or something? At any rate, I phoned Adam (who was already on the road in West Van by then) and told him it wasn’t working and had a bit of a panic attack on the phone and hung up on him, throwing the phone across the car. He called back (smart of him, really) to talk me down a bit and figure out if he needed to come back home.

At this point there isn’t really anything he could do anyway – I just want him to deal with the car, and I’ve wanted him to deal with it for many many months. I had a friend from work coming to look at it to consider buying it today, though, so I was just hoping that would be the end of us owning Huffy. The car not working just left me feeling utterly overwhelmed, so after I got off the phone with Adam, sending him off on his way to Whistler, I think I just sat there crying for about ten minutes.

I’m okay now, really, but would be thrilled if the car would just magically disappear. I should be able to find the battery receipt and get that warrantied, at least, but that’s not much good if the alternator’s dead, or if there’s more wrong with it that I’m not aware of. I emailed my work friend and told him what was up, but he still wants to come out and see it anyway.

So I’m sitting alone upstairs looking at the horrific mess that is my apartment, the giant pile of laundry that needs to get done, and worrying about baby things. I’ll be okay, it’s just a little overwhelming right now. I’m sure pregancy is amplifying the moodiness.


  • brianlee

    June 20, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Jen, it sounds like your battery is not charging back up.

    The alternator does this but also the tension of the belt drive the alternator. Check the belt for looseness or signs of slipping.

    More importantly, check connections to the battery. They should be snug and not rotate with moderate hand force only.

    Wish ya lived closer, I could check it in 5 minutes for you 🙁

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      June 20, 2008 at 9:28 pm

      Yeah, it’d be a bit of a hike from there to here, and there may be a mountain or two in the way.

      I could probably manage checking the belt (I’ve changed an alternator belt once a long time ago, even) but I’m not really mobile enough to get the parts and actually fix anything myself. The belly makes me very slow and tired and awkward. And moody.

      I might get my mom’s husband to take a look at it when he’s out here on Sunday dropping my mom off. He likes tinkering with car stuff, I think. In the meantime it may be best for me to just pretend it’s not there for now.

      • brianlee

        June 21, 2008 at 2:07 pm

        yes, have Mom’s hubby take a peek. If it’s anything but the alternator, it should be a quick fix.

  • mishamish

    June 20, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    If you have a voltmeter, you could also use it on the charging posts leading out of the alternator. If the problem is there (either from a loose belt or a bad alternator), you should notice it there. You’re alternator should be pushing between 12 and 18 volts (if memory serves). Less than that, and you’ve found your problem.

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      June 20, 2008 at 9:24 pm

      Pretty sure I don’t have a voltmeter. Perhaps I could macguyver one out of oranges and random computer parts, but I’m thinking it’s not the best plan right now.

      It’s not even my car really, and I’d be thrilled if someone took it away and dealt with it. Doing under-the-hood car things isn’t all that much fun with a giant belly.

      • mishamish

        June 21, 2008 at 1:16 am

        Ah… see, I meant more of a CORPORATE you. As in “someone nearby who is not pregnant could do this” kinda you. 😛

        • Jenny Lee Silver

          June 21, 2008 at 1:22 am

          Heh… the people I would ask to help me with this have all gone Mountain Biking in Whistler this weekend… so it’ll have to wait.