July 11, 2022

A Quick Post Before the Blog Crashes Again

Banality is below the fold.

Oh look. A relevant picture.

I've been super busy at work.

I also inherited a car, a 2014 Ford Explorer LTD.

It has heated seats, air-conditioning, blue tooth, air-conditioning, power steering (that works), air conditioning, collision avoidance radar, air-conditioning, a rear video camera, air-conditioning, cruise control, air-conditioning, it gets more than twice the milage of my van, AND IT HAS AIR-CONDITIONING!

Last Thursday I went through the process of digging it our from under pine straw, charging the completely dead battery, and figuring out how to start a car without a key. 
 Then, I went down to the DMV, where I got it titled, licensed, and insured before I took it to a local mechanic to get it inspected...

...and discovered that it will cost 1600 dollars to get it street legal. 

This was mildly annoying. But in fairness, the car does have AC.

I've got 2 weeks to get all the stuff done and can drive it in the meantime so I shouldn't have any need to go into retirement savings and I have air-conditioning in Virginia in July. 


Friday evening, I learned that I did not have to work Saturday (I worked too many hours during the week) so, after the blog disappeared and ate yet another post,  I decided to rage-quit and go see my parents 200 miles south. My mom's been under the weather and I missed her 80th birthday because I had COVID, so a visit seemed in order. 

It took much longer to make the trip than normal due to traffic, a storm and wildlife that insisted on standing in the middle of the road. (An alligator, a rabbit and a deer to be precise)

As a result it was just after midnight as I approached a small town about 20 minutes from my folks house....whereapon a bright blue flash precipitated error messages on all the dashboard screens (yes, the car has LCD screens, not dials). The crazy flashing of screens stopped after a moment and was replaced with utter blackness as my headlights, dashboard, running lights, power steering, AC, radio, engine, and windshield wipers all went dark/stopped working and my brakes became quite squishy. 

So. I was careening into a small town at 55 miles an hour in a thunderstorm with no power or real control. I WAS able to wrestle the car onto the shoulder and somehow fight the cars inertia enough to keep it out of the very deep and full ditch before pumping the brakes brought me to a stop. 

As I was only about 20 miles from my folks house. I called and asked for information on what local wrecker service that my dad might recommend. My dad did not listen to reason but jumped into his truck and came to get me. 

This resulted half an hour later with him trying to fix an engine that as far as I can tell is one big electronic circuit board. It did not go well. We were trying to figure out the fusebox without a manual when Donald showed up. 

Donald works at the local Ford dealership and understands Explorers. We learned all sorts of things, like those key fobs have keys in them if you take the fob apart, that can access two different ignition switches. (That did not work) and that the battery box is the hub of the electronics system. Unlike older cars, a Ford Explorer cannot run, even if the engine is on, should the battery be dead. 

This WAS a clue. The battery had been quite dead when I dig it out from under the pine straw and had died later Thursday. I'd filled it with water and it had been fine but the battery deserved a look. 

It was shot. In fact, when we pulled it out of the box it had been sitting in a puddle of vitriol. 

After cleaning up the acid with some paper towels, we removed the battery from Dads truck and decided to see if the car would come to life if we hooked it up. To our astonishment, it did. To our even greater astonishment The battery from the truck just fit into the battery box, although it was too tall to fully close the hood.

Dad's truck is an old diesel...so once it's cranked, it doesn't need a battery...untill one needs to start it again. 

We thanked Donald for his help, picked up our tools, replaced the battery to start his truck, put the battery in the car, tied the hood down, tied his trucks battery terminals off with electrical tape, put the deceased, leaking battery into a clam bucket full of ALL the paper towels and then we drove to the folks house, where we put the battery BACK in his truck, came in , washed all the sulfuric acid off and sat down and talked to Mom. 

Next morning we got up, went and traded the aforementioned clam bucket of hazardous waste for a new battery (well that and 60 dollars), put the battery in my car, ate breakfast and I went back home and got home able to start my Saturday night stream only 20 minutes late. 

Anyway, no towtruck was needed, and I have A/C.

It was a victory. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:03 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 890 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Congrats on the problem being relatively minor, and also on now having AC!  Sounds like, in spite of what it'll cost to get it street legal, it'll be a nice upgrade from your van.

Posted by: Rick C at Tue Jul 12 08:50:16 2022 (BMUHC)

2 I'm glad it wasn't the alternator.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Tue Jul 12 22:41:13 2022 (LZ7Bg)

3 Holy crud, dude.
But also, good driving.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Thu Jul 14 18:38:02 2022 (sF8WE)

4 Sorry about the post, Brickmuppet.  Things have been crazy here - apparently everyone at work except me decided to get Covid - and I've dropped the ball on keeping the server running.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thu Jul 21 08:54:13 2022 (PiXy!)

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