(An e-mail from Guy Wheatley in Texarkana Texas, USA to Guy Wheatley in Exmouth England)
I think I told you the long sad story leading up to my replacing a perfectly good water pump. Some people, having wasted time and money, would have learned a lesson. I however, am made of sterner stuff! Me! Learn a lesson? Ha!
The other problem we have occasionally involves the starter. Sometimes you hit the key, and nothing happens. The gauges will peg, and the lights will go dim, but nothing else happens. Usually if you just wait a little while, or if you jiggle the shift, it will eventually start.
The Starter motor doesn’t drag. If it turns over at all, it turns over just fine leading me first to think that the problem was a faulty safety interlock on the shift. The “wiggle” solution wasn’t consistent enough to definitively point to this as the problem though, and I was eventually seduced by another hypothesis.
Immediately after having the coolant problem fixed, the starter problem got worse. It now refuses to start. No amount of waiting or jiggling serves the purpose.
I went out to resume the battle one morning, only to discover that the battery was quite dead. This is a new battery, and I was sure that it shouldn’t have simply died on its own. I recharged it planning to resume the struggle the next morning only to find the battery again quite dead.
I removed it from the vehicle and charged it up. It held a charge quite well while disconnected so obviously there was a short somewhere in the Jeep. I remember the old days when the starter solenoid was attached to the firewall. Sometimes they would stick. Occasionally they would unstick themselves. Other times, you could tap them gently with hammer and that would unstick them. The thing is; when they were stuck, they would invariably drain your battery.
“Ah ha Watson!” I cried in an affected British accent that would have made your eyes water. (I’ve been re-reading Sherlock Holmes) “The evidence is clear and points unfalteringly to the solenoid.” Holmes would have wept.
This vehicle, like most I have seen manufactured in since the 70’s has the solenoid attached directly to the starter. I had to remove the starter to replace the solenoid. I accomplished with about three hours under the Jeep, removing and replacing bell housing bolts from the transmission that I had mistaken for mounting bolts on the starter. There was much verbose speculation on theology, and the genealogy of various parts that refused to cooperate. Eventually however, I stood triumphantly holding the starter in my bruised, battered, and bleeding hands.
Quick as a flash, I dashed to the parts store for a new solenoid.
“Look mac,” says the guy behind the counter. “Ya sure ya don’t want to replace the starter while ya got it out?” Obviously this buffoon had no idea to whom he was speaking. A solenoid cost about $28.00 while a starter (solenoid included) was going to run about $79.00. It’s true that if I was wrong about the solenoid, I was simply throwing away $28.00, but I was confident. My logic was impeccable, my conclusions flawless. I assured the imbecile I had no need of a starter. I secured the solenoid and returned to the battle.
As neighboring mothers ushered away children, hands over their ears, I climbed back under the Jeep. Holding the starter as I lay on my back in one hand, I tried to get at least one of the bolts in to hold the weight of the starter. Arms trembling, I tried desperately to get the bolt to bite the threads.
Let’s see, that’s uh lefty-loosey, righty-tighty? No, wait! I’m looking at it from the back so shouldn’t it go the other way? Come on you &&^ %**, take a bite. &^%&*# this has got to be the right *&(^() way!! &^^))& ^((*) %$#@$# %^^$^!!!!! OK! I finally get it in.
I reconnect the wiring then spring to the drivers seat. I turn the key and — – – lights dim, gages peg.
More verbose speculation on genealogy and theology.
I’m not sure exactly how, but in some way, THIS IS RUSSIA’S FAULT!!
It took me three days to get the initiative to gather up and put away my tools. I should have some money coming back from income tax by late February or early March. If the Mitsubishi will just keep running till then, I’ll have the Jeep towed to the shop and let someone who knows what the hell he doing have a shot at it.