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Old 10-11-2012, 10:10 AM   #241
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This thread is very interesting, very helpful and huge. Has anybody touched on insurance savings? What deductibles are people taking? At what point does one stop paying for collision and comprehensive insurance?
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:22 PM   #242
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The battery went dead in my jeep a couple of years ago at the vacation condo. I only have 1 vehicle here so I called AAA and it cost me $60 for the AAA membership and $160 for the battery. I sold the jeep and moved DW's car to the condo. Now it's battery is dead. I'm not calling AAA - I'll swap the battery myself. The only tough part is getting to/from the auto parts store.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #243
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The battery went dead in my jeep a couple of years ago at the vacation condo. I only have 1 vehicle here so I called AAA and it cost me $60 for the AAA membership and $160 for the battery. I sold the jeep and moved DW's car to the condo. Now it's battery is dead. I'm not calling AAA - I'll swap the battery myself. The only tough part is getting to/from the auto parts store.
That was ripoff but I guess they had you. I just replaced one, if you have an AdvanceAuto parts around they have some good discounts. New battery was ~$100, got a $40 discount code, ordered it online and picked up at the store.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:53 PM   #244
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The battery went dead in my jeep a couple of years ago at the vacation condo. I only have 1 vehicle here so I called AAA and it cost me $60 for the AAA membership and $160 for the battery. I sold the jeep and moved DW's car to the condo. Now it's battery is dead. I'm not calling AAA - I'll swap the battery myself. The only tough part is getting to/from the auto parts store.
Another tip.

Your battery will/may lose charge when not used. Usually, this is a sign that the battery needs replacing but it may be ok. Get a cheap charger for the condo. Then, even if you need a new battery, you can probably get enough charge into the battery to start the car and drive to the local parts store.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:09 PM   #245
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Another tip.

Your battery will/may lose charge when not used. Usually, this is a sign that the battery needs replacing but it may be ok. Get a cheap charger for the condo. Then, even if you need a new battery, you can probably get enough charge into the battery to start the car and drive to the local parts store.

The battery failed suddenly in DW's car and neither AAA nor I could jump start it. New battery fixed it.

You can get a cheap solar charger to stick on a dash for cars that are rarely driven and in direct sunlight. Make sure that your cigarette lighter is powered when the engine is off.
1.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:23 PM   #246
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The battery failed suddenly in DW's car and neither AAA nor I could jump start it. New battery fixed it.
Ya can't win'em all.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:17 PM   #247
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Thanks for the battery tips. Found a tire store a mile away and got a ride there, got a $100 battery and the store owner gave me a ride home. Installed the battery and drove off to buy some beer. All is well. I guess everyone here in Arizona knows that heat kills batteries. I didn't.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #248
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Originally Posted by kumquat
Another tip.

Your battery will/may lose charge when not used. Usually, this is a sign that the battery needs replacing but it may be ok. Get a cheap charger for the condo. Then, even if you need a new battery, you can probably get enough charge into the battery to start the car and drive to the local parts store.
I had a trickle charger on it since I was last here in sept, but I don't think I had a good bite on the terminals- I attached the charger to the terminal cable nuts sideways so I could close the hood. Then when it didn't start last night, I tried the charger again. No go. Then when I saw the battery was from April 2005, I knew I needed a new one
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:08 AM   #249
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OK, so let's get back to engine knock or detonation.

Back in the 70s, which means I am talking about cars that were made in the late 60s as well as the early 70s, my family and I had so many problems with engine knock and dieseling on different cars. Yes, remember the engine running-on problem after you shut off the ignition, on a hot day?

Nowadays, with fuel injection instead of carburetors, once one shuts off the ignition, there is no fuel to feed the engine. So dieseling can never happen with FI.

I remember back then that, short of removing the heads and cleaning up the carbon deposits, one could only try different fuel additives to remove that carbon. There was only one brand, a more expensive one, that would work. I cannot remember that now.

What was/is your experience?
I agree with all you say. The dieseling was a major problem back in those days. One way to fix it is to retart timing slightly, although that reduces power and fuel economy.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:10 AM   #250
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Rev up the engine (grabbing the throttle arm with your hand) while spritzing water into the carb throat with the other hand. Theory was that the water basically 'steam-cleaned' the carbon deposits off. I guess you would not know for sure w/o removing the head to see. But it seemed to work.

The warning was not to get too much water in at once - too much water could cause a flood in a piston, and the non-compressible liquid could damage the engine. But I'd assume the engine would just quit before that could happen.

I recall we had a car that was having a moderate knock problem, it was noticeable under medium/hard acceleration. We drove to Milwaukee one day (~ 80 miles), and on the way back was a steady rain and mist from the highway. About 2/3 of the way home, the knocking stopped. I attributed it to the constant moisture being sucked in and blowing out the carbon, but who knows? Could have just been the sustained highway speeds, with or w/o the added moisture.

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IMO I would not squirt or spritz any water in an engine. Even if you don't hydrolock the engine, you run the risk that a piston ring rides on the cylinder wall with water as a "lubricant"...and that concerns me.

yes, some engines are designed for water injection...but that's a whole other discussion.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:21 AM   #251
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This thread is very interesting, very helpful and huge. Has anybody touched on insurance savings? What deductibles are people taking? At what point does one stop paying for collision and comprehensive insurance?
IMO much of this is personal choice.

I use $1,000 deductible to keep premiums low.
I stop paying collision when the car costs less than what you'd pay within 5 years on the extra premium (consider deductible too)...because over my life I've needed the collision coverage about once every 5 years.

I have some unusual needs to with show cars...I must provide photos and appraisals, and there are complications about "guaranteed value" vs. "stated value" insurance.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:23 AM   #252
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The battery went dead in my jeep a couple of years ago at the vacation condo. I only have 1 vehicle here so I called AAA and it cost me $60 for the AAA membership and $160 for the battery. I sold the jeep and moved DW's car to the condo. Now it's battery is dead. I'm not calling AAA - I'll swap the battery myself. The only tough part is getting to/from the auto parts store.
I have some tips for "dead battery" situations....I'll post that within the next week or so.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:25 AM   #253
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Another tip.

Your battery will/may lose charge when not used. Usually, this is a sign that the battery needs replacing but it may be ok. Get a cheap charger for the condo. Then, even if you need a new battery, you can probably get enough charge into the battery to start the car and drive to the local parts store.
Probably what is needed is a "trickle" charger...those can be left on virtually forever with no risk of overcharging.

One risk...a trickle charger will NOT start a car if the battery goes dad....nor will it charge a dead battery in any "reasonable" timeframe. I think this is ok...you can always jump a battery with another car (future post).
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:29 AM   #254
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IMO I would not squirt or spritz any water in an engine. Even if you don't hydrolock the engine, you run the risk that a piston ring rides on the cylinder wall with water as a "lubricant"...and that concerns me.

yes, some engines are designed for water injection...but that's a whole other discussion.
I sure would not do it on any modern day engine. Fuel Injection should prevent the problem anyhow.

I did it on junkers. There probably is some risk to it, maybe I was just lucky. Oh, I do it on my lawnmower engines sometimes, again, a risk I'm OK with taking.

And yes, water injection is a whole different thing, people often confuse the two.


-ERD50
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:31 AM   #255
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12. To check whether your tires are worn out, use a penny. Insert Lincoln’s head into the tread. If you can see the top of his head, you need new tires. Try this at several places both around the tire, and across the tire…as tires often do not wear evenly.

There's also another method. Tires today are built with "tread bars"...which show up as a "stripe" across the tire once worn down to a tread depth that's unsafe.

Link 1

Link 2


P.S. I was an alignment/brake tech for 8 years...this is my area of specialty.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:38 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by Ronstar
"The battery went dead in my jeep a couple of years ago at the vacation condo. I only have 1 vehicle here so I called AAA and it cost me $60 for the AAA membership and $160 for the battery. I sold the jeep and moved DW's car to the condo. Now it's battery is dead. I'm not calling AAA - I'll swap the battery myself. The only tough part is getting to/from the auto parts store."

Battery Tenders do a fine job of keeping them charged.
About 40 bucks and it's no worries from then on. Nothing kills a battery faster than lack of use.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:00 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by Ronstar
Nothing kills a battery faster than lack of use.
It does depend on the car though. My 1969 Camaro went from September 2011 until September 2012 without being started...and then it started right up for the car show.

I agree that on modern cars...they should be started at least every 2 weeks...and preferably more...that's what I do with my 2007 Mustang.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:28 AM   #258
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Please bear with me on this one...I wrote it while I was tired and may have missed something....


14. Dead battery? Describe how to ensure it’s a battery and not something else.

A battery, when fully charged, has a bit over 12V. However, if you check the voltage of a battery while a car is running, it will show about 14.7V. Why? Because you’re then looking at the voltage output of the alternator, not the battery. Alternator voltage is controlled by a “voltage regulator”, which used to be a separate device, but is now typically a small device inside the alternator itself.

If you jump in your car, turn the key, and get “nothing”, then it does not necessarily mean your battery is dead. Or, perhaps the battery is dead, but you need to find the root cause…is it merely old and worn out…or is some other weakness causing it?

There are a few simple tests you can perform on your own. First, be able to accurately describe the symptom.

1) When attempting to start, you don’t have dash lights or a dome light when you open the door. If you have none of these things, that means there is no electricity to the car’s systems. This does not necessarily mean the battery is dead. If this happens, take your voltmeter (yes I realize not everyone has one – but if you don’t then call your mechanic) and measure battery voltage. It is rare with this symptom that the battery is the issue…so I’d expect you to find about 12V at the battery. If you have plenty of voltage at the battery (around 12V), then you have a connection issue with a wire somewhere…call your local technician.

If battery voltage does not exist (rare), then I’d first try to jump the car with a charger/starter or another car (more on this in a separate post). Once the car is running, check voltage again. If it’s closer to 14.7V, then I’d replace the battery and you’ll probably fix the problem. If, however, the voltage is still low…you have an issue with your charging system. See your local technician.

2) When you try to start it, you do have dash lights and a dome light, but they are dim…and when you turn the key to start the car…you get some combination of the following symptoms – dash/dome lights either go out, or get significantly dimmer, or things act odd such as flickering/buzzing, engine “clicks” and will not crank…or cranks very slowly. In this case, you do have electricity, but it’s weak.

Again, jump the car with a starter/charger or another car. Once running, again check voltage…if it’s now 14.7V, then you either need a battery…or you left something turned on (perhaps the trunk lid is open, you didn’t close a door all the way, etc.) If you can identify what you left on, then allow the car to run for 30 minutes and it will charge the battery…and you may then be ok. If you cannot find what you left on, then either buy a battery, or take to a technician to look for something that’s draining power even when the car is shut off (new cars do drain small amounts of power even when shut off…such as for storing radio channels).

3) When you try to start it, you do have dash/dome lights that are bright initially, but when you try to start it, the lights stay bright and yet the engine won’t “crank” at all. In this case, there is an issue with the connection between the battery and the starter. Could be a corroded wire, a defective starter solenoid, a defective ignition switch, or something similar. Take to your local technician.

The bottom line is that when you try to start a car, the starter pulls a considerable amperage…which will show up as things dimming/flickering/buzzing. So if you have these symptoms when turning the key…you are getting power to the starter.

Most people get the terminology wrong. They’ll say “my car won’t turn over”…and when I go to their house and turn the key…the engine rotates slowly. I say to them “I thought you said it won’t turn over”…and they say, “well…it won’t turn over fast enough to start”. If the engine rotates at all…even a tiny bit…then it is “turning over”. Be sure to tell the technician the proper term.

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:45 AM   #259
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14) Jumping a battery with another “running” car is helpful, but can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Most people do it wrong.

If you need to jump your car with another person’s car, it must be done this way. Let’s label each car….the good car is the one that will start and run fine…and the dead car is yours…which won’t start

1) Get the batteries close together by maneuvering the good car near the dead car

2) Open both hoods and get out the battery cables. Be very careful, during the entire process, to not let any metal part of either cable to touch anything metal other than what is listed below…even an accidental touching could cause a spark and an injury

3) First attach the red cable clamp to the positive terminal (will have a plus sign on it “+“) of the dead car

4) Second, attach the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal of the good car

5) Third, attach the black cable clamp to the negative terminal (will have a minus sign on it “-“) of the good car

6) Lastly, and this is the part most people get wrong….attach the black cable to any large bare metal part of the dead car away from the battery…a hood latch or metal bracket works well. You will get a spark when connecting this cable. Do not attach this cable to the negative terminal on the dead battery!

You may wonder why not to connect it, and the answer is that the top of the battery may have battery gases around it. When you connect that terminal and a spark is there, you could have an explosion of the battery, and you’d have battery acid all over. There will be people that will say to you “That’s BS…I’ve worked on cars 30 years, always hooked up to that terminal, and never had a problem.” And they’d be right. Conditions must be right for the explosion to occur…it is rare. There are many things working in your favor, such as the fact that when you lift the hood, you expose the area to fresh air, and this would likely “wash away” any battery gases. Also today’s batteries are typically “sealed”, so very little outgassing occurs. However, do you really want to take the chance? The only time I’ve seen this happen was on an old Volkswagen Beetle. The battery on those cars was under the rear seat. Gases would accumulate there in a confined area, and I’ve actually seen the aftermath of that explosion, it was not pretty. Be safe, connect to a metal part away from the battery!

Wash your hands when done, you may have battery acid on them...and that stuff will eat holes in clothes and irritate your skin. If you're feeling really adventurous and want to clean all the gunk off the battery terminals, you can mix a small cup of water with a couple tablespoons of baking soda...this will neutralize any acid...just rinse it off really well with plain water when done. I recommend wearing rubber gloves, although I usually don't when I do this...I just douse my hands in the baking soda mixture and then wash them right after.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #260
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14) Jumping a battery with another “running” car is helpful, but can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Most people do it wrong.

If you need to jump your car with another person’s car, it must be done this way. ...
Good write-up. Very few people know how to do this right. I know a guy who had a battery blow up in his face. He said the only thing that saved him from major, permanent injuries was that there was a running garden hose nearby, so he was able to immediately flush the acid out of his face and eyes.

Don't take chances - if you must do this, do it right, as described here.

There are also some 'trickle' type chargers that connect cig lighter to cig lighter. That can work if the battery was run-down, and needs charging (like someone left the lights on), but it will take time to charge, and it won't start a car with a dead battery.

Since people do this so rarely, they are unlikely to remember these steps (partially, because it doesn't make much sense if you don't understand the reasons behind the process). I basically tell people if they don't know exactly what they are doing, just call a pro, or someone who does.

Very good write up.

-ERD50
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