Electrical Things

by Steve on March 25, 2007

The old CJ threw me a curve this weekend. She’s usually pretty predictable but the combination of a “new-to-me” Rubicon in the driveway and a potential buyer coming over to test-drive the CJ caused a jealous fit on her part. True to form she waited until I was miles off the pavement in the bottom of a ravine, front end against a fallen tree preparing to winch one of the others out of a ditch. Ran the cable, thumbs up, locked the winch in, jumped in and hit the dash-mounted switch. Nothing. It was working the last time I used it. No matter, I pulled out the remote, tossed it to one of the guys, he plugged it into the control box on the bumper and looked my way. “Hit it.” I heard the solenoid click and the engine immediately died.

Something, somewhere had either grounded or come ungrounded, I wasn’t exactly sure which but I smelled something electrical. I feared the worst, thinking that somehow the winch had sent a surge back through the battery and into the MSD ignition module rendering it dead. One of the guys was convinced that it was a fuel problem or lack thereof so he began troubleshooting the carb. The rest had plenty of opinions that pretty much covered all the critical systems but my inner voice kept drawing me back to an electrical problem of some sort. There was no way that the fuel pump could have failed at the exact moment in time when the contact in the winch control closed.

Once the fuel delivery issue was ruled out I went back to basics. I’ve had vehicles of all types refuse to start due to corroded battery connections but I have never had one die on me as a result of bad connections. Well I have now. I took everything loose from the battery and thoroughly cleaned all the wires and terminals, put it all back together and she fired right up. The old girl just wanted to remind me that sometimes simple is better in the automotive world especially when you’re miles away from help. She made her point but that Rubicon with its modern suspension, push-button locking axles, fuel injection, and – dare I say it – air conditioning, sure makes for a comfortable and capable ride.

{ 1 comment }

Papa Ray March 26, 2007 at 22:02

I suggest you take the ol’ girls hint. That new fancy ride won’t let you get in her fancy pants, she has a computer and she knows you can’t talk to her without your own. Which is only in the shops that will charge you an arm and a leg to try and determine what a problem is, then another leg to fix it.

Sometimes not only is simpler better, its a whole lot cheaper.

Papa Ray
West Texas

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