I just had an interesting drive to town and back

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Calavera
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I just had an interesting drive to town and back

Post by Calavera » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:39 pm

So we have this 2000 Ford Windstar Mini-van, the battery in it is from 2013 and here lately we've had very cold temps. Single digits and sub zero, anywhoo the battery was dead. So I charged it up and it started fine. The voltage light was on but I thought that could be because the alrernator hadn't charged the battery all the way up yet. I had a Dodge Avenger that the Service Engine light would stay on when starting it from a low battery and would stay on until the battery was charged. Just to be safe I let it run in the driveway for about an hour with the headlights on bright and all the interior lights on. After an hour everything seemed fine. I shut it off and it started back up fine.

So I just had to run uptown, and it is around midnight. I figure I'll just take the van to make sure everything is ok with it. The battery light came on a few times but if I would rev the engine up it would go off. Again I thought it might just have to do with the battery and not the alternator, even though that is pretty dumb to think! :embarrassed: Anywhoo I go to the gas station get what I need and start to head back. Almost instantly I think the dash lights seem dimmer but I'm not sure. Probably just me being paranoid I think. Well only seconds after that BAM! The headlights go off and will not turn back on for anything! I try the hazards nothing. Brake lights and turn signals nothing! The dash lights stayed on and wouldn't go off for some reason though. So it is about 12:30am and I'm out on the highway in a mini-van with absolutely no lights at all! It is only about 4-5 miles from my house to town and I can still see enough to make it home. My worry is if a car is coming, they won't see me if they come up behind me and they won't see me if they try to pass someone going the other way! I remember I have a small flashlight in my coat pocket, so I stick that out the window and it actually provided enough light to see in front of the van. Except it is about 20F and my hand is about to freeze off. Luckily I brought gloves with me so I put one on and continue to hold the flash light. Fortunately I saw no cars the entire way back. So I made it back pulled in the driveway and shut off the van. I tried to start it again and nothing, the battery was almost completely dead. So I'm lucky I made it back. Who knows how much longer I could have kept going. It already seemed like it was getting weak.

Only thing was even with a glove on my pinky finger still got a lot of air to it. When I got home I couldn't even feel it, it seems fine now. So it was a pretty unique experience I thought I'd share with everyone here. I've never known any vehicle that forces all the lights to be disabled when the alternator is going bad. Honestly though I'd rather have had no lights and made it home using the flashlight then had headlights and be stuck on the side of the road right now.
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Dr. Zoidberg
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Re: I just had an interesting drive to town and back

Post by Dr. Zoidberg » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:56 pm

20F = -6C

That's cold.

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Big Boss Man
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Re: I just had an interesting drive to town and back

Post by Big Boss Man » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:27 am

Man, well good to hear you got back home safe Cal without an accident. Had you been further from home and your lights cut out then that would have really sucked. I'm guessing you have like vehicle recovery plan/insurance type of thing. If so you could have pulled over and had them come help out. I would definitely get things sorted out with your lights etc and not use the mini van at night until that's all fixed.

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Calavera
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Re: I just had an interesting drive to town and back

Post by Calavera » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:52 pm

Big Boss Man wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:27 am
Man, well good to hear you got back home safe Cal without an accident. Had you been further from home and your lights cut out then that would have really sucked. I'm guessing you have like vehicle recovery plan/insurance type of thing. If so you could have pulled over and had them come help out. I would definitely get things sorted out with your lights etc and not use the mini van at night until that's all fixed.
I haven't drove it since, it actually isn't even mine it is a family members. I drove it uptown just to make sure there wasn't any problems with it, good thing I did because there is obviously a problem! I imagine it is just the alternator. They said they would pay me $100 to put one on for them. Not bad at all! I hate working on cars but the alternator is right there on top and you only need to remove 3 bolts and loosen the belt to replace it.
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Big Boss Man
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Re: I just had an interesting drive to town and back

Post by Big Boss Man » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:42 am

Yea that's good getting the 100 bucks. I still wouldn't drive the car in the dusk/night time til it's totally sorted though.

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