Saturday, March 3, 2012

29 Days....Van won't Start

Errrr.  I go outside to start my van.  And nothing.  Nadda.  So, what do l do now?  I don't think l left my lights on all night.  Shit.  And l have such a full day today.  I was planning on going to the RV show, then visiting my Grandpa who's sick.  Shit, shit, shit.

My sister's not home to get a boost (not that she can since she has a new car and there's a chance it will fry her computer brain).  I never got around to buying that tickle charger yet. Or CAA (like AAA). Crap.

So my Macgyver brain starts firing.  Hey, l got the house battery in back.  I grab my tools and head to the back of the van to pull the house battery out.  Let's just say, access isn't all that easy.  There is a plastic pipe for the toilet in the way.  After some finagling l get it out.  Carry it up to the front and bring out my booster cables.  Hook it all up, hop in my van, turn the key in the ignition.  Nothing, Nadda. No tick, tick,tick (the sound that is usually made when a battery is dead).

I get out of the van, fiddle around with the cables, making sure they all have a good connection.  Hop back in, try the key again. Still nothing.  I pull the cables off of the van to test if the house battery has juice, and l get a spark.  Then l do the opposite and see if the engine battery has a spark.  It does.  It has lots of juice (big sparks)

Okay, so not my battery.  Must be my starter.  I go in search of my hammer to give the starter a whack.  Crawl under the van.  Hmmm..wheres the starter.  It's been years since l've seen one.  I kind of remember what it looks like.  I just can't find it.  Winds blowing sand in my face and eyes when l'm under the van, l can feel the neighbours are watching me from inside their homes.....

So l a friend.  He tells me where it should be, and back out l go.  Still can find the damn thing. I dont' have a manual on Fiona so l consult the next best thing.  The Internet. Today YouTube won the day for me.  I watched some guy for 2 mintues install his starter on his van. Got a good idea where it would be located....and.....

Voila, l found my starter.  Armed with the hammer l gave it a nice little tap, crawled back out, key in the ignition, and smiled as the engine started.  Whoot Whoot!!!  I did it.

I started out on my day (a few hours behind schedule), first to go buy a new starter, then l was going to head to the RV show and see my Grandpa, but the wind that was blowing the dirt in my eyes, was pushing me all over the road.  At times l felt like l was landing a plane in high winds when they "crab it in".  They come in at a angle to the runway, then at the last minute turn and land.  My van was catching the winds something fierce.

So l turned around and headed home.  RV show and Grandpa are now scheduled for tomorrow.  I grabbed the starter on the way home at a parts place, grabbed some groceries, it will be nice to cook the next two weeks instead of "hotel" fare.

I feel proud that l could solve my problem today.  Have l said how much l love the Internet?  Greatest invention EVER! (today at least)


  1. Congrats on getting the van started. You certainly have a 'can do' spirit that will be very handy in the world of RVing.


  2. Well Tammy, I have to say I wouldn't have had a clue about it. Glad you got it going and I'm crossing my fingers that this is the only little glitch you'll have for a long time.

  3. Or at least they will be easy to fix!!! lol

  4. I got to thinking after reading how you dealt with a "dead" battery, what you need is a volt/ohm meter and the way you were able to find the problem tells me you will no problem using one. It will also be great tool to deal with any other problem you might encounter with the many rv conveniences like water pump, frig, lights, heater and all electrical stuff, be it 12 volt DC or 120 AC. I just bought a new one on ebay for twenty some dollars as my old one was acting up.
    I admire your attitude in pursuing the cause of not starting.

  5. That should be Mickey I think my K Key is not working right.

  6. Great idea Mic"k"ey :-) Although Micey would be fine too. I think l really need a volt meter too. I realized after l could have just looked on the dash board to see if the battery meter there was displaying juice in it. It would have told me the whole first effort would not have been necessary. lol It will go on my list of things to buy. Thanks!