Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Bitterly Battery

     I had feared it.  But I hadn't feared it enough: my battery was, indeed, just about dead yesterday.  Won't turn the engine over.

     Yesterday, I bought a battery online, and Tam and I picked it up when she drove me home from work.  It made for quite the trip: my briefcase fits in the Zed Drei's trunk, but that leaves me with a lunchbox and oversized purse in the cockpit.  Add an SUV-sized battery on the floorboards, and you'll be as happy as I was that it's only a couple miles from the auto-parts store to home.  Good thing we didn't encounter any turbulence! 

     There's a nice streetlight in the alley at our garage.  So nice that I pay for it; the city doesn't routinely light the alleys.  On the other hand, the cost is nominal and it was already in place when I moved in: six bucks a month for a lit-up parking spot?  Yes, please!  However, I had parked facing in, the light is behind my RX300, and even with light from the garage, between the dark and the cold, last night all I managed to do was get penetrating oil on the hardware holding the battery bracket and eventually get it loose and out.

     Discovery that A) the rear fastener is one of those @#$%^ J-hooks you have to fiddle with on reinstallation until it starts to get a grip, B) my eyeglasses were fogging up every time I looked down and C) there wasn't enough light to see to get a wrench on the battery-post clamps, let alone find the right socket, made me decide to wait for daylight -- because while those nuts ought to be 7/16" the way the gods intended, the RX300 tends to break out in metric given half a chance.  For example, the battery-bracket hardware is 10 mm.  I have nothing against this; the various cars and other vehicles I have owned through the years have used SAE, metric, BS, BSP and possibly Whitworth and I have a pretty good set of wrenches and sockets -- except for what I may need here, little 1/4"-drive metric sockets.  Worse, my smallest 3/8"-drive socket set is all 12-point, a nice way to round things over if you don't have the proper size.  But second chances are few when it comes to battery-clamp hardware and fighting in the extreme cold and moderate dark with fasteners of uncertain size struck me as a recipe for problems.  I gave up and went to bed.

     Sunrise is in just under an hour. Hoping to just do this, with a minimum of whateverthehellitisitis* and fuss.
* Pronounced "whatever-the-hell-it-is-itis."


John H. said...

Ah, the bane of all of us mechanically and electrically smart enough to know better, but with too many other significantly more important ( at least in our minds) items of responsibility standing in the way, and then to be foiled by the lack of light and a 10mm six-sided socket.


You know how to pronounce the - I KNOW you do.

Brother/sister of another mother, for certain......

B said...

I'ma big fan of this light for auto maintaineance:

And those $12 Energizer headlamps are petty decent too.

If I were local, I'da done it for you.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, those J-bolt hold-downs that they locate hard up against the vehicle's firewall. We laugh and laugh trying to hook them up too on my wife' Chevy Tracker. Be nice if the hole was triangular, sloped to a point at top so that the end of bolt does not have to go perzackly in the battery tray's hole.

I use plain jane low tech closed end wrench for the battery bolts. This wrench fitting has a band of electrical tape wound on handle so to find it quickly. I have thought of fastening an extra one nearby so to have tool handy, but keeping it in outside pocket on tool bag suffices.

Hope the rest of battery switch is uneventful.

Rob K said...

I like a 150 Watt plain white heat lamp bulb for that sort of work in this kind of weather. Plenty of light, and you can hold your hands up by it every couple of minutes for a bit of respite. And thankfully, good-enough 1/4 drive sockets are cheap and plentiful.

John in Philly said...

We have been using a headlamps like this one.
For close up work we lower the brightness.

There are a bunch of modes, but the very important Morse Code setting that blinks, "Send Pizza!" seems to be lacking.

Yes to everything said about battery J bolts. When you get them off I suggest a good wirebrushing of the threads, and a bit of antiseize when you put the fasteners on the J bolts.

Paul said...

Had to do the one in my wife van last night. 5/16 and 1/2 on an extension and 10 minutes later it was started and back in its bay. I don't like working on mine in the cold so I take care of it when warm. But for her, I shiver and do it anyway.

Good luck on getting yours in.

RandyGC said...

Good luck. Having grown up out in the countryside of Iowa, been there done that, (almost) had the frostbite.

I would think that the combined lumens of Tam's flashlight collection would both light up the entire block and heat the work area up to more livable conditions. ;-)