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Old 02-15-2011, 04:26 PM #1
jpesis jpesis is offline
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Lesson learned, should get a few laughs though

So, I bought an '86 runner about a month ago. This thing was not a looker by any stretch of the imagination, but it was functional, and I am will to go from there. Well, one of the "interesting" features on this wreck was an alarm system...yeah. After about two weeks of riding this thing around and finding the many things wrong with it, I accidently tried to start the engine while it was in gear. Dumb, but usually not a big deal. Well, that alarm system was a little sensitive and decided to start blaring at six in the morning, oh and activate the kill switch that I had no idea about. Not having time to fix the problem since I had to get to work, (thank God for living with coworkers) I just disconnected the battery to shut it up. Coming home at the end of the day, I reconnected the battery to see what would happen. Of course the alarm came back to life, and I couldn't start the engine nor turn off the alarm. So in my infinite wisdom, I thought, "Hell, I'll just pull out the entire security system, I don't use the damn thing anyways." So after a couple of hours, the entire drivers dashboard area and the instrument panel is taken apart and I am holding the control module with the wires hanging out like an eviscerated animal. Feeling proud and cocky, I quickly reassemble the instruments and plastics, before testing to see if the engine will fire up. And, as some of you are probably guessing, the truck would still not start. In fact, it did nothing. No clicks, no whirs, no signs of life whatsoever. So ended day 1.
Well, over the next several days, I chased several leads, (which, incidently, is how I found this forum) and all failed to help. I replaced the battery. I traced all the wires leading from the steering column to see if anything was wrong. And always the same, the thing would not turn over. One afternoon, in tired desperation, I attempted to jump my truck from my buddy's car, and wouldn't you know it, it fired right up! I was astounded...and very confused. So I let it sit for a while to let the battery charge, parked it on a hill, (in case it didn't want to start again, so I could just do a rolling start) and turned it off hoping for the best. And, no surprise, it didn't start. And what was better is that when I let it roll a bit and put it in gear, it didn't start then either. The engine turned, but no spark. SON OF A @*&$#! So I jumped it again, and brought it back to the house. Several days later and purchasing a multimeter, I was getting frustrated. Eventually, I went slightly insane and decided it was the starter, so I replaced that. Still no good. The only way I could get it to start was from a jump, or hooking up two batteries in series. In a moment of tiredness and laziness, I hooked up one battery with the jumper cables straight to the ignition leads, and lo and behold, it started right up. Using what little sanity I had left, I scrubbed the leads, and not just the terminals, and tried it again. Worked like a charm.
Moral of the story: Start with the simple solutions. My father just said that you always pay for education, whether it's in the class room or out on the street.

P.S. Feel free to laugh/point out my total lack of common sense

Last edited by jpesis; 02-15-2011 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:39 PM #2
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:47 PM #3
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:10 AM #4
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Wow that sucks! We've all been there at one time or another. Hell, most of my lessons are learned by doing it the hardest way possible first lol.

Now you've reminded yourself of a very important lesson in life. "Start with the simple..."

I was helping a buddy of mine re-wire his boat trailer one day. The job should've taken about an hour at most with the two of us. We started at about 10 or 11am. The right turn signal wouldn't work. We retraced wiring on the trailer, wiring on the truck, replaced bulbs, tried wiring up a new harness, tried everything to no avail. At 7pm I looked at him and said "You did check the fuses in your truck right?" It was a damn fuse. Lesson learned...always ask even the stupidest of questions and never assume everyone is on the same page.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:43 PM #5
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And people wonder why the first question tech support asks when you call with a computer problem is "is plugged in" haha.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:44 PM #6
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Don't feel bad. I have learned many, many lessons that way.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:03 PM #7
jpesis jpesis is offline
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Thanks for the condolences guys, I'll keep you all informed of the painful and hilarious lessons I learn from this truck.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:36 PM #8
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Welcome to the club.
I had a similar trailer wiring issue. But it was intermittent function and sometimes dim lights. Then we noticed that whenever someone leaned on the trailer it worked better or worse. (I had 12 high school students waiting to take a canoe trip to Canada, this was the canoe trailer)
Finally I realized, there was no ground wire connection. Just the hitch to ball connection. Simple fix. 3 hour late start on a 12 hour drive.
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