So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013
One of the most annoying problems when repairing something is intermittent failures. If it's broke all the time, the problem can be chased down. When something fails, but only occasionally, finding the culprit can be a heck of a lot harder.
A few days ago I took the van down to the store to pick up sine odds and ends. It was supposed to be a there and back again trip. Getting there was fine, but then the van would not start. The starter motor would not do a thing. We just came back from a long trip to the coast and had no problems.
Out came the tool box. The battery is almost new, but I had to start somewhere. I took the terminals apart and cleaned everything. They didn't look bad, but you never know. At any rate, that didn't work. The vehicle is a Ford ES 350 one ton diesel van, so the engine is hard to get to. Pulling the doghouse inside the cab didn't reveal anything obvious.
To complicate matters, my camper van is a converted ambulance. That means on top of the crappy Ford electronics is a massive overlay of stuff installed by Wheeled Coach. Ambulances are full of electronic gizmos and I don't understand half of it.
After tinkering with it for a while I borrowed the store's phone and called my wife to pick me up. While waiting for her I decided to pull apart the main ambulance switch panel. There was a clicking sound in there like a stuck relay. After jiggling things around a bit, and pushing on all the wire connections, the van started up.
I called my lovely wife, but she'd already left home to get me. Good thing is was only a couple miles away.
I'm happy the van started, but I've no idea if anything I did actually affected the outcome. It could be something as simple as the starter motor starting to fail. Since then, I've driven about 300 more miles with lots of starting and stopping. Zero problems.
However, it did fail me once so I keep expecting it to fail again. Only after a long stretch of no problems will I relax a bit.
Sometimes I think people messed up when we let our transportation become more complicated than a canoe.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.