July 16, 2005

More Mini-Van Mechanicin'

Thursday, I went out and started up my vehicle to head on in to work. It fired right up, but I still had to hold my keyswitch to get my guages to function. It's a bit of a pain in the ass, but I can live with it until I come up with a more permanant solution. Got through work, and was preparing for the ride home when I discovered that now Nothing Works. I turn the key, but get absolutely no indication of power from anything in the vehicle. Shit.

I called up by Brother in Law for a ride, but he was way out in North Knoxville, luckily my Cousin was headed right by where I was at, so I got a ride over to my Uncle's (and back) to get some specialty tools that I needed. I tore the steering wheel off, and began to try and see what I could do to get my van started. After about an hour of futzing with it, I determined that there was nothing I could do to get it started.

(Mechanical Sidenote) Back in the old days, automotive key switches were designed a lot differently than they are today. Cars back in the 70's had a keyswitch that made up all the electrical contacts inside the tumbler itself. Not so with my van. The tumbler assembly just splines onto a little shaft that has a gear on the opposite end of it. The gear meshes with a little lever that goes perpendicular to the keyswitch, and runs down the column. Somewhere down inside the column, that lever makes contact with switches to complete the circuits that allow my vehicle to start and run. In order to get down in there and find out why those contacts weren't being made, I would have had to bull out the steering column completely, and dissamble that thing into a thousand pieces. There's only so far I'm willing to go to get things fixed. (/Sidenote)

Dad decided to let me borrow his car until I could get back in there and fix the problem. That thing is SO fun to drive! It's also a lot of fun seeing the reactions of people when I get out of it. Here's this refined sports/luxury car, and then "Joe-sixpack" climbs out of it in his work uniform. I've gotten a few strange looks, let me tell you. I had his car all day yesterday as well, while he and Mom went and rented a tow dolly and used my Mom's truck to tow my van over to my Uncle's. After work I came home and changed clothes, and then headed over there to work on it.

Since the problem was due to switches not making up, I decided that the cheapest and simplest way to fix it was to just bypass the factory switches and install some new ones. Dad and I went down to the auto parts store and got 3 on/off toggle switches, one "Momentary" toggle, and some assorted conectors. Total price: $20.00. (The alternative would have been to replace the entire steering column, and I'm certain that it would have been well over that amount.) Dad and I wired them up, and I mounted them on a cover panel that sits below my steering wheel. Now I'm all "nascar" style. Flip the switches for Accessory, Run, and Radio, then bump the Momentary to activate the Starter, and it's off to the races. The only thing that the keyswitch does now is lock the wheel and shift lever, and activates the warning buzzer. That'll be a lot of fun to explain to the salesman when I go to trade this thing in someday.

Hard to tell I'm a redneck huh?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at July 16, 2005 10:43 AM | TrackBack

Perhaps your Dad will loan you the "chic magnet" for about a month....

you will no longer have a "fix it" blog

you will be to busy shagging women

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at July 16, 2005 11:08 AM

What?!? No duct tape in the fix?!? Somethin' just wrong with that!!

Posted by: Tammi at July 16, 2005 11:47 AM

Hey there Mom. I like the way you think! I tried to convince him that my van wasn't fixed yet, but he didn't buy it for a second. :^(

Yeah Tammi. I didn't even use any Baling Wire neither. Maybe they'll come and take my "Redneck" membership card away if this gets out. Keep it on the "QT" willya?

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at July 16, 2005 01:37 PM

"I decided that the cheapest and simplest way to fix it was to just bypass the factory switches and install some new ones."

You go MacGyver! :-)

Posted by: Harvey at July 16, 2005 02:55 PM
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