Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mustang - Starter Solenoid Replacement

My car ate someone!
Well, not really, but it certainly looks that way in the first photo.
The story: Musty has an appointment to get...well, less musty. We wake up early with lots to do -first thing being dropping the car off by 8am to the detailer's.
T starts the car and everything is perfect. I go to get my purse and T is in the car. Something happens and the ignition key gets pulled out or falls out from the ignition - BANG! The car makes a noise like a cannon going off - duck 'n' cover she's gonna blow!
Eventually, once my heart attack is over, T tries to restart the car. Heart attack morphs into heart break as we realize the car will not start. T feels horrible, I feel horrible, D feels horrible - and all of use are tired and cranky as it is so early on a Saturday morning.
Resigning ourselves to a very different day than the one we had planned - D changes into yard-work clothes and T calls the detailer, and I pop the hood.

D takes a roll under to see if anything fell or if there is anything obvious on the underside of the engine while I take a snapshot and poke around above the engine looking for things that would be an obvious break.

Unfortunately, we find no snapped cables or hoses. There is nothing clearly screaming at us to say, "hey, I broke just a minute ago!"

T goes to go get breakfast for everyone. Saint.

D and I go through the internet. Check the battery, check the connections, clean the connections, charge it - basically give the thing a backrub and a love letter, but the car will not start.

The battery is not the problem.

Next up, according to the internet, is the starter solenoid.

D and I walk over to the auto shop nearby (I love that there is a auto shop nearby) and pick up the part and I also find a new manual for the car. Yays! We also get drinks which helps to make everyone feel better.

Next, I get to play Dr. Who and fiddle with my Tardis using 3 sonic screwdrivers. Yes, I realize that's very dorky...but continuing on...

I disconnect the battery, grab a towel and a storage container lid and make myself a little operating tray. Perhaps its because I don't know the names of all the tools and I don't know where they all go or where they can all be found - but I'm much more organized than the others when it comes to taking things apart and putting them back together.

I like to take photos of things before I remove them - even better if I can take a picture of the tool that removes the thing AND the thing in it's original position before I remove it. That way, when I'm going backward trying to put things back together, I have a detailed map of the directions to follow.

2 Things I learned:

Did you know - battery cables come in two colors - a red and a black one? Since both of mine are red AND black, and I didn't know which side of the battery was which, and neither did D, we spent some time poking around the edges of the battery box looking for markings of any kind to show us which was the 'kill-me' wire and which one would 'let us live.' We wrapped the 'let us live' wire in tape for future car adventures.

You can make yourself feel better (ie, I have no idea if it actually helps) by capping the battery ends in a cut-up dried sponge? I grabbed a sponge and a drill and made a hole to fit over the battery nodes because I kept envisioning myself fried on the side of the car. Not sure if it would actually protect me - also, don't care 'cause it let me work on the car without freaking out. (no, that's not steel wool on the top)

So, eventually I replaced the solenoid. Yes!
Unfortunately, that wasn't the problem. Boo! :-(

Next, in the internet and the manual (engine tips chapter) is a faulty / damaged starter. The starter is a chunk of metal about the size of a 2 week old dachshund puppy but is weighs about as much as a 2 year old dachshund. Thanks to the internet, and gentleman Mustang-enthusiast, I've been gifted one.

Don't worry Musty- we'll fix you yet!

Before - old solenoid
After - new solenoid


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