Well friends I suppose it’s time I admit that the jeep is a living creature and his name is Jeff. I named him after a scoutmaster I used to deal with through Order of the Arrow (the boy scout honor society). You see Jeff and the jeep have a lot of things in common. They are old, they have some dings in them, they are cranky, they don’t function as designed, the list goes on and on… The biggest similarity though is the fact that there is always something wrong, but you know that if you try to figure out what it is… you’re likely to get dragged down the rabbit hole.
Well a few weeks ago the voltmeter on my jeep started periodically just dropping to zero… I did my do diligence of playing with the battery cables and verifying that the alternator is functional. However since I could never get the voltmeter to drop to zero while I was standing still and troubleshooting the issue I chalked it all up to being a new little quark about Jeff that I’m just going to get used to.
Then it rained… and Jeff decided to be a dick. I was working in Indianapolis and we finished up just before lunch. I was excited about having an afternoon unexpectedly off. I left the work sight and drove towards the shop I was working out of for the day. The roads were flooding and the splash factor was high. I pulled up to a stop light and Jeff gave me a giant “up yours”… All electrical systems instantaneously went off line, including my hazard lights… So there I was stranded in the pouring rain, at a busy intersection, with no hazards, and some very pissed off people behind me who thought I was texting instead of going when the light turned green. So I got out of the jeep and pushed it into the ditch.
In my mind the ditch is to Jeff as the corner is to a toddler. It’s someplace you are sent when you’re in time out, and that is exactly where Jeff belonged at that moment. So I called some coworkers and we went and got some burgers, cause screw Jeff. Post Burger King we dragged it to the shop and I worked on figuring things out while they unloaded the box truck that we were actually supposed to be dealing with.
Jeff started right up and showed no symptoms. So I helped finish up the box truck and then headed south… about 15 miles later, this was my view:
Yep, that’s right Jeff did it again, no hazard lights and all… so there I am sitting in the median on the highway with no freak’n hazard lights. I am a proud man, but it was time to give up and call AAA. So there I sat for an hour waiting… with no hazard lights… contemplating just giving Jeff an old school cremation right there in the middle of the highway.
I refrained and got Jeff back out to the farm and abandoned him by the shop. It took me a few days to become less angry and have the time to work on Jeff. My first suspicion were the batter clamps. I replaced them and there was no improvement. So I took the battery into town to have it tested, the battery was toast. So I replaced the battery and Jeff started up perfectly. So I disconnected the battery while it was running to verify that the alternator wasn’t the actual issue (sometimes they fry batteries). It checked out and I did a happy dance.
5 miles down the road the voltmeter dropped to zero again. But he is still running and I now know that the alternator is probably intermediately trying to make my battery explode. But I have work… so for now it is a game of chicken. Who will blink first me or Jeff. Will I take the time to replace the alternator? Will Jeff make my battery actually explode? Will I just leave him in the ditch if he does?
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