Friday, January 23, 2009

How you do a simple thing.

The day didn't go nearly as bad as I thought it would. I slept in a bit this morning, and I'm sure that helped. After breakfast, we went out to the garage and gave Leroy a jump from the Defiant. I was sitting there in the garage watching them while Sue showered and got dressed. I suppose I didn't really need to be out there, but I just don't trust people enough to leave two open, unlocked, running cars sitting in my driveway. After Sue finished, I went in and got ready. By the time I made it back out, Leroy had enough juice to make to the parts place. We both headed out - Sue to work, me across town. I got over to the parts store without more than a couple of battery issues. I started worrying about my alternator (happened once in college and I can't let it go). Went fine but my car battery died. I could tell it was going to go soon so it wasn’t a surprise. Did make sure I had jumper cables in the trunk though.

I walked into the auto parts store and asked for a car battery. The guy behind the counter said "What's it going in?" My first response was "A car." Then I thought a little more and said "'03 Mustang". Took him a little bit to look it up, but it turned out he had one in stock. I paid the man the hundred bucks and went out to the car. Went to K-Mart and bought a die hard that fit my car. After popping open the hood, I realized that in all the excitement, I had left without any tools. And those batteries don't exactly come out like double-A's. I run back into the store and ask to borrow a wrench. Guy asks if I need it to get the posts off, I say yes, and he hands me a pair of pliers. Great. Those work awesome to loosen bolts. I’m not a fucking idiot so I took it home to work on it. I did have to jump the car with the new batter to get it started, but that only took about 30 seconds. Too bad it wasn’t warmer. Oh well, when you don’t live in the south you just have to accept the winter and move on. Unless you’re a whiny bitch.

So I've got my head up under the hood trying to find any kind of angle to loosen those bolts with a pair of pliers. Much to my surprise, the pliers did actually loosen the bolts. Oh, it took some doing. It took me a minute to find the 8mm driver to loosen the connectors but I’d made sure to do this when I wasn’t pressed for time so no stress. But I’d made sure to I mean, it's not like I had to go to work or anything (now that's some sarcasm right there). I got the black post free. Ten minutes seconds later, I got the both Naturally, I all but shredded the bolts using those pliers. They went from six-sided to ... perfectly round. But they were free. Bolts were fine since I used a socket. I look around the battery trying to find a handle to pull the thing out. No handle. Nothing.
But there were not even a couple of ledges to either side of the battery that I assumed were for lifting. Just barely big enough to get your fingertips underthat I assumed were for lifting.Who the fuck designed a sixty pound block of acid you can only lift with your fingertips?! Holy crap, was there not one single person in the entire design process who said "Really? Fingertips only? What, do you have, like, some kind of freakishly powerful digits? Hold up your johnson-warmers there, Hulk Hands, let me see what you're working with." So I grabbed it by the sides and tried to pick it up.

I'm standing there in the parking lot driveway pulling
for all I'm worth on that stupid thing trying to break it free and it's just not moving. I'm just about to the point of opening the trunk and getting the freakin crowbar out. I'm serious about getting this sumbitch out. But it ain't having it. It sits there in the cold parking lot - mocking me. I pull on that thing until my fingers go numb. The car frame actually stars bouncing from the fingertip ... motion. At this point, I'm pretty sure the problem isn't that I'm a pussy but that the battery is still attached somehow. Than I remembered the battery is bolted down.

I start poking around the entire battery cage and then I notice something towards the bottom. The battery is sitting on a little ledge. But the ledge is a good couple of inches wider than the battery. There's a spacer or something between the battery and the side of the ledge. The spacer is screwed down good. Not knowing what the hell else to do, I reach down in there with the pliers to loosen that screw. After it broke loose, I could finish off with my fingers (they had mostly healed from the earlier fight - well, that or they were finally numb). I got the spacer out of there and then the battery lifted out of there with no trouble. Then it was pop the new one in, put that stupid freakin' spacer back (with screw), and clamp on the leads. I took the old one back into the store, returning the pliers, and said "Here's the old one. That was a much bigger chore than it needed to be." I put a 13mm socket on a 7in extension with a 1/4in. drive and unbolted it. Than I put the new one in, put the old one in the truck to take back for a core exchange bolted it down, connected it, checked that the car started and went to eat dinner. The whole thing took about 15 minutes counting shopping time. Wasn’t out there long enough to get cold.

During all that drama, I got out the User's Manual to see if said anything about changing the battery. It didn't. I wasn't really hopeful but I was pretty upset about the fingertip thing (this was before I found the screwed-down spacer). While I was doing my research, I noticed it had some kind of procedure of what you're supposed to do if you change batteries. Turn the car on until it reaches normal operating temp, let it run for a minute, turn on the A/C full blast (My personal favorite part in 25 degree weather), and let it run for a minute. Then it goes on to say the computer-controlled transmission will be batshite crazy for awhile, until it "re-learns". It seemed to handle well enough just cruising around today though.

That was a lot more trouble than I really wanted first thing this morning easy. Evan after a long day at work. .I'm glad I'm not a little girl. Work went well. enough


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