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Auto/Truck/Other Transportation If you use it to get from here to there, this is the place to talk about it and how to fix it.

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  #1  
Old 09-10-2015, 01:04 AM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Unhappy Oops! It did it again!

A while back I started a thread about false warning lights in our Subaru due to a loose ground (negative) connection at the battery. When my wife was driving home from town this afternoon, the cruise control shut itself off, the "check engine" light came on, the "brake" light came on, and the "anti-skid" control light came on - all at the same time. From past experience, she suspected what was happening, so she simply drove on home.

When she got here and told me about it, I once again went out at tightened the connection at the negative battery post. All of the warning lights went away - again. And the cruise control starting working again.

I suspect there may be a loose connection inside the battery itself because the last time this happened I coated the negative battery post with “KOPR-SHIELD”. “KOPR-SHIELD” is the trade name for a real messy, grease-like compound containing powdered copper. Where I used to work, we used “KOPR-SHIELD” on critical electrical and electronics connections that had to be low resistance. The negative battery connection on our Subaru should not have gone bad again so soon – it’s only been a few months. And in fact, it seemed tight enough before I tightened it some more. So the only thing I can figure is a loose connection is inside the battery. I’ll replace the battery before winter gets here.

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  #2  
Old 09-10-2015, 02:16 AM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Sounds like it is being haunted.

Seriously (well, tongue in cheek serious) about a month ago I was driving the Jeep (I abuse it, but love it) and was sitting at a left turn lane off of the highway. Low idle, the thing just shuts down. Light changes green, I hit the emergency lights, and start flapping wildly for people to go around me.

Luckily, I keep tools in the jeep, so I pop the hood and check the battery terminals. The ground was loose, so I tightened it up. She then started back up, and I was on my merry way to the hardware store. Rechecked the terminals. Good to go for another two weeks.

Next, I'm loading the Jeep up, close the tail gate, and the horn beeps. I'm like, wtf? So I blow it off an continue on my merry way.

The next week, one headlight goes out on high beams, so I switch to lows, and they are completely out. This happens, of course, as I'm leaving a bar Up Nord. Luckily, my fogs and auxiliary lights still work, so no real problem. (edit - next morning, everything worked fine)

Then, I'm heading to the bank a week later, and the windshield wipers start up and stop right at the maximum point of visual distraction. Along with everything else, this puts me in a confused and worried frame of mind.

Finally, today - heading through my small town Up Nord, and the windshield wipers start going and the horn starts up non-stop. Since I am now a hardened skeptic, I did not panic as much as I may have - so I pulled into a body shop parking lot shut her off. Start her up. Still going. Shut her off, start her up. All is good and it's ice cream and popsicles for everyone again.

So I can either assume the Jeep is haunted or there is a logical explanation for all this.

Option 1: The computer is about to go kaput. It will probably go kaput when I'm either on the highway or somewhere will it will draw a lot of attention when it does.

Option 2: The electrical system has been compromised by my installation of various electrical doo-dads meant to improve the quality of my driving experience. This Jeep has that system where it sends out electrical current to everything all the time, that is meant to make life simple and throw out an error code when a light bulb or whatnot goes out. Like I wouldn't be able to tell that without the computer telling me that.

So, I would ask:

Q1: Have you modified the electrical system in any way that might be messing with the computer?

Q2: The computer might be on it's last legs.

Q3: If Q1 and Q2 don't apply, do you have holy water and a bible (or equivalent alternatives) and are prepared to perform an excorcism (or equivalent)?
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:53 AM
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Bearfootfarm Male Bearfootfarm is offline
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It sounds like you've put a lot of effort into one end of the cables.

Have you checked the connection on the other end for tightness/corrosion?

It's also possible the cable itself is corroded on the inside underneath the insulation.

I'd inspect and possibly replace both cables before replacing any higher priced parts
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:21 AM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
It sounds like you've put a lot of effort into one end of the cables.

Have you checked the connection on the other end for tightness/corrosion?

It's also possible the cable itself is corroded on the inside underneath the insulation.

I'd inspect and possibly replace both cables before replacing any higher priced parts
Yeah, thanks Bearfootfarm.
I have indeed suspected the connection on the other end or the cable of being loose or corroded. The fact is, that's where I found the problem on the '78 Subaru we used to own. I tried to inspect that connection on the 2009 Subaru we now own this afternoon. But my wife had just gotten home from town and the engine was hot, so I just let it go, rather than burn myself while trying to get to it. I will definitely inspect that connection, as well as both battery cables before replacing anything expensive.

I DO have a question though - I can't remember when we replaced the battery. It says on it that it has a 5-year guarantee, and the date Les Schwab punched out was 3&4/Dec. Do you have any idea what that means? With my luck, it probably means I have to pay full price for a new battery, right?
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:04 PM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Ha! You might be right about our Subaru needing an exorcism performed on it Kachad. I don’t have any holy water in my tool shed though, and I wouldn’t know how to use it if I did.

Naw, I’ve never made any changes at all to the car’s electrical system. Other than normal maintenance (oil changes, air filter changes, tires, and one new battery) all we’ve done is drive that car – for 138,000 miles in fact. Oh yeah, I did have the timing belt replaced at about the 100,000 mile mark.

The possibility of the computer being on its last leg has crossed my mind. I hope that’s not it, but I suppose it’s a possibility that when I disconnect the car’s battery to clean and tighten the connections, what I’m actually doing is just resetting the computer, rather than fixing the problem.

Because I spent better than half my life doing maintenance work as an Industrial Instrumentation and Control Technician, I’m kind of stubborn about fixing things myself. No, that’s not quite true – I’m downright anal about it. While I really do appreciate the improvements of modern day automobiles over the automobiles of yesteryear, they can be frustrating to a “do-it-yourselfer” like me.

I guess maybe I should just get over it and realize that I’m too darned old to be repairing cars myself anyway. In fact, I already realized something like that many years ago. I had an impeccable ’55 T-Bird with a big 390 Ford engine in it when my wife and I got married. I loved that car, but I had to tinker with it every darned week to keep it on the road. Back then my wife and I couldn’t afford to have two cars, so that classic T-Bird was our only transportation. Because my wife couldn’t do the constant repairs and maintenance the car required, and I was being shipped overseas for 6 months, I knew we needed a newer, more dependable automobile. So I sold my beautiful T-Bird. But it doesn’t matter anymore – last weekend my wife and I drove through the Ford dealer’s lot. My wife has in mind replacing our Subaru with one of those new, modern T-Birds. Either that or a Jeep. Either one would be fine with me.
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:06 PM
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Bearfootfarm Male Bearfootfarm is offline
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I'd take it to where ever you bought the battery and let them test it, and interpret the date codes, but if it was replaced before 2010 you will pay full price anyway.

I would think the year the battery was sold would be on it, and the numbers punched are days, but it's been a while since I had the need to look at one (knock on wood)
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:52 PM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
I'd take it to where ever you bought the battery and let them test it, and interpret the date codes, but if it was replaced before 2010 you will pay full price anyway.

I would think the year the battery was sold would be on it, and the numbers punched are days, but it's been a while since I had the need to look at one (knock on wood)
I'm fairly certain we bought the battery at Les Schwab, but it's beyond me why the darned receipt isn't in the car's glove compartment. The glove compartment is where we almost always shove all receipts for parts and repairs to every auto we've ever owned.

I can't imagine the battery being over 5 years old. The car itself is only 6 years old, and we bought it new. It has 138,000 miles on it mostly because before my wife retired, she was driving almost 30 miles each way, back and forth to work, 5 days a week. Now that she's "retired," she only drives the car 3 days a week, 34 miles each way, back and forth to our church. Immediately, upon "retirement" my lovely wife took on the part time job as our church's Secretary/Clerk. No, the job doesn't pay enough to cover the cost of the fuel and wear and tear on our Subaru. But my wife loves her part time job at the church. So I guess you could say she uses our Subaru for "recreational purposes only" nowadays. I doubt the insurance company would buy that and reduce our rates though.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:10 PM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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I had a 66 T-Bird with the 390. Of course it was twice as big as your 55, but oh was that thing comfortable to cruise around in.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:24 PM
m37 Male m37 is offline
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not sure on a sub but if it was a dodge i would say wheel and hub bearing
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:53 PM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Thanks for your responses everyone.

I was wrong about where we bought the battery. My wife found the receipt and it turned out we bought it at Big-O tires rather than Les Schwab tires. I took it to Big-O and had it tested though, and they said there was nothing wrong with it.

None of that makes a darn bit of difference now because my lovely wife decided she'd waited long enough for her menopause-mobile. She traded the Subaru in on a 2015 Jeep Wrangler (2-door).

I'm kidding her a lot about her vehicle choice, but I don't really mind. She spent a lot of years working for various politicians in the county government, so she's earned her whatever she wants to drive.
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