Suddenly dead as a doornail

(Rob Ward) #1

Morning – bucket list box ticked: driving around Dry Creek/Healdsburg. Started no problem (3 times), battery apparently charging normally. Fabulous morning.

Afternoon – (stopped for a hour!) dead as a doornail. Not a flicker, no lights, no turnover. Can’t see any loose connections anywhere.

AAA on their way but any ideas? Either they will jump it and we’ll know the battery suddenly failed, or they won’t and I’ll be on the flatbed back to San Francisco tomorrow morning.


(Joel F Hutchins) #2

If there is no power, no lights, no horn etc. I would think first about battery connections. Remove both positive and negative clean and reapply and do the same for the ground connection to the body.
My first thoughts and I hope you drive it home.

Regards, Joel.

(69 FHC ) #3

Yes. More than once I’ve had that happen to various cars. Each time it was corrosion between the clamp on the battery cable.

(craig Wright) #4

I agree with joel. Most likely one of the batery connections. If it is the jumper won’t work. It’s probobly dark and you can’t see anything. Grab each of the battery clamp, one at a time and twist it if it moved turn on the headlights and do it again. I suspect the lights will flicker and there may be some sparking from one or both terminals. Wait for AAA THEY will have flashlight and tools. Good luck and let’s us know if AAA gets you going.

(Jerry Mills) #5

Agree with all said so far. I would add to look for capillary corrosion near the connectors under the insulation / heat shrink.
Have had that happen when the terminals looked perfect.

(Rob Ward) #6

Not sure whether to admit this or delete the post and pretend it didn’t happen…

i’d hit the battery kill-switch with my knee.

I’d rather look stupid and go wine tasting tomorrow than it be a bigger issue and go back home on a flatbed.


Thanks everyone.

(Jerry Mills) #7

Was this before or after extensive wine tasting ???
Of course NOONE here has ever done that.

(Joel F Hutchins) #8

Hey look, you made all of us happy and you are happy because you get to go wine tasting tomorrow, what’s the problem?
Those of us that guessed the battery were correct as there was no power from the battery and you just had to flip a switch to get things working again.
Now those of us that have not done something stupid may have now stand up!

Regards, Joel.

(craig Wright) #9

Always better to be a stupid one that is easily fixed. But I bet that won’t happen again.

(D Barnes) #10

Yep I did the same thing a few months ago. Took me about 10 minutes to remember I had flipped the kill switch just a few minutes before when I went into the store. Short term memory I guess is not as good as it used to be. I just hope any would-be thief’s are as gullible as I am and will move on.

68 E-type FHC

(69 FHC ) #11

Positive spin: You now know the kill switch is effective and might just confuse a potential thief. :grin:

(Art) #12

My money is on the battery. I have had two fail over the years without out any problems before hand.

(Robin O'Connor) #13

Already sorted it was the kill switch, OP forgot/accidentally hit it.

(Rob Ward) #14

I should close the loop on this one with a few pics and a video.

Firstly in my defence I have to point out that it was I rather than the AAA guy that found the problem…

After I’d checked all the connections and couldn’t find any issue, all things (to me at any rate) pointed to battery suddenly bereft of life, ceased to be, pushing up the daisies as it were, so I settled down for a glass of wine and waited for AAA to arrive and work it out. When he told me the battery was fine and that he was flummoxed, I was about to ask him to come back the following morning with his flatbed to give me a ride home when I thought to check the wires around the ignition, which is when I noticed the kill switch at 45 degrees. Not once in over a year of at least daily driving had I done it before.

Anyway, happily I was able to go out and play a little the following day, although you can see the smoke from the wildfires was pretty terrible. (to be clear I’m not complaining about my visibility being affected while hundreds of people lost their homes…)

Excuse the aim of the videographer, clearly it wasn’t me and it’s entirely possible he was as pissed a fart.

(Nick 53 XK120 OTS) #15

veeerrry nice ! easy fix you discovered,I did have a vette that would just barely click the starter,sometimes not at all, it would not even jump start,and yet still the problem was somehow the connection of the lead battery cable connector clamp,or somehow the clamp itself: ,not even connector to wire, it was the connector itself that oddly did not pass current,so when jump cable was on the clamp,nothin,new clamp,all fine, I’d have said it maybe the clamp had some coating on it,but it was not a new clamp, and had started fine for a year until suddenly it did not, It did not appear corroded, How odd,

(Doug) #16

My guess is that there was corrosion and it was internal to the clamp, between the copper and the lead.

(Robin O'Connor) #17

Only one comment on the video, should have been in second!!! :slight_smile: