Check your car wiring

I was watching TV around 9.30pm last night when I got a call from my bro.

His car (our family’s almost 2 deacade old ‘hand me down’ Proton Saga 1.3S) failed to start. Luckily, he was at my unlce’s house, about 5 mins drive from where I’m staying.

How really seasoned is this Proton Saga? Well, bought back in 1988 with a 1.3 MAGMA 8V engine, it has gone through 1 engine transplant (a 1996 WIRA 1.3GL 12V engine in May 1999) & a top overhaul just over 2 years ago. On top of that, we’ve had it repainted once entirely and many many times for minor touch ups (due to some lumps and bumps with other cars and objects on the Malaysian roads & also due to some very ‘experieiced’ Malaysian drivers).

Having clocked almost 3/4 of a 1,000,000 KM (from the most northern tip of peninsular Malaysia & crossing over the JB causeway into Singapore, over the Penang Bridge and over the mountains to the east coast), I’d guess that the tyres must have been replaced a dozen of times.

Since it was already 9.30pm, my best guess was to go and buy a new car battery because the one in the Saga was already 2 years old. After some DIY, with a few wrenches and a torch light, we got the new battery hooked up within 30 mins. And voila! The Saga’s engine was up and running.

Too good to be true, I told my bro, Nazeem, to drive around the block for 5 to 10 mins, just to make sure things were ok. We also started & shut down the eigine a few times to make sure that the alternator & new battery were working. When everything looked ‘A’ ok, he was off, back to his house in Shah Alam.

LUCKILY, he just happened to stop at the nearby petrol kiosk for fuel when what seemed ok just 10 mins back FAILED. Yes, the Saga couldn’t start again. So after tonnes of effort trying to restart the car at the petrol kiosk, I just called our cousin (who’s an aircraft engineer in training) to pickup Nazeem & told them we’d settle the issue today because it was already past midnight by then. He spent the night at my uncle’s house.

To settle the matter, around 10am this morning, I picked up one of the machanics near my uncle’s house (thank goodness there’s a workshop nearby!) and brought him and Nazeem to the petrol kiosk where the Saga ‘spent the night’. It took the mechanic 20 mins to diagnose that an old fuse had blown & some wiring needed to be redone. Within 20 mins, the Saga’s engine was running again & Nazeem drove it to the workshop where they had a complete set of tools for the minor ‘operation’.

It took the mechanic about an hour to remove some old wires, replace some old fuses & also install new battery terminal clips. Less wires, some new components & everything
intact, Nazeem was off again to Shah Alam in the Saga (this of course was after some lunch, a brand new battery for the car and RM 100++ later).

So, for all you ‘antique’ car owners out there, take note of all those extra gadgets hooked up directly to the car battery (eg: audio amplifiers, headlights, alarm systems) so that they do not cause an overload. One good idea would be to install some grounding wire, hooked up to the battery’s (-)ve terminal.

Good Luck ! 

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