Charge of the light brigade
For a little while the Rover 2000 has been cranking slowly from a low battery which Id put down to lack of use and had taken to using a maintenance charger, but as the car has been in a garage without mains power this is a convoluted effort involving a good battery and an inverter to power the charger, so one Saturday when I’d forgotten to top it up and it wouldn’t start I wasn’t surprised.
After a jump start I set off to a P6 club cars and coffee meet with my young son, but after a fuel stop the car again refused to start and this time jump starting didn’t work, so it was a call to the nice people in yellow vans.
The AA man arrived quickly – he’d been helping another driver at the same petrol station – and started the car from his van, initially suspecting a worn-out battery but further investigation revealed a kippered alternator. As the battery is new, a recharge had been enough to run the car for short journeys and mask the problem. He also noticed the ignition warning light had burned out, so no warning from that either.
With the Rover home, I got the old alternator off and a replacement ordered. As before, the new one needed the pulley to be swapped from the previous
unit so it fits the drive belt
spacing. I don’t have fond memories of the last time I tried this, since trying to hold the rotating parts still while undoing the nut ended up damaging the fan so this time I wanted to do it properly and clamp it still.
Over Christmas I treated myself to a proper workshop space in the garage, and now with a decent workbench I can at last bolt down a decent vice so ordered a Draper BV150/L from drapertools.com, with 150mm jaws it’s big enough and solid enough to clamp the alternator pulley firmly while I piled on enough force to undo the nut, which came undone in seconds, unlike the age of forcing and swearing last time, and then repeat with the other alternator.
I gave the old pulley a quick spray with black enamel to smarten it up and once it was dry popped it on the new alternator and into the vice to tighten up. I don’t know if there is a phrase about the right tool making a tricky job easy but there really should be!
Fitting it back on the car seemed to be an awful lot harder than taking it off but with it bolted back in place the battery is charging again as it should, and a new bulb in the dash should let me know if it’s not.
With fresh enthusiasm to get tit back on the road I gave the MR2 a gallon of fresh fuel and borrowed a battery but for the first time since I’ve owned it, it didn’t start.
Normally it fires on the button and I shuffle it around the drive to keep it fresh, even using it to tow non-running cars up the sloping drive now and then!
The plugs look a bit ropey but a test showed they are sparking a bit, and there’s a strong smell of fuel so I’ll have to run through the basics over the next few days and find what’s not happening. Meanwhile, thanks to www. drapertools.com for sorting me out a good deal on the vice.
I gave the MR2 a gallon of fresh fuel and borrowed a battery but for the first time since I’ve owned it, it didn’t start
The new alternator was clamped in the vice...
....so the pulley could be undone.
Swappng the pulleys over didn’t take too long.
Tightening up the new pulley on the shaft was easy.