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The problem with these electric cars...


Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
While Tessie gets repaired (after an incident with a fawn), I've been taking the opportunity to drive my other car built in the same Fremont factory, 50 years ago: 1965 Pontiac Tempest/LeMans GTO.

Here's today's "WTF Pontiac?" moment:

While driving down the road today, suddenly the car just died... everything in it - no lights, no engine, no radio, nothing at all.


That right there is *the* main +12V wire that runs everything on the car. It connects to the starter, which is where the battery cable runs to, and feeds everything else that needs 12V. See that rust-covered part on the right? Exhaust pipe. So the primary wire - required to run *everything* in the car - is located 1/2 inch from a 1,000 degree (F) part. WTF Pontiac?

Now, normally the car wouldn't die while already running, because the alternator would continue to generate the necessary ignition power, but it appears the 50-year-old alternator has decided to retire and collect its pension as well. As it turns out, this was a *good* thing, because otherwise the car would have continued running until I made it to my destination 30 miles away, I would have shut the car off, and then experienced the problem instead of it being on my lane road where I had more options.

As it turns out, I was able to wiggle the positive battery cable and get that wire to connect briefly so that I could limp the car back home.

But these electric cars... geez! They'll never take off!
Heat might melt the insulation, but you wouldn't think it would compromise the wire. Wonder if your engine mounts are wearing out and allowed the wire to touch the exhaust?

The mounts are ok. The wire is in an odd position, and I don't doubt that vibration has gotten to the wire over 50 years. The extreme heat there, plus vibration, is going to make that wire a bit brittle after 5 decades.

The wire is broken but the insulation is hanging on. Occasionally the wire touches and makes a connection now.

If that wire touched the exhaust, we'd have a much bigger set of problems - it would create an unfused dead short, and would likely create far more problems than just a burned connection.

(For what it's worth, that wire is red just a few inches from that spot. :) )
All fixed... it took a LOT of swearing to get the starter reinstalled after a rebuild, and I got the wires out of the way. She sounds great again, for a 50 year old car.

That sound is one of the only things I miss when driving the Model S...

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