Posts tagged with “alternator”

Burn, Boobs & Battery

Thursday, 7 May, 2015


My bakkie just returned from a trip to AfrikaBurn. Without me, though. A bunch of biokinetics offered their trade as a gift at the Burn, and required transport to get them and their stuff there. So my bakkie was called up for patriotic duty.


I have never been to AfrikaBurn, but it seems like a rather interesting occasion. Testament thereto my friend who borrowed the bakkie sent me a picture of a nude lady on a bicycle taken at Afrikaburn. Being mos well mannered, I thanked him for the picture of the bicycle.

“What picture of the bicycle?” he asks.

“Hoe bedoel meneer dan nou? The one you just sent me.”

“Can’t be,” he said. “I sent you a picture of your bakkie.”

Upon revisiting the picture I actually found my bakkie on it. It was taken to commemorate the moment my bakkie arrived at AfrikaBurn. In my defence I have to add that the bakkie was not exactly centre in the picture, hence me focusing on the wrong part. Of the picture, I mean. My friend never noticed the (lady on the) bicycle when he took the picture, nor when he sent me the picture.

So he says.


But I digress. I know that the esteemed readers on this site would be more interested in mechanical stuff, so let me get to the actual purpose of my contribution. The return trip, I was subsequently advised, did not go exactly uneventful.

Upon returning from the AfrikaBurn, about 30km’s out on the road the bakkie’s radio suddenly stopped working. After a while the bakkie also stopped working. Sort of like a sympathy strike, verstaan. It died down, and would not respond to attempts to have it started. After jumping the battery from another AfrikaBurner on his way home, the bakkie started, and off they went again. After 20 km’s the same thing happened.Apparently the Calvinia-Ceres gravel road at that point in time looked like the N1 inbound to Cape Town on a normal working day. Only, the people were friendlier, and with the goodness and wellbeing of the Burn not yet sucked out of them by ordinary life. So there was no shortage of people stopping to assist.

One of these Samaritans then noticed a loose connection at the alternator. The recalcitrant set of cables was reconnected to the alternator, and off they went again. After a further 50 kilometres, the occupants of the bakkie started breathing normal again and event sat down with their full weight on the seats. Things were going well. In fact, it continued to go well for the rest of the journey, which included some two hour driving with headlights on. Eventually they arrived home safely. So it would appear that everything had been sorted by putting the cable back.

It just goes to show what it can do to an old dame when friendly hands mess around underneath her hood now and then, nuh.


Testing, testing, testing

But I needed to know for sure that the problem had been sorted.

The offending cable was subsequently been pointed out to me. I then tried to Google wiring diagrams to try to figure out what the purpose of that cable would be. But if you have difficulties changes a blown light bulb, these kinds of diagrams, apart from looking impressive, means absolutely nothing to you. I found the picture of my bakkie arriving at AfrikaBurn a lot more interesting. I could understand the beauty of it.

So I just popped in at my autolec where one of his assistants had a quick look at the wiring.

Albertus could immediately confirm to me that the combination of the two wires would have caused (a) the battery warning light not to work and (b) the battery not to charge. Nuh.

So I am happy to report that the problem has indeed been fixed.

I enjoy the

Starter motor woes

Thursday, 5 January, 2012

By PG Jonker

Colin sent me a mail with a few suggestions regarding the problem I had (have) with my starter motor.  So I thought I’ll do a follow up on the previous story.

For quite a while I’ve had a starting hassle on my 1998 Mazda Magnum B3400 4×4 DC.  For more than a year I’ve had this occasional “hoi” from the starter when commanded to start the engine. Invariably on the second attempt the engine would start. So although I assume it was not designed to operate in this fashion, I’m rather forgiving of this old lady, given her 265 000km’s, so I was quite happy to proceed in this fashion.

But then I got invited on the Namaqua 4×4 trip, and I thought I’d better get the problem sorted. So off I went to the auto electrician to have the batter replaced.


No, sir, you’re battery is fine, but the alternator gives less than 12Volts through to the battery instead of more than 13 Volts, so that’s where the problem lies. Having run out of time by then before departure on the trip, the guys did not have time to rebuild my existing Lucas, and replaced it with an already rebuilt Bosch.

Three days later we departed on our trip. After 200km’s the new alternator developed a cannibalistic streak and ate up the new fan belt. Fortunately I was right at the turn off to Citrusdal where the local Toyota dealer was still open and managed to find a fan belt that he could more or less fit. More or less, because we had to put the bakkie in 5th gear and push it to get the crank moving so that he could get the belt on. I bought a spare. But actually I don’t do technical. It will be a lot simpler just to keep pantyhoses at hand rather than to attempt doing this job by myself.

“Hoi hoi hoi!”

OK, off we went. However, the bakkie in the meantime persisted with a “hoi” from the engine compartment. Mmm…. It was more acute when the engine worked hard.

During the course of the 4×4 trip I heard a funny kirri-ki-kirre sound which I thought might be from the transfer box. Back at home it turned out to be the pully of the alternator that was loose. Fortunately it held for the duration of the trip!


OK, but now I still have my starting problem. Back to the auto-electrician. Then started three days of fun at the workshop.

First they changed the battery to a bigger one (I knew mine is too small), but it did not solve the problem. Off came the starter [1]. A new solonoid was fitted, and it was put back on. Then it did not work at all. Off came the starter [2] and the solonoid replaced with some more reputable brand. Back on with the starter. It started the engine – but only after a merry “hoi”. Off came the starter [3]. A brand new one was ordered and put on. It made no difference. Off came the new starter [4]. Back on went the old one. No difference. Off came the starter [5].

Now they revisited the cables, reconnecting everything. Also it turned out that this starter is not the one that came with the bakkie. This one was kindly sourced from the scrapyard after my starter burnt out on a previous occasion – which was a rather interesting story for another occasion. So they added a further (armature?) winding to increase the output of the starter. Back up went the starter.

From then on it performed like clockwork – in the workshop.

So I went home. The few times I had to start it, it worked well. The next day I took a short trip with the bakkie. Upon starting it again, it said “kgggg” …