Really Stepping Into It Now

My car’s been running fine recently, but I’m worried. This is because when it runs well for any length of time it usually means that something is about to break. In this case that thing was the ignition switch. You may recall last August I changed out this switch from the one that came with the car. I bought an aftermarket part from iPd as the originals are no longer made. I figured “It’s just a rotary switch! How crappy could aftermarket be?” And that’s where it began, really.

First Things First

One morning I went out to my car to run an errand and I found that my car was running a bit wonky. I’ve found that when you put a lot of effort into fixing a car you become very attuned to its every sound and feeling. When my engine doesn’t sound quite right or the acceleration seems sluggish I know it. This day I was sensing this sort of intangible difference in the running of my engine. My suspicion was a vacuum leak, so when I got back home I popped the hood and started looking around. Using the carb cleaner spray technique I found no obvious leaks, but when I took the flame trap hose off I found something interesting. I had bought on of the iPd gooseneck flame trap relocation kits that was meant to make it easier to remove the trap for cleaning. This is what I found:

As the cracks were around where the hose connects to the various inlets and outlets, so I don’t know if this was actually causing a problem but it obviously had to go. I reinstalled the old one. Fast forward to the next day. I once again get into the car, turn the key and… nothing. No crank. No anything. 

My first thought was that the battery had drained overnight, but that tested fine. That left either the starter switch or the starter motor itself. The car wasn’t parked in the driveway and I didn’t want to start digging into the dashboard on the street. I had to get the car into the driveway. If the problem was with the switch rather than the starter I should be able to start it by connecting the starter directly to the battery. To do this one should really use a remote starter switch. They sell them online, but they’re so simple, just a switch and two long wires with alligator clips at the end. I had all that stuff on hand. I soldered the wires to the button, epoxied the button into a length of PVC, and wrapped the whole thing in electrical tape. I give you, the Delux Start-o-Matic 2000!

I took the Start-o-Matic to the car, attached one end to the signal terminal on the starter (a small spade terminal connected to a blue and yellow wire) and the other to positive terminal of the battery. I turned the key to position three to start the fuel relay and pushed the button. The engine started right up and I moved the car into the drive.

I’ll leave it there for now, but if you’d like to see a sneak peek at what comes next…