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Back In Action With New Battery, Alternator - 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited June 2015 in Chevrolet
imageBack In Action With New Battery, Alternator - 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test

Our 1966 Chevrolet Corvette failed to start one day. We gave it a jump and took it to Pep Boys for a replacement battery. And it was just the start of our problems.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Posts: 862
    Not too bad cost while for critical components of the electrical system. Interesting also as I've never had anything replaced at a Pep Boys.
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,888
    Just about the simplest job to do, and they have Pep Boys do it. As for being surprised at the less-than-red-carpet treatment...really?
  • misterfusionmisterfusion Posts: 471
    edited June 2015
    Last time I was stranded at work with a dead battery, I had a co-worker drive me to Pep Boys (5 minutes away), bought the battery, drove back to the office parking lot, and swapped-out the battery. Boom, $10 saved. Then I drove my car back to PB and dropped-off the old battery as arranged. The entire process took maybe 30 minutes from the time my ignition first clicked.
  • adamb1adamb1 Cookeville, TNPosts: 122
    I agree. That's the perfect DIY project.
  • cobrysoncobryson Posts: 110
    I wouldn't let Pep Boys within 50 feet of my $55k '66 Corvette...but to each his own, I guess.
  • lmbvettelmbvette South FloridaPosts: 93
    Let me get this straight, you have two of the easiest DIY fixes on a car. You have a 50 year old classic car worth 50k. You choose to have pimple face kids at Pep Boys do the work. Makes perfect sense.
    Don't worry about what other people think. Drive what makes you happy.
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    texases said:

    Just about the simplest job to do, and they have Pep Boys do it. As for being surprised at the less-than-red-carpet treatment...really?

    Agree.

    Also, up until the idiot light came on (and I imagine the ammeter was showing discharge, if anyone had bothered to look), the battery was doing fine. The alternator was bad...why replace the battery unless you know it was bad, too? Charge it up, see if it holds 12.7 volts or thereabouts for a couple of hours, and done. Pep boys would have done that for you if you had asked them. Yeah, you discharged it down to the point where it would only energize the starter solenoid, but that should not shorten its life significantly...you didn't do it over and over.

    Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but I don't see anything in your post that tells me the battery was toast.

    I also seem to remember something about that era Corvette with A/C having an external, solid-state voltage regulator...whatever it has, if it's an external regulator, as I think it was, you might want to make sure that's working correctly.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    At least with this car, you don't need a battery saver to keep your computer settings.
  • desmoliciousdesmolicious Posts: 671
    lmbvette said:

    You have a 50 year old classic car worth 50k. You choose to have pimple face kids at Pep Boys do the work. Makes perfect sense.

    I dunno, it seems they know more about cars than the experts at the Vette dealer that Edmunds bought this thing from.
  • opfreakopfreak Posts: 106
    maybe next time you pay for an inspection before you buy a used car.
  • saulstersaulster Los Angeles AreaPosts: 48
    I am with Imbvette's comment about the dealer, but also, again, why no pre purchase inspection and check out of this expensive old car? I blame the dealer for selling the car in such needful condition but more important Edmunds for buying it blindly. Edmunds is having an inordinate amount of basic problems in the very short time since their purchase. Really bad luck is possible, but it sounds to me more like a weak and needy car they bought sight unseen and no inspection in the first place.

    I hope the car does OK with the generic battery and alternator obtained through Pep Boys. Wait, wouldn't you want to make sure the alternator at least was similar to OEM to preserve originality? Which is what Edmunds paid for in the initial purchase, anyway? I am personally fine with treating the car as a "driver" quality, using and enjoying it as such, and keeping it up accordingly. But I thought this was supposed to be something a bit more.
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,888
    I actually don't blame the dealer. The important aspects of the car were as advertised. It's 100% up to the purchaser to have a PPI inspection. No one should be surprised that a 50 year old car has issues, that's why a PPI is REQUIRED. I think I read that on Edmunds somewhere...
  • hoseclamphoseclamp Posts: 13
    edited June 2015
    Come on Dan!! You guys spent all this money for a lift and to look at a car in your parking lot with a dead battery and not be able to change it and the alternator?? Man up the rest of your staff (minus Kav and yourself) and use that lift. Or give it away . . . I'll take it :)
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    I would not have bought the car the way they did it, either, but this alternator issue is probably not something that was showing any warning signs back when that transaction took place.

    More concerned with the way Edmunds is handling these issues now...the sales transaction is water under the bridge now, for the most part.
  • bucho65bucho65 Posts: 11
    Obviously the staff at Edmunds didn't buy this car or maintain it with their own money. They get paid for writing about and driving cars. I like these articles because it shows the problems and cost of bringing older cars to garages to get things done. It is a nice reference on how much you save doing it yourself.
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,806
    lmbvette said:

    Let me get this straight, you have two of the easiest DIY fixes on a car. You have a 50 year old classic car worth 50k. You choose to have pimple face kids at Pep Boys do the work. Makes perfect sense.

    lmbvette said:

    Let me get this straight, you have two of the easiest DIY fixes on a car. You have a 50 year old classic car worth 50k. You choose to have pimple face kids at Pep Boys do the work. Makes perfect sense.

    I agree and would have thought this simple repair would have been done in that nice Edmunds tool equipped garage. Haven't seen any mention of it lately nor the 97 Miata that they modified.

    2016 Audi Q5 Premium Plus w/tech, 2013 Honda Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL w/nav

  • While these are easy things to fix $130 labor just isn't much money (and all they expected was $10 labor - the alternator problem was found after, although it was an obvious thing to check before it probably slipped their mind).

    Anyway, this isn't anybody's personal car to baby. It is shared among the staff and owned by the Corp. I'm really happy they are going through the test. Any of us following along that are thinking of buying an old car can learn from their experience. It doesn't matter really who fixes it - I know I can swap out these parts if I have the time.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    Maybe it's just that I don't trust most garages where the mechanics and service managers may be on commission, but are they sure the alternator was bad?

    If the alternator were bad, how did a discharged battery make it running the engine and ancillary accessories after a short jump--I assume they didn't leave the jump battery connected for an hour to charge up the old battery. Kind of odd in my mind that a failed alternator operated the car all the way to Pepboys.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,051
    edited June 2015

    Maybe it's just that I don't trust most garages where the mechanics and service managers may be on commission, but are they sure the alternator was bad?

    Can't tell by the way the article was written. "I'd also asked the technician to confirm that the alternator functioned correctly. He put a voltmeter on the alternator. The no-load test showed output of 0 volts" The voltage at the output terminal should have been at the minimum whatever the battery voltage was (whether tested on or off the car) Now if someone wants to say that the increase in the voltage at the alternator output during testing was 0v, then that would be okay although a poor choice of wording because it leaves room for a communication error.


    If the alternator were bad, how did a discharged battery make it running the engine and ancillary accessories after a short jump--I assume they didn't leave the jump battery connected for an hour to charge up the old battery. Kind of odd in my mind that a failed alternator operated the car all the way to Pepboys.

    Batteries are rated by the cold crank output as well as the reserve capacity. The reserve capacity is calculated by the amount of time that a twenty-five amp drain can be put on the battery and still have enough power to start the car left. To put that into perspective, removing that much power from a battery significantly discharges it to the point that it classifies as being dead, even though it can still produce enough power to start the car in mot cases. The battery has to be further depleted to reach the point that it cannot start the car. Once you each that point, you could have to jump start the car and the battery still have sufficient output to operate the ignition system and allow the car to be driven for a relatively short period of time.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,051
    edited June 2015
    lmbvette said:

    Let me get this straight, you have two of the easiest DIY fixes on a car. You have a 50 year old classic car worth 50k. You choose to have pimple face kids at Pep Boys do the work. Makes perfect sense.

    If there is one comment that paints the picture of the real issue here, this is it. Stereotype much lmb? If it was a "pimple face kid" working at Pep Boy's that was able to handle this repair you should be thankful that the company took him (maybe her) in and gave them a job and is providing training that had him/her capable of doing this job as well as towards having a career servicing cars. You should really be thankful that some kid has chosen to do this in spite of how the average technician get's treated, even when they do everything right. (Just look at the comments here to this article) Sadly however the facts are that there aren't enough "pimple faced kids" becoming mechanics/technicians (and who could blame them) because the trade simply doesn't have enough to offer in wages and benefits when compared to what they can earn in almost any other career not to mention how that also doesn't expose them to the kids of abuse that a career repairing cars is going to. (Also evident in the comments with this article)

    Personally I don't have great love for the chains, but they do have their place. One of the things that they do really well is take the BS that some consumers insist on passing out and still manage to operate at a profit without simply giving them back their keys kicking them out of the door and sending them down the road. The writer here has apparently overlooked the fact the "WAIT" happens to be one of those four letter words. Cameron wrote "It would take 2.5 hours to get a refurbished original alternator from Los Angeles by truck, so I put in the order for the alternator and installation. There was little to do but grab lunch and wait.

    The alternator arrived 45 minutes later than estimated. I checked with the advisor every 10 minutes over the promised time for an update."

    Los Angeles traffic, and you have to make a pest of yourself because someone tried to guess how long it would take for a hot-shot delivery to occur. The employee's are charged with trying to satisfy the needs of everyone that needed their car serviced that day and it only takes one selfish person to risk upsetting the entire operation. When one person starts doing something like that, the odds that something else is going to happen and result in disappointing another customer rises significantly. There is such a thing as a reasonable expectation and with a delay like that on a special order part a ride home or back to work and then make use of your time until the call announcing that the car was ready would have been a better choice. If you choose to wait that's fine, just remember that you chose to do that. WAIT was a four letter word that you chose to use.
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