Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fun with electrical connections

Strictly speaking, the Ricciardi doesn't for the most part have Italian electrics, but today it rather lived up to the Italian stereotype.

It's been a long day, starting with an early morning visit to Vin Sharp to pick up the new wheels, and then to get some tyres fitted. That was all done in the Peugeot - no room in the Ricciardi for a spare set of wheels, let alone with tyres.

Vin also had a mirror that matched the broken wing mirror, so before fitting the new wheels I spent a while fitting that and getting it adjusted. It still isn't angled quite right, so there's some more fiddling to be done.

Then on with the new wheels - reasonably straightforward, just had to remember to glue the magnet for the trip computer to the LR. Probably should have done that before getting the tyres fitted, since it might affect the balance, but it is fairly light.

The GTA alloys look really, really nice (pictures to follow). I had got used to the yellow wheels, but it does look much better with aluminium, and the 195x65s look better than the old 205x60s, as well.

Time for a test drive, and that's when the electrical issues started. The engine was turning over, but gave not even a cough. Popped the bonnet, and started checking all the leads... Spark plug leads good, HT good, LT... Ah! The low tension lead was disconnected from the coil. Plugged it in, and away we went. Took me a little while to work out how it became disconnected, but eventually I realised that the bonnet support had fallen out of its clip, and then when I next lifted the bonnet the support had caught on the wire and pulled it out. Time to make that support clip a little tighter.

Next a quick stop at home to pick up my partner and some supplies, and off to a picnic with friends in Hawthorn.

We were well into the heat of the day by now, and I was glad to have the auxiliary fan working. All was going well, until I realised that the indicators were only intermittently working for left turns, although they seemed fine for right. Probably a loose earth connection somewhere - something else to check.

The next electrical issue was rather more intrusive. We were getting ready to turn right off the Chandler hwy onto Princess st when some poor bloke in an old Camry didn't notice the (admittedly very small) red sports car alongside him, and tried to merge into us. At that point things got rather exciting. I hit the brakes, and the car, which is still a bit nervous at times, darted left, requiring some corrective action. I also tapped the horn button, which was a mistake, because the horn jammed on.

The previous owner equipped the Ricciardi with a quite powerful set of air horns, and they could probably hear us in Templestowe as we proceeded around the corner, with me hammering at the horn button, my passenger blocking her ears, and the poor Camry driver deciding discretion was the better part of valour and vanishing at speed up the Chandler.

Fortunately there is a service station on that corner, and I pulled the car in there, only to have it stall before I could get it parked. Unfortunately the horn isn't connected to the ignition, so turning the car off didn't help.

With the Ricciardi blocking access to most of the pumps, I leapt out, pulled the bonnet up, and reaching far down into the nose of the car was able to pull the hot lead out of the pump for the horns, finally killing the din. Those horns really are loud.

The next issue was that I initially couldn't turn the immobiliser off to restart the car. Managed it eventually, but not sure what's going on there - it happened again later on. Possibly another earth issue.

The picnic was great - wonderful food, lovely company and some very nice rose (although as designated driver only a few sips for me, alas).

I've since sorted out the horn. That was really a mechanical issue - the horn button (Momo, so I guess it's Italian!) had somehow jammed in its housing. Disassembled and lubricated the rubbing surfaces with some baby oil (they're all plastic), reassembled, and all seems to be fine.

Naturally I couldn't reproduce the indicator issue, but I did check all the earth connections and found that the earth lead for one of the left side indicators could be tighter. Adjusted it, and we'll see whether that was the problem.

All in all an interesting day, and a reminder that there may still be more issues waiting to surface. Off on an AROCA observation drive tomorrow, so hopefully they don't pop up there (and hopefully it doesn't rain!).

1 comment:

  1. That horn moment really was quite memorable. All part of the "driving experience" of a car that really is almost designed to furnish one with dinner party anecdotes. ;-)

    I'd forgotten how much fun it is to drive a car that coaxes little kids to spontaneously wave at you as you drive past.

    At one point when we were stopped at some light, a big kid said to us "Nice car, wanna swap for the day?" and I sadly missed the come-back line of "Sure, just leave me the car and have him home by midnight".

    Great way to arrive at a picnic as long as you don't mind nursing various al fresco dining accoutrements (no boot space).

    Happy day, if slightly sunburnt.