Horseless Carriage Problems
There has been much talk lately concerning defective automobiles and auto accessories such as tires on the big SUVs having blowouts and etc. I haven’t heard much lately about this so they must have mitigated the problem. Now we hear of Toyota’s with runaway accelerators and brake problems.
Some thirty years ago I owned a Datsun Pickup I purchased because of the high mpg they were famous for. I was commuting 65 miles a day to my job at Texas Instruments and my home and the 28 miles per gallon was really great. One day after having put in a day’s work I was almost home. I had my radio on listening to some oldies but goodies songs on my radio. Traveling on Hwy 75 west I was approaching my turn off to my home on Hickory Lane. Hank Snow was singing a song called, “I’m a moving on”; I was braking and had my turn indicator on for a right turn. On the left was a field some National Guard troops had assembled, preparing to travel to Fort Hood for summer training. On the right on the corner was an elderly lady raking leaves in her front yard next to the street.
Just as I turned on to Hickory Lane the Datsun Pickup backfired so loud it scared the lady and she fainted. Smoke poured out the buttons on my radio. Immediately my motor quit and I pushed in the clutch and coasted to the curb in front of my home. Quickly I got out to see about the person lying on the ground. As I came running to where she was her grandson came running from the back yard shouting. “Dammit they shot grandma.“ In just a few seconds she revived and the boy and I picked her up and set her on her feet. Seeing everything was ok I walked over to my pickup to investigate what had happened to the thing.
I discovered the muffler had blown loose, the right turn bulbs in my front and rear had melted. The brake lights on the left rear had disintegrated, my radio was destroyed. Upon checking under the hood the alternator and regulator was smoking and burned up, and the points in the distributor were burned to a crisp. Being acquainted with electrical and mechanical systems I determined that the alternator regulator had malfunctioned causing the alternator voltage to soar to an extremely high value with high current that caused all the problems.
I was able to repair everything myself by replacing the bulbs, the blinker unit, the radio was totaled but I found one in a salvage yard to replace it. I purchased a new set of points, condenser and coil. Reinstalled the muffler and purchased an alternator and regulator for sixty bucks. I turned on the ignition switch and hit he starter and bingo she fired right up.
That should have been the conclusion but it was not as I got stranded three months later with my lights going dim. I glanced at the idiot lights and noted it was intermittently coming on indicating the charge was not what it ought to be. I drove as far as I could but finally it quit altogether. I had to call on the Chicken Band radios to a passing trucker to have him call my home to come and get me. My son brought some jumper cables and we hooked them up to let them charge my battery long enough to get me home. I found the replacement alternator had gone south so disgusted I pulled it and removed all the cheap wiring and went to an electric shop and obtained a hundred feet of good old American number sixteen AWG wire and on my kitchen table rewound the thing and put it on and for the next ten years I never had an ounce of trouble with it.