DIRTY STUFF

IT’S POSSIBLE TO FIX THIS SITUATION SO HE CAN DRIVE HIS BABY SUV AND STILL LISTEN TO DEAFENING MUSIC: MODIFY THE ALTERNATOR TO PUMP OUT 85A, AND FIT ANOTHER BELTDRIVEN 85, FOR A TOTAL OF 170

WILLIAM PORKER

FOUR-year-old ankle-biter watches as Dad jacks up the front of his street machine Mustang, slides a couple of stands underneath, then shifts trolley jack to the back end. Gets ready to lift the rear axle, when the phone rings in the kitchen.

Dad goes in to find out who that is, and the kid thinks: “I can do that.” He grabs the handle of the jack and starts pumping. The business end of the jack is underneath the expensive alloy drop tank, and the jack is an unstoppable force against a soft-bellied object. Tank caves in, but kid keeps pumping until the jack runs out of lift.

Dad finishes yacking on the talking wire, and walks out to the Mustang shed. Doesn’t believe what he sees: The jack is almost buried in the tank, and the kid is all smiles at a job well done. Dad erupts in an instant rage, ankle-biter senses that what he has just done has got him into a heap of strife, and takes off to the house next door where the 80-year-old neighbour will protect him. Dad looks under at the stuffed tank again, takes a seat on the floor, and breaks into laughter. Not much else you can do when one of your own stuffs up the toy!

A well-off bloke owns a Ferrari Dino, and is very concerned about protecting his overvalued import. He has just booked a monthlong holiday to Fiji for himself and his long-time partner, and as he is leaving the Dino in the airport car park, doesn’t want the car ripped off and probably torched. So he goes and talks to an auto electrician that he knows, about fitting some sort of immobiliser system. Sparky says: “I’ll just fit a hidden switch under the dash, which will cut power to the ignition coil.” Simple.

Job gets done, bloke and his partner fly out the next week, and get stuck right into the holiday they will always remember. The long, lazy days go by, until they need to fly back to Oz. They clear customs and wander off with luggage to the car park. The Dino is still there, untouched, and they chuck in their luggage and climb inside the classic interior. The starter motor whirrs, but the engine won’t fire. Owner tries again and again, until the battery almost runs out of ergs, and gives up.

Consults with the partner, and the decision is to ring the Ferrari dealers, as he doesn’t want some amateur guy stuffing about with the expensive V6 engine.

A Ferrari tech in spotless gear arrives an hour later, works inside the engine bay for another hour, and says: “There is a major short somewhere and your car will have to go on a tilt-tray truck back to our shop.”

Truck arrives and the bloke is panicking that his toy will be damaged in the loading process, but it all goes okay and they go with the truck driver to talk with management of the Ferrari specialists, who charge $200 per hour to work on classic cars. They’re told: “We are flat-out today, but we will work on your car tomorrow.” Bloke goes home by taxi, knocks back a few red plonks to blur the events of the day, and wanders off to bed. He wakes up at 2am with a suddenly crystal-clear memory of that hidden ignition kill switch!

A mate of mine works as an auto sparky, and this day a bloke driving a much-modified Dodge Nitro (remember them? Me neither) arrives at his shop, saying that he’s almost out of battery and doesn’t know why he keeps running out of electricity.

My mate goes out to check the situation, pokes his head inside the driver’s door and is amazed by the massive sound system, which takes up most of the front passenger footwell space. The driver of the Dodge tells him that this system has cost him bulk money, and the boot is full of amps and stuff as well.

IT’S POSSIBLE TO FIX THIS SITUATION SO HE CAN DRIVE HIS BABY SUV AND STILL LISTEN TO DEAFENING MUSIC: MODIFY THE ALTERNATOR TO PUMP OUT 85A, AND FIT ANOTHER BELTDRIVEN 85, FOR A TOTAL OF 170

Auto sparky mate hooks up a battery charger so he can fire up the engine, checks that the alternator is working as it should, then asks the guy to switch on his sound system. Driver does that and a wall of sound almost deafens the neighbours, and the test meter on the battery goes off into instant red.

My mate suspects that this enormous in-car sound system is pulling more power than the alternator can cope with, and connects a test amp meter into the main charging circuit. Fires up the engine and the music again, the meter reads minus 110A, while the standard Nitro alternator is flat-out charging at 55. That’s why his little 120Ah battery just couldn’t survive against the power pull of all those tweeters and woofers and ginormous amps.

My mate tells the guy that it’s possible to fix this situation so he can drive his baby SUV and still listen to deafening music: Modify the existing alternator to pump out 85A, and fit another belt-driven 85, for a total of 170. It will also cost a fat wad of the folding.

So the bloke goes away with his sound he system wasn’t on going full noise, to get oblivious very far! to s the fact that he wasn’t going to get very far!