Can you jump a big V8 with a 4 cylinder?

My dad has a 1977 Buick Electra and the battery was dead. We hooked up my mom’s Buick LaCross and attempted to jump it. The cables weren’t monster cables or anything but they weren’t cheap skinny little things either. The cables got pretty hot, I saw a little wisp of something come off my dad’s battery but the car wouldn’t turn over. It did do a little more than click but it didn’t jump. Can you jump a big V8 with a 4 cylinder?

Yes, but the battery in a 4 cylinder car is small and the alternator isn’t high capacity either. It seems the battery in the Electra is shorted out. Continuing to use the 4 cyl. car to jump the big Buick might not be good for the smaller car.

Can you get a jump starter pak and use that or just get a new battery for the Electra at WalMart tomorrow? Those big V8’s using 10W-30 weight oil in very cold weather will put a major drain on the smaller battery and alternator in the LaCross.

Battery terminals need disconnecting and cleaning now and then and new battery cables will make a difference. They don’t last forever. A 1977 car needs a new negative cable by now. Some of those 1977 cars might have aluminum cables and they really have to go in the trash.

You have two things going on before we can get to the 4cyl 8cyl compatability issue, that wisp of smoke and the fact that the cables are getting hot. Sounds like the V-8’s battery is shorted (as mentioned).

If the cables start getting hot DISCONNECT THEM IMMEDIATELY. Your experiencing too much current for the cables to handle, and your going to (1) start a fire potentially, and (2) damage the charging system of the good car.

You can jump a large V8 with a 4 cylinder. I’ve done it plenty of times. Most of the time, the V8 battery just needs a little bit more juice to kick over. Sometimes, you need to let the smaller car run for a few minutes to get some juice into the larger engines battery if it is really weak.

If the Electra is trying to draw this much current, your having more serious issues than a run down battery. Time to have a mechanic look at it.

If the Buick has sat for weeks, its battery could be very discharged. The Buick’s starter is drawing a lot of power from the jumper battery. Recharge the Buick’s battery to lessen the load on the jumper battery. To recharge the battery enough to start the engine (with the help of the jumper car), let the jumper cables stay connected for 20 minuets (or, longer) BEFORE trying to start the Buick’s engine.

For the future, the only cables you should have are the ones with the biggest cross-section (lowest guage number) you can get.

It should be pointed out that all LaCrosse’s up until the 2010 MY have at least a 3.6L V6. Most have the venerable 3.8L V6. And the “Supers” have the 5.3L V8. The 2010 LaCrosse is going to be availible with the 2.4L I4, but I don’t think it’s avalible yet.

Either V6 should be able to start the Buick 350 or Olds 307 that the Electra likely has

With your cables heating up and a wisp of some smoke, I might wager that you hooked the batteries up in series. That is, one of the sets of cable ends is backwards. We always assume it’s hooked up right, but I’ve seen first hand hot cables like that, and it was reversed hookup. Makes sure the ends are right red to pos(+) on both batteries and black on the engine block or bracket on the engine(not alternator)

Step one. Connect your cables. There should be no sparks and the cables should not get warm, let alone hot…Start the “donor” car and run it at fast idle for 2 minutes. Again, the cables should not even get warm. What you are doing is charging the dead battery in the other car, the longer the better…NOW, have the operator of the dead car try to start it. It should turn over and fire right up…If not, shut off the donor car, disconnect the cables and call it a day. The '77 Buick will need more than a jump…(as in new battery, ignition tune-up)