Electrical problem?

My mechanical experience will be sorely evident in my question, but here goes…

Have a 96 Ford Contour with over 185K miles.

Got a nice slam from a young girl driving with her boyfriend about a month ago. Basically left her front bumper imprint in my rear passenger door, but since the car was drivable have been trying to limp through to tax-season to collect as much down payment money as i could for the replacement.

Drove to work this morning with no noticable difference in the car’s performance. When I parked at my office and turned the car off the speedometer lept from zero (0) to about sixty (60).

Seemed odd, but my 1st impression was that i probably had a elec short showing through. thought im glad we’ll be trading soon.

then i tried to restart and nothing. no “click” from the batter/starter, no noises at all. tried to turn on the lights to eval the elec state and the speedometer jumped again. this time all the way to the 130 mark.

I seem to recall reading that this could be an indication of a specific area in the electrical sys, but not having much luck searching this morning.

Are these symptoms familiar to anyone? Id be willing to drop another 100 in the car just to avoid shopping for a new car today, but i fear the end has come for my trusty little contour.

All ideas are welcome!

Thanks in advance!!!

This trouble sounds like it may be due to a battery grounding problem. I recommend you first remove the battery connections and clean the cables and posts using a battery cleaning brush. If that doesn’t help then check the dash area for a bad ground along with the frame ground connections.

I will add that you should clean BOTH ends of each cable. :slight_smile:

Aside from your problem, I’m (curiously) trying to figure out whose fault this collision was.

If she ran into you on the street then it would seem to be her fault and she should be paying for your door, then you wouldn’t have to scrounge for the cash to fix it.

If this happened in a mall parking lot and you backed out of a parking slot and she ran into you, it’s would be your fault.



Before I go any further let’s lay out a little pre-emptive self defense…

On the day of this problem my Father-In-Law’s furnace stopped working. Now October in Illinois is not nearly as drastic as say… January in Minnesotta, but… as the nights got colder and the man got older getting heat on in his home was mounting in importance.

Had already tried to troubleshoot the furnace ourselves.

My dad-n-law 'n me…

Ever try to examine an electrical pilot light system in a 4x8 room with a 70 year old former Marine with cateracs, tremmors and him holding the flashlight. ---- The strobe lights in Studio 54 (circa 1977) were less destracting. :slight_smile:

So my defense here is that when I arrived at work that morning I had resolved myself to just call the furnace tech, get the bill sent to my house and get the poor man in some heat that would allow him to watch “All My Children” in peace!!!

So when my poor little escort apparently went “4-paws-up” as I parked the car that morning — I just chalked it up to Murphy’s law and an aging elec. sys in a battered little machine.

Checked the msg board and grounding sounded plausable… Checked with my mechanic and he suspected the alternator (…had put in an alt rebuild @4 mths ago) – not the perfect symptoms for alternator, but ok… In any case, I could concentrate on father-in-law and let mechanic worry about the freakin’ car…

Called the tow guy. Got the little machine towed to my mechanic. Rode home with the tow-man. Reviewed bill from father-in-law’s furnace repair. Opened beer… Opened 2nd beer… Opened 3rd beer… (…you get the picture…)

That was 5 days ago. Mechanic finally got to my car today. Just got the call.

Guess what I never did on day1 for this car problem.

That’s right… I never opened the hood!!! :frowning:

Fix Father-In-Law’s Furnace – 200.00
Tow Car from Office to Mechanic - 114.00
Case of Light Beer - 15.00

Diagnosis and repair (return negative battery cable to post and tighten clamp) — 28.00

Lesson to open the freakin’ hood first — PRICELESS

Thought you could all appreciate the story.
Pleaese file under my most embarrasing moment!!!

PS: RoadRunner
–re: the problem v. repair v. accident — sorry my explanations weren’t more clear – actually apples and oranges. Impact damage happened about a month before this incident and yes the insurance co. did indeed issue payment for the value of the unhappy little car. '96 Countour w/185K miles did not value more that the repairs for a new rear door and passenger side panel.

dropped ins check in 6mo cd til tax season and will add to uncle sam’s refund and go car shopping then.

in the meantime i have a really clean negative battery post now — 28.00 included cleaning the post.


Happy Tuesday All!!!

There’s a bright side to this: Father-in-Law won’t freeze while listening to ALL My Children (How are the Little Darlings?); the Contour will live to die another day; you did your share in keeping money in circulation … where it does the most good for the most people…; you can finish that case of light beer at your leisure.