From: Viper Pilot
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 13:45:00 +1000
To: Fleet Mechanical Pool / 4th Battlegroup / Sword Marches
Cc: Atomique
Subject: Calling All Mechanics

Hi folks,

So we’re trying to sell the old Commodore after months of it sitting in the yard unused.  The battery was dead, so we charged it up over the weekend and took it for a spin.  Everything (relatively speaking) was okay, and we started it up on both Saturday and Sunday.

Come Tuesday (1.5 days before the eBay auction ends) the stupid thing decides it won’t crank any more.  The lights are bright, the radio/air/dash/etc work.  I tested the voltage on the battery okay at 12.7 volts, both when off and with the key in the start position.  I’ve checked that it’s not the park safety cutoff by holding the ignition while wiggling the gear selector around.  I’ve swapped the fuses around for the ignition.

After asking Dr. Google for more help, I read something that suggested I disconnect the battery for ten minutes and try again after reconnecting.

When I went to reconnect the battery, there was some sparking from one of the two smaller cables (positive) as it hit the terminal (which scared the poop out of me).  After witnessing this a few more times I noticed that there was a dull clunk/thud coming from under the engine in time with each spark – would that have been the starter?  Is there a short in the system?

Once the battery cables were reconnected securely I tried one last time to turn ‘er over and still got nothing.  So, now I’m begging you for ideas.



-Viper Pilot


From: Viper Pilot
Sent: Wednesday, 28 October 2009 10:21 AM
To: Fleet Mechanical Pool / 4th Battlegroup / Sword Marches
Cc: Atomique
Subject: Calling All Mechanics
Subject: Now I Feel Shame [Was: Calling All Mechanics]

Hi again everyone,

I suppose I left what appears now to be an important bit of information out of the story below.  I cleaned up the Commodore the day before the auction ended, which is also the day it stopped working.

How on earth does that matter, you ask?

Well, in the centre console, I discovered two remote door-locky-thingies.  I didn’t remember ever using them, let alone having them.  Some foggy memories, coupled with the fact that I didn’t remember using them, lead me to believe they didn’t work (like so many parts of the car).  Worn with age, there were no markings on the remotes, just two equally-sized buttons.  With no one button given more prominence than the other, I bashed away at one to see what would happen.  Unsurprisingly, nothing.  I pressed the other button, and even more unsurprisingly, not only did nothing happen, but the doors made a noise like they were trying to do something but couldn’t.  Just to be sure, I went click-happy to see if anything useful would happen.  Which it didn’t.

It now appears that at some point during the above I managed to turn on the car immobilizer.

After some locking and unlocking (without the locks in the doors actually moving) this morning using the remote, I quite easily got the car to start.  I’m quite certain that I cleaned the battery contacts, shuffled fuses around, hit the starter motor with a stick, tested the park/neutral cutoff, tested the battery voltage and got my pretty lady-hands dirty for nothing.

Thanks for all of your advice, anyhow!  I learned a few things, which is better than not having learned anything at all from being an idiot.

-An Idiot