May 20, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
My Buick Rendezvous recently took on the odor of rotten eggs. Sulphur, to be exact. Bleah -- a horrid, gag-inducing, mind-numbing stench. My initial thought was that the smell was coming from the catalytic converter, as that is a common smell that comes from the catalytic converter if the engine is running too rich. It's a fairly easy fix, and I had considered removing it entirely and just running a straight pipe through to the muffler. The car doesn't need it, and the reduction in back-pressure would probably make the engine run a little better anyway.

This morning, while driving around for garage sales (where I managed to pick up a nice bicycle for my wife for $10), I noticed that the smell was actually coming from the engine bay, and not from the exhaust. That's not where the catalytic converter is, so I popped the hood and peered in.

Smoke. Smoke coming out of the battery. And not just smoke -- smoke and bubbling liquid. Bubbling sulphuric acid. My car's battery was BOILING inside.

So... I ran to AutoZone and had the alternator checked, because that's generally the issue when your battery is overheating. And sure enough, the alternator was pushing out 50amps (that's VERY bad) into the battery, so it needed to be replaced. We drove out to a battery/alternator shop in Tacoma and had them work on it, and it turns out that the battery needed to be replaced as well -- the lead plates inside "melted together" from all the amps going into it, according to them. So... long story short, today's adventure cost me $415. Only $160 of that was in labor. Generally, I like to work on cars myself and not have to pay anybody for work I can do... but the alternator on my Buick isn't fun to try to remove. Half the engine bay needed to be emptied in order to access it, plus the alternator runs off of a serpentine belt, which is a beast to try to replace.

So yeah. That sucked.
np category: personal


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