My car will not start (after replacing a brake line) :(
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  1. #1
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    Unhappy My car will not start (after replacing a brake line) :(

    I had to replace the right front brake line on my car, it had become chafed through.

    My car: 1998 Dodge Neon automatic.

    anyways, after 3 days of labour, I decide to turn it over to take it for a test drive, and lo and behold, it will not start.

    The only things I can remember doing are:

    1: disconnecting the fuel line to get the old/install the new brake line in front of the firewall.

    2: I had to splice a piece of small diameter vacuum line

    3: tightened up the alternator belt tensioner screw, as the previous mechanic I paid good $ to here in Dartmouth, decided to leave it loose. The head was proud of the face of the metal by about 1/2". This was done by a garage here in Woodside - they tacked the job on 'as a favour' to me last yr.

    I managed to turn it over earlier today, but it sounded rough. I did not idle it for very long.

    WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW:

    Tried turning it over.

    When I turned off the ignition when it became apparent it would not turn over, the fuel gauge and the engine coolant needles remained 'on' as though the car was getting electrical power.

    I even completely disconnected the battery and the 2 needles are still acting like the car is energized.

    Does anyone know what is going on? I would really appreciate the help, I am between 'the devil and the deep blue sea' right now and can't really afford to give much $ to mechanics.

    "One more things"

    The brakes have been bled to the best of my ability such as it is. I had some one pump the brakes for me.

    All the bleeder screws are new. Replaced the copper seals on the relevent caliper (ground out inner diameter with my rotary tool so they would fit on the banjo bolt, and anneal them).
    It seems like no matter what I did while working on this car that every time I turned around I got kicked in the nads with something I had to take care of. Pretty much at the end of the ***t rope right now if you know what I mean.

    *edit - areno - I guess I will try charging the battery. It might need a good charge. I have a charger.
    Last edited by marmaloonbabushka; 03-12-2012 at 06:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Mr Fixit's Avatar
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    The only thing you did that would affect the electrical system was tightening the alternator belt. Check all of the wiring that connects to the alternator. Make sure it is connected properly, no wires are bare and shorted to bare metal. It is possible that when you moved the altenator, you did something to the wiring. Look at all the wiring around the alternator and make sure you didn't pinch a wire, or disconnect a plug connector. Get a flashlight and do a real close inspection. And if the battery is down, charge it!

    Good luck, and let me know what you find!

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    It turned over just fine, the battery was down, charged it up.

    I am thinking I should really change the bearings/brushes on the alternator now, it is still squealing a bit. I guess tightening it up when the voltage was down was too much of a draw on the current for it to do anything. I will drive it for a while and see if the battery is draining.

    I am thinking that as the belt was loose all along, that the alternator was losing efficiency, causing the battery to not charge properly.

    Thanks and happy spring Mr. Fixit.

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    Registered User Mr Fixit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmaloonbabushka View Post
    It turned over just fine, the battery was down, charged it up.

    I am thinking I should really change the bearings/brushes on the alternator now, it is still squealing a bit. I guess tightening it up when the voltage was down was too much of a draw on the current for it to do anything. I will drive it for a while and see if the battery is draining.

    I am thinking that as the belt was loose all along, that the alternator was losing efficiency, causing the battery to not charge properly.

    Thanks and happy spring Mr. Fixit.
    Well I am just glad you got her running Marm! I love it when we can not pay a mechanic to work on our car.

    Good Job!!!!!

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    Well, I have to get some new pads and seals. Just like every other part of this job, every possible nightmare scenario came true.

    Clips appear to have come undone on the right outside pad, now the rotor is screwed as well.

    Just got it apart and the rotor has an ugly groove where the bak of the pad ate into it.

    However crappy this job is, it's still better than paying a strange mechanic to do it.

    Now I have to wait around for transportation to get some pads.

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    Registered User Mr Fixit's Avatar
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    As simple as brakes are, you just got to hate doing brakes. You always hope that pads are all you need, and then you find all kinds of eat up parts when you get the caliper off!
    But that is usually caused by running the brakes too long which we are all guilty of because we hat doing brake jobs! It's a catch 22!

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    It's all good now! I took her for a drive around town and the brakes were just fine!

    I must say I got a lot of practice 'doing it the right way' The spirit of my dad must have been there saying things like: "no no, no you are going to have to do that all over again" lol

    I luckily had someone to help me bleed the brakes, this occurred during a freezing rain/hailstorm. lmao.

    **** one of the problems I encountered was that the replacement copper washer (brake seals) were work hardened from the factory, and consequently were leaking even when I tightened them up.

    I was told by an old hand I would have to anneal them.

    To do this, you have to make sure they are nice and clean with a bit of steel wool.

    Next, you put a couple of marks on them with a black permanent marker.

    Then hold them in some needle nose pliers and heat them up until you see the colours going through the copper.

    It will be hot enough when the permanent marker marks are burned away.

    Then you dunk your washer in a cup of water you have handy.

    Around here the copper washers *if you are lucky enough to find a place that has them* usually come in an assortment. Make sure you use the thickest ones, which are around .032" in thickness, they seem to provide the best seal.

    Also, sometimes the spotface on the flex hose / caliper interface is recessed.

    This means the outer diameter of the copper washer has to be of a smaller diameter than the diameter of the recessed spotface.*******


    Since I also had to work with what I had, I had to carefully bore out the inside diameter of the copper washers with my rotary tool. I am glad I had access to a 1/8" rotary tool for the job.

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