How many quirkies does it take to screw in a headlight assembly?

quirkyquercusDecember 2, 2006

Seemed like a pretty straight forward thing to do. I unplugged the smashed headlight assembly, unscrewed the screws. Put the new headlight assembly in, screwed the screws and plugged it in. Turned on just the headlights and everything was hunky dory. Later, after minutes of running the engine and the lights I heard a clanking noise as if I left the wrench sitting on top of the engine by mistake. Then the battery light came on, all the lights dimmed and the the temp guage shot up to red and had some light smoke coming out from under the hood. I turned off the engine and the temp guage went quickly back to cold. I wasn't far from home so figured I'd chance it and turned the engine back on, temp guage went to red almost instantly. The smoke returned.

When I got home I noticed that it looks like the battery has ruptured. Only faint signs of this... most of the evidence was on the ground under the battery.

It's an Interstate battery, several years old but coincidence this happened right after the lamp change? I think not.

Any ideas to how I screwed this up? I wasn't anywhere near the radiator hoses or anything was this the battery smoking or the engine?

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quirkyquercus

By the way I checked for any charred wiring and everything looked fine. The coolant was empty but other than that, nothing looked unusual considering how much smoke was coming out. (The smoke went away right after turning off the truck)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 1:56PM
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steve_o

"smashed headlight assembly" implies to me there may have been other damage to the vehicle. Is it possible the battery case was cracked in whatever caused the broken headlight? Or that maybe some of the battery's cells were down on fluid and the additional load of the now-working bulb caused the problem?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:51PM
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quirkyquercus

Long story behind the smashed headlight. Truck Vs. Pedestrian! No kidding. Anyway this ordeal happened back in March, the headlamp was broken but it still worked. Part of the hood is dented too but nothing that would impair the operation of the vehicle. I haven't checked the batt - It's an old one though, about 5 years. It's an Interstate battery- Those batteries last a long time. Now that I think about it, the clanking noise happened after I turned on the heater. Does that offer any new clues? The heater was used on the initial trip out with no probs but not in conjunction with the headlights.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 8:49PM
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john_g

Your making to many assumptions here. What could a battery have to do with the engine overheating? It sounds like you have a coolant leak, and antifreeze is spraying out, hitting the battery, and the belts. This could easily cause the belts to slip if they are worn and not tight, hence the battery lamp. Of course accidently giving the alternator a drink of engine coolant won't make it very happy either, VBG.

The hammering sound is something you have to simply follow with your ears to locate, it could have been the coolant flashing on hot spots in the engine from the overheating. At the same time, you could easily be losing a belt driven component, and it could be the source of the noise, as well as the cause of the overheating, and the alternator stopping charging.

The main thing to think about is the headlight replacement probably had nothing at all to do with this issue. Cars simply break whenever they want to.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:26AM
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quirkyquercus

The noise was a one time thing. It sounded like a tool I might have left sitting under the hood fell out. Your theory would also explain the smoke. I'll take it in sometime this week and let you know what happened. Too big of a coincidence to have this trouble right after the healight. I must have damaged something somehow.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 12:04PM
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quirkyquercus

Turned out to be a broken belt. Oil pump I think. Dry rotted due to the age of the truck. This would have been a pretty simple repair obviously except driving it that way caused some pullies to break. Replacement parts not cheap on an old import. $700 parts & labor! I shoulda stopped when I heard the clunk noise!
Anyway nothing wrong withe the battery and apparently it was a very big coincidence with the headlight.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 12:16PM
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