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flarue
04-23-2012, 08:47 AM
I'll be completely honest. I know next to nothing about cars. :) Suggestions needed for a reason my MC's car suddenly won't run. She has a `64 Mustang Convertible inherited from her grandfather. I was thinking it should be a problem that is going to require a spare part ordered, so that it takes more than a few days for the problem to be resolved. Your thoughts?

alleycat
04-23-2012, 09:03 AM
There's no shortage of reasons an old Ford wouldn't run.

Broken water pump.

Cracked distributor cap.

Rusted out radiator.

Drachen Jager
04-23-2012, 09:06 AM
#1 reason a Ford won't run.

It's a Ford.

Although older ones do tend to be a bit more reliable.

As Alleycat said, there is no shortage of reasons. Leak in the radiator? That's dramatic, steam boiling out from under the hood when it fails.

Tell us what you WANT the break-down to happen like, if there's anything specific you'd like to see to add some drama I'm sure someone can come up with a fault to match.

Snick
04-23-2012, 09:17 AM
If it suddenly won't run, then an electrical problem would be likely. Any part would have to be ordered, so just make t something that could happen.

flarue
04-23-2012, 09:18 AM
#1 reason a Ford won't run.

It's a Ford.

Although older ones do tend to be a bit more reliable.

As Alleycat said, there is no shortage of reasons. Leak in the radiator? That's dramatic, steam boiling out from under the hood when it fails.

Tell us what you WANT the break-down to happen like, if there's anything specific you'd like to see to add some drama I'm sure someone can come up with a fault to match.

Thanks for the chuckle.

I figured there would be a good number of reasons. I do like the idea visually of steam boiling out from the hood. Is it possible that this would occur after she first tries to start the car? It doesn't really need to be anything too dramatic as the break-down will occur at home. One of the other characters is a mechanic who will offer to work on the Ford in his spare time, but I just need a problem that might take awhile.

Thanks for the quick responses!

alleycat
04-23-2012, 09:24 AM
Besides something like a broken water pump or cracked radiator, you could have an oil leak of some type that sprays a little oil on the hot exhaust manifold (it's hard to miss the smell and the smoke). Say, since the car is old and possibly stored up for some time, a dry and cracked head gasket.

Of course, any of the hoses or belts could fail. They might, or might not, be hard to replace since the car is that old.

BTW, my brother had a 1965 Mustang.

flarue
04-23-2012, 10:35 AM
Besides something like a broken water pump or cracked radiator, you could have an oil leak of some type that sprays a little oil on the hot exhaust manifold (it's hard to miss the smell and the smoke). Say, since the car is old and possibly stored up for some time, a dry and cracked head gasket.

Of course, any of the hoses or belts could fail. They might, or might not, be hard to replace since the car is that old.

BTW, my brother had a 1965 Mustang.

Interesting. I have a lot of great choices now, thanks. I might start looking up that one because it sounds plausible in my story and go from there.

What a lucky guy, I've always wanted one of those.

flarue
04-23-2012, 01:38 PM
Thanks, everyone. Now, I have a starting point. :)

alleycat
04-23-2012, 02:46 PM
In the story, has the car been stored for several years?

If so, you don't want your character to just fill it with gas, put in a new battery, and off she goes. It's probably going to need new tires, new plugs and points, new belts and hoses, new filters, oil change, etc., before someone even attempts to drive it.

flarue
04-23-2012, 03:43 PM
Nah, I was thinking that the grandmother probably drove it some before the MC did. She hasn't driven it much yet herself (she's getting over an accident that occurred in another vehicle), but I like to think that the car had a check-up "off screen" before the story starts. Thanks for thinking of that though; it didn't occur to me.

jclarkdawe
04-23-2012, 05:21 PM
FORD = Found On Road Dead (I own a Ford truck that has never died so badly it couldn't make it home.)

Go to Autozone or a similar site and check the part against availability. For example, for me, I could get a starter or a distribute cap without a problem. A water pump, however, is available only through mail order. Car techs have a good idea of what parts are likely to be delayed, so this is a good way to confirm it.

A broken water pump doesn't absolutely kill you, as you've got several miles before the car overheats. And if the pump is leaking (it can also break by the impeller breaking, which doesn't produce a visible problem), you can actually limp quite a few miles by continually topping off the radiator (being careful not to burn the crap out of yourself from the hot steam).

With some profanity due to the limited space, it's also a backyard fix. Although not directly fixing the water pump, you might want to look at 1964 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgzou1Af_n4)Ford Mustang Convertible - Day 22 - Part 2 - Water Pump ... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgzou1Af_n4) It will give you a good idea how it is situated.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

flarue
04-24-2012, 10:35 AM
Thank you! I'll take a look at those sites later today, when I'm not so sleepy.

Mark G
04-24-2012, 09:04 PM
If it was stored outside, you could have rodent damage to electrical wires ... but that would take a lot more to fix than a spare part.

My favorite on a car that old would be that the starter solenoid went bad so the starter motor won't engage the flywheel right. Or the starter motor jams. This was more common in GM cars, but I've seen it happen on Fords.

A wise tow truck driver or savvy car person would know to judiciously apply a hammer, which usually works. But a not-so-savvy car owner might pay for a new starter to fix the problem.

There's also the totally logical dead battery. A car sitting around for a while, not on a battery tender or with the battery disconnected, usually will drain the battery beyond dead.

Other old Ford issues I suffered were transmission failure, water pump failure, vapor lock (where the car won't start because of vapor in the fuel line), and a leaky radiator hose.

Hope that helps.

SirOtter
04-25-2012, 10:59 AM
My favorite on a car that old would be that the starter solenoid went bad so the starter motor won't engage the flywheel right. Or the starter motor jams. This was more common in GM cars, but I've seen it happen on Fords.

My first car was a '61 Ford Falcon. The '64 1/2 Mustang was virtually identical, mechanically, to the '64 Falcon, so it probably wasn't all that different from mine. The solenoid was a separate piece that took about thirty seconds to switch out, but would kill the car dead until it was replaced. I used to buy four or five at a time (for about $7 apiece in 1976) as the Falcon ate solenoids for breakfast. I doubt AutoZone will have one on hand, though. You'd probably have to order it from somewhere.

If it's a belt, a piece of panty hose will suffice for a temporary until you can find a real replacement. I drove the Falcon several miles after a stop at a drugstore for a great pair of Leggs one time. I got some strange looks, but I got to the Western Auto fine.

My favorite car killer was when I was driving home from work about four in the morning and the gas pedal sank to the floor. The linkage connecting the accelerator to the carburetor flap had snapped. I managed to roll the car under a streetlamp, pulled the air filter housing off and dug around in the glove box until I found a safety pin. I drove that car another year with the carburetor held together by that safety pin, before the transmission finally went.

William K Elliott
04-25-2012, 03:40 PM
As a former mechanic....

If I am correct, you wish the car to have run well a few days ago, and now will not start? Further, you want it to have add a bit of drama, and that a part will need to be ordered?

Why the requirement of a part that needs to be ordered? To keep it off the road for a few days? Weeks?

A good scenario might be a worn out timing chain. When overly worn (150,000-plus miles) or perhaps due to sitting (the chain rusted and causing it to get too loose), a timing chain on a car like that (probably a 289 ci) can jump a tooth on its sprockets. This frequently happens when trying to start the car, and so will fit your concept well.

It can add drama because when the chain jumps, the timing of the valves and ignition are off. This can cause the intake valves to be open when they should be closed and so a loud backfire through the carburetor can occur, usually followed by a bit of smoke.

Depending on where your story is set, it is possible that the local parts house will need to get the chain-set, and gaskets needed shipped in, and this could take a couple of days. You might also be able to make the shop too busy to get to the car right away, as the job will take many hours.

On an old Ford V8, there are other parts usually replaced at the same time, and these will include the water pump, fuel pump, and fan belt.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Shiny Side Up!
Bill

flarue
04-26-2012, 08:46 AM
Wow. I had no idea this would get so many responses. Great stories and tidbits, everyone. Thank you all. It's very helpful. :D




As a former mechanic....

If I am correct, you wish the car to have run well a few days ago, and now will not start? Further, you want it to have add a bit of drama, and that a part will need to be ordered?

Why the requirement of a part that needs to be ordered? To keep it off the road for a few days? Weeks?

A good scenario might be a worn out timing chain. When overly worn (150,000-plus miles) or perhaps due to sitting (the chain rusted and causing it to get too loose), a timing chain on a car like that (probably a 289 ci) can jump a tooth on its sprockets. This frequently happens when trying to start the car, and so will fit your concept well.

It can add drama because when the chain jumps, the timing of the valves and ignition are off. This can cause the intake valves to be open when they should be closed and so a loud backfire through the carburetor can occur, usually followed by a bit of smoke.

Depending on where your story is set, it is possible that the local parts house will need to get the chain-set, and gaskets needed shipped in, and this could take a couple of days. You might also be able to make the shop too busy to get to the car right away, as the job will take many hours.

On an old Ford V8, there are other parts usually replaced at the same time, and these will include the water pump, fuel pump, and fan belt.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Shiny Side Up!
Bill


Yes, to all of those questions. Days, yes. A few weeks might even be better. Thanks for the info.