Posted on: February 6, 2016

by Ed Esslinger in the February 2002 RootesReview:

Some time ago someone asked me what would cause an Alpine that had been running fine to suddenly stop running while going down the road? The symptoms were: the starter would not turn over, the generator warning light would not con1e on nor would the headlights. Checking the battery cables found them in good shape. After sitting for while everything in the car worked normal. This was a real mystery. I told him I had no idea.

A few days ago my wife asked me to drive her to a church meeting. My Series Three had been running great up until this time. We were barely out of sight of our house when the same thing happened to us. It was dark and the lights also went out. I checked the battery cables; they were fine. My wife started walking home while I scratched my behind, trying to figure out what could have happened. After about five minutes the lights came back on. I was able to restart the car and drive home, picking up my wife on the way.

The next morning I started checking things out on the Series Three. Of course everything worked fine when I threatened to fix it. After fooling around with the cables under the hood, the lights went out. I had the same symptoms as last night. I checked the voltage at the starter solenoid battery input terminals and found it to be ok. The connections were tight. I pulled on the large brown wire that is the main battery input to everything except the starter. The lights came back on! Great, there must be a corroded connection. I removed the connector and cleaned the male terminal and tightened the female connection on the brown wire. After re-connecting, I could not get the lights to come on at all!

I checked the voltage at the input cable. It was still ok. Then I checked the voltage on the male terminal to the brown wire and found no voltage. I disconnected the battery, removed the input cable on the solenoid and then I removed the nut that holds the male terminal. The area of the male terminal directly under the nut was very corroded, causing poor if any contact to the battery. Cleaning the male terminal and using new lock washers to tighten it down fixed the problem.

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