1966 Chevrolet Corvette: Back In Action With New Battery, Alternator
June 25, 2015
When last we checked on our 1966 Chevrolet Corvette, it was parked at our office. As suggested by the characteristic "tick-tick-tick" when we turned the key, the battery was dead. We had a few options.
The first option involved calling AAA. Our annual membership fee of about $50 would cover a tow truck coming to our office to test the battery and give it a jump. For the additional cost of the battery, AAA would also replace it if needed. We decided to try something different.
We called four tow companies in the area to see if they offered the same service. Only one replaced batteries. It would cost $150 to inspect and install a battery, in addition to the battery's cost. This didn't seem like the best choice.
We searched online for compatible batteries at local auto parts stores. We found a battery that was nearly identical to the current one at a nearby Pep Boys, just three miles away. I called to make sure the battery was in stock and asked how much for them to install it. "Ten dollars," they said. We were sold. We jump-started the Corvette and headed out.
I pulled in to Pep Boys and spoke to a service advisor. It was a busy day and he told me it would be an hour before anybody could install the battery. I was annoyed that no one mentioned the backlog when I called, but we wanted to try this installation service. I wasn't going anywhere without another jump anyway, so I sat in the waiting area. After 40 minutes, the battery was in.
I'd also asked the technician to confirm that the alternator functioned correctly. He put a voltmeter on the alternator. The no-load test showed output of 0 volts.
It would take 2.5 hours to get a refurbished original alternator from Los Angeles by truck, so I put in the order for the alternator and installation. There was little to do but grab lunch and wait.
The alternator arrived 45 minutes later than estimated. I checked with the advisor every 10 minutes over the promised time for an update. Curiously, the driver seemed to break all laws of time and space as he was always "five minutes away." As soon as the part arrived, the technician went to work and installed it in no time. He ran another test and the new alternator worked perfectly.
The car started right up and I went on my way.
Alternator Removal and Replacement: $115.20
Battery Removal and Replacement: $9.99
Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant