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Difficulties after car wash...

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Had the car all ready to go on a long trip.  Went through a touchless car wash for the first time, and now having problems.


The guys turned on the head lights and maybe left the car ignition key in the run position when they loaded it on the belt to send it through.  They hand wash the car, but used a high pressure nozzle for rinsing and low pressure nozzles for soap and wax application.


I could not start the car at the end of the wash.  The car started with a jump from a battery box, and all seemed good.  Driving the car for about 20 minutes I got a no charge light, followed by Check Engine (CEL) and intermittent ABS light.  Drove home and swapped to a known good battery; car started but still warning lights.


Drove to the shop, and we checked charging.  Getting 13.6 v at idle at the battery, but spiking up to 17.8 v when engine is revved.  So, assuming the regulator is gone out, maybe the diode pack.  Assuming CEL & ABS warning is caused by over voltage.


Alternator is removed for rebuilding at a specialist; appears to be a Delco unit and not sure on parts availability, etc.  Hopefully will get the car back tomorrow for my trip, but not looking good right now.


A few questions...


Does it make sense that the charging system could be damaged by the car wash process?  New to the car and not sure if there is a known issue, cautions to be exercised next time, etc.


Would a Delco unit be stock to the car (2000 Esprit V8, US spec)?  Archived posts talk about a Lucas LRB320 alternator with a cross-over number to a Bosch BX3925, so was a bit surprised when the tech saying it is Delco.


Guesses on when the alternator tech can get it together welcome.  Might cheer me up! :-)



Calgary AB hoping to get to Vancouver for the car show....


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I have been told that you should not jump start the V8s as it can damage the alternator. If you do have to do it then apparently you should leave the two vehicles connected for a while so the alternator is not 'shocked' by the sudden huge load requirement when disconnected.


I have a modified alternator in one of my cars which has the same potential problem.


Of course that does not explain why it did not start after the car wash, but I have had a couple of cars that did not like starting after a very heavy rain fall...

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Thanks Scott.  Could explain the alternator failure.  Bummer.


I think the battery had discharged somewhat from the lights (and maybe ignition) being on for about 20 minutes in the car wash, hence part of the no-start issue?  I couldn't hear anything in the wash tunnel with the exhaust fans and dryers running, so not even sure if the engine was turning over before the jump attempt, but I don't think so.


Strange seemed to take about 20 minutes for the warning lights to come on, although maybe I missed the charge light as it was pretty dim at idle but lit right up with engine revs.


Just got the call from the shop, and unfortunately no alternator parts until next week.



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I know the early V8s had a problem where water could get near the spark plug wires during a wash. You need to remove the covers and blow out the water with compressed air.

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