pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/18/20 10:56 a.m.

Last month, I drove my van about 24 hours round-trip to Vermont towing a utility trailer with no issues at all.  Last week, I drove 10 hours down to the Outer Banks towing the same trailer, no issues. On the way home, it rained a lot but the van soldiered on for about 8 hours. Then I screwed up.

I have a route that I always take and I know it well. I hate taking shorter routes that are suggested by the navigation software because they are always winding 2-lanes that are a PITA. I'll add 15 minutes for a nice smooth road that is straight and nonstop. But we made a long stop at Bass Pro Shops for lunch and shopping, and I wanted to shave some time. So I took the winding road through Paw Paw VW (lovely country, would have been great in a sports car) to shave 30 minutes, knowing it was really curvy.

About 15 minutes in, the idiot lights start coming on. Then the van starts losing power. It struggles into a pull-off in the middle of nowhere and dies. My jump-starter starts it once, but it won't run or drive. Crap. Its Saturday night at 7:30 pm and I am three hours from home. This is my punishment for not sticking to my usual route.

The good news is that my parents were following in their full-sized van. My family jumped in and I hooked up the trailer and we kept driving. AAA towed the car to a local shop who diagnosed the obvious: dead alternator. I'll be out a few hundred bucks and will have a 6-hour round-trip drive to retrieve it as punishment from the road-trip gods. 



wae UltraDork
8/18/20 11:07 a.m.

Only an alternator?  Look who knows so much!  It just so happens that your van is only MOSTLY dead! 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/18/20 11:10 a.m.

Take a flashlight and head into the paw paw tunnel.  

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
8/18/20 11:39 a.m.

Get the better AAA package and they would have towed it 100 miles. If you were 3 hours from home that might be 150 miles. The best AAA package tows 200 miles. They could have brought the van right to your neighborhood. 


All in, it sucks but congrats on it just being an alternator. 

iceracer MegaDork
8/18/20 12:37 p.m.

No battery light or meter ?

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/19/20 10:07 a.m.

I used to have the AAA+++ GOLD PLATINUM but dropped it last year.  I will be going back to it again, the basic tow is 3 miles. Huh?!?!?

No lights, no warning, it just died. I actually thought that we may have hit a puddle or something (wifey was driving at the time). When its your time, its your time I suppose.

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