Is that sound coming from a battery...or the factory-installed poltergeist package?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray,

I have a 1975 Datsun pickup truck. I was driving too fast on a dirt road and hit a pot hole hard enough to bounce the truck. Seconds after landing, the accelerator pedal became stuck, causing momentary panic until I realized I could put the car in neutral and coast to a stop. Upon examination, it was discovered that the accelerator cable had become fused to its plastic sheathing, which had melted. After replacing the cable, the truck operated perfectly until I hit another big bump and the same thing happened. This time I noticed a burned spot on the underside of the hood above the battery. What's happening?

TOM: Go back and pull out your original dealer invoice. If you look at it carefully, you will notice that one of the factory installed options is the poltergeist package.

RAY: Actually, what's happening is your battery is loose. It's bouncing up when you hit bumps--and when you hit big bumps, it's making contact with the underside of the hood. When that happens, current is transmitted through the hood to whatever part of the accelerator cable happens to resting against the hood. The electricity melts the plastic sheathing, and presto--you've got an Audi 5000.

TOM: Your battery hold down brackets--which are two long screws which secure the battery-- have rotted away and need to be replaced. This situation is dangerous--not only because of the sticking accelerator, but also because shorted batteries can explode--then you'd have a combination Audi 5000/Ford Pinto. What a combination! Get it fixed right away.

RAY: By the way, a personal note to Audi and Ford. When you sue us, skip the red tape by writing directly to our attorney Stephen Boyd at the Boston law firm of Boyd, Dewey, Cheetem, and Howe.

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