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Old 06-28-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
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Battery problems

We have a 2006 fdts alpine that has developed starting problems. We have had it at the shop 3 times because all of a sudden it wont start. There are no idiot lights or anything but the instant a battery charger is applied the dash lights come on and it will start.The shop has put on new battery cables, done a load test on the batteries, looked for shorts or loose grounds....nothing seems to to fix it. Anyone have ideas?

Shari and Larry
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:13 PM   #2
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Have you checked to see if the rear Vansco module has any LED's lit on it when this is occurring?
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:01 AM   #3
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this is a shot in the dark but i encountered something that sounds close...

what it ended up being was the battery cable to the starter was not tight enough... during a trip on occasion it would come up dead as could be on restart... sometimes i would wait 5-15 minutes and everything seemed alright then....very odd..
then after a long trip to montana from arizona where the alpine was picked up.. i shut her down on some rough mountain road.... this time it refused to start period... 5 minutes ...5 hours....

i believe it worked it's way looser on the trip where contact was no longer possible....
when the key is turned into the starting position... these 'points of contact really heat up if there in loose connection points.... i will state that what one might consider tight might be actually too loose for the actual pounds per square inch torque necessary for a good connection...

simply, my positive lead from the battery to the starter was not torqued tight enough...
give it a look - you might be surprised.....
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:19 AM   #4
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Inside @ back wall of battery compartment are two large studs, positive & negative. Both run thru the frame, w/the positive stud insulated from the frame. On the inside of the frame you have a similar looking bundle of wires that connect at the studs. Check both on the battery box side and the inside frame rail for solid tight connections.

EXTREME CAUTION is warranted on all positive studs not to contact other metal parts when wrenching on them. For the battery side I use all my extensions so my wrench is outside the coach. That isn't possible for the frame side, and it is a good idea to insulate your wrench there as well as keeping vigilance on where the wrench may make contact. Eye protection under the coach is important as well, just in case. Remove all rings before doing this type of work.

Next place to go is the actual starter pos & neg connections, and check for solid tight connections; same safety cautions apply.

Then, I believe there is a smaller solenoid that energizes the starter solenoid, and it may be visible on an 06 in the forward area of the rear most PS compartment. If not you will need to raise the bed & it should be in the forward PS portion of the bed cavity.

Wild possibility it could be the Vansco but almost for sure not. If yours has given proper service to date then it is past the early failure stage where all Vansco failures have happened as far as I know. Very high possibility it is just a connection or two that need some extra squish to pass full amps to the starter circuit somewhere.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:53 AM   #5
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I would HIGHLY recommend that when ever working on the positive battery cable connectors, disconnect the ground cables at the batteries first. It is far too easy to hit ground with a tool, I have seen it happen more than once and have even done it myself. The power, from the cable's to ground is far larger than any 120 volt circuit most of us has ever worked on. It is a lot more than most arc welders.

The smaller solenoid that energizes the starter solenoid on my coach is located on the back side of the rear wall of the battery compartment.

I had a starter problem caused by a bad Vansco module.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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Every time that's happened to me it was a dirty connection, IN my case at the battery, but there is no guarentee that has to be the spot.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
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Just a follow-up to our starting problem. Like most mechanical things....It wouldnt act up at the shop. They have tightened everything they and cummings could think of. We are heading to Wis. this weekend so the long trip might tell us something. Thanks for the ideas.
Larry & Shari
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:04 PM   #8
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Years ago at the starter and alternator shop I worked in we would find a lot of lock washers that would start arcing in the split. This would eventually arc all around the washer and cause a no start situation. The only way to tell is to remove both nuts from the starter and look. I hope this might help.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:19 PM   #9
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Joe- did you see star washers used successfully instead of the split type lock washer?
Sounds like a good place for dielectric grease.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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E. Mike, both of your thoughts are good ones and successful. On the electric Hi-Lifts we work on we always discard any of the split lock washers for the star washers, internal or external and always use di-electric grease on all of the applications. Have been very successful with these for years and they pull a lot of amps. As much as the RV's or more in some cases. So beginning now, you can begin dis assembling the 08 cables and replace all lock washers with star washers and lubricate each connection. While you are at it do the cars and the tractor. This will give her a little bit of a break. As a matter of fact if you would write a report on it we would all be most appreciative.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:13 AM   #11
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Dielectric grease is non-conductive.
I can see using that to reduce corrosion at an assembly but certainly not at points that are supposed to make contact.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:55 AM   #12
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We have used this for many years and have never had an issue. This is just one of many manufacturers descriptions of there product. You will note that they do reference high energy ignition systems. It would seem that the bulk of the high voltage connections we need to make in our RV's are made where they are definitely suspect to moisture, dirt and corrosion. We are not trying to make it into anything other than what is stated below.
Permatex Dielectric Tune-Up Grease is a silicone dielectric compound used to insulate, lubricate and protect electrical fittings. It protects against salt, dirt, moisture intrusion and stray current in electrical connections. Dielectric grease extends bulb and housing life of navigation lights, masthead electrical connections, trailer lighting and harness or any electric connections exposed to moisture and the elements. Prevents voltage leakage around any electrical connector thereby insuring a strong spark in high energy engine ignition systems.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:25 AM   #13
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Certainly more to being informative than argumentative, the operative phrase/words are: "Prevents voltage leakage around any electrical connector.......".

Dielectric grease is good for protection of the connection, not between the contacting surfaces at the juncture, which is where the dielectric grease should never be used.

Dielectric grease is an insulator. Not a good thing to use if connectivity/continuity is desired or required.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:10 AM   #14
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I would like to cast my lot with you but something I think I had seen in the past makes me wonder. It may be a senior moment, but I thought the automotive industry actually put the grease into the bulb socket before the bulb went in. Also some of the connectors had the grease inside of them. I have always wondered how this worked with a dielectric. Maybe someone can explain or help me out on this.
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