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Old 12-30-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
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Coach Won’t Start - '05 Alpine

Coach Will Not Start

I have a 2005 Alpine Coach 36 foot. I purchased it new and have only had one starting problem. The only other time the coach would not start the small fuses in the small box above the solenoid were corroded and after cleaning off the corrosion the coach started just fine and has started OK for three months.
We were dry winter camping in the Tennessee Mountains for a week in very cold weather. Everything went perfect. I started the engine every day and I started the generator every day. The engine batteries are less than a year old as are the house batteries. I was driving home and I stopped at a rest area and the engine would not start. I went to the battery compartment and turned off chassis switch (also the front one) and I wiggled some wires in the small box above the solenoid. Now the coaches in my driveway and it will not start. When turning the ignition key. The dash lights come on for a few seconds and start blinking then go out completely and the coach does not start. If I leave the ignition switch on and go to the back of a coach, I hear a clicking, clicking, clicking and it is not coming from the solenoid. I held my fingers on the solenoid and it is not clicking - something else in the engine compartment is clicking. I tried turning the chassis switches on and off and wiggling the small fuse box. All that failed this time. The house battery is at 13.6 VDC and the engine batteries are at 11.8 VDC. Holding in the emergency start switch does absolutely nothing. So I donít believe the solenoid is operating at all. I have a charger on the house batteries to bring them back to full charge and if that works. Iíll take the batteries out and get them tested as they are still less than one year old. The generator will not start either - although everything worked all week, while dry camping at 20į. Iím home where itís warm and now nothing works. I canít figure out why my engine batteries are not in full charge. As I drove 400 miles getting home and had the coach plugged in for a full 36 hours and they are still at 11.8 VDC. Maybe the batteries are just bad - but the emergency switch on the dash should kick in the house batteries and they are at 13.6 VDC, but that doesnít work.

I read a post that said low-voltage on pin # 26 on the VMM will keep the engine from starting. How do I check the voltage at pin #26 and is it the front or rear VMM?

My muffler is falling off also. But who needs a muffler if the coach wonít run!

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Old 12-30-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Check cable connections where your chassis batteries connect at the main ground point (usually on the engine). Clean and snug them and your engine will start.

2000 HR Endeavor, 3126 CAT, Freightliner, "The Highway Hilton" pulling a BMW.
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:39 PM   #3
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I had a similar prob and had to replace the solenoid. It should trip when you turn the key to the on position. If it doesn't, replace it. Don't use a starter solenoid. It won't carry the amp load very long. Get a continuous duty solenoid.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:28 PM   #4
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Angry Coach Wonít Start - 2nd Post

Coach Wonít Start

2005 Alpine Coach = 400 Cummins

OK - I got it started. All I did was charge the engine batteries.
BUT >>>>
I have no idea why the battery went down. It stayed up for a week while dry camping and I started the engine every day. Then - I drove 200 before stopping at a rest area where it failed to start. So - it seems the battery went down while driving and the dash LCD was showing 13.9 VDC charge.
I would never have expected that!
Can anyone tell me EXACTALLY where that ground connection is I need to clean.
I will get the 9 months old engine batteries checked tomorrow.
I am supposing the solenoid is bad if it does not connect the coach batteries with the engine batteries.
Can someone tell what solenoid they used to replace the original and where they purchased it? Thanks
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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Not knowing your coach I'd put money on the ground. Follow it from the engine battery to the chassis. There's also likely a ground between the starter and the chassis. Check and clean them both and you'll probably resolve the issue. Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:46 PM   #6
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11.8 was definitely a dead battery but how it got that way could be hard to find. A friend had a similar problem (dead battery over night) and I found that he had a bad alternator. If you have a clamp meter put it on the cables going to the alternator (without the engine running) and see if you have any current flow. I measured 4 amps and the alternator did get warm. Might be a red herring, but doesn't cost anything to check.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:08 PM   #7
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I would check the voltage at the house and engine batteries when engine is idleing. Mine are about 14.1 each. If both are not equal or close to equal. Then I would check alternator or battery isolater. You most likely have a bad ground or battery connection. Good luck.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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At this point, I am not sure if you have a solenoid issue or a start battery issue. Easiest [cheapest] place to start is to disconnect and clean ALL the bat connections--both in the bat compartment and on the starter itself [careful--these cables are always hot so disconnect at bat first]. Then confirm with a clamp volt meter that alternator is charging [not sure 05 has convertional bat isolater]. You can also check to see if genset charges bats thru Vansco controlled bat solenoid. On your 05,the stater solenoid is on the backside of the rear bulkhead of the bat compartment--it is not inside the bat compartment itself. The challenge with diagnostics for 12v issues is that bad connections/circuits may/will show good voltage but wont carry the amps necessary to actually crank the starter or other applications....good luck.
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Old 12-31-2013, 08:58 AM   #9
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We also have a 2005 36 footer. I think when we had a problem of the engine batteries not charging up it was a dead solenoid. Check VMM #19, if it isn't lit then the solenoid is not passing charge thru to the engine battery when you are driving etc. We changed ours out and all was fine. Let us know if you find that #19 isn 't lit as I think we have an extra solenoid that we purchased "just in case" that we could send to you. Good luck.
Gary & Betsy Sinclair
2005 36' Alpine Limited
Lake Chelan, WA
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:41 AM   #10
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Coach Wonít Start - 3rd Post

Coach Wonít Start - 3rd Post
2005 Alpine Coach Ė 36í FDDS
OK - Iím trying to get this thing figured out. I charge the coach batteries and it starts fine.
Like I said I was dry camping for a week and the coach started fine every. On Saturday morning I started the coach has normal and headed home. At a rest area the coach failed to restart, but eventually did. After another 200 miles. I parked in my driveway. The coach would not restart.
So the best I can figure is that I had the furnace running (thatís the house battery) and I had the heater blower running on high (thatís the coach battery).
When I checked the batteries, the chassis batteries were at 11.8 vdc , which is definitely discharged and the house batteries were at 13.6 vdc , which is OK.
So this means that the chassis batteries were not getting charged while I was driving down the road. However, the Ė showed 13.8 vdc charge. I suppose that means the alternator is working OK
but perhaps the solenoid is stuck or not working or something. I have ordered a new Trombetta solenoid from MurCal http://shopping.murcal.com/Catalog/Bear-DC-Contactor-Family/114-1211-020 . When it warms up a little. I will install solenoid and we will see if that was the issue.
I am going to install the solenoid before I clean the ground wires just to see which one it really was. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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When the engine is running the chassis batteries are charged directly from the alternator and the coach batteries are charged from the chassis batteries thru the solenoid. When you are plugged in or the generator is running the coach batteries are charged directly from the inverter/charger and the chassis batteries are charged from the coach batteries thru the solenoid . If the chassis batteries are not charging while driving the coach it's probably not the solenoid. With the engine running check the chassis batteries they should be above 13 volts. That would indicate that the alternator is supplying power to the batteries. If true then the batteries are bad. If not than the wiring or connections from the alternator to the batteries or grounds need fixing.
Jim & Sandy
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:56 AM   #12
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I agree with Jim that the wiring may be wrong. You wouldn't have noticed while the combiner was working but it definitely sounds as if the alternator is charging the house battery and not the chassis battery. The emergency start switch would not work as power for the solenoid comes from the chassis battery so if that was dead the house battery would not have been connected to the chassis battery.
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:24 PM   #13
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Ditto what John said- the intertie solenoid is powered off the Chassis Batts. If chassis Batts are low the will not power the Vansco VMM to power the#19 led output that connects the solenoid.
If you had corrosion problems with the fuse block, that stuff can come back like ghosts of Christmas past. I'd recheck that as standard procedure.
Also what Jim said. Could be alternator or alternator wiring.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:37 PM   #14
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I have one of these plugged into a power port that way I can check the voltage of the Chassis Battery running or just setting all the time also have one in my truck.
INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor : Amazon.com : Automotive
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