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Old 05-14-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
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Cummins Engine Starter Issue

Working on my friend's 05 Alpine--starter would not crank over, but all dash instrument lights came on and fuel lift pump runs. After multiple attempts, starter engages and engine starts but I hear a low pitched whine. After multiple restarts, whine went away once but came back on subsequent starts, along with several more no-crank attempts. Casing of starter also gets very hot despite fact that engine has run long. Suspect short in starter/solenoid and/or starter is hang-up on flywheel once engine starts--all are bad things....Ideas?

PS--main bolts on starter housing have strange troxel-like heads--does a standard 12-pt socket work or does this require a special tool.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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The whine may indicate that the starter gear is hanging up on the flex plate. I would drop the starter, with what ever socket is required and take it to a starter shop. If you damage the flex plate it will get a lot more expensive.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:47 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about the starter issue. When you have starter issues there several things you should look at. The first thing I would look at is the starting batteries; one or both could be bad. Look at the starter solenoid which is could be bad and not engaging the starter. You may also have a bad starter. A bad armature or brushes could give you the same systems. If the starter is getting hot it could mean the starter needs more amperage to start then originally designed for. And as mentioned previously the whine could be the starter not designating from the flywheel after the engine starts. Your 12 pt. socket/wrench may work on the torx bold heads although you may need to purchase/barrow some torx sockets.


Good luck.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:31 AM   #4
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Check cables for corrosion & therefore high resistance under load that might slow starter response. Twelve point sockets should work fine. One bolt will want an 18 to 24" extension to reach the obscure bolt head.
Check the flex plate gear teeth for rust by "baring over" the engine to view thru the starter hole. Grease teeth if needed prior to reassembly. Spray type lithium grease would be easiest IMO.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:38 AM   #5
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There is a small solenoid under the coach on the rear bulk head between the battery compartment and the engine area. It sends power to the solenoid on the starter when the key is turned. It may be going bad and sticking both on and off. Looks like and the same size as an old ford starter solenoid.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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I have had the starter relay hang up on my '05 and also previous '99. This happened on my '05 at Quartzite and without knowing it I drove to the next town to the east and shut the engine off. It would not restart because the starter was toast. Also had to replace the relay. After that I installed a backup beeper to the starter side of the relay and I listen for the beep while the engine cranks. If I hear it after starting I will know to take corrective action.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:05 AM   #7
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Wil, EM and Jim--great input. The bat compartment was just rehab-ed and the chassis bats are new so think bats and cabling are good but will double check. Was also hoping a 12pt socket would work on the retaining bolts. I was glad to get yr input on the starter solenoid as I was having a "chicken or egg" conversation with myself about to how to test/diagnose the solenoid first. However, given the potential future cost of replacing a damaged flex ring, I am considering taking the starter off anyway and having it bench-tested/ rehab-ed. Dont need the extra work but suspect it might be best if it appears the starter has already been hanging-up.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:59 PM   #8
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Update--changed out the starter solenoid mounted on the bulkhead this morning. All the previous starter problems/symptoms went away. Starter cranks each and every time, no more whine, starter housing remains cool/warm to touch. Interesting side bar--I had a spare solenoid [from NAPA] but upon reading the install instructions [unusual for me], found a warning about not installing this particular solenoid on engines with computers--quote: "engines with computers require a solenoid with suppression diodes". So got a new solenoid at NAPA--no such warning was included so installed it--with no apparent problems.
PS--still a bit concerned about condition of starter as it did hang-up for some period of time--not clear when this started or for how long. Not sure I want to mess with it, if it appears to be working.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:43 PM   #9
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Scout & Zinom- how many miles on the respective rigs when the solenoid gave these problems?
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:20 AM   #10
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Old Scout,

I had our starter fire off on it's own while wiping down the coach. I yelled :-( at Patty for trying to start the coach. The starter cranked for a long time till I got a wrench and disconnected the positive cable....yikes the spark!!! The starter was VERY hot. Seemed like it cranked for 15 minutes, but i am sure it was more like 3-4.
Still working 9 years later.

EM our mileage was around 23k and 4 years old when it happened.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:58 AM   #11
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EM--this is an 05 with about 65K on it. Tom brings up another good point. I was aware [think its true] that the starter is "hot" wired to the battery so you must disconnect the bat to work on the starter. What I didnt expect is that the solenoid is also hot wired so turning off the main bat switch doesnt work--as Tom described, only way to stop a run away starter is to disconnect the bat. Realize this is a one-off issue but it does beg the question as to whether a blade switch on the bat post would be a good idea????

My friend was also chasing a chassis bat discharge issue [even with new bats and while on shore power] that we havent been able to find. This makes you wonder what else on the coach is directly wired to the bats??????

PS--this coach appears to have spent considerable time in northern climes so there was some exterior rust on the solenoid but no other signs of an internal failure.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:31 AM   #12
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When my starter hung up I drove from Quartzite to Tonopah with it engaged - about 80 miles. I expected that the ring gear would have to be replaced. The Cummins tech inspected it and confirmed it OK. I guess with the engine running there is not much load on the bendix gear & ring gear.

After that I also rewired the power source to the start solenoid to the chassis disconnect switch rather than from the starter 12 volt supply terminal. Thus, if this ever happens again disconnecting the chassis switch will shut of the power to the solenoid and also starter solenoid. This additional current would probably be less than 20 amps and only during the start cycle.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:54 AM   #13
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OS,

Thanks for reminding me. We had owned the coach for just three weeks. I was very surprised when I turned the switch to "off" on the chassis batteries and nothing happened. I had some choice words!!!
Time to re-wire that now.....in case it happens again.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:28 AM   #14
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We were in Ajo AZ and got off to an early start to drive all of 2 hours to Casa Grande to store our 2000 38 FDS for the summer and head home to Vancouver BC. About 20 mins into the trip the coach stopped! Everything went dead ....lights, ignition..engine ...everything. My wife said I had a big WTF look on my face! Stopped in the middle of the Ajo Tucson highway and called AAA. We coud hear the starter was still engaged ,although having really hard time to turn. I disconnected the chassis battery and it stopped the starter (nothing happened when I turned the chassis batt disc switch off as seen in this forum!).A long story short we got towed to a truck service shop in Eloy AZ. They changed the chassis batteries as they were toast (not from this incident, but due to be changed anyway) and the solenoid in the rear compartment and found the 300 amp ground fuse had blown. They surmised that the weak battery was not enough to disengage the starter and it ran the battery down to the point that everything dropped off the line. So everything now worked! BUT the storage place just called and said it won't start...lights on up front and a click but no start. I'm back home now so I can't troubleshoot but it sounds like it is probably the starter. Where is the starter located on a ISC 350? I'll have to wait until I return to Casa Grande to check it out

Geoff
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