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Old 07-27-2003, 06:59 PM   #1
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My inverter shorted out causing the ground fuse to go open, resulting in the entire motorhome not having any 12 volt power The engine stopped, everything inside the coach stopped working. I was driving about 58 MPH in the middle of North Dakota when this happened. To my surprise I could't stop the coach. Both the hydraulic and 12 volt electric boost for the brakes would not work. Has anyone experienced this problem?
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Old 07-27-2003, 06:59 PM   #2
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My inverter shorted out causing the ground fuse to go open, resulting in the entire motorhome not having any 12 volt power The engine stopped, everything inside the coach stopped working. I was driving about 58 MPH in the middle of North Dakota when this happened. To my surprise I could't stop the coach. Both the hydraulic and 12 volt electric boost for the brakes would not work. Has anyone experienced this problem?
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Old 07-31-2003, 03:56 PM   #3
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In all my years of working with DC power I have never heard of placing a fuse in the ground circuit. Is this an RV thing?

I have a call into WRV tech support people. I'll post when I hear back from them.
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:05 AM   #4
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Fred,

Something doesn't sound right here. If your coach has a hydroboost system (i.e., hydraulic brakes that are boosted with hydraulic fluid off the power steering pump), you should have an accumulator that provides hydraulic boost pressure for 1 or 2 stops should the power steering pump fail or, as in your case, the engine die. Our Cummins-powered Dodge (see signature) has a hydroboost system that utilizes a nitrogen-charged accumulator to provide "emergency boost". These can fail, but when they do, they discharge their nitrogen charge into the power steering pump circuit and usually blow power steering fluid out onto the ground.

You might want to check to see if your coach has an accumulator, and if so, that it's working correctly.

I'm with Danny - can't figure out why they would fuse the 12VDC ground circuit.

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Old 08-01-2003, 08:23 PM   #5
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RUSTY, This system uses a 12 volt motor to back up the hydroboost system, not an accumulator when the engine dies. So when you have no 12 volt power, you have no back up to boost the hydraulic brakes.
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Old 08-02-2003, 07:35 AM   #6
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Fred,

If so, it's critically flawed. From your description, the loss of 12VDC does the following:

1. Kills the engine

2. Kills the 12VDC hydroboost backup

Thus, no brakes. That's the reasoning behind the use of an accumulator. It doesn't rely on any external source of power to keep the brakes going until you can come to a safe stop. If it were my coach, I would look into retrofitting one.

JM2CW

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Old 09-03-2003, 07:06 AM   #7
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I will place another call to WRV service today and raise the question of the ground fuse. Although I have never had this exact problem, I have had repeated problems with my Hydro-Booster which is designed to stop you if your engine fails.

A WRV service tech told me that even if the brake booster fails you can still stop the coach. Well I'm here to tell you "that ain't so". I took my 2000 Alpine to a large vacant parking lot to test his claim after my Hydro-Booster failed. I accelerated the coach up to 20 MPH and killed the engine. A 500lbs gorilla doesn't have the leg strength to stop my coach. I had to restart the engine to stop.

I contacted a close friend of mine who has been in the auto service business for over 25 years and he agrees with Rusty. There should be an accumulator system or another backup to cover engine failures.

Danny
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Old 09-03-2003, 05:48 PM   #8
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This brake thing sounds serious. I'd like to fix mine somehow. In an emergency could you engage the service brake?
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Old 09-06-2003, 09:00 AM   #9
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I agree with Danny that it is impossible to stop a 2000 40' Alpine when the engine dies. I was driving in Indiana one week ago and was coming up to a stop light when the Cummins engine fuel pump failed and the engine died and diesel fuel began leaking out on the highway. I do not know if any hydroboost mechanism was working properly or not but do know that I was pushing as hard as I could on the hydraulic brake pedal and was starting to roll backwards (thank goodness it was a small incline). We do not believe that we lost 12VDC power.

My husband who was a passenger at the time said to engage the service brake which I did and it stopped the coach. It was either that or wreck the coach, toad, and several cars behind me. After two tows, three days later we were back on the road to Kansas.

By the way, we learned that although the repairs were paid for by Cummins if you use FED EX to get the Cummins repair parts to you quickly, you pay the freight. In our case it was approx. $230. The engine may be covered under the 100,000 mile, 5 year warranty but the express freight isn't. We didn't learn about this until we were settling up with the repair shop. Also, the repair shop informed us that they have replaced several fuel pump (broken lines) on this type engine. I sure hope we hear from WRV soon regarding this emergency braking concern.

Also, can anyone tell us how to check the hydroboost system to see if it is working or not?

We continue to remember "a bad day RVing still beats a good day at work".
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Old 09-07-2003, 02:17 PM   #10
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Marcia:

You should be able to stop your coach in the event of an engine failure if the Hydro-boost system is working properly.

I have concluded from my experience that the service parking brake will hold a stopped vehicle but it wont' do much good at highway speeds.

I have implemented an extra step in my pre-departure routine. I step on the brake pedal prior to starting the engine to verify that the Bendix Hydro-booster is functioning.

You should hear the motor running below the brake pedal. If it doesn't, I would get it checked out as soon as possible.

Danny
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:52 AM   #11
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Hi Danny,

Thanks for the excellent safety tip. I wonder how many Alpine owners know to do this. I did notice the Hydro-Boost working earlier in August as we were checking our Toad wiring and testing the brake lights without the MH engine running. I didn't know what it was at the time but heard a motor engaging when I stepped on the brake pedal. We will definitely make this part of our checklist. When you had trouble with yours, did you take it to an Alpine repair shop or to a Freightliner repair shop? Just in case we need to know.

We really appreciate all of the information posted on this forum. Thank you for being so responsive to concerns posted.

Chuck & Marca
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Old 09-08-2003, 08:45 AM   #12
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C&M

I do a lot of the maintenance and repairs on our coach myself. WRV's technical staff have been very helpful to me when I get into a problem outside of my expertise.

I was told at one time by WRV staff to visit a Freightliner shop when I had brake problems. You may want to contact WRV first.(800-888-4133) ask for Motor Coach Service.

Danny
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Old 09-09-2003, 07:13 AM   #13
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Danny,
Thanks for the information as to where to get repairs made if needed. We checked yesterday and our Hydro-Boost is working properly. This item has been added to our prior to starting the engine checklist.

Chuck & Marca
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Old 09-12-2003, 01:27 PM   #14
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Fred,

Note: Since I posted this original comment, I have found some discrepancies in the wiring diagrams for my coach and have edited the following after tracing the wiring more thoroughly.

I've been giving your ground fuse some thought. I also had it blow on my coach but as a result of a hung starter solenoid. Fortunately it was idling in my driveway. The first thing the Cummins mechanic did was to tighten the ground stud on the engine block.

I have a set of wiring diagrams and have compared the wiring on my coach, which is a '99 36FDS, with the diagrams. The positive wire from the inverter connects to a Heart Interface 200 amp fuse in the battery compartment. This appears to be a thermal circuit breaker and, therefore, would be slow to operate and the 250 amp ground fuse could blow before the CB operates. My coach has the 2000 watt inverter and a larger inverter may have a higher rating CB.

However, the ground wiring is interesting and I see no reason for the ground fuse blowing due to an inverter fault if all the ground connections are good. The negative wire from the inverter connects directly to the negative house battery terminal which has a short ground wire to a chassis rail connection. This has been loose on my coach with resulting low voltage to the HWH pump.

The negative terminal of the chassis battery connects to the negative terminal of the starter. The ground fuse connects between the starter negative terminal and the ground stud on the engine block. This ground stud also has a short wire to the chassis rail. If the ground fuse blows, everything powered by the chassis battery will cease to operate. Since all chassis battery loads are protected with fuses or circuit breakers in the positive side, I question the reason for the ground fuse.

Wil Rathke

[This message was edited by Wil Rathke on Sat September 13 2003 at 09:21 AM.]

[This message was edited by Wil Rathke on Wed September 17 2003 at 11:20 PM.]

[This message was edited by Wil Rathke on Fri September 19 2003 at 10:30 AM.]
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