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Old 04-03-2016, 05:48 PM   #1
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Cool Smart Wheel Power

I have been working on the Smart Wheel in our 40fdts for awhile without success. It lost all power while we were on our last trip and I have been trying various solutions and not achieving much luck.

I visited VIP and downloaded their information and followed their steps until I cam to the 209 controller. I opted for a new controller, which meant that the original 209 has been replaced by the newer 210 controller. After growing another right limb to access this controller located to the left of the driver, then on the backside of the dash, it was replaced. Restored power and tested.......same symptoms, everything dead. No horn, no wipers, and no controlling the exterior coach lights.

I am now convinced that there must be a separate power source to the Smart Wheel. I have located fuses to the horn, the wipers and exterior lighting, and have no power leading to the horn or wipers. Since each of these are fed to the Smart Wheel via a common cable, there must be another contactor feeding these fuses. Is there a relay located before the fuses. I cannot locate a wiring diagram of the chassis wiring for the fuse blocks located ahead of the passenger seat. Does anyone have a wiring diagram of the fuse blocks and dash wiring? It looks as though the fuse blocks have several relays also located within the block. However, there is no way to test them for operation, and there is no way to tell where each one goes or controls. Western RV must have had a wiring diagram of wiring of the fuse blocks and dash.

Thanks for any assistance that anyone can provide.

David Alexander
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:54 PM   #2
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I just saw this post and notice it is about 90 days old and no responses. Have you found the problem and gotten it solved?

I am having similar issues with my 2001 38FDDS, but my wipers and horn wouldn't turn off, had to pull those fuses to stop them, along with some exterior lights quit working in the midst of all this. I also replaced the SM209 controller with a new SM210 and got less functions than with the old SM209. Then was advised by the vendor to contact a tech shop in Ohio City, OH. They were helpful and quickly said they felt that the touch pads on the wheel were the probable cause. Touch pads NLA, but they can check out and repair old ones if needed. Sent them the SM209 and both touch pads a week or so ago, they said they had a 2-3 week backlog so I am in a holding pattern at present. Phone number of the tech shop is 419-965-2662, Chris or Mark if you wish to contact them.

Would appreciate any solutions you may have found since original post. I also will advise you when I get the controller/pads back and reinstall as to whether this fixed my issues.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:17 PM   #3
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When I had a similar problem with my 2001 38 ft Alpine I contact WRV and they sent me a kit to replace the brass ring and contact inside the the steering wheel. That solved my problems. This happened when the Alpine was less than a year old, no problem since. I hope this helps.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:45 AM   #4
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If you recall, was the brass ring just a contact ring mounted to the steering wheel itself, or was it the clock spring assembly? I am considering whether to go ahead and order the clock spring and install it while waiting for the controller and touch pads to come back. That costs in the range of $300 per other posts I have seen and may not be the problem, but, due to age and possible future failure while on the road, I feel it may be worth the cost while I have the time and everything apart except pulling the wheel off. If you may have the part number for the clock spring, I would appreciate having it. I left an email on the VIP tech line asking for the part number (appears they only sell through dealers) and have not yet received their reply.

Have you solved your problem that started this chain? If so, curious as to what you found.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:12 PM   #5
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Smart Wheel

I haven't pulled the steering wheel yet, but it is coming this weekend. I understand that there is a clockspring, but then I read that there is a disc and contacts. I don't know which I'll find but I'll keep you informed. I figured that if I pull the wheel, whatever is underneath will tell me what to try next.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:20 PM   #6
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I pulled my wheel today and found there is a disc with 2 springs used to push the disc onto the contact points on the column to make the contact. There is no clock spring module on this 2001. All appeared in order so reinstalled, found no pinched wires anywhere. I did notice though that the yellow and brown wires are the only 2 wires after removing the wheel, thus the power you are seeking apparently travels through those wires also.

I noticed while unplugging the connectors to detach the horn button module from the wheel before prying the wheel off, that one of the wires appeared to pull very easily out of the connector while the other was much harder to separate, thus this could have been a major contributor to my problem, you may wish to check that without pulling the wheel. I also noted for some reason there was a small corrosion spot on the nut holding the wheel on the column, where the nut met the wheel surface, about 1/16" round dot, no explanation why that was corroded, but no sign of other corrosion elsewhere therein.

I have 4 pictures of the operation if you are interested, can email or text to you. Someone else may chime in with your 2003(?) in case Western RV made some changes. Still interested if you find anything else.
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Old 08-07-2016, 01:42 PM   #7
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Thanks to all the replies. I have finally removed the steering wheel (broken bolts, two pullers, penetrating oil, impact wrench, and finally a BFH) and exposed the clock spring. However, it does not have any markings or part number to order a new one. I have found that a Douglas steering column only utilized one type of spring. Now I have to figure out whether or not this is a Douglas column. Are there any identifying marks to determine manufacturer?
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:12 AM   #8
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Per my previous post, does yours have a true clockspring, or simply the disc held in place with two interlooped springs as my 2001 does? I received advice that the disc on mine usually does not wear out, visually inspect and spread the dielectric grease on it and reinstall. Douglas apparently made all the steering columns for the Alpines in those years. Douglas Autotech, Bronson, MI 517-369-2315.

FYI, I am awaiting return of my controller, both touch pads on wheel, and the interlink circuit board beneath the horn pad all of which I sent off for M&M Electronics to check out. They were out last week on a "service call" and are expected back in office today, so I hope mine is returned late this week. If I get it back before weekend, my tech whiz son is coming to town this weekend to help me further debug if the controller checkout doesn't fix the problem. Will post results when returned.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:25 AM   #9
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My 2003 does have the clockspring. I disassembled the steering wheel after utilizing every tool that I owned (and then some) and found the troublesome part. After talking with RV Chassis Parts in Michigan, it was determined that the clockspring was from a Douglas column. I have ordered the new one, which should be here Friday and will reassemble it this weekend. I had already bypassed the clockspring and connected the multifunction bar directly to the wiring harness and all systems worked, so I'm pretty sure that the new clockspring will correct my problem. Since I could not find any pictures of the column and/or clockspring, I will upload some pictures as progreee continues.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Kacy View Post
My 2003 does have the clockspring. I disassembled the steering wheel after utilizing every tool that I owned (and then some) and found the troublesome part. After talking with RV Chassis Parts in Michigan, it was determined that the clockspring was from a Douglas column. I have ordered the new one, which should be here Friday and will reassemble it this weekend. I had already bypassed the clockspring and connected the multifunction bar directly to the wiring harness and all systems worked, so I'm pretty sure that the new clockspring will correct my problem. Since I could not find any pictures of the column and/or clockspring, I will upload some pictures as progreee continues.
Thanks Dave.
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:31 PM   #11
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I believe there is a doc on the ACA Tech Library indeed Chassis that has the schematics for the fuse/relay blocks used in the 97-03m.y. Alpines. They were made by Bussmann and I believe are labeled VEC(s) for Vehicles Electrical Center or something like that.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:45 PM   #12
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Smile Smart Wheel Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Kacy View Post
My 2003 does have the clockspring. I disassembled the steering wheel after utilizing every tool that I owned (and then some) and found the troublesome part. After talking with RV Chassis Parts in Michigan, it was determined that the clockspring was from a Douglas column. I have ordered the new one, which should be here Friday and will reassemble it this weekend. I had already bypassed the clockspring and connected the multifunction bar directly to the wiring harness and all systems worked, so I'm pretty sure that the new clockspring will correct my problem. Since I could not find any pictures of the column and/or clockspring, I will upload some pictures as progreee continues.
I received my controller, 2 push pads on wheel and the connecting circuit board back yesterday, installed today. M&M Electronics found a problem in the circuit board connecting the 2 touch pads, located under the horn bar, repaired and tested for $250 plus shipping. My horn, lights, and wipers are now functioning 100%, thus was not apparently the clockspring/contact ring on my Alpine. If your clockspring doesn't solve your problem, you may look at this scenario since our problems were identical.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:49 PM   #13
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Curious--If I followed your thread correctly--thought you shipped the repair facility the two touch pads from the wheel and the control module from the firewall. Did you also send them the board under the horn bar too????? Didn't know such a connector board even existed?????
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:18 AM   #14
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Correct, I initially sent them the parts you indicated as they originally requested. They called back when they got to the testing/repair process and requested that I also send them the other board - which attaches the two touch pads to the yellow/brown control wires going eventually to the controller on the firewall. I had pulled the column apart to check out the contact pad and had seen the other board so knew exactly what they were requesting. The horn pad is connected to the wheel by 2 screws on underside of the wheel, the two harness connections that the touch pads plug into are connected to this board. The board is about an inch wide and 6 inches long, riddled with diodes like the inside of the controller if you have looked at it.

I had to retrieve my RV from a storage location yesterday here in Baton Rouge, went there to put in the parts and found rising water about 2" below the storage compartments - excellent timing, or I would have had a couple of new problems. Now to tackle the generator now just starting up and shuts down again after 15 seconds or so. Oil level OK, now to checking breakers, etc. Good Luck!
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