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Old 01-07-2017, 11:56 AM   #1
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2004 American Tradition Gauges

Need help with 2004 american tradition gauges. Have had problems with the gauges in the past but are getting worse.All the gauges except the speedometer go full range(just like when you first turn the key on)but just continue to wag back and forth,they may do this for 5 min.or an hour,then just start to work again.I've called american coach service,they thought bad connections from one gauge to the other,removed and cleaned all daisy chain wires with contact cleaner,but no help,then replaced all daisy chain wires with new from american coach still no change,american coach advised to send all three gauge clusters to ACTIA the gauge suppler,which I did but ACTIA tech.said the gauges all checked ok. I still have the same problem. This winter trip to TX.they wagged more than they worked.I'm stumped,thought maybe a bad ground but not sure where to look? Any body had this same problem??Sure would like some help!!!! Bought this coach new and have had this problem for the last 6 or 7 years. Thanks
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:24 PM   #2
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Need help with 2004 american tradition gauges. Have had problems with the gauges in the past but are getting worse.All the gauges except the speedometer go full range(just like when you first turn the key on)but just continue to wag back and forth,they may do this for 5 min.or an hour,then just start to work again.I've called american coach service,they thought bad connections from one gauge to the other,removed and cleaned all daisy chain wires with contact cleaner,but no help,then replaced all daisy chain wires with new from american coach still no change,american coach advised to send all three gauge clusters to ACTIA the gauge suppler,which I did but ACTIA tech.said the gauges all checked ok. I still have the same problem. This winter trip to TX.they wagged more than they worked.I'm stumped,thought maybe a bad ground but not sure where to look? Any body had this same problem??Sure would like some help!!!! Bought this coach new and have had this problem for the last 6 or 7 years. Thanks
Have you checked and cleaned the 12 volt supply to the gauges from the coach? Also check the ground from the engine to the chassis. This is a low current circuit so it will not take much to cause a problem with the ground.

Glenn
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:49 PM   #3
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I'm not sure where to check the 12 volt power to the gauges,all the wires are printed as to what they are for but can't find one that says power or 12 volt or one that says ground.
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:04 PM   #4
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I'm not sure where to check the 12 volt power to the gauges,all the wires are printed as to what they are for but can't find one that says power or 12 volt or one that says ground.
There should be at least three if not four wires on the back of each gauge.

Wire from sending unit.
Wire for dash lights.
Wire for ground for dash lights.
Fourth wire may be at the gauge or at the sending unit and would be the 12 volt power to "run" the gauge.

Electric gauges circuits are pretty straight forward. You have a variable resistor (the sending unit), a gauge (an electro-magnet), 12 volts to run the circuit, and a ground to give the current to go.

All your gauges are malfunctioning at the same time so it is either a problem with the ground (most likely the engine block) or the 12 volt power supply.

Digital gauges can be a whole different story.

The 12 volt power supply can be a little tricky. Some times the 12 volts is stepped down to a lower voltage for a gauge circuit. This would be for a number of reasons, 1) voltage varies depending on current load on the batteries and alternator so if the voltage is reduced the percentage difference in chassis 12 volt system would be less giving a more accurate gauge. 2) The wires in a gauge are very fine, by reducing the voltage you are less likely to burn the gauge up.

You may be able to get your wiring diagrams for the dash and sending units from either the chassis manufacture or American Coach with a phone call.

This is what I have,

My engine wiring diagram shows the sending units as the ground for the system.



My dash wiring diagram is incomplete and only shows the signal wire from the sending unit, the dash lights and ground for the dash lights.



Power has to come from some place.

The easiest thing to check would be the engine ground, do that first. Start the engine and then use a clip lead and ground the block next to one of the malfunctioning gauge sending units and see if the problem is corrected. If it is not then you need to look at the power supply of the circuit.

Glenn

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Old 01-07-2017, 04:55 PM   #5
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1965gto

Glenn, thanks for the help,I'll call american coach monday and see if I can get a wire diagram,it looks like my 04 is diffrent from yours. thanks again. Larry
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:00 PM   #6
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Glenn, thanks for the help,I'll call american coach monday and see if I can get a wire diagram,it looks like my 04 is diffrent from yours. thanks again. Larry
I have a Gillig chassis which would make everything different. The idea how the gauges work will be the same if you have analog gauges.

Glenn
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:10 AM   #7
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Note that some '04's are Freightliner chassis and others Spartan, but the gauge cluster is an American Coach design sourced from Actia. Much of the actual gauge info comes from the engine data bus and not direct from sensors, like on older mechanical engine systems & chassis.

I too would suspect a bad ground, but don't know where to tell you to look. I sold my '4 Tradition recently, so can't go look for myself anymore. There are a set of pins at the back of the dash (furthest forward in the coach) for power and ground (Ignition ON power, Ignition Off (battery) power, ACC power, & Ground, but not sure the Actia panel is fed direct from there or not.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:37 AM   #8
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1965gto - did you find a solution to your problem? I have the same thing in my 05 Tradition. Gauges bouncing from left to right.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:36 AM   #9
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If it is a Frieghtliner chassis, I dont suppose they used some of those defective VDC boxes on that year. As far as I know, they were on 99 to 02 years. My 2000 had the problem. The guages were all over the map. My low air alarm would come on constantly because of the faulty low air reading. Some simple soldering in the VDC box cured mine. Probably not your problem, but if it is, a simple irv2 search for vdc repair can be done to find the info. Good luck.
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