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Old 07-21-2014, 11:32 AM   #15
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Hang on before just trying things. Lets troubleshoot this simple device and make sure you don't cause other problems along the way by taking wires off.

In any case, once it is identified as to purpose and how it is controlled it needs to be replaced and the wire connections need to be polished like new with sandpaper, a wire brush, or a sanding disk on the end of a dremel tool which I really like.

In the location it lives it is probably an emergency start solenoid which would jump both sets of batteries together if the engine batteries are dead.

See if you can follow the large wires. One may go to the starter as a convenient place for a lead. The other would go to the coach batteries.

Do you have an emergency start button. It may say auxiliary or something of the nature.

It might take the ignition key on and a button pressed to get voltage to the solenoid.

In any case we can discover if the solenoid is controlled by a positive voltage or a ground. A couple of ways to determine this. If you know how to use an ohmmeter just disconnect one of the small terminals along with that lead of the diode. Then measure that wire to ground, and then the other small terminal. The one that shows a very low resistance is the ground wire.

Another way without disconnecting anything is to use a 12 volt automotive test light. Simply connect the alligator clip to the large terminal that has voltage on it and then put the sharp end on the small terminals one at a time. The brightest connection is the ground side. If your eyes cannot detect the difference, disconnect the wires as previously mentioned and use the test light again.

If the test light has a really heavy current type light in it don't be surprised if the solenoid goes clunk when you apply voltage via the light. If it does you can measure the voltage on both sides of the large terminals and should see the same voltage.

Once you are satisfied that one of the small terminals is the ground side you can put a light wire with the ends stripped a bit across the large hot terminal and the small terminal that is not the ground. It should go clunk but the rust on the nuts may prevent you from making a connection.

All of this troubleshooting is a mute point if you cannot determine its reason for living,. It could be a device to allow you to charge both sets of batteries when plugged into shoreline, have the engine running, or the generator.

If it is an emergency start solenoid have someone start the vehicle while you measure the large terminal without voltage on it. A test light will work fine too. If voltage appears on that terminal you have nailed its purpose in life. Voltage that is going to the starter shows up and you now know for sure.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:47 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Hang on before just trying things. Lets troubleshoot this simple device and make sure you don't cause other problems along the way by taking wires off.

In any case, once it is identified as to purpose and how it is controlled it needs to be replaced and the wire connections need to be polished like new with sandpaper, a wire brush, or a sanding disk on the end of a dremel tool which I really like.

In the location it lives it is probably an emergency start solenoid which would jump both sets of batteries together if the engine batteries are dead.

See if you can follow the large wires. One may go to the starter as a convenient place for a lead. The other would go to the coach batteries.

Do you have an emergency start button. It may say auxiliary or something of the nature.

It might take the ignition key on and a button pressed to get voltage to the solenoid.

In any case we can discover if the solenoid is controlled by a positive voltage or a ground. A couple of ways to determine this. If you know how to use an ohmmeter just disconnect one of the small terminals along with that lead of the diode. Then measure that wire to ground, and then the other small terminal. The one that shows a very low resistance is the ground wire.

Another way without disconnecting anything is to use a 12 volt automotive test light. Simply connect the alligator clip to the large terminal that has voltage on it and then put the sharp end on the small terminals one at a time. The brightest connection is the ground side. If your eyes cannot detect the difference, disconnect the wires as previously mentioned and use the test light again.

If the test light has a really heavy current type light in it don't be surprised if the solenoid goes clunk when you apply voltage via the light. If it does you can measure the voltage on both sides of the large terminals and should see the same voltage.

Once you are satisfied that one of the small terminals is the ground side you can put a light wire with the ends stripped a bit across the large hot terminal and the small terminal that is not the ground. It should go clunk but the rust on the nuts may prevent you from making a connection.

All of this troubleshooting is a mute point if you cannot determine its reason for living,. It could be a device to allow you to charge both sets of batteries when plugged into shoreline, have the engine running, or the generator.

If it is an emergency start solenoid have someone start the vehicle while you measure the large terminal without voltage on it. A test light will work fine too. If voltage appears on that terminal you have nailed its purpose in life. Voltage that is going to the starter shows up and you now know for sure.
thank you myron. your thought is thorough i can fully understand and will follow it step by step. i will get back with findings.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:55 AM   #17
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Well, as long as we're all guessing the new one in the pix looks like the glow plug relay I replaced on my 97 Ford PSD. Big lugs are hot all the time but when you turn on the key power goes to the small lugs for 2min then it turns off.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:20 PM   #18
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First question:
Does your engine start? If it does, then this solenoid is working.

The only way you will see 12VDC on both sides is if you turn the ignition key to start.

I have the same setup and do know for a fact that if this solenoid fails, your engine will not start, it will not even turn over.

Yours looks quite rusty so I would replace it as it is not water proof and can get water on the inside and it will fail. If you get to where you can't start the coach, go back and give the solenoid a few heavy love taps. You can replace it with a marine version that is waterproof.

It is not a battery disconnect

It is not a battery combiner

It is not an emergency start

And we don't have glow plugs
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:06 PM   #19
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hi, gentlemen, crystal clear now after many tests

i was able to identify the positive and negative for the small terminals (in the middle) as instructed by myron and yc1 . touched with 12v the engine immediately started to crank. then i hooked up the voltmeter to the output terminal (big one at right hand side) and ground. while dw was watching the meter i went front to start engine with key. bingo, dw told me 12v on the voltmeter last a few seconds before engine was running then dropped to 0.

so we know it's the starter solenoid. dons2346 was right .

while i was doing the tests, i did take all wires off and filed/sandpapered the contacts thoroughly. in the future if engine won't start, that will be my first place to check. phew, leaning new tricks.

thanks everyone i will continue to try to find a terminal for 12v in engine bay which corresponds to key on/off...
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:23 PM   #20
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Thanks for posting your findings.

I guess it wouldn't have been as much of a mystery if it had not been a constant duty solenoid . Kind of overkill for that application. But I guess they wanted something heavy duty.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:41 PM   #21
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Outstanding! Now please please do yourself a huge favor. Replace it. I know it would be easy for me to convince you to replace a fuel filter, bad battery, or bad tire but folks just don't often take such advice when it comes to things like this. This is not an expensive part in the scheme of things and it looks terrible. I own a telecommunications service center and have been in the business 40 yrs now. We have replaced thousand of solenoids. It could fail at the most inopportune time. When you get the replacement take this one apart. It will take a bit of work but some hack saw knerfs around the top cap will let you open it like a paint can. Then remove all of the hardware carefully. Then you can rebuild and reseal it and keep it as a spare. Many times it is a simple matter of turning the bolts 180 degrees so there is a fresh surface.

By the way, YC1 and Myron are one in the same. YC1 is my radio call sign for Yuba City 1.

Sure helps when someone has the same model and can definitely state that it is the starter solenoid. Still curious why the small terminals have such large wires on them.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:59 PM   #22
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Outstanding! Now please please do yourself a huge favor. Replace it. I know it would be easy for me to convince you to replace a fuel filter, bad battery, or bad tire but folks just don't often take such advice when it comes to things like this. This is not an expensive part in the scheme of things and it looks terrible. I own a telecommunications service center and have been in the business 40 yrs now. We have replaced thousand of solenoids. It could fail at the most inopportune time. When you get the replacement take this one apart. It will take a bit of work but some hack saw knerfs around the top cap will let you open it like a paint can. Then remove all of the hardware carefully. Then you can rebuild and reseal it and keep it as a spare. Many times it is a simple matter of turning the bolts 180 degrees so there is a fresh surface.

By the way, YC1 and Myron are one in the same. YC1 is my radio call sign for Yuba City 1.

Sure helps when someone has the same model and can definitely state that it is the starter solenoid. Still curious why the small terminals have such large wires on them.
i need to change my eye glasses... why i thought yc1 and myron were two persons???
thanks for the advice. it's like less than $30 well worth the investment. maybe i can buy one as a backup so i can change it out in 30 minutes on the road in the event of non-starting. i love this board...
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:02 PM   #23
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Mystery Solenoid

If that is a Caterpillar. Engine I would say that is the solenoid to turn on your intake air preheater. It is only energized when the sensor calls for heat and the ignition is on.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:26 PM   #24
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wayne, it's a cummins isc 350 engine...
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:43 PM   #25
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If that is a Caterpillar. Engine I would say that is the solenoid to turn on your intake air preheater. It is only energized when the sensor calls for heat and the ignition is on.
He doesn't have a Cat and it is not to turn on the air intake heater
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:50 PM   #26
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"When you get the replacement take this one apart. It will take a bit of work but some hack saw knerfs around the top cap will let you open it like a paint can. Then remove all of the hardware carefully. Then you can rebuild and reseal it and keep it as a spare."

It is not worth taking apart as the inside will be a bunch of rust. I have taken one apart just to see why it failed and for 20 bux it is not worth it. It is a cheap component to start with. If you want a marine version, it will cost you about 40 bux.

Mine croaked when the coach was a couple of years old and I took it apart. I was involved with nuclear weapons reliability and did a lot of non destructive testing of components for failure analysis so in this case, not worth it.

I replaced mine 12 years ago and haven't had any problems since.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:58 AM   #27
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It is worth taking apart for the lesson it provides. My point is not to save money or to have a spare. Once taken apart the lesson is you can often repair one in a pinch and have a good mental picture of how simple of a device they are. The op is suggesting he will buy a new one but not install it until necessary. I hope he does not drive tires until they fail because he has a spare. Of course he doesn't. It just proves how difficult it is to get someone to change an electrical part versus a tire or a filter.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:49 PM   #28
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Repeatable repair...

The design of the case is such that it is just too much trouble and the repair not reliable.

However...most of us old radio folks have a disire to know that we fixed it...intermittents drive us nuts.

By tearing it down or performing an autopsy on the part you can learn what failed.

If inside has a single speck of rust then how did it get wet?

Seeing how it failed is part of the repair process so the root cause can be determined and addressed.
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