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Old 12-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Won't start sometimes

I have a 2002 36' Intrigue. We were in a spat of cold weather and were getting ready to head out and the coach wouldn't start. You'd turn the key to start and nothing happened. Batteries were fine. I changed out the ignition switch and everything worked fine for awhile. The same problem started again yesterday. I went down to the fuse box in the L front and checked all the fuses and breakers. I pulled out the 20 amp circuit breaker and shoved it back in a couple of times and then the solenoid that is in the compartment gave a loud thunk and everything started working. I suspect it maybe a bad solenoid. Right now I'm on the west side of Death Valley pretty much in the middle of nowhere. If it doesn't start this morning when I get ready to leave is there a work around to get me somewhere where I can get it fixed? Or is it another problem.
Thanks
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:55 AM   #2
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If it's like an isolator solenoid, it should have 2 large terminals with larger wires on each post. If you connect the two wires to one post you will bypass the solenoid.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
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This is a common Country Coach problem.........the solenoid on the back side of the "service compartment" at the passenger rear corner of the coach needs to be replaced. It is a simple job and the solenoid can be replaced with a NAPA/Echlin ST85. If yours fails with you again prior to replacement, get someone to attempt to the coach while you "rap" the existing solenoid with a hammer handle or heavy screwdriver handle. My Intrigue was built in March of 2002 and I have replaced the same solenoid twice. Good luck!

LFSATRP
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Suite Sensation #11518
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lfsatrp View Post
This is a common Country Coach problem.........the solenoid on the back side of the "service compartment" at the passenger rear corner of the coach needs to be replaced. It is a simple job and the solenoid can be replaced with a NAPA/Echlin ST85. If yours fails with you again prior to replacement, get someone to attempt to the coach while you "rap" the existing solenoid with a hammer handle or heavy screwdriver handle. My Intrigue was built in March of 2002 and I have replaced the same solenoid twice. Good luck!

LFSATRP
2003 Country Coach Intrigue
Suite Sensation #11518
Yup, been there done that.
A little more clarification on location. If you open the engine compartment and look down to the right, you will see the solenoid. My '02 Intrigue was factory delivered in August of '01 and I have had to replace one relay. I cut it open and found it full of water.

You can find a marine equivalent for about 40 bux and never have to worry about it again.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:39 PM   #5
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It started but.....

Well first off I want to thank all of you who replied. She started this morning and handled the drive to where we were going on the other side of DV. I thought I had the problem isolated to the solenoid in picture 1. Picture 2 shows it's relative position in the left front compartment in front of the wheel. Is this the one you were talking about or should I start looking for the one at the back of the coach?
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:58 PM   #6
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If you or someone else puts a finger on the bottom of the 'can' they should be able to feel it engage when ignition is turned on. If it doesn't click, see if it clicks when you press battery boost switch or battery disconnect.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
Yup, been there done that.
A little more clarification on location. If you open the engine compartment and look down to the right, you will see the solenoid. My '02 Intrigue was factory delivered in August of '01 and I have had to replace one relay. I cut it open and found it full of water.

You can find a marine equivalent for about 40 bux and never have to worry about it again.
Hi dons,
When your solenoid that you're talking about was bad did the dash instruments fail to light up too? When what ever is bad on our coach doesn't work the Silver Leaf won't light up, dash instruments don't move, and dash lights don't light up. I looked at the solenoid in the back and it looks a bit rough but it doesn't look like it controls the what's happening on the dash.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pumper9x9 View Post
Hi dons,
When your solenoid that you're talking about was bad did the dash instruments fail to light up too? When what ever is bad on our coach doesn't work the Silver Leaf won't light up, dash instruments don't move, and dash lights don't light up. I looked at the solenoid in the back and it looks a bit rough but it doesn't look like it controls the what's happening on the dash.
When mine went bad, the dash acted normal. Just when you turned the key was there complete silence.

Sounds like you have a different problem and it looks like you are on the right track. Take a look at your schematics, which isn't easy to do, and see what that solenoid in the front compartment does. Chasing the wire numbers would also give you an idea as to what it does.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:18 PM   #9
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Thanks Dons, We're going to be here for awhile and the closest auto parts store is a 60 mile round trip. So I will be going over the schematics and chasing wire before I buy parts. But the solenoid in the back does look a bit beat so at the very least I'll change that out.
Thanks
John
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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I also have a 2002 and last Jan my coach did not want to start twice. We looked at the electrical schematics and figured it was the starting solenoid that causes the solenoid on the starter to kick off. On mine I clicked the key on and off a few times and it started. It has not caused a problem for almost a year now. But I carry a spare solenoid in my basement storage now. The solenoid I am talking about is in the back in the motor compartment on the right.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:56 PM   #11
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sounds like a good thing to keep with you for general principle. think I'll pick one up before i head out this spring.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:41 PM   #12
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Here's what's happening in case you are interested. The purpose of using solenoids it to use smaller gauge wire (14-16) to control heavy current carrying switches. Your starter motor requires roughly 125-175 amps of current. Keep in mind that you can weld steel with 50 amps of current. Conversely something like a bathroom fan might require 3-5 amps. The gauge wire needed to carry high current is what you typically find on your battery 2 - 6 gauge copper wire.

The solenoid is activated remotely when you close a switch (turn the ignition to the crank position). A small wire carry's current to a coil of wire inside the solenoid and creates a magnetic field. That magnet pulls a plunger down and a copper washer makes contact on two large copper contacts and heavy current flows into the starter motor.

Several issues can cause the solenoid to click but not crank the SM. 1. A low battery which does not have enough current to activate the SM.
2. Dirt or corrosion anywhere along the positive or negative path for high current to flow. This includes inside the wires or at any of the connections. This sets up a resistance and again not enough current can get through. If you turn the ignition to crank and you hear the clicking at the solenoid it's activating the solenoid but not providing enough current to crank the SM.
3. The same corrosion can also happen inside the solenoid on either the contacts or on the copper washer.

If you have a situation when sometimes it cranks and sometimes it won't that can be due to several factors. When a lot of current tries to get through a corroded connection it creates heat. The high heat will help to clean or burn off some of the corossion and the next time it will crank. The same thing happens inside the corroded solenoid. That 50 cent sized copper washer turns as it is activated so sometimes it will close on a clean area and pass sufficient current to crank the engine. Other times it won't.
Some of you probably know some of this stuff but I know I always want to try and understand when things happen and why they happen.

TeJay
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:05 PM   #13
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Thanks TJ I knew the general but not the specifics.
Update on my coach starting problem. It turns out that in addition to the solenoid in the right rear corner of the engine compartment there is and ignition solenoid. This one is located in the Left Front compartment with all the chaise fuses and will produce all the same signs and symptoms of no dash lights, instruments, Silver Leaf, or normal start up noises if it fails. I replaced that solenoid today. I haven't driven anywhere with it but I've started it 4 times and let it warm and started it again. I had to drive 30 miles to get the one I replaced but they only had one. Before I hit the road again I will have another solenoid handy.
Thank You one and all for your insights and your shared repairs. It's nice to know what to expect down the road.
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