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Old 06-17-2018, 02:33 PM   #1
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Repairing a Big Boy

I was having intermittent voltage problems while driving or dry camping.

My voltage gauge was showing that the batteries where depleting while the alternator was charging at 13.6 volts. I checked the Big Boy and found the contact extremely pitted! See pics.



I though about buying another one but I decided to open it up just to find out that cleaning the contact and the contactor with a wire brush was all that was needed! It's just a couple of nuts and bolts to gain access to the core



Before it was more of a heater than a relay. Now It shows 0 Ohms when energized! It took less than an hour to remove, rebuild and re-install and the bonus is a $300US saving for the part only



I intent to make this a regular maintenance item on a two to three year basis.
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Old 06-17-2018, 02:52 PM   #2
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Dynasty 09,

Thanks for sharing. I cleaned the BIRD in our coach last September 2017 and also carry a spare. This is a maintenance item worth addressing.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:27 PM   #3
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If past the point of cleaning, you can buy new contacts and disk to rebuild for $26.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/J-N-247-120...0AAOSw3ANalGAr
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:31 PM   #4
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For $26 you can buy a rebuild kit IF the contacts are badly pitted: https://www.ebay.com/itm/J-N-247-120...item3b0305005a
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:38 PM   #5
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Mine quit working and I took it apart and the contacts looked good. It turned out the
plunger was to long and the contact weren't making contact. Ground the plunger and now works fine. It's good to know that the contacts are available.
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivylog View Post
If past the point of cleaning, you can buy new contacts and disk to rebuild for $26.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/J-N-247-120...0AAOSw3ANalGAr
Thats a great thing to get for a spare. I cleaned mine but the spare will be good for every coach.
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:58 PM   #7
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Interesting to know it's possible to get a repair kit. It looks similar but I'm not sure the contacts and plunger are the same... At $26 I'll order one and check it out.

Tks
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:18 PM   #8
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Ivylog, are you sure those are the correct contacts?

Big Boy rebuild instructions courtesy of Mike Canter.
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File Type: pdf Big Boy Relay rebuild instructions.pdf (566.1 KB, 29 views)
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
Ivylog, are you sure those are the correct contacts?
.
No I am not as you cannot see the length of the studs. I actually bought a complete Delco 40MT-50MT Solenoid (had to go get it out of my spare parts for correct numbers). I like the one below for $33 as you can see the length of the studs...need to be fairly long. Somewhere in a box in my shop I have individual studs and disks as they can be bought from a good starter rebuild shop. You can even buy silver tipped studs.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/6640-172-NE...pe!33460!US!-1

OK, I found 1/2-13 long silver tipped studs for $7.55 each but the the site stopped working when trying to check out for shipping cost. Silver tipped studs would solve the corrosion I've had to clean in my BigBoy. Anyway here is the site...maybe it will work for you or call 800-533-4776
starters - delco-remy (gm) - terminals and studs
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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This is an excellent post. The pictures are great. I have been waiting for a post with pictures for a long time.

Using a program called Snagit I captured most of the thread and will repost the link many times in the future as this issue comes up often.

It looks like the contact posts could possibly be driven out gently by leaving the nut on but run out level with the end of the threads. A few gentle taps and the post will probably come out. It makes it easy to clean then and you can also give them a turn to make a fresh level spot.

On some other solenoids that were really bad I used silver solder to build them back up and got many more years out of them.

These solenoids work hard and should indeed be included in a bi-annual inspection if used a lot. Even lack of use can allow build up of crud so checking these is important.

Great post, thanks.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Dynasty 09,

Thanks for sharing. I cleaned the BIRD in our coach last September 2017 and also carry a spare. This is a maintenance item worth addressing.
ZackMan - did you mean BIRD or BigBoy? I don't know of anyone who has cleaned a BIRD unit. If it was the BIRD, how did it get dirty?
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:03 AM   #12
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https://www.google.com/search?q=bird...earch=irv2.com

The terms are often used interchangeably. The smaller version of the big boy relay is often the Trombetta and it can be cleaned as well.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
https://www.google.com/search?q=bird...earch=irv2.com

The terms are often used interchangeably. The smaller version of the big boy relay is often the Trombetta and it can be cleaned as well.
Actually, they are not interchangeable. B.I.R.D. means "Bi-directional Isolator Relay Delay" and it requires a BigBoy. The B.I.R.D. is a circuit board that monitors the voltages on the two 12V systems and manages closing and opening the BigBoy.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:52 PM   #14
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You miss my point Paul. The term bird is often used just like Kleenex. Yes they are NOT interchangeable but often the term is used to cover the subject matter.
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