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Old 06-07-2019, 09:28 PM   #1
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Where is starter relay on RV with Chevy P30 chassis?

We have a 1989 Winnebago Superchief and the starter won't turn the flywheel. It only clicks a single time ("clunk") when I turn the ignition switch, not a "click-click-click". The battery is fully charged and when I pulled the starter I got the same single click when turning the ignition switch. So I got a new starter and hooked up the wires to it before installing it, and got the same single click when I turned the key. So I'm figuring that out may be the relay or perhaps the wiring.

So 2 questions: Where is the starter relay located, and does that sound like it's the problem, or does anyone have a better analysis?

I should add that we discovered the problem when going up an incline and experiencing power loss and engine dying, I believe due to too little gas for the incline. Then it wouldn't start due to the above situation. TIA for your thoughts.
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:15 PM   #2
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The GM P3x chassis (Van, Truck, or RV) does not use a separate relay between the ignition switch and starter solenoid. Double checked that with my Factory Wiring manual, before responding.

With that said, it does not mean that a previous owner, or Winnebago did not add one. Our 90s P32 Fleetwood does not use one.

Now, there can be a number of reason why the starter only goes click once. Being that you also lost power and the engine died,...and then (I infer) it would not restart as you described.

I would check all of your battery connections, including the ground straps to the chassis, engine block etcetera. You will also want to have the battery load tested. You can also check for voltage available when in the crank position. You can also check for voltage drops at each cable end under load.

In a former life as a mechanic, I had a 1988/89 454 Chevy Suburban once that would crank slow or die randomly. It had been through 3+ mechanics hands, 5-6 starters, a few batteries, and 3-4 alternators. No one could figured out what the problem was. When it got to me I did a voltage drop check from the battery positive terminal to the starter cable lug. When the key was turned, there was over a 3 volt drop on that one cable alone. We ordered brand new original battery cables from the Chevy dealer, and after installation his problem was solved. If I remember correctly, the cable set was close to $200 two decades ago.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:12 AM   #3
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You did not say what engine you have, so I'm not sure if your P30 has a ignition switch on the lower steering column. I would assume it has a 454 cu. If so, the switch should look something like this https://www.autozone.com/batteries-s...18304_680812_0 I had mine go bad on a 2004 workhorse. It was something like your problem. It started out with just a click, then went to a click with all the power being lost. I slaved one in and sure enough, that was the problem. Found out later this a a known problem for the P32 workhorse chassis. I did the mode that is called for to correct the failure problem, and have not had another switch fail. You might try this, it was fairly easy to remove the cannon plug, and slave in the new one. I just used a screw driver through the hole to actuate the the switch.
It is pretty straight forward operation. When you turn the key, a plunger rod actuate the switch to send power to the starter, once released, the switch move to the run position, then to the off when the key is moved in that direction.

I don't think there is a known problem with the switch burning out on your model. But, that does not mean it could not fail. On the P32, the problem was way too much accessory power going through the switch, causing numerous failures.

Might be worth a try. Cheap fix and repair. Easy to slave and eliminate the part as a possible failure. Your can just pull the cannon plug, and see if the switch is burnt. That would be another quick and easy troubleshooting step.
Hope this may help some, most important is to let us know what the final fix is. It helps other people searching for the same problem, or something close. Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:23 AM   #4
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Starter needs replacing.


But first I would remove and clean all connections and ground wires. Then re-check.


This was one of the first things I did after purchasing my RV. I replaced the batteries, clean all connections at the batteries, chassis ground connections and starter connection points. Use some 'Superlube' dielectric grease at all connection points.
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:03 AM   #5
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You can bypass any relays by jumping the " S " terminal on the starter mounted solenoid to the large positive battery terminal on it.

The solenoid should engage and the motor should turn.

Are you sure the engine in not seized ?
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:27 AM   #6
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My 1987 P30 DOES have a secondary solenoid between the ignition switch and the actual starter. Itís mounted on the alternator. Jump the main terminals together- if the starter turns the solenoid is bad.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:24 PM   #7
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It sounds like Ryan has the correct info for a late 80's P32.

Just in case you need it, here is the link to the ignition switch T/S and fix that hawkeye references:
Stranded by a faulty Starter Switch
I think this is for 1990's P32 but I don't know the break in point.
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwalt View Post
It sounds like Ryan has the correct info for a late 80's P32.

Just in case you need it, here is the link to the ignition switch T/S and fix that hawkeye references:
Stranded by a faulty Starter Switch
I think this is for 1990's P32 but I don't know the break in point.

Yep, that ignition switch is in my 1994 P30 (Fleetwood Southwind Storm). I put a new one in just as a preventative maint. last year. The original one did not look abnormal in anyway but it's an added piece of mind knowing that it won't be. Bought an OEM Delco replacement.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:39 PM   #9
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Mine has a secondary solenoid, too, right over the alternator like Ryan said. Had a mobile mechanic come out and he tried jumping the secondary solenoid and tested everything including the old and new starters. There was 12.3v reaching the starter, but no response. Checked and found ground from battery to be good, solid. Tried everything but exchanging new starter and bench testing both starters. I don't have another vehicle to get into town (and no money for Uber, etc.), about 20 miles to the parts store, or I'd do that in a heartbeat. I had to send the mechanic on his way after a couple of hours without having him get the part, because that's all I could afford to pay him for and I can install a starter myself. Kinda stuck here until I can get to the parts store
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:06 PM   #10
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I know this is going to make me sound like a hack but have you tried thumping on the starter while somebody turns the ignition?

If it is the starter like your last post suggested it may just need a little persuasion and just might give you one more start.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:30 AM   #11
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Thank you for the feedback James. A good mechanic should have figured it out with jumpers/remote starter switch. Assuming both starters do the same 'click'.
If electrical - Don't get focused on the voltage. You need current (flow) to spin the starter. Corrosion within any cable terminal can give you good voltage but weak current flow. Think of it like water flow - a plugged up garden hose will reduce the flow but you still have good pressure.
If you are stranded, a free thing to do is 'disconnect the battery' and then squeeze each cable connection - for the battery, ground, and path to the starter. (using vice grips or large pliers but don't over do it, just crimp it a little more). Re-connect battery and give it a try.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:08 AM   #12
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All of the responses above certainly are good. I'd start by checking starting battery ground wire where it bolts on to the frame. they build up corrosion that can't be seen with out removing it. Clean it, Then I'd check your batt terms and make sure they are crystal. Did you clean the contacts that you reattached to the starter???

Next I'd take the little wire that runs to the starter and jump it to the positive term on you bat to see if you get a good turnover. If you do then work backwards to your starting circuit. Many folks added relays to starting switches because they would burn out the switches, hard to guess it is but most likely under the dash somewhere.

If you don't get a good start directly at the batt then pull the starter and bench test it. Off the top of my head it sounds like the solenoid is not making contact to get the amps to the starter.

You don't mention if you replaced the solenoid too. I had the same problem on my P30 and it was the chassis ground....
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:13 PM   #13
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BTW, it's not the starter that is clicking. Both starters have zero response to the voltage received. It's the secondary solenoid in the engine compartment that clicks, once per turn of the key. Thanks for the further advice... I understand about the idea of lower flow with same voltage, i.e. resistance increasing therefore amperes or number of electrons decreasing for identical voltage. I'll try each of these solutions, meanwhile please let me know if the fact it's the secondary solenoid not the starter clicking changes your consideration/advice.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
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...You don't mention if you replaced the solenoid too....
The starter includes a solenoid, but I did not replace the secondary. Mechanic did jump secondary.
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