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Old 07-14-2012, 09:34 AM   #1
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1989 P30 454 - new starter, solenoid good, one click on turning ignition

Hi all....longtime lurker, first time poster. I searched for this kind of problem and found a little bit of information, but I think I need some more help.

I can't get my 1990 Pace Arrow on a Chevy P30 454 chassis to crank. Chassis battery and house battery are both fully charged (12.84v, 12.62v) as checked with a voltmeter. Thought it might have been the solenoid/relay on the firewall, but checked it and it's ok. Replaced the starter last evening, thought I was going to be all excited to get it started....turned the key and got a single click. All of the dash lights/radio/dash AC come on, so I know we're getting power from the chassis battery. We ran out of daylight to try to check for power getting to the starter itself -- am I correct in thinking that the only way to accurately check that is to do it with the voltmeter while having someone turn the key in the ignition?

Tried tracing wires....battery cable from the chassis battery goes to the right side of the relay on the firewall, battery cable from the house battery goes to the left side of that relay. Then there's another cable attached on the left side that leads back through the firewall, which I figured went to the starter, but as I traced from the starter back I realized that it's not the same kind of wire as is attached to the relay. I think I need to keep tracing, but should there be a cable directly from the relay to the starter, or is there some stop/changeover somewhere in the middle?

I'm by no means a mechanic, so I'm not sure what my next step is. I'm going to head to the library in a little bit to get the Chilton guide for the P30, but if anyone has some thoughts about what else I need to be checking, I'd greatly appreciate it!


Chris
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #2
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How long have the battery cables been on the motor? Over a long period of time the cables can corrode. They may look good on the ends but can be full of corrosion throughout the cable. With all you have done that at least will be one trouble shoot out of the way
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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Trackman, thanks for that pointer -- I'll take a look as I don't have any idea how long they've been on there. This is a "new to us" RV that we got from my wife's uncle last summer, and while I know he's meticulous about maintenance, he only got it himself in 2010. Circumstances were such that the only trip he ever took was from the dealer to his barn, so I don't think he would have had any reason to check anything. It started perfectly fine when we moved it for the winter, and now there's just the click -- starter isn't even trying to turn over.

Couple things I forgot to mention in the original post. I checked all the fuses and they're all good. Also tried to check the battery level using the control center....house battery shows completely full, but there's no reading whatsoever for the chassis battery. Seems strange as there was a reading before I unhooked the batteries to replace the starter, and I'm 99.9% sure I have all the cables hooked up correctly. Going to keep digging....
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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I have traced alot of problems due to bad grounding.check grnd strap from engine to frame.this is critical for start circuit(amp flow)to starter.good luck
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:10 PM   #5
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First thing I would do is to remove the battery cables at the battery and clean the posts and the cable connectors.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:40 AM   #6
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OK, so it's confession time, in the hopes that maybe some day in the future this post will help someone else with a similar problem. When you have young kids who sometimes play in the RV, it's probably best to make sure that the shifter is actually in P before you try to start the RV! Kept thinking about the neutral safety switch and thought "I'll go try to start it in neutral," and when I did that, I realized one of the kids must have grabbed the shifter and pulled it down. Put it back into P and the RV started right up!

So it's got a new starter it probably didn't need, but at least I know that's good! A relatively cheap lesson to have learned....
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:52 AM   #7
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Or you can look at it. You now have a spare starter.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:50 AM   #8
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback. I have 5 kids and 7 grandkids so I can relate to this - and you provided a smile.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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great,running again.sometimes the more we learn about troubleshooting our technology,we overlook the simple checks.positive note-you saved the cost of labor.lol
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:39 PM   #11
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You have to love them Grans. I guess it is time for RV 101
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