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Old 03-05-2011, 10:46 AM   #1
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1999 American Tradition NO START electrical issue

I am looking for some thoughts on what to check next on a 1999 American Tradition that wont crank. This is a new purchase and was a bank repo so I don't have any history on it other that after putting in 4 new coach batteries, I was able to start it and drive it home several hundred miles with out too much trouble (after I figured out the exhaust brake was stuck shut and had to manually open it back up to get up to power) I know there are some electrical problems, I put 2 new chassis batteries in when I got home even thought the old ones test good, but still could not start up again. When I turn the ignition key, the dash warning lights kind of flicker and the dome lights go super dim, almost out, but no crank, even with aux start engaged. everything stays dim for about 10 seconds after I turn off ignition and then the dome lights kick back up to bright. I was thinking stuck relay/solenoid or weak breaker or bad chassis ground? I also had the coach batteries shut off and could not turn them back on, then an hour or so later they came back online on their own. Generator won't crank now either, and when it did run last week, I could not turn it off from inside the coach, I had to press off outside on the generator. I also may or may not have a bad alternator, on the way home I had it checked and it came back with bad diodes. It looks like the inverter/charger has been replaced with a Magnum ME model. Thanks
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:06 AM   #2
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Quote:
I put 2 new chassis batteries in when I got home even thought the old ones test good, but still could not start up again. When I turn the ignition key, the dash warning lights kind of flicker and the dome lights go super dim, almost out, but no crank, even with aux start engaged. everything stays dim for about 10 seconds after I turn off ignition and then the dome lights kick back up to bright.

Well...to me it kinda sounds like, at least in the first part of the post, you have dead batteries, despite their newness. Check the voltages. 12v batteries should read 13.2 volts when fully charged. Nearly dead batteries might also explain why the genset only works locally, and why small loads like overhead lights come back on after a period of time.

Keith
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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I am looking for some thoughts on what to check next on a 1999 American Tradition that wont crank. This is a new purchase and was a bank repo so I don't have any history on it other that after putting in 4 new coach batteries, I was able to start it and drive it home several hundred miles with out
You don't say what chassis. May be your starter relay. If its a Freightliner its on rail by engine where big battery cable connects and can just start the engine easily with a screwdriver shorting out contacts. I did for a few trips until I got a new relay installed. If this is not it, you still need to know how to start it by shorting out the relay because it could happen anytime.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:20 AM   #4
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When I turn the ignition key, the dash warning lights kind of flicker and the dome lights go super dim, almost out, but no crank, even with aux start engaged. everything stays dim for about 10 seconds after I turn off ignition and then the dome lights kick back up to bright.
I also had the coach batteries shut off and could not turn them back on, then an hour or so later they came back online on their own.s
Just to be sure are the battery cable ends clean and tight?

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Old 03-05-2011, 11:40 AM   #5
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I will double check the cable ends and voltages, the chassis is a spartan with 300 cummings and allison 3060.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:55 PM   #6
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Connections look good, it sure seems like some sort of short in the chassis system. I thought maybe ignition switch problem, but generator will not crank either now. Would a bad alternator cause a short or maybe the starter?
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:07 PM   #7
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Battery cables and connections can't just look good. You need a special battery brush and take off the cables and clean the posts and cables with the battery brush so they shine inside and out where they make contact.

But before you do that. Try and start it several times holding that key over in start for 10-15 seconds. Now go back and touch all the battery cables where they connect to the battery and where the negative connects to the chassis. You are looking for a connection that is warm or hot. If a cable end is warm or hot then that is the problem connection.
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:19 PM   #8
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Try following the thick negative battery cable to the frame and see if that is tight or corroded. Many diesel engine starters have a ground cable going directly to the battery case but those are generally on larger starters.

Just to clarify I'm hinting at things that generally go wrong not what would be unique to your coach with which I have absolutely no experience.
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Old 03-05-2011, 05:37 PM   #9
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One new thing I noticed is that when I turn the ignition switch to start and the dash warning lights kind of flicker and come on, when I turn the switch back off, some of the warning lights stay on dimly for about 5-10 sec and then go off. When they go off is the same time that I hear a click at the back of the coach, like a solenoid tripping. If all was normal these warning lights, (like ABS, wait to start etc) would go off at the same instant I turn off the ignition switch.
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Old 03-05-2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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Another note on the alternator, it is a DUVAC equipped Leece Neville 2824JB and if that has bad diodes, I wonder if that has an ignition component that is causing a voltage leak?
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:11 PM   #11
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Sometimes if you have a bad connection for ground such as the negative battery cable the voltage will find other paths and that could be through anything including your warning lights. It can cause all kind of peculiar indications that just will not make sense.
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