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Old 12-11-2014, 03:09 PM   #1
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I need HELP!!! 01 Fleetwood Discovery DP

Hi All,

This is long winded so be patient, I have a 2001 Fleetwood Discovery 37G, i have been experiencing the dreaded gauge cluster issue where they would go off, come back, on off, stay on, go off etc.
Now it has progressed to where if i would turn on the lights or put it in reverse the gauges go dead. The lights work, trans is ok, but i will also mention that sometimes when driving and the gauges go dead (yes all gauges) the Trans will shift into 4th gear even while driving at 65 mph and it slams into 4th and wont let me out even if the gauges come back on, only way to get out of it is to stop the vehicle and manually put it into 1st and go again. Now funny thing is this does not happen all the time, i think it only happens when the gauges go dead for a period of time (in other words if it only spikes on and off it does not effect trans).
Here is another strange thing, blinkers work normal while no lights are on, but when you turn on the lights the right blinker stays on on the message center.
The above is a quick version of the problem i am having, i have been on the phone with Frtliner for hours for a straight wk, and of course they just keep recommending i buy all the high dollar parts. I had Camping World look at it and they had no Clue, had a mobile mechanic in the coach for 4 hrs at 100 bucks and hr and came up empty. The pins were checked for voltage on the VDC unit, and by (remco from frtliner) to replace so i did, nothing changed. When that was changed out i got nothing on the gauges at all, but since then i can get them to come on but only by turning the key completely over and starting the coach (sorry forgot to mention it does start), then it was recommended to replace the MC (message Center) did that nothing changed. Changed the Alternator, nothing changed, Have checked Grounds/voltages/ fuses etc still at a loss as to whats up.
Then i was out there goofing around with it and noticed something, when the gauges go out there appears to be a voltage drop, i can see on the volt gauge that its charging well then when it goes out you can see b4 it happens that the voltage gauge goes into discharge.
When i put on my lights you can see every few seconds (and hear via the engine surge) something is sucking up my 12volt side, and it will stop after a while and then kick in again and every other second or so it will do it again. The lights go dim for a sec and you can hear the engine bog down for a sec then goes back to normal.

I am at a loss as to what can make it do this, supposedly C.W. checked the batts and said they were good (not that i trust them) there has to be something pulling my volts down which in turn is not supplying enough 12vts + to keep the gauges going etc.
Could it be the inverter/charger? could it be bad batts? could it be grounds i cant find, could it be in the BCC?

I'm looking for help cause i already spent over 3k trying to get it going correctly, keep in mid that it was working perfectly prior to it starting to dance on the message center.

How do you drive something that has no gauges? cant take to Frtliner as they told me it was Fleetwood issue as they only supplied the parts for the chassis and fleetwood would have been the ones to install this area, but guess what fleetwood has to say, yup that is not them it is a freightliner issue!.

Geeze!

Thoughts? PLEASE HELP!

Ubootwo
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:26 PM   #2
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Where are you?
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
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I'd first try adding a jumper cable between a good ground source and your instrument cluster ground. I had a similar problem, turning on the lights would cause the speedometer to drop to zero. Experimenting with a ground jumper wire corrected the problem, so I when searching and found a bad connection. It might also help that if you are stopped and the instruments go blank, lay on the floor and reach up behind dash and gently wiggle wire bundles and connections, see if you can make gauges go on.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rgvtexan View Post
Where are you?
BG Ohio, just south of Toledo, we were sched to be leaving for Florida on the 18th. Still going to try, just have to drive in the daylight lol
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:57 PM   #5
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I'd first try adding a jumper cable between a good ground source and your instrument cluster ground. I had a similar problem, turning on the lights would cause the speedometer to drop to zero. Experimenting with a ground jumper wire corrected the problem, so I when searching and found a bad connection. It might also help that if you are stopped and the instruments go blank, lay on the floor and reach up behind dash and gently wiggle wire bundles and connections, see if you can make gauges go on.
Yes sir, done that there are actually 6 grounds, 3 from the MC and the 2 from the lights and trans grounds.

Grounded the incoming from the vdc to the MC via main ground block on grd block under dash, grounded lights and trans on the grd block under dash but off to the left on another grd bar.

still hunting for that elusive grd that may be causing it, i have every schematic you can think of for the coach and chassis. The mechanic that came out thought the same but no results.
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:38 PM   #6
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Check this post by Scott (Fire UP)


Could this be an MMDC problem?


A Hall Effect clamp on Amp Probe (can measure DC current) placed around wiring bundles may help find the pulsing load.
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Old 12-12-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
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Check this post by Scott (Fire UP)


Could this be an MMDC problem?


A Hall Effect clamp on Amp Probe (can measure DC current) placed around wiring bundles may help find the pulsing load.
The MMDC was used on later models, i have the older VDC which was replaced.

I will try to do some research on this clamp you speak of.

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Old 12-12-2014, 03:01 PM   #8
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There is info in the post that applies to the VDC.


Good Luck!


This cheap one from Harbor Freight might work on sale for <$14


http://www.harborfreight.com/digital...ter-95652.html




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Old 12-12-2014, 03:26 PM   #9
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That meter only measures AC current. I got one that does AC and DC at Sears for $100.
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Old 12-12-2014, 03:50 PM   #10
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It is not the inverter/charger or batteries. The reason I say this is because your issues happen instantly. A charger/inverter would let batteries die slowly. You have two banks of batteries that should be online at the same time so it should not be that.


To digress and use some examples for a moment Monaco had a few issues with inline splices in the main feed lines that did not get connected correctly and had similar issues.


Since you have worked on the ground side it is unlikely that is the issue. Your description of the voltmeter going low is a big clue.


How often do these symptoms occur?


When you mentioned turning various things on or putting it in reverse and the gauges go out it could be the extra load on the supply voltage just causes them to go out.


You need to get a voltage measurement feeding the dash when it is working and when it is not working. Take several measurements and write them down. Don't try to remember. If getting to the same places to take the measurements is difficult or slow to access then use some of those wrap/snap devices and run some wire out to a convenient place and install any insulated connector on the end.


I can think of a few wacky suggestions to get you down the road. If you can find a fuse panel that feeds the dash nearby you can connect a small battery as a backup. A UPS battery for around $20 would do the trick. Fuse it of course. This is a temporary troubleshooting setup of course.


You can wire your own voltmeter in temporarily as well.
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:36 PM   #11
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Can you post a picture of the power panel that is under the hood on the right side? I downloaded the owners manual and would be curious to see the condition of the wiring there. I have seen some real disasters due to corrosion and rust in that area before.


Please do not tug or touch any of the wiring in that area. Nothing worse than "fixing" something and not knowing which connector was the culprit.


It appears battery voltage goes to that area and then to the fuse panel under the dash,.
In my previous suggestion for wacky ideas I suggested a small battery. After looking at the diagram my question is have you tried pressing the Aux Start button when it is acting up?
Does the rear view monitor show any signs or symptoms?


Do any of your "house switches" turn off the instrument cluster?


If you have the owners manual take a look at page 114 for reference.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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How about trying this. Unplug the connectors from the back of the headlamp bulbs. Then see what happens when you turn on the headlamp switch and the signals.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:35 PM   #13
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Have you been dealing with the Freightliner help desk or the local Freightliner dealer? If not the help desk, give them a try at 1 800 385-4357.

Did the Freightliner help desk send you Service Bulletin 54-12 that details troubleshooting on the System III wiring/gauges that you have? if not, go to this link to download:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...81828268,d.cWc

Having said that, I think you've already narrowed your problem down to a voltage problem as that system requires normal voltage or you get some weird results.

Contrary to what you've been told, those gauges were supplied by Freightliner with the chassis. They were probably mounted or re-arranged by the coach builder.

I think the previous suggestions of a dedicated voltmeter has merit.

If all else fails, you can duplicate all of those gauges except air pressure with VMSpc software/hardware and a small tablet computer. It would be interesting to see what is happening on the vehicle data bus via VMSpc when your gauges begin to malfunction.

Let us know if you find a solution.

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Old 12-12-2014, 08:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
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That meter only measures AC current. I got one that does AC and DC at Sears for $100.
You're right, I misread.
I have a Fluke. but it cost a lot more than$13
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