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Old 10-18-2010, 11:58 AM   #1
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odd electrical problems - 99 Beaver Monterey

I have two electrical problems that I believe are related. The coach is a 1999 Beaver Monterey with a 3126B Cat and the usual allison. It has two large solar panel and a follower charger, but if it sits disconnected from shore power for several days the chassis batteries are nearly completely drained. House batteries are eventually affected, but even with the boost switch on the coach won't start. The generator will start using boost but there's not enough chassis power available to keep it running if the boost switch is released. The former owner had the follower charger disconnected, so I assume he had been troubleshooting something. I re-connected it and the status lights indicate it's working just fine.

I know this could be a number of things, and if it was the house batteries discharging I'd be less puzzled, but the chassis batteries usually don't have as much stuff to run.

Second problem: A few weeks back I installed a brake controller and a 7-pin connector with everything wired up. The installation checks out good and I've towed the trailer a couple of times with no issues EXCEPT - when the trailer is plugged in to the coach the coach will not shut off. Turn off the key, walk around back and unplug, and the engine dies immediately.

Makes me think there's a relay stuck or a ground disconnected somewhere, but there's no schematic or component locator available for this coach (says the Beaver service center in Bend) so I don't have much to start with in troubleshooting.

Suggestions?
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:34 PM   #2
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You obviously have power leaking somewhere. My chassis batts will easily go a month not hooked to power. I do switch them off with the disconnect switch though. My house batts not as long.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:57 PM   #3
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Have read solar panels can draw juice from batts at night, reverse power, if not equipped properly, and usually on a 7 way plug the center pin is hot. Maybe your getting bleed to the coach back from trailer through ground/hitch keeping fuel shut off solenoid on engine open.??? I'm no electrical whiz by a long shot but maybe this will rule these out.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:55 AM   #4
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Solar Panels are equipped with diodes to stop reverse flow of current and any possibility of battery drain.

A lot of times there is a fuse between the solar panel controller and the battery. My guess is that the fuse is disconnected, pulled or blown OR the drain on the battery is greater than what the solar panel puts out. You should follow the output wire from the solar panel controller to the battery connection and see if you can find that fuse and to make sure that the wire is hooked up to the positive terminal. When that wire is found then you can test it during the day for voltage on it. Have you verified with a multimeter that there is voltage out of the controller going in the direction of the battery?

When you leave the MH disconnected from shore power to you turn off the salesman switch? All those fire, gas and carbon monoxide detectors use battery power normally turning off the salesman switch takes power away from them. Do you have an inverter on the MH?

What you need to do is get a multimeter that will read amps up to at least ten amps and take off the positive battery cable and put the multimeter in series with the battery and the cable so all the voltage is going through the multimeter so you can read how many amps are being drawn by the unknown system. Now start pulling the 12 volt fuses one at a time while watching the ammeter looking for the current flow to drop or stop. Once you find what fuse does it then you know what system is doing it.

On the 7-Pin hookup did you hook up the 12 volt battery and the ground wires to the plug? These are the only two that can be causing your problem? If so then where did you get the 12 volts from in the MH that goes to pin 4 and where did you get the ground from that goes to pin 1. You have to check both the trailer side of the plug and the MH side of the plug. Again use a multimeter or a 12 volt test light and test all the pins and make sure they are correct. Do all the lights function correctly on the trailer when it is hooked up do the brakes work in the trailer? The problem most likely is between the pins 7 and 1 either reversed or hooked up wron in the trailer.

Trailer Wiring Diagrams | etrailer.com
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

Solar's hooked up, fuses good, etc. When I bought the coach and had this problem the first time I noticed it was disconnected - so the previous owner was probably troubleshooting something.

I usually don't turn off the disconnect switch - but it's the chassis batteries that are draining.

I would do the fuse trick but on the chassis side there are no fuses - everything goes through auto re-setting circuit breakers. The method you describe can be done, but it's a lot more effort to unscrew the nuts and pull off the lugs. I may get to that at some point.

12V on the trailer is hooked up so that I can charge the break-away battery and power 12V lighting when the trailer is plugged in to the coach. 12V power to the trailer and power to the brake controller both pass through independent self-resetting breakers. Trailer wiring buzzes out good and works with two different vehicles. MH wiring checks out good. I used the e-trailer site to wire it up. The trailer power comes from the switched side of the power buss (beaver has a switched side and an unswitched side connected by a large relay) so to keep the engine via the trailer plug might require holding the power relay on somehow.

I did screw up once on a different vehicle and plug a worn trailer plug into the tow vehicle 180 deg off. The result (and if there ever was a stupid design standard it's one where power and ground can be tied together by flipping the plug) was a very fast moving fire - the harness burned like a fuse. But no evidence of mis-wiring here.

Does anybody know where the fuel cutoff relay is on the C3126B? I see no traditional throttle butterfly on this engine. Other diesels I've worked on had a fuel cutoff relay and a butterfly forced shut by a solenoid.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:48 PM   #6
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There are silver/copper braids that ground the engine to the chasis. Is it possible one of these has broken or become so corroded it is not acting as a good ground? A bad ground can cause all sorts of weird problems with electrical systems. This would more explain the engine not shutting off than the battery drain.

Battery drain is harder to detect... do you have a clamp on ammeter by any chance?

EDIT: On second thought... if there is a relay that has malfunctioned and is stuck in the on position, it may be constantly sending power to a solenoid somewhere... which would probably drain your batteries and would be consistent with what someone else said about the fuel solenoid. If you have a clamp on Ammeter, this can be a fairly easy test.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kirchner56 View Post
Solar's hooked up, fuses good, etc. When I bought the coach and had this problem the first time I noticed it was disconnected - so the previous owner was probably troubleshooting something.
As far as your battery drain concern, are you saying this problem started after you reconnected the solar panels?
If so I would suspect a shorted or missing diode in the solar wiring circuit.
Is one of the solar panels wired to the starting batteries?
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kirchner56 View Post

Second problem: A few weeks back I installed a brake controller and a 7-pin connector with everything wired up. The installation checks out good and I've towed the trailer a couple of times with no issues EXCEPT - when the trailer is plugged in to the coach the coach will not shut off. Turn off the key, walk around back and unplug, and the engine dies immediately.

Suggestions?
This concern sounds separate and different then the chassis battery drain.
I would suspect a hot lead from the towd may be wired improperly and is suppling power to the coaches run side of the ignition switch.
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:03 AM   #9
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I found the disconnected solar panel lead while troubleshooting this problem a couple months back. Couldn't figure out why it would be disconnected except the batteries were replaced just before I bought it.

I figured hooking up the panels would solve the problem - nope.

Clamp on Ammeter is a good suggestion if it will read what amounts to a DC trickle. I have one at work somewhere.

I've not been able to find a braided ground on this engine. There is a ground stud at the front right corner of the head. It appears to be OK, with the factory sealant still intact.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:15 PM   #10
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Engine Grounding - Ohm from a good spot on the engine to a good spot on the frame. If you're within arms reach, it should read less than an ohm higher than yours leads (Fluke leads usually read between .1 and .2, so 1.2 Ohms would be Ok).

If that is okay, look for other corroded or broken ground wires along the chassis and near the relay and fuse boxes.

If nothing else works, take that clamp on ammeter and remove one fuse at a time. If your base reading drops significantly, that circuit is where your trouble lies. I don't know what is normal for a motor home to draw off the Chasis Batteries, but you might be able to compare to another one at a dealer or campground? I wouldn't imagine there is much more off the Chasis batteries than a standard diesel engine, and I can find out what my pickup draws if you need a reference number.

If it happens that the fuse you pull has to do with the fuel system, you might check that solenoid as discussed before.

Also, there really may be a mis-wire in your 7 pin connector. When I installed mine, saw at least two ways to wire it up. Turns out one of them was from a person who had done a mirror image, and it was backwards from what it was supposed to be. Is it possible something like this happened to you?
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:42 PM   #11
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Maybe the battery isolator realy is stuck in the closed position which would keep both battery banks connected.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:51 PM   #12
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I like that battery isolator idea - for one, it's easy to measure current on both sides with the clampmeter.

It's an electronic isolator, so something could be putting voltage on the gate.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:20 AM   #13
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Braking battery keeping engine running

You stated you wired up the trailer, was the connector already installed in your MH?

I suspect you connected from ign source to the hot lead, so when the key is on, it charges the battery, problem is the battery is connected to the ign circuits and bypasses the key.

You need to diode isolate the battery in the trailer so it can be charged by the plig, and not power the plug.

Next, you stated the controller was installed a few weeks ago, and the drain started about then.

Given what the system does now, IE continues to run until trailer is unplugged I suspect the controller is connected to chassis battery, and a connectin that should be to ign is to battery keeping the cntroller on all the time.

Try disconnecting the controller and see if the problem goes away, or better yet, as others stated, measure the current drain.

But there is a trick to it, depending on what is connected the rush of curent could blow the fuse in the meter, so disconnect the positive battery cable, configure you rmeter for amps, 10 amp scale, then get aq clip lead or test wire and connect it from the black to red leads of your meter.

Next, place the red on the battery positive post, black on the cable, after the spark remove the wire you connected between them, you now see the current drain.

Also make sure no one trys to start it...
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:00 AM   #14
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Don't know how this info will fit in with your problem, but on my 1999 Beaver Patriot Thunder the power remains on to the Allsion controller even when you turn all disconnects off. The Allison computer learns how you drive and adjusts the shift points accordingly. If the power is turn off, the memory is erased and the transmission shifts some what hard until it learns your driving patterns again.
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