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Old 12-17-2013, 04:32 AM   #15
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Again, thanks to all of you for your input and moral support.

Ray: Yes, the coach is stored outdoors. I have no place to go and nothing but time. We were supposed to leave the day after Christmas to get out of the cold and snow for 3 months, but I can't get anywhere until it runs. I'll start checking the wiring.

Alan: The loss of dash lights seems to be the key here. I'm on two other RV forums and the ignition switch seems to be the leading suspect here. I'll be looking at that first. Thank your nephew for me.

Rkc02: The block heater is on, so I don't think that's the problem.

Fred: All the dash lights go out when it shuts down. Thanks to your instructions, I could probably test the solenoid. Just need to know, is it located on the engine or is it under the dash? Not sure how to identify it.

Rockcrawler: I think I know where the relays are, but how do you test them. They are all original equipment (we are original owners).

Ruffian - Mekanic: The transmission line I mentioned was one of the hoses that go from the trans to the cooler. The fitting was leaking and I had a new hose made. It was a simple wrenching operation. After replacing the hose, I ran the rig for at least 30 minutes to check for leaks. It came up to temp and all was well. I don't think I touched any wires, but I'm going to be checking them.

Keith: I will check the volt gauge. I'm hoping 20 seconds is long enough.

Thanks again and I will post what I find.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03flstsi View Post
Again, thanks to all of you for your input and moral support. Ray: Yes, the coach is stored outdoors. I have no place to go and nothing but time. We were supposed to leave the day after Christmas to get out of the cold and snow for 3 months, but I can't get anywhere until it runs. I'll start checking the wiring. Alan: The loss of dash lights seems to be the key here. I'm on two other RV forums and the ignition switch seems to be the leading suspect here. I'll be looking at that first. Thank your nephew for me. Rkc02: The block heater is on, so I don't think that's the problem. Fred: All the dash lights go out when it shuts down. Thanks to your instructions, I could probably test the solenoid. Just need to know, is it located on the engine or is it under the dash? Not sure how to identify it. Rockcrawler: I think I know where the relays are, but how do you test them. They are all original equipment (we are original owners). Ruffian - Mekanic: The transmission line I mentioned was one of the hoses that go from the trans to the cooler. The fitting was leaking and I had a new hose made. It was a simple wrenching operation. After replacing the hose, I ran the rig for at least 30 minutes to check for leaks. It came up to temp and all was well. I don't think I touched any wires, but I'm going to be checking them. Keith: I will check the volt gauge. I'm hoping 20 seconds is long enough. Thanks again and I will post what I find.
One thing I just remembered you could look at is You Tube. I have found videos in the past showing me how to do a given task or solve a problem. Maybe there is one there that show how to test an ignition switch. Might be worth a look.

Alan
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:50 AM   #17
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Maybe I can offer a bit of different troubleshooting tips.

1. If I understood correctly it started ran for 20 seconds then died. You waited a few minutes then it started again ran for 20 seconds then died. If that is correct then it cannot be your batteries or alternator. If the batteries are dead enough to stop it from running it will not energize the starter and turn over again so you can eliminate that part of troubleshooting.

2. Without starting the engine. Just turn the key to the run position and leave it there. After 20 minutes does the dash go blank just like it did when it died. IF the dash does not go blank without ever starting it I am going to be amazed if it is the ignition switch. I do not believe that there is that much more current going through that switch when it is running versus just turned on and the engine not running.

3. without it running does the dash lights stay on for more than 20 seconds two paths to troubleshoot from this

a. If lights stay on more than 20 seconds start the engine and carefully check all gauges and lights see if any are not working or not working correctly. If any not working correctly see if you can unplug that guage. IF it is a light then take it out of the socket. I am thinking if there is a gauge or light that shorts out when it heats up that trips a breaker and like other posters have said that type of breaker will reset automatically after 20 seconds ( Hence the term auto reset breaker)


b. If lights go out after 20 seconds without running it is going to get harder to troubleshoot. I do not agree with some of the other posters here. I am not trying to be derogatory here but I honestly do not think you know enough to use a volt meter. Everyone has skills or abilities they have learned if you have not learned them is nothing wrong with that. Go the auto parts store and look for a troubleshooting light. Will look like a screwdriver has a wire with a clip on one end going into the handle. The other end instead of being a phillips or straight screwdriver will look like an icepick. Find something that is a good ground that will usually be a piece of metal and a lot of times the break pedal will work for that. I am going to suggest you take out the dash so look on the back of the dash for any wires that are bolted directly to the metal of the dash and hook to them.

On the back of the ignition switch where the wires go into the plug. get a piece of paper and write down all of the colors. BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING ON THE DASH WITH POWER APPLIED TO DASH. If you short something out and wires start smoking your repair has just gotten a lot more expensive. Turn the key on and put the icepick end of the troubleshooting light into each one of the ends of the plug where the wire goes in. If you have a good ground on the light and you get the icepick in where it can make connection the light should be on in some of the plug connections. Mark on your piece of paper which wires have the light on.
When the dash goes blank use the light and check each wire again noting which ones were on and now are not. At this point I think you have gone as far as you can go. It is very difficult and with your level of experience impossible to troubleshoot from here. It takes a wiring diagram and knowledge of how to read it. What you can do that I think will be very effective is to call Freightliner help desk. Tell them all the information about your coach such as make model serial number etc. Tell them which wires showed a light when the dash had power and which ones did not. They can look in a wiring diagram and tell you where to look for the problem. If they tell you it is a relay or circuit breaker make sure you ask them for the physical location of that and how to identify it. ( for instance if they see in such and such a compartment it will be relay #3 ask them what that relay looks like and if there are other relays will it be starting at the top the 3rd relay to the right from the top left corner or the 3rd relay down from the top left corner etc. etc. I think this will make the best use of your knowledge and maybe help your pocketbook a bit.


If by any chance while you are doing this the dash stays on and and if you start it then it runs normally do not be surprised you might have a bad connection on the plug going into your switch if that is the case get a friend that has worked on automotive electrical systems and ask them to help you disconnect the plug from the switch. Spray the switch and the inside of the plug heavily with contact cleaner then put back together again. I said get help because most automotive electrical plugs have some method of locking them in place. If you can see that or know how to remove the plug by all means do that yourself. Also disconnect chassis battery before removing switch plug to clean it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:03 PM   #18
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gemini: I just read your post. Thank you! A lot to digest, but very detailed...just the way a dummy like me needs it. That will give me something to do tomorrow or Friday. And your post kinda leans toward what I learned today.

I spoke to a diesel truck mechanic today and he asked me to do a simple test and call him back afterward. He said "Turn the dash fan on and start the engine. When the engine quits, note if the fan stayed on or went off."

I did this and the fan went off when the engine quit. I called him back and without hesitation he said "it's your main ignition relay".

I called Freightliner and ordered one using the VIN, but I have no idea what it looks like or where it is. He told me it should be under the dash, but I see nothing like that there. (He did say he is not familiar with placements on motor homes). I looked in the outside compartment where all the breakers and fuses are and got very confused. The part won't be in until Friday, so I'm hoping that when I see the new one, Ill be able to match it up with the existing one.

Here's hoping I find it and can get out of town for the winter.
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03flstsi View Post
....text deleted....
Fred: All the dash lights go out when it shuts down. Thanks to your instructions, I could probably test the solenoid. Just need to know, is it located on the engine or is it under the dash? Not sure how to identify it.
....text deleted
I don't think I've seen what manufacturer built your coach, but you've stated 2003 Freightliner chassis. It may be similar to mine. Freightliner delivers the wiring/relays bundled in a wiring harness strapped to the frame, and the motorhome builder locates the relays. You will have to search for the relays. From your above post, it sounds like you have located the relays but may not know what you're looking at.

I just went out to my motorhome and found the relays. I hope your motorhome is similar. There are two plastic boxes in my front storage bay on the driver's side. They are 3 inches by 7 inches in size, with 4 metal latches holding the covers in place. Once you remove the covers, you will see a label inside the cover that shows what each relay and fuse in the box controls.

In one of these boxes, is an "IGN RELAY PAC 12077866" relay. This may be your primary ignition relay. Freightliner uses a lot of the 7866 relays, so you can troubleshoot before your part arrives by "borrowing" another 7866 relay from something you can live without, such as the horn relay. (If this turns out to be the problem, you can buy the 7866 relay from most any auto parts store for about $5.00) {the relays simply unplug}

In the other box, there is an "IGNITION 2 RELAY F/L 23-11276-011" This is a larger relay, but immediately above it is the same part number relay used for the marker lamps. You could swap these two relays and see what that does for your symptoms also.

I hope this info helps. Let us know when you finally get it going again.

Fred
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:46 PM   #20
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Fred: I found those relays and labels in my front outside compartment. I will try your method, but I don't think they are the ones. When I called for the part as described by the mechanic as the "Main Ignition Relay" and gave the VIN to the Freightliner parts guy, he indicated the part may not be exactly the same as the original equipment one and "may need to be mounted differently".

This made me think it is not just one of the simple plug in, cube style relays found in those boxes.

The mechanic said it should be labeled "Main Ignition", but I have yet to find it. I am going to look in the right rear compartment where there are other switches, breakers and electrical connections.

Thanks
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:11 PM   #21
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O.K. Final chapter in this saga....

Ordered the Main Ignition Relay from local Freightliner dealer. Part was to come in today sometime after 3:00 p.m. My last question was how do I find this relay? No one seemed to be able to point me to it. It was not in either of the outside compartments. So I called the Freightliner 800 number in Gafney, SC. as suggested by Fred Cooper.

I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Steve. I asked him if he could help me locate this mysterious breaker. He took my VIN and started to look it up then asked me what the problem was. I explained, and his response was "Oh, we're gonna fix this for you right now".

He directed me to a plate attached to the frame by the transmission. On that plate were three sets of terminal connections. He directed me to the one furthest to the rear and had me describe it. He said it was a 135 amp breaker (An Auto Re-settable Breaker as described by 94-Newmar and Gemini). He then told me to remove the cables from the terminals and clamp them together and try to start the rig. BAM! Started right up and KEPT RUNNING!

So I called the local Freightliner dealer again to get the part. Not in stock, but if I ordered it in the next 6 minutes (sounds like a Ronco commercial), it will be here Thursday. We're supposed to be leaving on Thursday! He said I could have it overnighted and it would be here tomorrow but it would be $35.00 for overnight service. I agreed to the additional charge and it will be here tomorrow. The kicker is...the part is only $20.00.

Well, all is good again in the world. I can put the dash back together and install the part tomorrow. Then I can start my Christmas Shopping

Thanks to all of you for your guidance and support. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a safe and healthy New Year!
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:20 PM   #22
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I don't believe an oil pressure shut down would darken the dash as OP stated when engine shut down. It would seem the problem is electrical with a circuit that has an automatic circuit breaker in the line.
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:44 PM   #23
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That's great that you resolved the problem. I had heard about that breaker, but forgot about it.

When you get the ignition relay, please come back and describe it (actual solenoid like a car start solenoid or plug in relay). I'd love to know where it is located on the Freightliner chassis.

Fred
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:17 AM   #24
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He directed me to a plate attached to the frame by the transmission. On that plate were three sets of terminal connections. He directed me to the one furthest to the rear and had me describe it. He said it was a 135 amp breaker (An Auto Re-settable Breaker as described by 94-Newmar and Gemini). He then told me to remove the cables from the terminals and clamp them together and try to start the rig. BAM! Started right up and KEPT RUNNING!

So I called the local Freightliner dealer again to get the part. Not in stock, but if I ordered it in the next 6 minutes (sounds like a Ronco commercial), it will be here Thursday.
Flstsi, so.... what exactly do they have coming for you? The resettable breaker or another relay further downstream?

The reason I question what they're sending you is, while you've proven the breaker is where the symptom is, what is causing it to trip? Those breakers, (typically Bussman brand with a small reset lever and red pushbutton on them) do occasionally go "bad" by becoming weak and tripping by themselves, but in many cases I find further problems downstream that are causing them to trip. I sure wish you had a clamp-on ammeter that you could use to see how much amperage is actually being drawn through there when you bolted the two primary wires together.
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Old 12-21-2013, 09:45 AM   #25
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Rig won't run

Thanks for sharing info on "Rig won't run", I just purchased a 2000 Discovery, on a Freightliner Chassis and in replacing the coach batteries I ended up shorting the +(positive) cable from the engine battery because whomever put that lead too close to the exhaust. I have since replaced that cable and now the engine will only start when I engage the coach batteries. Thanks to your post I am going to call Freightliner and find the breaker or relay that is not letting me start from the main batteries. I will start a new thread so that others may benefit from yours and my experience.

LLoyd Burson
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:08 PM   #26
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Flstsi, so.... what exactly do they have coming for you? The resettable breaker or another relay further downstream?

The reason I question what they're sending you is, while you've proven the breaker is where the symptom is, what is causing it to trip? Those breakers, (typically Bussman brand with a small reset lever and red pushbutton on them) do occasionally go "bad" by becoming weak and tripping by themselves, but in many cases I find further problems downstream that are causing them to trip. I sure wish you had a clamp-on ammeter that you could use to see how much amperage is actually being drawn through there when you bolted the two primary wires together.
94-Newmar. I am sure that you had what for me would have been a senior moment when you mentioned a clamp on amp meter. I am sure you realize that a clamp on amp meter only measures AC- He would need a DC amp meter which would need to be placed in circuit ( I E he would run one meter wire to one of the leads he took off from the breaker and the other meter lead to the other lead he took off from the breaker. However since this is a 135 amp breaker most DC amp meters would just start smoking if you try to measure that much current through them.

I am very hopeful that this is going to fix his problem it most definitely a good prospect. If he had something tripping that big a breaker it should show up in some way possibly smoke and flames. I am hoping it is just a bad breaker or bad contacts in the breaker. Either way it is a good place to start and I hope he can get it fixed and enjoy his Christmas.

To everyone else have a good holiday whether that is Christmas, Hanukah or any holiday you might celebrate this time of year.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:22 PM   #27
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Actually, DC clamp meters are widly available, like the Fluke 325, 365, 374 and 376.

Rick
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Old 12-21-2013, 09:26 PM   #28
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Lloyd: I don't know if what you're looking for is the same, but the breaker in question on my rig, was on a steel plate, vertically mounted to the frame on the passenger's side, very near to where the engine meets the transmission. There were actually three breakers mounted on the plate and Steve, the Freightliner tech, guided me to the one I am replacing.

If you do call Freightliner Help Line at 800-385-4357, have the last 6 digits of your V.I.N. and press Prompt 1 and then Prompt 1 again. If you get Steve, tell him Mike sent you.

94-Newmar: I'm fairly confident this was indeed the culprit because...
  1. When I located the breaker, it was covered in green corrosion.
  2. As soon as I put the socket on it to remove the nuts from the terminals, the thing disintegrated into little pieces
  3. After clamping the cables together, when I turned the key to the on position, but not starting the engine, the warning buzzer was much louder
  4. Prior to turning the key all the way to the start position, the shift indicator showed N instead of *
  5. When I did start the engine, it started quicker


Fred: This is the part I got. 135 amp breaker. Freightliner Part #BUS181135P010. I did not take delivery of the Ignition Switch or the Main Ignition Relay.
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