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Old 09-18-2017, 08:26 PM   #1
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Starter Relay Location

We have a 1999 National Tradewinds that will not crank. When I turn the key one position, the instrument panel lights up as normal. When I turn further to crank, nothing. Completely dead. We installed two new batteries, still nothing. I checked the starter and the solenoid and both are good. Starter is getting 12 volts. When I check the voltage to the solenoid while trying to crank, 0. I think the starter relay may be bad, but I'm not sure where it's located. I read somewhere that it is under the bed, near the foot, in the motor compartment. However, I do not see anything that looks like a relay. Any help to locate it would be greatly appreciated. A picture of it would be even better. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:35 PM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2.

Sorry your here with problems .

If you coach is on a Freightliner chassis ( important info to include when posting ) the starter relay could be on plate mounted on the frame rail , behind the RR dual wheels .
Here's a picture and info on 99 Freightliner chassis starter relays.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Bradley View Post
We have a 1999 National Tradewinds that will not crank. When I turn the key one position, the instrument panel lights up as normal. When I turn further to crank, nothing. Completely dead. We installed two new batteries, still nothing. I checked the starter and the solenoid and both are good. Starter is getting 12 volts. When I check the voltage to the solenoid while trying to crank, 0. I think the starter relay may be bad, but I'm not sure where it's located. I read somewhere that it is under the bed, near the foot, in the motor compartment. However, I do not see anything that looks like a relay. Any help to locate it would be greatly appreciated. A picture of it would be even better. Thanks in advance for any help.
Yep,
It would really help if we knew what make/model/year/engine/chassis etc. that you have, in order to give potentially more accurate answers.
Scott
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:37 PM   #4
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Update

Sorry, that I left out some information. It is a 99 Freightliner with a 300 HP Caterpillar Turbo diesel engine.
Also, we had driven to the beach about 9 hours away without any issue. When we got ready to come home, I turned the key several times and it would not crank. After about the fifth or sixth time, it did. We moved the RV to another spot and left for several hours. When we returned, the RV would not crank. We were finally able to jump it off. We did not shut it down on the return home. Because we were able to jump start, I thought it was a battery issue. The batteries were weak and needed to be replaced -- but that didn't cure the problem.
Since we got back home, I have not been able to crank it all, and I have tried numerous times around checking the starter, solenoid and numerous other things (mainly a lot of wires under the dash because a new radio had been installed and we were making sure something didn't get crossed up).
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:25 AM   #5
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You should also look into the huetral saftey switch.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:20 AM   #6
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When you turn to key to start and all electrical goes dead - that is also a common symptom when you have a bad or loose battery cable.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:10 AM   #7
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When you turn to key to start and all electrical goes dead - that is also a common symptom when you have a bad or loose battery cable.
This is true but on some vehicles all the warnig lights go out at the strat position and come back onwhen relaesed. A good test for a bad battery conection is to turn the headlights on and then turn the ignition to the start position. If the headlight go out then you eather have a dead battery or a bad connection. The thing involved in this problem are the battery,ign switch,nuetral safety switch,starter relay, starter solenoid and the starter. Most gas MHs have a main power and relay box under the hood.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Bradley View Post
Sorry, that I left out some information. It is a 99 Freightliner with a 300 HP Caterpillar Turbo diesel engine.
Thanks for posting the chassis info.
I've replaced two starter relays in eight years on my coach , and judging by you description , you'll be replacing your first.

After the second failure , I ran a fused wire from the batteries to a starter push button in the engine bay and down to the starter solenoid ; to by pass the relay; if required. This was after sliding under the coach to jump the starter solenoid to get the coach running to get off a ferry.

BTW. You can set up a signature line ; by clicking " Quick links " under your welcome message, then " Edit signature " type in your coach info and click save signature at the bottom of the page and your coach info will automatically appear below your posts ; as mine does below this one.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Bradley View Post
Sorry, that I left out some information. It is a 99 Freightliner with a 300 HP Caterpillar Turbo diesel engine.
Also, we had driven to the beach about 9 hours away without any issue. When we got ready to come home, I turned the key several times and it would not crank. After about the fifth or sixth time, it did. We moved the RV to another spot and left for several hours. When we returned, the RV would not crank. We were finally able to jump it off. We did not shut it down on the return home. Because we were able to jump start, I thought it was a battery issue. The batteries were weak and needed to be replaced -- but that didn't cure the problem.
Since we got back home, I have not been able to crank it all, and I have tried numerous times around checking the starter, solenoid and numerous other things (mainly a lot of wires under the dash because a new radio had been installed and we were making sure something didn't get crossed up).
Ok, thanks for adding that info. Now, being that it's a CAT, on a Freightliner chassis, it's potentially possible that your starter relay may, I say MAY, be behind the right side rear duals, next to or on, the outside of the frame. This is just a guess. They are in that particular spot on many CAT equipped Freightliners. They are a bear to get to. I say "they" because there's more than one there. If the pictures post correctly, you'll see what you may, or may not be up against, based on your particular year CAT and chassis. In the first picture, you'll see what I was up against in terms of all those important items related to starting the CAT, and how bad they and all the connections looked.

Then, you'll see what they all looked like when I got done with them.

Another thing to check. Many folks take fair care of the battery cables, AT THE BATTERIES. But, they often neglect the points where the negatives attach to the frames, simply because, they're one of those things, "out of sight, out of mind". I've seen quite a few of those neglected negative battery cable attachments on the frame. Ours, when we first got the coach with 40K on the clock, had some terribly rusty/corroded negative cable attachments on the frame. I removed, cleaned and or replaced what was needed and, ground off the frame where the studs were welded on and, re-attached all of them. There's usually more than one due to the chassis and coach batteries converge there. So, something to look at and think about.
Scott
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:09 PM   #10
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Now, I'm getting frustrated. Went to the parts store for a relay. Was told to test the relay first by touching a screwdriver from the starter post to the positive post. If it turns over, the relay is bad. I did, and it did. I removed the old relay and put the new one. Turned the key, nothing. So I touched the screwdriver to the posts again and cranked the RV. Let it run for several minutes. Turned it off, turned the key, nothing. So I jumped it again and let it run for several minutes. Noticed that two lights were on that normally are not on the dash: Trans Temp and Check Trans. Also noticed a red light on Mode on the transmission. Now the kicker here is that it will not go in gear. No how, no way, no combination. I'm wondering if there is some kind of anti-theft device that prevents someone from hot wiring the RV and driving off. And even though it won't go in gear, it still won't crank without using a screwdriver.
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:20 PM   #11
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I think I mis-spoke. Everything does not go dead. The instrument lights up when I go to accessory and stays lit when I go to crank position.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:34 PM   #12
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I'm thinking that jumping the starter post with a screwdriver has taken out a fuse somewhere . With trans warning lights on and no shifting , I'd say you've got either no battery power to the trans controller or no ignition feed.

In past posts involving National on Freightliner , vs, Newmar on Freightliner , I've come to think that there are major differences in the wiring harnesses used between rear rad and side rad Freightliner chassis . Even the original Freightliner manual with my coach has a fuse box diagram that is nothing like the fuse box in my coach .
Long story ; I know ; but had to put the info out there.
Anyhow, if you can check around your engine bay for the modules and the fuse box in the first picture, and take the cover off the one one the right to see if your coach has the engine bay fuses that my coach has.
Now if you can't find a box like this don't be surprised , as in the long story there are different Freightliner harnesses out there.
Call Freightliner for wiring diagrams and schematic linked to your serial number.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:16 PM   #13
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I have nothing like this at all. But I have located, in three places for some reason, fuses that are labeled ignition, and all are good. Two were in the cab next to driver seat and other was in the rear. That contraption in your first photo that's in the center and labeled Gray and Black, I have one of those. Fuses in the area are good.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:29 PM   #14
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The module with the " Grey & Black " locators for the wiring connectors ; is the Allison control module.
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