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Old 05-17-2019, 07:42 PM   #1
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Exclamation 2005 Fleetwood with C7 - No dash lights, won't start, ECU lost?

Oh hey, here I was thinking the trip was going well....AND THEN....

I'm in a truck parking lot, ready to get back on the road, and when I try to start the coach I get the following messages on the Info Center (that little screen beside the steering column):

PARK SET IN GEAR
ENG ECU NO DATA over 25 seconds
TRANS ECU NO DATA over 25 seconds
ABS

Additionally, no idiot lights on dash, shifter is blank, and my odometer mileage is flashing.

Gages work (shows PSI, fuel, etc). Dash air works. Friggin low PSI buzzer works [side note: anyone know how to disable that??].

I called Freightliner, nothing useful to contribute. After I kept hammering on the fact that it looks like maybe something is loose??? they said perhaps there is something wrong with the J1939 communication wires. I might try taking the batts offline and then back on, IDK yet.

This exact thing happened last October in Illinois at a rest stop, but magically resolved 4 hours later while I was waiting for the tow truck. I still drove it into the Freightliner shop there, and $1000 later still had no answers.

Any suggestions?!?!?! Legit ones. Thanks.

Stuck in southern Wyoming until this gets resolved - guess I get to watch the wicked storms roll through
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearGirl View Post
Oh hey, here I was thinking the trip was going well....AND THEN....

I'm in a truck parking lot, ready to get back on the road, and when I try to start the coach I get the following messages on the Info Center (that little screen beside the steering column):

PARK SET IN GEAR
ENG ECU NO DATA over 25 seconds
TRANS ECU NO DATA over 25 seconds
ABS

Additionally, no idiot lights on dash, shifter is blank, and my odometer mileage is flashing.

Gages work (shows PSI, fuel, etc). Dash air works. Friggin low PSI buzzer works [side note: anyone know how to disable that??].

I called Freightliner, nothing useful to contribute. After I kept hammering on the fact that it looks like maybe something is loose??? they said perhaps there is something wrong with the J1939 communication wires. I might try taking the batts offline and then back on, IDK yet.

This exact thing happened last October in Illinois at a rest stop, but magically resolved 4 hours later while I was waiting for the tow truck. I still drove it into the Freightliner shop there, and $1000 later still had no answers.

Any suggestions?!?!?! Legit ones. Thanks.

Stuck in southern Wyoming until this gets resolved - guess I get to watch the wicked storms roll through
Well Geargirl,
I could write you pages of what I think is wrong. WE had an almost EXACT same situation, with the EXACT same message on the "Medallion Information Center" (just in case you didn't know the wazoo name for that little screen). Freightliner is normally quite good in analyzing problems from afar, based on what customers are inputting to them, based on what the customer sees and or hears, or, DOESN'T see. Just in case you're interested, here's how things work, in your era coach.

We'll start with what's called the MMDC. Multi-Module-Data-Controller. It's a fancy name for a small black box, about 6" x 6" x 1.5" thick. That black plastic box is the primary brain for ALL information that's processed for you to see on your gauges. In Winne and Itascas semi-top-tier coaches, the Vectra and the Horizon of that model year, the MMDC is located inside the left front compartment, on a back wall.

In the next lower units, i.e. the Journey and Meridian, it's located up under the dash in various spots.

What the MMDC does is, receives data from:

1. Engine ECM
2. Transmission TCM
3. ABS module
4. Both primary and secondary air pressure inputs.

The MMDC receives ALL it's data, from all of those inputs (except the air pressure inputs, those are manually inserted via air lines), from what you mentioned. It's called the J1939 Data link. The J1939 Data link is nothing but, three wires, all twisted together, for the full length of the coach. You have TWO diagnostic ports tied to the J1939 data link. One is at the rear of the coach, visible by looking above the radiator and the second one is normally attached to the firewall, just to the left of the steering column. That one can be a bear to find since there's normally enough wiring and looms in that area to mimic the Los Angeles freeway system.

As stated, those three wires, a green, a yellow and a black, are twisted together and link all those components to the MMDC. The MMDC receives all input from all those components and then, like an interpreter, it interprets all the data and, then changes it to a media that can be sent to all your gauges and, your "Annunciator panel". Incidentally, the annunciator panel is the multi-colored light bar that has all the icons on it that flash at different times with different messages.

The Engine ECM and Trans TCM talk to the MMDC and, to each other, only on a different data link. The J1939 not only receives and translates data for your gauges AND YOU to read, but, it also processes input FROM THE DRIVER. Things like CRUISE CONTROL, EXHAUST BRAKE etc. are inputs the driver requests every now and then. When all parameters for any of those "requests" are in place, the MMDC, engine ECM and Trans TCM all work together to provide for your request.

Now, so much for a basic schooling on what and how things work. Now, here's "Potentially" where your problem lies. Those three wires, in that J1939, are one big loop. They travel from the rear of the coach, to the front, as stated and connect all the components as stated. But, and this is a big but, if one of those two colored wires breaks, the yellow or the green, becomes disconnected in some form or fashion, that will trigger EXACTLY what your annunciator told you when one of it's colored icons showed:

Check info center

When you looked at your Medallion information Center, it read, No engine ECM data for over 25 seconds and, No Transmission TCM data for 25 seconds. One potential cause for this message is as stated, one of those two colored wires has either broke or, has a bad connection. Another cause is a faulty ground in the gauge system. Although, normally if a bad ground is the cause of faulty gauges, it normally does not involve the MMDC or, the Medallion Info Center and, you wouldn't receive the message.

As for a remedy for your situation, well, this is the BIG dilemma. This could be just a bad ground. But, in many cases, it's not that easy to find where the bad ground is. But, if it's a defective connection in the J1939 data link system, this could be a NIGHTMARE to fix. How do I know, I'VE BEEN THERE!!! The J1939 data link system is actually a simple system. But, if and when it BREAKS, even the best of the Freightliner techs get taxed on it's repair.
Scott
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:37 PM   #3
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Call Freightliner back and have them send you wiring schematics and diagrams for your chassis . Available as pdfs , you want to save them, print them do whatever necessary to make sure you keep them and pass them on when you sell .
Question does the engine crank over and not start , or not crank over ?

I know there will be differences between our chassis , built 6 years apart , but two things to look for .
Once you have the wiring schematics , see if they show an inline fuse as the battery power for the engine ECM ; find and check that inline holder , between battery + and the ECM.
Look for the two boxes shown on either side of the Allison ECU in the photo below , in my coach passenger side of engine bay , but due to the length of wiring they could be different in yours) the control box on the left is the VDU communication hub between the engine and dash on my year , your chassis has a MMDC doing the same job and I believe they look similar . The box to the right has fuses and relays involved in transmission control as per the second picture .
All connections to these devices need to be checked for your intermittent condition.

A web site that may be of interest .

http://www.rvtechlibrary.com/electro...c_overview.php

EDIT: I see Scott posted while I was typing ( boy I type slow) sorry for any duplication, and hope you can track down your issue.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post

Well Geargirl,
I could write you pages of what I think is wrong. WE had an almost EXACT same situation, with the EXACT same message on the "Medallion Information Center" (just in case you didn't know the wazoo name for that little screen). Freightliner is normally quite good in analyzing problems from afar, based on what customers are inputting to them, based on what the customer sees and or hears, or, DOESN'T see. Just in case you're interested, here's how things work, in your era coach.

We'll start with what's called the MMDC. Multi-Module-Data-Controller. It's a fancy name for a small black box, about 6" x 6" x 1.5" thick. That black plastic box is the primary brain for ALL information that's processed for you to see on your gauges. In Winne and Itascas semi-top-tier coaches, the Vectra and the Horizon of that model year, the MMDC is located inside the left front compartment, on a back wall.

In the next lower units, i.e. the Journey and Meridian, it's located up under the dash in various spots.

What the MMDC does is, receives data from:

1. Engine ECM
2. Transmission TCM
3. ABS module
4. Both primary and secondary air pressure inputs.

The MMDC receives ALL it's data, from all of those inputs (except the air pressure inputs, those are manually inserted via air lines), from what you mentioned. It's called the J1939 Data link. The J1939 Data link is nothing but, three wires, all twisted together, for the full length of the coach. You have TWO diagnostic ports tied to the J1939 data link. One is at the rear of the coach, visible by looking above the radiator and the second one is normally attached to the firewall, just to the left of the steering column. That one can be a bear to find since there's normally enough wiring and looms in that area to mimic the Los Angeles freeway system. }

Mine looks like DTLA after an earthquake....

{ As stated, those three wires, a green, a yellow and a black, are twisted together and link all those components to the MMDC. The MMDC receives all input from all those components and then, like an interpreter, it interprets all the data and, then changes it to a media that can be sent to all your gauges and, your "Annunciator panel". Incidentally, the annunciator panel is the multi-colored light bar that has all the icons on it that flash at different times with different messages. }

Yes that's what I called the idiot lights lol...

{ The Engine ECM and Trans TCM talk to the MMDC and, to each other, only on a different data link. The J1939 not only receives and translates data for your gauges AND YOU to read, but, it also processes input FROM THE DRIVER. Things like CRUISE CONTROL, EXHAUST BRAKE etc. are inputs the driver requests every now and then. When all parameters for any of those "requests" are in place, the MMDC, engine ECM and Trans TCM all work together to provide for your request.

Now, so much for a basic schooling on what and how things work. Now, here's "Potentially" where your problem lies. Those three wires, in that J1939, are one big loop. They travel from the rear of the coach, to the front, as stated and connect all the components as stated. But, and this is a big but, if one of those two colored wires breaks, the yellow or the green, becomes disconnected in some form or fashion, that will trigger EXACTLY what your annunciator told you when one of it's colored icons showed:

Check info center }

Here's the rub: my annunciator panel is dead. No lights. Nada. I checked the Medallion IC because when I turned the key and got not a dang thing, I remembered what happened in Illinois and my heart sank.

{ When you looked at your Medallion information Center, it read, No engine ECM data for over 25 seconds and, No Transmission TCM data for 25 seconds. One potential cause for this message is as stated, one of those two colored wires has either broke or, has a bad connection. Another cause is a faulty ground in the gauge system. Although, normally if a bad ground is the cause of faulty gauges, it normally does not involve the MMDC or, the Medallion Info Center and, you wouldn't receive the message.

As for a remedy for your situation, well, this is the BIG dilemma. This could be just a bad ground. But, in many cases, it's not that easy to find where the bad ground is. But, if it's a defective connection in the J1939 data link system, this could be a NIGHTMARE to fix. How do I know, I'VE BEEN THERE!!! The J1939 data link system is actually a simple system. But, if and when it BREAKS, even the best of the Freightliner techs get taxed on it's repair.
Scott
So, given the current darkness, high winds, low temps, and chances of rain, I think this means I need to put in ear plugs (semis idling 4 feet away from my bedroom window) get some sleep and hit this in the daylight tomorrow. Thanks for the descriptions!

The disconcerting thing is there is not even an attempt at turning the engine over. I turn the key and absolutely nothing happens. Might as well be plugging it into my shoe and turning it.

I'm betting one of those wires is loose or otherwise compromised.

If I can get the rig started tomorrow, I'll head to one of the Freightliner shops in Utah and park it until I can be seen Monday. If no start, guess I'll be crawling around under this beast for a bit. And quite possibly using one of my AAA tows...

~Melissa
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Call Freightliner back and have them send you wiring schematics and diagrams for your chassis . Available as pdfs , you want to save them, print them do whatever necessary to make sure you keep them and pass them on when you sell .
Question does the engine crank over and not start , or not crank over ?

I know there will be differences between our chassis , built 6 years apart , but two things to look for .
Once you have the wiring schematics , see if they show an inline fuse as the battery power for the engine ECM ; find and check that inline holder , between battery + and the ECM.
Look for the two boxes shown on either side of the Allison ECU in the photo below , in my coach passenger side of engine bay , but due to the length of wiring they could be different in yours) the control box on the left is the VDU communication hub between the engine and dash on my year , your chassis has a MMDC doing the same job and I believe they look similar . The box to the right has fuses and relays involved in transmission control as per the second picture .
All connections to these devices need to be checked for your intermittent condition.

A web site that may be of interest .

www.rvtechlibrary.com/electronics/mmdc_overview.php

EDIT: I see Scott posted while I was typing ( boy I type slow) sorry for any duplication, and hope you can track down your issue.
Thank you!! I'll be using your photos and suggestions as well!! My engine doesn't do jack when I turn the key. Nothing. No attempt at starting. Just silence.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:22 PM   #6
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Well, today has been fun.

I've checked every relevant fuse I can get to. At Freightliner's suggestion, disconnected neg on chassis batt and reconnected 15 mins later. I've located some sections of the J1939 wires and checked the connections I could find.

Nothing is solving the problem.

I'm 225 miles from the nearest Oasis center...and they don't have RV hookups. They did say they will try to do a quick diagnostic on Monday but soonest they can even try to work on the coach is Thursday.

We havin' fun yet??

At least I've got a full tank of diesel and 90% of my propane. Only half tank of fresh though, eeeeep.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:18 PM   #7
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Make notes of everything you've tried , and the location of all fuse boxes and modules you've seen , and pass them to the tech when he starts on your coach , knowing those locations will save him time and you $$$.
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GearGirl View Post
Well, today has been fun.

I've checked every relevant fuse I can get to. At Freightliner's suggestion, disconnected neg on chassis batt and reconnected 15 mins later. I've located some sections of the J1939 wires and checked the connections I could find.

Nothing is solving the problem.

I'm 225 miles from the nearest Oasis center...and they don't have RV hookups. They did say they will try to do a quick diagnostic on Monday but soonest they can even try to work on the coach is Thursday.

We havin' fun yet??

At least I've got a full tank of diesel and 90% of my propane. Only half tank of fresh though, eeeeep.
Was this problem solved??
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:23 PM   #9
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Geargirl,
A damaged or completely broken J1939 Data link will not have any effect on starting the engine. You have other problems or, in conjunction with your J1939 issues. It is really, really too bad you're having issues like this, so far from decent help. That's the BAD THING about RVing. The good thing is, when all goes well and you get to and back from your destinations without issues. The problem(s) you're having, are what sours the taste of fun RVing for many. It can get you down rather quickly.

I am no tech, especially a diesel one. I can only relay what I've learned in the time we've owned and operated our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon with the CAT C-7 330HP. The starting system is totally different from the "running" system. I have some pics of the components that are involved in the starting of our engine but, even if I post them, I doubt seriously that they are similar to yours. I'll post them but, will they be of any value to you and your issue, who knows?
Scott

The pics you see are of our starting relay system. The first one is how it looked prior to me getting my grubby hands on it. The second one is AFTER I got done cleaning things up. It started fine before I messed with it and, it starts fine now. Did I do any good, well, yeah, in my mind I did. But, this may or may not help you.
Scott
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:13 PM   #10
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UPDATE (and no solution yet)

After literally DAYS (3 to be exact) of back-and-forth with my roadside assistance memberships (GoodSam and AAA Plus RV), as well as TWO INCORRECT TYPES OF TOWTRUCKS SENT AND REFUSED, I finally got pulled into the next town 62 miles away to that Freightliner shop. That was all GoodSam would agree to cover I got here at 8pm yesterday and checked myself and the cats into a hotel. OMGGGG I cannot tell you how nice it was to NOT be listening to idling semis and breathing their exhaust 24/7, and that hot shower felt AMAZING.

This Freightliner shop is not an Oasis center (no techs trained specifically for RVs) and the manager himself told me 2 days ago that he's not one to turn away business but honestly I need to go to Salt Lake City. This shop is still moving into their new building, earliest they can get to me is a week from today, and they don't have dedicated RV techs.

I called the shop in SLC again, originally I had a tentative appointment for today with them but thanks to AAA and GS I obviously didn't make it. Now they are out to June 3 earliest. But the tech that works on these at that location discussed the situation with me and said he agrees with the shop manager in this town, get the rig to SLC this weekend and he'll do his best to take a quick look at it this coming Tuesday. Meanwhile I'm tentatively on the books for June 3.

He also gave me suggestions for two more things to check (loose connections) and I did my best in the freezing rain (literally freezing rain - sleet mixed in), seemed the connections are good.

So the cats and I will spend one more night here in a hotel and then if the local shop hasn't cracked the problem by tomorrow afternoon, it's time to pull the coach to SLC.

I have a bit of an issue with roadside assistance I feel is necessary to highlight. GoodSam seemed to be a great choice because according to their brochure and the rep I got on the phone, they tow UNLIMITED miles AND they pay up to $200 a night for up to 10 nights in a row, up to twice a year, for hotel and meals if your rig is incapacitated and in the shop. Let me tell you the REAL deal:

GS has a list of shops and a list of wrecker services they work with. EVEN THOUGH a shop may not specialize in RVs, if that is the closest shop that is all they will cover. In my case, I spent two absolutely full days on the phone with these guys trying to get towed to an appropriate shop. 6am to 730pm first day (13.5 hours), 930am to 530pm the second day (8 hours). Solid. They waffled about what was going on and what was happening and what was approved on every call. They tried to line me up with a Freightliner shop with NO RV experience; they finally agreed to a flatbed tow; then they tried to send a mobile mechanic; then they agreed again to flatbed; then they backburnered my whole request for hours; then they tried to send me to a tire shop ; then they agreed again to a flatbed tow to the place I finally ended up at; then the wrong kind of truck showed up.

AAA Plus RV *seemed* to have their act together. In the midst of GS dropping me off their hotlist, I called AAA to see if they could get me at least to where I am now. BAM in like 15 minutes they were cool with everything, flatbed requested, and the link to follow my wrecker service was texted to me. Oddly, the icon for me and the destination showed up, but none for the wrecker. However, it gave an ETA of about 90 minutes from then so ok great, I start prepping the rig. 10 minutes after original ETA and no sign of flatbed, I call. I'm on the phone with them 20 minutes, and then I'm assured the flatbed will arrive in 60 minutes. 90 minutes later, no truck and still no icon on their map. The guy finally shows up, 2.5 hours after original ETA, IN A MEDIUM DUTY TOWTRUCK. I couldn't BELIEVE this garbage. I had to refuse service and start over again with GS.

In the end, I never got a flatbed. I ended up with a heavy duty wheel lift towtruck through GS. And they only agreed to pay for 4 hours of service, any time past that was to be my responsibility (the service clock starts when the wrecker leaves their dispatch shop and stops when it returns to the dispatch shop). What a joke.

So, buyer beware.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:26 PM   #11
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Geargirl,
A damaged or completely broken J1939 Data link will not have any effect on starting the engine. You have other problems or, in conjunction with your J1939 issues. It is really, really too bad you're having issues like this, so far from decent help. That's the BAD THING about RVing. The good thing is, when all goes well and you get to and back from your destinations without issues. The problem(s) you're having, are what sours the taste of fun RVing for many. It can get you down rather quickly.

I am no tech, especially a diesel one. I can only relay what I've learned in the time we've owned and operated our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon with the CAT C-7 330HP. The starting system is totally different from the "running" system. I have some pics of the components that are involved in the starting of our engine but, even if I post them, I doubt seriously that they are similar to yours. I'll post them but, will they be of any value to you and your issue, who knows?
Scott

The pics you see are of our starting relay system. The first one is how it looked prior to me getting my grubby hands on it. The second one is AFTER I got done cleaning things up. It started fine before I messed with it and, it starts fine now. Did I do any good, well, yeah, in my mind I did. But, this may or may not help you.
Scott
Wow you did a great job cleaning that up!! Wanna hit mine?

Naturally, I'm parked on dirt in the middle of a neverending winter storm (in MAY???) so it's a mudpit at the coach right now. If I get a weather break tomorrow, I'll go back out and poke around and see if I can find a similar setup on mine and check connections.

I went to a lot of trouble and expense making my RV comfortable and self sufficient (six solar panels, new house batts, new pure sine inverter, residential fridge, tile in the bath, residential faucets, LED light strips, etc etc) so it's just painful to be this stuck I hope to get back on the road sooner rather than later and get on up to Yellowstone. Trying to stay positive
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:14 AM   #12
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Well GearGirl,
I gotta hand it to ya, you seem to be handling the "inappropriateness" of RV assistance programs at least "somewhat" well. As you can see, I've been around a while and well, I've read my share of ISSUES with any and ALL of the so-called RV roadside assistance programs. Now, I'm not one to sit around and compile lists and data but, it sure seems to me that, a very, VERY large percentage of the time, roadside assistance is minimal at best.

The problem we, as in the very folks that keep those bone-heads in business, have absolutely ZERO recourse in terms of getting back at them, or, at the very least, MAKE THEM PERFORM as they say they will, WHEN THEY RECEIVE THE CHECK, SIGNING THEM UP FOR THE SERVICE. You know, when it comes to home warranty issues, contractor issues, services contracted for, money paid but, no services performed, there are in many cases, for home owners, a sort of "GO-TO" consumer help hotline places/TV news stations that you can send your story to and, quite often when a TV hot line/help line get's involved, remedies are usually handled quickly, but not always.

Now, none of this helps you. It's just plain too bad that there really isn't a place other than say, the BBB or Better Business Bureau that may or may not have any influence on your type of issue(s). Now, this is all on your complaint side. Your problem side is as you know, another problem or, maybe even a set of problems. By the way, thanks for the nice comments on my electrical system cleanup.

I have only told you about the J1939 system and how it basically works. As I stated earlier, the starting system is totally different. When you turn the key to the ON position, you're basically in the RUNNING part of the electrical system for the engine/trans etc. But, you have to turn the key a tad farther to go to the START position, as you know. At this time, since you have little to no engine gauges, annunciator panel etc., AND, you're not getting any cranking of that engine, it sure sounds to me that you have something major that has failed that actually pertains to both systems.

Again, I'm not a tech. Sometimes I wish I was to I could send you right to where your problem was/is so you can get back to the way RVing should be, HAVING FUN. It also sounds as if you're quite abled as you've done some really nice upgrades that many don't even think of. This is gonna be interesting to find out just where the culprit(s) were or are residing. I will be following.
Scott
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:07 PM   #13
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Wow, I’m praying for you. I ve beenon the back of 2 wreckers before and in junkyards for several days. Always in bad conditions and it’s the pits. We did live through them and I hope my # doesn’t come up again for a while. I know you will too. Good Luck
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Old 05-28-2019, 11:03 PM   #14
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Another Update: Living in a Shop Parking Lot

OK so here is the situation: I've been here in the parking lot of the Freightliner shop for just under a week. The shop didn't get to my rig until right around 4pm on Friday, and I kid you not they found the problem right around 430pm. At 4:55pm they decided to see if the malfunctioning part was in stock or even available anywhere.

4:55pm on a Friday before a 3 day weekend. Brilliant.

But the problem has been identified as the power distribution module (Freightliner part number A06-49613-001 ). It is shorting out. They can take a wire with alligator clips and circumvent the problem, but that's just to start it and sorta drive it (once started, it will run forever even with the key out of the ignition, and according to them the communication loop is incomplete so I wonder if things like transmission and such are now in manual mode instead of automatic?).

Here's the kicker - the part is unavailable. I have even called Freightliner myself and tried to track it down. There is no superseding part, either. It's like Freightliner just toodle-ooed out the door and left those of us who have coaches that need this part holding the bag. I got a 'similar' part number that is a Bussmann part number ( BUS 1115-2E2 ) that is referenced on the drawing for the Freightliner part, and I'm chasing that with Eaton right now. I have no idea just how "similar" it actually is as of yet.

I'm also compiling a list of boneyards to call starting first thing tomorrow to try to track down one that can be pulled and shipped here. I'll call Freightliner first though and ask which year/make/model of RVs used this part so I can give a list to the boneyards.

I cannot believe that FL was so short-sighted that they would discontinue a part for a product that still has such a presence on the road! No idea if that was oversight or what. But bad news for those of us who use the part I wonder what other coaches need this?
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