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Old 05-16-2015, 11:26 AM   #1
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Ignition switch malfunctioning

I have a problem that may or may not be an ignition switch problem with a freightliner, 300hp Cat, 1999 National Tradewind 7371

My ignition switch operated normally today but after a normal shut down I attempted to restart only to find that the dash lights all came-up (the two turn signal dash lights also came on and stayed on) while the starter would not operate. I attempted to turn the ignition switch off to recycle and the ignition/dash indicators would not turn off. (the switch feels like it's clicking through the Off/Accessory/On/starter positions normally). The only way I can get the ignition/dash lights to turn off is to disconnect the battery positive terminal. When I reconnect the battery terminal the dash and ignition all comes back up but the ignition switch itself does not have any off/starter effect in any position. Is there a relay someplace that could be stuck?? Could this be a bad ignition switch even though it all feels to be clicking though all positions normally? To compound this situation I can't figure out how to get the ignition switch out of the dash. The dash ring loosens but then just turns and does not come off of the switch assembly behind it. I can't seem to find any way up under the dash to release the switch, it's almost like it has some kind of an anti tamper ring/dash connector on it to prevent it's removal. I'm not even sure I need to get the switch off as I suspect that there might be a stuck relay someplace else on the vehicle.
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:19 PM   #2
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All my comments are about "what is" on my coach. You have a STARTER RELAY and a STARTER SOLENOID. The heavy duty starter solenoid is located directly on the starter and is NOT your problem. The starter relay is likely the culprit, it applies power to the starter solenoid......it looks like a regular ford starter relay and is mounted on the wall at the foot, under the bed, just above the front of the engine. Replace it. Costs about $35.00. Recently had to replace mine. Rook
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:21 AM   #3
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Clarification question

I have since removed the ignition switch from the equation and the problem persists, (with no switch and battery connected there seems to be a back feed situation to the ignition system or at least to the dash and warning indicators. It's interesting that both dash turn indicators are steady on also whenever the battery is connected) Could a fried starter relay cause that kind of back-feed condition?
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:09 AM   #4
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When you turn the ignition "on".....10's, maybe 100's of things happen. Many things and sensors are turned "on" and prepared for running the engine. You may be making this more complicated than it needs to be. Here is a simple test for the Starter relay. Turn on the ignition, then put a short across the starter relay large terminals (there will be some sparks, normal)......the starter solenoid should energize and start the engine. If it does, then you have a bad starter relay, assuming it is getting the energizing 12VDC from the ignition switch..... and you can check for that across the small terminals on the relay with a voltmeter. If no voltage, then your starter relay is probably good and the problem is somewhere else. Rook
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:26 AM   #5
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If you are wary of doing the short across the starter relay large terminals......then you can first check for 12VDC across the small terminals on the relay with a voltmeter while someone turns the ignition to "start". If no voltage present, then your starter relay is probably good and the problem is somewhere else. Rook
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:37 PM   #6
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Thanks, I may give that a try and I have no problem with jumping across the relay, sparks don't bother me. Remember, I do not have control to turn the ignition on as it is now apparently always on and impossible to turn it off when the battery is connected. I think that I will first disconnect the hot wires from the starter relay and connect the battery to see if that eliminates the back feed problem, and if successful I will just replace that relay. The Freighliner people suggested that I ckeck severl boxes mounted to the rails containing fuses and relays for any blone fuses or corrosion. I agree with you and believe that the first place to look is the starter relay.
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:56 PM   #7
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There is a diode in the alternator exciter wire , that if it fails can feed back into the whole ignition circuit, but the usual problem when it fails is the engine won't shut off.

The lock cylinder has to be removed for the bezel to come off. Requires a pin and a specific install procedure . As per diagram, and there are U tube video ; for 72 Chev pick up ignition, that's what you have.

I have wiring diagrams and schematics for 99 F/L with Cat. they are to big to post here . If you'll send me your e mail address in a personal message I'll forward them to you.
To send a PM if you haven't done it before, click my name on the corner of this post you will see the PM option.
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Old 05-17-2015, 11:00 PM   #8
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Here's what I have on the F/L installed starter relay along with part# cross reference.
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File Type: pdf MH starter relay.pdf (109.7 KB, 161 views)
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:50 AM   #9
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I cannot imagine what is causing your problem as you describe it......it's likely NOT the starter relay. From being "everything OK", how did all this start? Rook
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
There is a diode in the alternator exciter wire , that if it fails can feed back into the whole ignition circuit, but the usual problem when it fails is the engine won't shut off.

The lock cylinder has to be removed for the bezel to come off. Requires a pin and a specific install procedure . As per diagram, and there are U tube video ; for 72 Chev pick up ignition, that's what you have.

I have wiring diagrams and schematics for 99 F/L with Cat. they are to big to post here . If you'll send me your e mail address in a personal message I'll forward them to you.
To send a PM if you haven't done it before, click my name on the corner of this post you will see the PM option.
Hey thanks, "FL Help" told me it was a ford switch (so much for that info) They also failed to tell me that the cylinder had to be pulled to get the bezel off and by extension the switch out of the dash. Instead they suggested that the bezel threads were striped. I ended up using a metal hole saw to cut the bezel off managing to do so without damaging the switch or the dash. I later discovered on my own that the cylinder was what was preventing me from removing the bezel and then in searching for a replacement bezel surmised that it was a Chevy switch. Thanks for the relay link. I hope to test it out on Tuesday.
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I cannot imagine what is causing your problem as you describe it......it's likely NOT the starter relay. From being "everything OK", how did all this start? Rook
This started after a normal start-up and warmup. I shut down and about 20 minutes later tried to start it up again. Initially the ignition lite up the dash and then engaged the starter but my hand slipped on the key before the engine actually started. When I tried to engage the starter again it did not operate. I then decided to turn the ignition off completely to recycle from the off position and was surprised to find that it would not turn off. For that reason I suspect that the starter relay got fried and could be back feeding.
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:51 PM   #12
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I solved the problem and thought you might be interested in the cause. In the process of looking for a possible back-flow causing short, and after replacing the starter relay (with no success at solving the problem) I was inspecting the battery compartment. In this vehicle as you probably know, the dual cranking batteries are on a difficult to access top shelf. Everything looked normal until I removed one of those batteries and discovered that the casing was cracked and open on the back end. at some point the acid/water had drained away or been boiled off (no visible acid damage in the compartment). The battery was completely dry and apparently the 2nd good battery had been flowing through or past this bad battery for some time. I replaced both batteries and my problem is solved. I can only assume that about one week ago when I attempted to start the engine that the power from the good battery fused/welded a portion of the bad battery to cause a dead short and the good battery was then feeding back though that short. Somehow I often get these unusual, never before seen problems!
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:23 PM   #13
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Somehow I often get these unusual, never before seen problems!

So you say that ; Murphy , knows your name and address.
And I thought I was the only one.

Glad your fixed up and mobile . Safe Travels.
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