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Old 08-15-2012, 10:20 PM   #1
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Stuck on the road! Ignition problem!

Hi Guys,

I have a real problem. We were on a long uphill grade between Prather and Shaver Lake, CA when the ignition turned off all by itself! We were stuck in the middle of a two lane road. Boat was being towed behind our 27 ft. Allegro P32.
I managed to get her started. A few hundred yards further on, it quit again. This time, i was able to get her off the road on a turnout. She wouldn't turn over at all. The operating temperature was 210 degrees on the gauge. Main battery read 12.7 volts. Using the emergency start switch enabling house batteries to add current to the ignition got no additional results. It simply would not turn over. Initially, I was hearing a solenoid click, but after a number of starting attempts, the solenoid click stopped. Eventually, a mobile mechanic (who was on vacation) stopped and tried to troubleshoot. He was limited by not having his truck or equipment with him. Eventually, he got it started by shorting the contacts on the starter solenoid (the one on the starter). We proceeded on to our destination, pulled into the campground, and there we sit. I'm afraid that if I try to drive the MH home without first fixing it, I may end up having the same issue on the 11 mile downhill grade.
Don't want to chance that! If anyone has an electrical diagram of the ignition system, I'd sure appreciate it. Here's the info: P32 chassis 2004 year.
Model 260MH000D4F04274
Serial 5B4LP57G323353669
Tiffin Allegro 27ft. Class A

Thanks for any help you can give. I've got a little time to figure it out, but eventually will run out of reservations on our campground. Thanks again!
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:25 AM   #2
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From what you have said about the good samaritan you need a starter and solenoid. Buy both so you will have a true trouble shoot and only have to make one trip.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:30 AM   #3
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From what you have said about the good samaritan you need a starter and solenoid. Buy both so you will have a true trouble shoot and only have to make one trip.
First have the solinoid and starter tested. Just replacing may be a waste of money. Take the starter off and take it to a repair shop for testing. They will typically not charge you.

Good luck....
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:36 AM   #4
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It may work having it tested, but could have a dead spot on the starter motor that won't show up until after you put it back on. Check the battery connections. It may show 12+ volts, but not pass the required current.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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No one has addressed why it died in the first place. While you are under there checking the starter, check for burned fusible links. If you don't know, a fusible link is a short lenght of wire that is a smaller gauge than the wire it protects and it will burn up to protect the wiring it is supplying current to. There are usually 2 or 3 of them and they are part of the wiring bundle at the starter. They are usually just inside the wire conduit at the starter motor. Let us know what you find out. Good luck!
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:36 AM   #6
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I have to agree with windy and what he suggests. A starter solenoid is certainly not going to shut an engine down. Doesn't mean it's not going bad though.

This could be many things and you may eventually need a pro. This is what I would do to narrow things down. Clean/check/tighten battery connections and the especially the ground on the frame. Try to start normally. If there is a problem, jump the solenoid. If you you get it started, then one problem is solved.

Now check the voltage at the battery, it should be 14.5v or very close. If it remains steady, you could have solved the problem of bad connections. Other than that I'm out of specific ideas.

If the battery shows in the 12's, then your alternator is shot or a problem in the charging circuit. If it's flucuating or showing in the 13's, then there is still some problem that needs to be addressed.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:40 AM   #7
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There are known issues with the ignition switch carrying too much current, and losing electrical contact, on some of these model chassis. There is a relay kit available to cure this problem. Kit and info available at Oemy's website on this forum. Info also available by using search feature on the Workhorse forum. Some owners also have had problems with ignition wiring harness either stretching or chafing, inside steering column at point where tilt steering wheel mechanism is. I would check the wiring at the steering column/ignition switch for secure connection first. Good luck..
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:46 PM   #8
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No one has addressed why it died in the first place. While you are under there checking the starter, check for burned fusible links. If you don't know, a fusible link is a short lenght of wire that is a smaller gauge than the wire it protects and it will burn up to protect the wiring it is supplying current to. There are usually 2 or 3 of them and they are part of the wiring bundle at the starter. They are usually just inside the wire conduit at the starter motor. Let us know what you find out. Good luck!
If a fusible link opens, it's not going to heal itself. The ones on my Dodge diesel truck are connected to the wiring harness right at the positive battery connector.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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On a couple of my vehicles, the output wire from the alternator is at the junction of the hot lead from the battery, right on the solenoid. If the helper moved the wire, it could cause it to make a temporary connection. That still doesn't explain what caused it to die in the first place.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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There are known issues with the ignition switch carrying too much current, and losing electrical contact, on some of these model chassis. There is a relay kit available to cure this problem. Kit and info available at Oemy's website on this forum. Info also available by using search feature on the Workhorse forum. Some owners also have had problems with ignition wiring harness either stretching or chafing, inside steering column at point where tilt steering wheel mechanism is. I would check the wiring at the steering column/ignition switch for secure connection first. Good luck..
The switch would be a good place to start.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:54 PM   #11
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I'd start with voltage on the chassis battery. If it died under power and you're getting a different result by providing current from the coach batteries, something is up...
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:11 PM   #12
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I'd start with voltage on the chassis battery. If it died under power and you're getting a different result by providing current from the coach batteries, something is up...
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Originally Posted by Full.Monte View Post
Using the emergency start switch enabling house batteries to add current to the ignition got no additional results.
Didn't help.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:39 PM   #13
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When you said the RV mechanic shorted the starter solenoid and it started, I assume he shorted across the terminals that supplied 12V to the solenoid coil....if that is correct, then that says the starter solenoid and the starter are good. However, like on my coach, you may also have a "starter relay" which gets a signal (12V) from the ignition switch and it closes and connects 12v to the starter solenoid. The "starter relay" may be bad (mine was) but if it is good and simply not getting 12V from the ignition, then the you have an ignition system problem. Rook
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:47 AM   #14
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Hello all...

Thank you for all the replies. I would have answered sooner but I have to take my laptop and walk a half mile to a place where I can get a wifi connection.
I agree that it's not likely the solenoid on the starter or the starter itself because it starts right up when the main battery terminal to the starter and the contact on the solenoid are shorted. It's strange because we may have either one problem or two...depending on whether the ignition turn-off on the road and the no-start problem are related or not. In the process of going through the wiring, we did tighten a few loose battery cable connections. It didn't help. there are a number of solenoids in the engine compartment on a panel board above the engine. I don't know if they could be involved in this issue. It sure would be nice to get a schematic and troubleshooting guide for this problem.
I will check the ground wires and the ignition switch. I will also look for fusible links. I know those things can be hard to find from past experience. Thank you all for the suggestions. At least, we're at our destination, so a little of the pressure to get this fixed right this minute is off. However, we can't stay here forever. So, I'll put a tarp down on the dirt and crawl under it today. Thank you again...we appreciate all your helpful suggestions very much. I WILL tell the end of the story when we get it solved.
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