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Old 05-01-2012, 08:59 PM   #127
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starter issue

Ron, can you get some pics of starter connector sol connector and let us see what you see. For me I have a 85 Elandan P30 and in middle of rebuilding motor and transmission. Also in the middle of redoing the wiring for engine and firewall. So if this is helpful.. Start at starter and check wiring..should have the cable for the battery...large post.. should have cable for solenoid..now I have a 4 post solenoid..looking straight at it I have from left to right..large post..has red wire that attaches to alt and splits and goes to fuse block..also has red wire that runs down to battery cable post at starter..next is small post with red wire for starting..runs to fuse block..next is small post that is black wire running to ground at block and back to fuse block..last post on right it is red wire that runs down to starter at the small post on solenoid...thinking now..make sure you use the correct small post on the solenoid..mine has two small and one large..smalls are marked R and S the R is not used..now follow the battery cable from the starter large cable and see if it is connected to pos on battery..mine is attached to a 3 post solenoid on the left side...then a cable to the pos of battery......the 3 post solenoid is for emergancy starting if have a dead battery..the small center post is attached to switch on dash that allows using coach batteries to start MH..so the last post on the right side has pos of coach batteries and cable for gen. starter....sorry dont have any pics because it is all apart where I am redoing wires... but I made several drawings of how and where the wires ran...Hope this is helpful...
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:28 PM   #128
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Quote:
I traced it back to a box mounted on the firewall called a "battery isolator controller."
A "battery isolator controller" was a component added on by Fleetwood not GM. Best place for any information realated to that is in the Fleetwood Forum (Fleetwood Products Owner's Forum - iRV2 Forums). Even so, I think that is related more to battery charging (both chassis and coach interaction) that starter circuit.

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Old 05-01-2012, 11:24 PM   #129
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Since you're an electrician I figured that I would take some measurements on my MH with my lab scope. You can do the same measurement I did individually with a multimeter. You should be able to analyze the results and pin point your problem area. My total set-up time was about 15 minutes, but if you have to measure each point individually it might take you about 20-30 minutes. I measured four different things. Battery voltage at the battery, voltage at the end of that cable which is my battery bank solenoid, voltage at the lead between the solenoid and starter and amperage through the circuit. One thing to keep in mind when ready my voltage readings is that the starting battery in my MH is not in very good shape and is a little under charged. A fully charged 12volt automotive battery should be 12.66v or higher when fully charged.


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This photo shows my lab scopes ground lead(black) on the negative battery terminal and the channel 1(yellow) positive lead connected to the positive battery terminal.



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This is the channel 2 (green) positive lead on the scope connected to the end of the battery cable where it terminates on the battery bank selector solenoid(this motor home isolates the battery banks with a simple solenoid where yours uses a battery isolator).



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Bad photo, but it was the best that I could do. This is the channel 3 (blue) positive lead that is connected to the lead that connects the starter solenoid to the starter.



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Finally this is the amp clamp that is clamped around the positive battery cable near the battery. Now we are ready to test!



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This is a photo of the scopes screen with the key off. Voltage at the battery (yellow/ channel 1) is 12.46v, voltage at the battery bank solenoid (green/channel 2) is 12.46v, voltage at the starter (blue/ channel 3) is 0.01v and our current draw (red/ channel 4) is +0.5. The current draw reading has a small error because it is a magnetic pick-up that will fluctuate approximately +\-1 amp. So we will assume it is 0.



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This is a screen shot of the lab scope with the ignition in the on position. Voltage at the battery (yellow/ channel 1) is 12.34v, voltage at the battery bank solenoid (green/channel 2) is 12.35v, voltage at the starter (blue/ channel 3) is 0.01v and our current draw (red/ channel 4) is -3.2. Everything is still very consistent through the battery cable connecting the battery to the battery bank solenoid. Still no voltage at the starter and our current draw has changed but is still very low.



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This is the money shot! This is the scope while the starter is engaged and the engine is turning over. Voltage at the battery (yellow/ channel 1) is 9.06v, voltage at the battery bank solenoid (green/channel 2) is 8.70v, voltage at the starter (blue/ channel 3) is 8.13v and our current draw (red/ channel 4) is 343.90 amps. This is where the cable, component and connection qualities are revealed. The heavy load has cause the voltage to drop substantially in the circuit, but what you really need to focus on is the drop measured from one area compared to the other. In my system there is an obvious drop as the voltage travels through the system, but the drops are somewhat consistent. It seems as if I have a slightly higher drop as the voltage travels through the cable from from the battery bank solenoid and through the starter solenoid to the starter. In your situation you should be able to easily locate the high resistance point in your circuit using this method as you should see a massive drop in voltage if the circuit is the problem.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #130
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Thanks to everyone for your efforts on this. I'm going to bring my meter and check everything beginning with the starter and work my way back armed with all that you have told me. I'll get back to you.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:50 AM   #131
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Do you have another starter of any brand that you could not install, but wire up the same as yours and ground it to the block with a jumper cable and see what it does? Or just loosen your's to see if it is binding when you try to start it?
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:45 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Dunner
Do you have another starter of any brand that you could not install, but wire up the same as yours and ground it to the block with a jumper cable and see what it does? Or just loosen your's to see if it is binding when you try to start it?
I have another identical starter, and a new solenoid.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #133
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Loosen "Smokey" to see if it is binding, or try the other one like I posted and see if it still smokes the ground wire, or install it, but leave it a turn or two loose to see if "smoky" is binding or causing the problem. If it doesn't cause smoke, tighten it down and see how it works.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:04 AM   #134
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Is the solenoid on the starter or separate?
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:12 PM   #135
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I checked the wiring of my solenoid on my 1987 P30 chassis. There are 5 wires on the solenoid, all red. On the large starter motor post there is the large battery cable plus 3 red wires of approx 12ga. These have a larger black section approx 4" from the post. These wires are fusible links and feed the chassis with power. The other red wire comes out of the loom about 8" from the end and goes to the post on the side of the solenoid closest to the block.

I think he has either a bad starter or it is binding. There are shims available to go between the starter and block to set the depth of engagement between the starter motor drive gear and the teeth on the flywheel. Some starters came from the factory with these installed.
Either way the starter can be pulled to examine the gear tooth engagement and be tested at an auto parts store for free.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #136
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Just to rule it out, I have another starter and a new solenoid. I'll just install it rather than put the meter on it then go from there.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #137
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If your starter is anything like mine, I would do what I could to avoid removing the starter. Unless I knew for a fact that it was the root cause of the problem. Testing with the meter truly is a fast way to diagnose it and if you do have an amp clamp already, then that alone would tell you volumes about what is occurring in the circuit. Probably be done testing in less than 20 minutes and would have a definitive answer on your issue.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:15 PM   #138
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My starter is easy. A couple of nuts that hold wires on and 3 bolts to undo and it's off. 10 minutes...tops!
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:08 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by RonS1985
My starter is easy. A couple of nuts that hold wires on and 3 bolts to undo and it's off. 10 minutes...tops!
You're lucky, with the Banks header and the heat shield for the starter in the way, access to mine is a nightmare.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:16 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by RonS1985 View Post
My starter is easy. A couple of nuts that hold wires on and 3 bolts to undo and it's off. 10 minutes...tops!
Same with mine.
J
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