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Old 07-01-2013, 08:13 PM   #1
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1990 Southwind engine starting

1990 Fleetwood Southwind engine starting
I am unable to start the engine-no lights-no horn no nothing un less I short around the top relay. After starting everything works fine until I stop the engine by turning off the key and then I have to short around the relay again. Help. Romee
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:01 AM   #2
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If you can get the relay off take it to the parts store for replacement . Should be a common relay
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:19 PM   #3
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X2, had an 88 Southwind and had to replace the relay, if I remember correctly it is a standard Ford starter solonoid. I agree take it to auto parts store and get a replacement.
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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Check with a test light and make sure you are getting power to the small post of the relay when someone turns the key, if you do replace the relay if not you have no power from the ignition switch area
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:09 AM   #5
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Many thanks to all of you. I have ordered a replacement relay and hope that works. Other than being a retired Navy Pilot and a retired Aircraft Mechanic Instructor and Aircraft Mechanic, I thought I knew basic dc electricity. In aviation it is simple, everything has two wires-power too and a return to a true ground - 'battery or battery bus'. Nothing is grounded to a chassis and therefore you don't have these bad ground issues often. But in this case my experience with relays is you apply power to the coil and the relay activates and after removing the power, the relay is inactivated. However with this relay, once the relay is shorted across the battery leads and the engine is started, everything works until the key is turned off and neither the engine nor the lights nor anything else works. And writing this makes me think that it could possibly be that in the start position there is no voltage to activate the relay but there is in the on (run) position. Other than that what could hold the relay in the on position? Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #6
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There are 2 sets of batteries in play on the motor home. One for powering the back/coach, the second is for starting the engine. Generally they are isolated from one another so you can't drain the engine battery with the furnace for instance?

From your description, it could be that the engine battery is dead, missing, or has a bad connection, and once you get the engine running, it's running off the alternator?

You should know that one of the relays on board that coach is used to connect the front and rear batteries temporarily (emergency start switch on dash)? No clue if it's the one you're jumping or not. The only way to find out would be to trace the wires leading to it?

You need to do some basic trouble shooting it sounds like. Starting with why you aren't getting any power to the dash when you turn the key on? I can almost guarantee the reason is not that relay.

Sounds like you have the ability to troubleshoot/fix it, you just need to spend some time figuring out what you REALLY have going on there.
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:09 PM   #7
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When engine is a running alternator is providing power.

The power system often has "magna-latch" relays.

Positive 12 volts across the coil sets the relay, reverse 12 volts releases it.

Get a wiring diagram and voltmeter and do proper troubleshooting.

Many diagrams here on forum
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:23 PM   #8
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That problem solved as follows

I had previously ordered an emergency start relay which is not common to auto stores. I checked the continuity across the new relay-dead short. I took the relay off the RV, and it was open. Replaced the old relay and wala, everything worked normally. But what has confused me is there is 12 volts from the start battery on one side of the relay and 12 house volts on the other side. The regular start relay was not involved. This relay that I changed out was the top relay on the port side(driver) of the RV. Now to figure out why the converter hums so loudly. Thanks for every ones suggestions and advice.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #9
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It sounds to me like you may have gotten the wrong relay. The 2 big terminals should not be closed for your application, unless the relay has been energized with a button for that purpose on the dash. If you install that relay where the emergency start relay goes, you will have a full time connection between your house and chassis batteries. This will give you a ton of capacity, but when it's gone, there will be nothing available to start your engine?

Relays come in all types. Identical looking relays can have vastly different functions internally? The type required for an emergency start relay can be had at an auto parts store, but you need to know what to ask for, and the person behind the counter needs to know both what you're talking about AND what he's doing, which is not a fair assumption any more?
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