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Old 06-10-2014, 08:35 PM   #1
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Electrical schematic on 80's Rambler

I have a parasitic drain and I'm going to start troubleshooting. Except I don't have any schematics. Does anybody have an electronic version of an 80's Holiday Rambler Imperial?
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:48 PM   #2
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What is the measured drain?

Without a diagram simple pulling of fuses and pulling wires at battery can at least indicate general direction.

Most from 80's are stupid so not much factory stuff other than clock.

However on 20 plus years there coukd be add ons or leaky diodes to who knows what.

In troubleshooting the drain be carefull as filter caps and other unknowns tend to blow the usual 2 amp fuse often used in common ampmeters and sometimes will blow the 10 amp fuse used for the 10 amp range and that fuse not the cheap SFE series.

What to do...

Spark test...

You take the wire that you are going to test and flash it on its connection point.

It may spark a couple times then nothing which would indicate a filter cap.

These usually will not blow a fuse after you hold it connected while placing meter in line.

Takes practice...

If a wire has a good spark and it repeats with a spark the obvious is this wire is pulling the battery down but it may blow your meter.

Get a SFE 7.5 amp or AGX 7.5 amp (new blade fuse) which you can attach wires so you can use it to verify current less than 10 amps so you blow out a cheap fuse and not the expensive one in your meter.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE TO REMOVE BOTH LEADS FROM METER AS SOON AS YOU MAKE YOUR MEASUREMENT!!!

Most meters have 3 connections...positive negative and 10 amp.

Volts and ohms use positive and negative and amps measures current flow between 10 amp and positive so these 2 pins are shorted together.

Many have measured voltage then current then went to measure a voltage without moving the lead and if lucky only blow a fuse if not they let some smoke out of something then one ir more fuses blow...

So as soon as you measure amps simply get in habit of moving wire back to negative or pull both.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:10 AM   #3
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I use a test light at the fuse panel. Fuse pulled, one end of the test light attached to a known good 12v voltage source (you have a test light in your hand, right?), touch the test light to the fused wire. If the light comes on there's a draw on that circuit. Often, the size of the draw can be determined by the brightness of the light, so you need to pay attention in the case of a dimly lit bulb.

Using this test it's pretty easy to check a bunch of circuits quickly.

Power steps can make things kinda tricky to check so you might want to identify that circuit ahead of time. Another might be a propane leak detector. The rest of it should be pretty straight forward.

As far as schematics, agreed it would be nice to have, but I've done a ton of work on a LOT of motor homes without one. They are absolutely useless when it comes to the location of anything. -Al
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:47 AM   #4
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Looks like the battery is still ok, 12.5v. Will take it to get a load test done.
It's losing 5 amps. Pulled all the fuses and no change. I know of an aftermarket fuel pump, unplugged it no change.
Not sure what else could cause it.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:10 AM   #5
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If you've pulled all the fuses and still have a draw, hopefully you haven't pulled ALL the fuses!

This is on the house, or chassis side?

House and chassis voltage readings match?

Draw occurring on both sides, or just one?
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:18 AM   #6
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Check each wire at each battery.

5 amps is not a clock for sure.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:34 PM   #7
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This is chassis battery that has the drain. I'm going to disconnect the coach batteries and check again. There is also a few wire that terminate 12-18" in line with the positive lead. Going to take this off and check them independently.
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:28 PM   #8
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If you disconnect the negative battery cable attach a test light between it and the post a drain will light the test light as long as its a older style light. If all fuses pulled it is still on disconnect the alternator power cable
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:13 PM   #9
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Chased the drain to the starter (or beyond?!). The starter had 2 smaller wires on the same terminal with the large wire from battery. The other, 2nd terminal, had 2 smaller wires. I disconnected the 2nd terminal and the drain went away. Thinking it was the starter, I removed it and took to autozone thinking they could test it. They couldn't and now I'm thinking it's the ignition switch IF that is what was connected to the 2nd terminal on the starter. Click image for larger version

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You can see the 2nd terminal wires detached in the photo.
Make sense??!!
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:15 PM   #10
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Wire goes from battery to starter as binding post then off to ign switch and distribution.

Starter not the issue
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:05 AM   #11
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Struggling, with the picture and with what you're saying (you're saying both terminals have 2 smaller wires, not sure which you found the problem on?)

If you're talking about the larger post, as mentioned, it is often used as a binding post or junction block. The largest wire leads to the battery of course, and you often see one leading to the alternator, which is the main charge line. If there's another wire there, you'll need to trace it, but it could lead to a battery isolator of some sort.

If you're talking about 2 wires on the smaller post, one should lead to the ign. switch (hot when cranking), the second will be powering something that needs to be hot when cranking. This might be to an oil pressure switch, that controls the fuel pump relay, which normally will only run if the engine is running. Wire from the starter to the oil pressure switch supplies fuel (turns the fuel pump on) while the engine is cranking (prior to the point where the engine has oil pressure).
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:23 AM   #12
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This makes a little more sense now. I will put it back on and chase the other wires.
Not knowing what is normal, I have a toggle on the dash called "Aux Start" and it turns on the starter. I assume with coach battery power? Meaning I can start the motor with key like a normal car or put key into "On" position and use toggle.
Also I have an aftermarket fuel pump toggle on dash that I need to manually turn on before starting the motor. Not sure if this is a 2nd fuel pump or the only one. I have this temporarily unplugged right now while I am troubleshooting.

I'm hoping it's the ignition switch.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:00 AM   #13
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Investigate that fuel pump too.

If aftermarket why?

Could be added to make up for something broken.

May not be interlocked to oil pressure switch.

May not be safe at all.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:45 AM   #14
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It sounds to me like you've located some wiring that's been "tampered" with....

"aux start" should be a momentary switch that when energized, closes a relay connecting the main and aux batteries. It's used if the main battery is low as a rule, but might also be used if the generator is set up to start off of the coach batteries and they are low. Push the switch for extra boost while cranking the engine over.

In any case, the starter should NOT engage when pushing the "aux start" button!

Not sure when they started doing it, but OEM design Chev. chassis has had a fuel pump in the back just about forever. That oil pressure switch powers it when the engine is running, shuts it off when the engine quits. The purpose of this is all about safety. You don't want that fuel pump running if the engine isn't. Problem with this system is starting the engine. Without the fuel pump, starting might be difficult - therefor this jumper from the starter solenoid. It turns the pump on until the engine develops oil pressure and holds it on by itself.

It sounds like your aftermarket fuel pump switch might be some kind of patch. It should not be necessary.
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