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Old 01-13-2016, 05:16 PM   #1
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Mystery "fan" noise in Ford E-350 that won't start

My 1977 Elkhart Chateau has a Ford E-350 powertrain. It was running great through this Fall (with only 38,000 miles on it and regular maintenance). Since I have been restoring the water damaged interior I have not taken any trips with it since buying it 20 months ago, but I did run it for at least a half hour to an hour once a month to keep the juices flowing and the batteries charged. Both batteries were new when I bought it, by the way, and the prior owner was an engineer who had maintained it well mechanically, including installing a toggle switch on the dash to disconnect the batteries when it was sitting and to switch between coach and cabin when parked.

However, the last time I gave it a run in November something weird happened. When I shut off the ignition, there was a sound that was coming from somewhere under or behind the driver's seat that sounded like a small fan running. It reminded me of what you hear in some cars that have that delayed fan shut off. I was completely puzzled -- the ignition was off, the key removed and even when I toggled off the battery connections the sound did not stop. I snooped around trying to find some hidden device in the cabin that would have made this sound -- the sound was most audible under the slide out couch but there was nothing I could see under there. I have the Haynes and Chilton manuals for the E-350 but could not find anything in them that would identify this running fan or help me locate a fuse I could pull that would shut it down. I was really worried whatever it was would run down the batteries. But after I went back to the camper after doing the manual research I could not hear it any more.

Then I went to start the engine last weekend, intending to run it down the highway for a while to move everything through and charge up the batteries before I parked it, put on the cover and brought in the batteries for the winter to put on a trickle charger. It would not start -- did not even crank. BUT, that damned fan sound came on again when I turned the key in the ignition.

Anybody have any suggestions on what I might be dealing with? I have little or no mechanical knowledge when it comes to motors but I do have tools and meters and can follow directions.
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowleaf View Post
My 1977 Elkhart Chateau has a Ford E-350 powertrain. It was running great through this Fall (with only 38,000 miles on it and regular maintenance). Since I have been restoring the water damaged interior I have not taken any trips with it since buying it 20 months ago, but I did run it for at least a half hour to an hour once a month to keep the juices flowing and the batteries charged. Both batteries were new when I bought it, by the way, and the prior owner was an engineer who had maintained it well mechanically, including installing a toggle switch on the dash to disconnect the batteries when it was sitting and to switch between coach and cabin when parked.

However, the last time I gave it a run in November something weird happened. When I shut off the ignition, there was a sound that was coming from somewhere under or behind the driver's seat that sounded like a small fan running. It reminded me of what you hear in some cars that have that delayed fan shut off. I was completely puzzled -- the ignition was off, the key removed and even when I toggled off the battery connections the sound did not stop. I snooped around trying to find some hidden device in the cabin that would have made this sound -- the sound was most audible under the slide out couch but there was nothing I could see under there. I have the Haynes and Chilton manuals for the E-350 but could not find anything in them that would identify this running fan or help me locate a fuse I could pull that would shut it down. I was really worried whatever it was would run down the batteries. But after I went back to the camper after doing the manual research I could not hear it any more.

Then I went to start the engine last weekend, intending to run it down the highway for a while to move everything through and charge up the batteries before I parked it, put on the cover and brought in the batteries for the winter to put on a trickle charger. It would not start -- did not even crank. BUT, that damned fan sound came on again when I turned the key in the ignition.

Anybody have any suggestions on what I might be dealing with? I have little or no mechanical knowledge when it comes to motors but I do have tools and meters and can follow directions.
Willowleaf
I doubt that the fan noise you hear has anything to do with the Ford E-350 power train in your 1977 Elkhart Chateau.

Most likely the noise "coming from somewhere under or behind the driver's seat" is coming from one of the many "house" components added to the Ford chassis by the coach builder.

If it is the Haynes and Chilton manuals for the Ford E-350 will be of no help).

Mel
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:58 PM   #3
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Sigh, that is what I was afraid of. I will have to wait until winter is over and start tearing into the guts to find what this is and why it is wired into the ignition. I did call the prior owner who had added many components to the coach in the 2 or 3 years he owned it, but he could offer no clue as to what the device could be.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:12 PM   #4
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Vapor lock was an issue on these old carbureted Fords (had a '77 myself). An electric fuel pump was a common fix, sometimes replacing the stock mechanical pump, sometimes supplementing it.

The fuel line runs down the driver's side frame rail. An added electric pump would be in that line. Close to where you describe the noise. If it just started doing it, maybe a relay is stuck keeping it on?

Just a guess.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:22 PM   #5
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You didn't mention if you are plugged into shore power or not. If your on shore power you could be hearing the cooling fan from your on board battery chargers cooling fan.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:57 PM   #6
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Not the furnace fan is it? Or water pump?

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