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My luck changed

Posted 06-02-2010 at 01:20 PM by depchief

I guess I should have noticed something was starting to go bad a few months ago. The clue was the ignition key getting hard to turn on. I tried the spare set and it would not work either. When I compared the keys, they where not exactly the same. Since the first set worked (key 1) I decided to get another key made (key 3) and make sure it worked correctly. This key worked fine and I felt better having 2 good keys. I then compared the originals that I had, again, (key 2) the first cut was not exact. I took a small file and made a slight cut on the key and tried it. Worked perfectly. Now I had 3 keys that worked and I felt better.
We went to the South East Rally at James Island Campground in the Charleston, S.C area and the ignition work properly. I kind of forgot about the key issue.
During our ride home from James Island I looked down on the dash and had a red light for “Auto Brake”. The light came on during the drive and I immediately thought what’s happening. The coach was moving fine and the emergency brake was not holding us back. We made one stop and the brake worked, but the light remained on when released.

Once we got home I began troubleshooting. Since I had the papers from Roger Haag, ‘theoldbear”, I read them over again and followed his instructions. I thought the cause was the light switch. Not the infamous green switch. I sent an email to Rodger explaining my findings and he replied in agreement. His reply included part numbers, instructions, and pictures of the switch. My problem was, where was it located, the reply to another email was under the chassis at the rear of the transmission, you will see the protection plate. We had two days of rain and the coach was parked in the driveway. When it cleared I moved the coach down the driveway so the front wheels were raised and gave me more room under the coach. Chocked the rear wheels and walked back into the garage and noticed a red stain on the concrete. This gave me a start, an immediate thought of a broken hose. I got under the coach and had no problems finding the location; the area was covered with oil. Removing the protection plate was easy, all bolts where accessible. Once it was removed the thought of the broken hose were gone. The switch was leaking oil from the wire connection. Removed the wire connection and oil ran down my arm. An open end wrench with a short extension was needed to get the switch loose, it was really put in tight. With the switch removed, oil leaked out of the hole, requiring holding my finger over the opening while I checked for a part number. I then put the switch back in to stop the oil leak and check the part number against the number Rodger had sent. They matched and the search for the replacement started. My first call was to the local CarQuest store, who I use for most parts. Speaking with the manager and giving him the part number and description, he asked a few more questions and said hold a minute, then he surprised me with the words I have one in my hand. I told him I’m on the way.
I then called Mike P, better known as DriVer on the forums and told him what I was doing and he said he’d be right over. We went to the parts store and picked up the part and it matched the original, relief. Driving home we discussed the AutoBrake system and the issues we had read about on the Workhorse Forum, not a lot of it is positive and how it left some people high and dry. I felt I was lucky. Once home I crawled under the passenger side and DriVer crawled under the drivers side. We removed the old switch, installed the new switch and then had to use electrical contact cleaner on the wire connector. I had to do this three times to get all the oil out and dried. Now came the time to check it out, we crawled out from under and went into the coach. I turned on the ignition and released the brake switch and moved the shift lever to neutral. The brake released and the light went out, again relief. We crawled back under and put all the parts back and cleaned up the area. One thing I did not like was that the spilled oil was all over the exhaust pipe and Catalytic Converter which was wiped off, I thought it would burn off quickly and did not give it another thought. Thus this repair was completed. The next day I called CarQuest again and ordered a new Green Switch, this is for stock, I feel if the light switch gave out the green will go before long. I am carrying in the coach for insurance, same as a spare fuel filter and serpentine belt.

I tell about the switch because it kind of took my mind off of the next repair that was needed on the coach. We where driving from Home to Erie, PA. Through West Virginia on I 77 and noticed a smell. I put this to the oil burning off the exhaust pipe and Catalytic Converter. We arrived at the Flatlands KOA for the night and while the wife was checking us in I turned the coach around to enter the gate and shut it down to wait for her to come out. When I tried to start it the key would not turn. What was going on? I tried to trick the ignition switch and finally got it to turn, and not before a call to DriVer for possibly a solution to getting the key to turn. All of a sudden it turned on. We started the coach and went to the camp site. I did not shut the key to the lock position, only the off position, figuring the next morning it would be no problem starting the coach. This proved correct, however more issues where to come. We left at about 8:00AM and headed North on I 77. This is a mountainous area, not like out west but many steep grades both up and down. While climbing a grade the engine stuttered. I thought what is this? First it ever did that. Shortly after the engine stuttered again and I got concerned as to what was going on. We still had power but something was drastically wrong. Climbing another grade shortly after, the coach bucked violently and the engine shut down, the dash gauges went blank, the engine came back on but the dash stayed blank, only the ABS light and the seat belt light where operating. The engine had power so we headed for a rest area to get in a safe location. This was about 10 miles and was actually 6 miles into PA. Once parked we shut off the engine, to the off position, not lock, and waited a few minutes to restart. When we tried to start, the ignition circuit and dash functions where dead. Thus went the notion that the computer would reset and we could continue. It was now time to call Good Sam Roadside Assistance, giving our exact location for them to send help. They responded back, that due to our location they where having trouble finding a repair facility. Shortly after they called back and said that they would tow us to New Stanton, PA. to a truck repair facility. This was a surprise, New Stanton was a long way from our location. Asking if they could find something closer they said no. I asked if I could find a shop closer could we go there, she said they would decide if I found one. I called Workhorse customer service and spoke to a nice lady who found Joe Ball Pontiac, GMC, Commercial Trucks and a Workhorse Service Center. Good Sam called back as agreed and I gave them the name and address of the Service Center. After checking the two locations on the map they agreed to go to Joe Ball. We then heard from the Tow Company and they said we could expect them in twenty minutes. Shortly after I saw the big red truck going south and he arrived after turning around. This was a 35 ton unit so my fears of a truck not large enough to pick the coach went away. The driver introduced himself and went to work hooking up, checking the wheel locks and disconnecting the drive shaft. He gave me the universal joint bolt caps to give to the Service Technician.
Once all tow connections where checked again we where ready to roll. We were to follow the truck because he knew the way and I knew nothing about driving around suburban Pittsburgh. Since the toad did not have much gas we decided to stop at the first exit to fill up and then catch p to the tow truck. This was a fun trip in rush hour traffic and thankfully the GPS unit knew the way. After stopping for gas we never saw the tow truck again, he took a wrong turn out of a tunnel due to traffic and had to go through the not so good parts of the city. We in turn arrived at the Service Center and met with the Service Manager, explained the issues and he could not of been more friendly. He told us where to park the coach and that they would work on it first thing in the morning. Once the tow truck arrived he placed the coach in the designated spot, unhooked and was on his way back thru the city to get back to his shop. I inspected the coach for damage, found none and was happy. Since it was close to 90 degrees all day all I could now think of was a shower. The wife informed me we had low fresh water. I said I would find a supermarket and buy 10 gallons to suck into the tank and shower. Boy did it feel good!
In the morning the Technician arrived as scheduled, I explained what the symptoms where and he asked some questions. He left to get some test equipment and returned. After some time he said to me, I agree with your opinion, the ignition switch. He removed the switch and the question was answered, the pink wire was burned and the plastic plug was melted around the pink connection. He got another ignition switch from the parts department, which was a surprise and started to install. This brought us to the second issue. The rod from the key to the switch was bent with the portion that is to go into the switch was pointing to 12 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock. He could not get this to turn to the correct position and finally decided that a pair of pliers would help. This did not, the rod broke. We both said in unison, the parts department will not have this part.
He left for the parts department and returned with the news that it is ordered from Workhorse and it would be a minimum of 2 weeks to get. He decided to make a temporary hook up in order for us to get under way. This was done. We now turn on the key, insert a small screw driver in the switch, move it to the on position; and then to the start position. We finalized all the paper work, and started again on our journey.
We drove three hours to our destination, making it with no difficulty, arriving a day late, but in one piece.
The Service Facility will call when the part comes in and we will arrange a time and date to have it installed.
In the mean time I will get all the parts and wire required for the relay to take the load off the switch. With the temporary position, this will be an easy modification.
I want to say thanks to Good Sam Roadside Assistance, Wards Towing of Sunbury, PA., Joe Ball Pontiac, GMC, Commercial Trucks, and the extended warranty company, National of Florida that helped to make a stressful situation easy.
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  1. Old Comment
    My yellow light comes on "Maint Required" upon start and then the red light comes on. The engine will run for 30 seconds and then shuts down. After restarting the engine, it will then run forever. What's the problem??

    Posted 04-28-2011 at 07:53 PM by kmoulton kmoulton is offline
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