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Old 10-01-2017, 09:44 PM   #1
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Unhappy 2003 Fleetwood Flair 33R, F-53 chassis issue

I've owned my 2003 Flair for just over 2 years now. I have an issue with the engine just shutting off after a bump, but only at times, not every bump. It's happened a few times on the last trip we took, in Aug.

The gauges will go to zero, like I turned the ignition switch off, so that makes me think it's an electrical, not a fuel issue. Put it in neutral and try to restart before I attempt to pull over and stop, hasn't restarted yet, for me. It just dies, and won't start back up for a minute, or a minute and a half, maybe 2, I'm always a little busy to time it.

It will eventually restart, or at lest every time so far. This cold be dangerous, thank goodness I know what to do and how to handle it, but I might not be able to keep it under control, every time.

My son and I are both accomplished mechanics/technicians in the automotive field, and both of us have worked on motorhomes for a living, for about 10 years. So, we're not elementary level when to comes to diagnosis, and the repair. We are stumped on this, we can't duplicate it, any time we've tried, just won't happen "on command" for us. We've checked the ignition switch in the column, and the key. We've checked the battery disconnect, and about everything in the coach side of the electrical box, under the hood. We've checked all the relays/fuses on the chassis side. And we just can't make it happen on command.

Anybody have any experience with this? Any technicians types have an idea?
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:38 AM   #2
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On my Tiffin Allegro (with a Workhorse chassis), I had a problem with no-start that caused me to scratch my head in the campground for a couple days. Finally, I talked to a tech in a dealership that seemed to know something. Mine turned out to be an ignition module (electrical item) on the side of the transmission that would not allow starting without the tranny being in the right gear. It had vibrated partially out, making ignition not work because it wasn't getting the signal that the tranny was in "park" or "neutral". After pushing the module all the way in, it worked fine. I hope this helps.
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlockTank View Post
I've owned my 2003 Flair for just over 2 years now. I have an issue with the engine just shutting off after a bump, but only at times, not every bump. It's happened a few times on the last trip we took, in Aug.

The gauges will go to zero, like I turned the ignition switch off, so that makes me think it's an electrical, not a fuel issue. Put it in neutral and try to restart before I attempt to pull over and stop, hasn't restarted yet, for me. It just dies, and won't start back up for a minute, or a minute and a half, maybe 2, I'm always a little busy to time it.

It will eventually restart, or at lest every time so far. This cold be dangerous, thank goodness I know what to do and how to handle it, but I might not be able to keep it under control, every time.

My son and I are both accomplished mechanics/technicians in the automotive field, and both of us have worked on motorhomes for a living, for about 10 years. So, we're not elementary level when to comes to diagnosis, and the repair. We are stumped on this, we can't duplicate it, any time we've tried, just won't happen "on command" for us. We've checked the ignition switch in the column, and the key. We've checked the battery disconnect, and about everything in the coach side of the electrical box, under the hood. We've checked all the relays/fuses on the chassis side. And we just can't make it happen on command.

Anybody have any experience with this? Any technicians types have an idea?
I'm not sure if this happens to you but does the radio and lights go out when you have this problem? Years ago I had a car that did this, as I was driving it would just shut down - everything electrical went off. Checked the switches, wiring and relays and couldn't find it. My father was an experienced mechanic and it was driving both of us nuts. Well, we finally figured it out, we swapped the battery with another and the problem went away. We figured that there was a cell that was loos and intermittently it would "fall over" and short out the battery and cause everything else to shut off.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:14 PM   #4
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I think you are on to something Digger. I'm thinking electrical, too, like the coil that has burned but doesn't quit till it gets hot or bumped, or like a computer module that has a cracked circuit board. Please do us a favor and tell us how this issue is solved.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:48 PM   #5
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My dad always used to say that if you can't find the exact problem, start replacing the cheapest parts first. If there's a battery that you can use, I would swap them out and start there. To my way of thinking, if the entire electrical system goes down - there's a short that's causing it. If it's only the ignition system, then there may be a broken wire in the circuit or in the case of electronic ignition a bad module. I had an experience just last year with my Jeep where a computer communication buss was severed by my SMI brake installer and the dealer had to replace three of the system modules to cure the problem. In any case, you might just have to bite the bullet and start replacing suspect parts. By the way, maybe an engine error code reader could help with identifying the problem. These are relatively inexpensive and they would probably help to identify the fault code, if any. I would get one that stores the codes so you can go back after the fact and see if any were generated. Good luck - electrical shorts or breaks are the hardest to diagnose on vehicles. Hope I've given you some good ideas.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger1944 View Post
I'm not sure if this happens to you but does the radio and lights go out when you have this problem? Years ago I had a car that did this, as I was driving it would just shut down - everything electrical went off. Checked the switches, wiring and relays and couldn't find it. My father was an experienced mechanic and it was driving both of us nuts. Well, we finally figured it out, we swapped the battery with another and the problem went away. We figured that there was a cell that was loos and intermittently it would "fall over" and short out the battery and cause everything else to shut off.
The battery has been changed since the first time it happened. Obviously no change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger1944 View Post
My dad always used to say that if you can't find the exact problem, start replacing the cheapest parts first. If there's a battery that you can use, I would swap them out and start there. To my way of thinking, if the entire electrical system goes down - there's a short that's causing it. If it's only the ignition system, then there may be a broken wire in the circuit or in the case of electronic ignition a bad module. I had an experience just last year with my Jeep where a computer communication buss was severed by my SMI brake installer and the dealer had to replace three of the system modules to cure the problem. In any case, you might just have to bite the bullet and start replacing suspect parts. By the way, maybe an engine error code reader could help with identifying the problem. These are relatively inexpensive and they would probably help to identify the fault code, if any. I would get one that stores the codes so you can go back after the fact and see if any were generated. Good luck - electrical shorts or breaks are the hardest to diagnose on vehicles. Hope I've given you some good ideas.
I would respectfully disagree on changing the electrical components. There is a diagnosing procedure for every piece of the electrical system. I will continue to "chase" this problem until I find it.

I thought if it was a common problem, somebody here may have encountered it, and had an answer. Back to the drawing board I guess.

My son and I are going to bypass the chassis disconnect solenoid, First diagnosis pointed to it not working correctly. If shut off, some of the chassis electrical will still operate, so bypass will be the next on the list.

Thanks for the answers so far.....keep'em coming, please!!!
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:57 PM   #7
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Well, bypassing the disconnect solenoids didn't work, it still died on me this past weekend. The search continues.

If anybody has any experience of a similar issue, I'd really like to hear it. TIA!!
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:10 PM   #8
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What stops working:

When it fails, leave the key on and check these items.

Headlights
Parking lights
Heater blower
Instrument panel (What instruments in particular stop working. Any lights on the instrument panel)
Turn signals
4 way flashers

This list may help point you to the problem.


VOLTMETER

Voltage on battery terminals when it fails
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
What stops working:

When it fails, leave the key on and check these items.

Headlights
Parking lights
Heater blower
Instrument panel (What instruments in particular stop working. Any lights on the instrument panel)
Turn signals
4 way flashers

This list may help point you to the problem.


VOLTMETER

Voltage on battery terminals when it fails
Everything works, except the speedometer. And, I can stop and put it in neutral and it won't, so far, start. If I wait for a short time (30-45 secs?) it'll restart. There is no rhyme or reason to the frequency either.

I've been doing some other things around the house for a few days, and I haven't made it back to the storage lot to try anything else. But, I'll make it in a day or so.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:07 AM   #10
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If the accessories are working, i.e. lights, heater blower, turn signals, etc. can you hook up a scan tool and see what codes are set in the PCM

When it fails, on the instrument panel, do the other gauges still work? Oil pressure, temperature, fuel level, voltmeter?

Does the speedometer instantly drop to zero. ( this is interesting as it isn't related to the engine, i.e. fuel, ignition. But this gets its signal from the PCM, i.e. is the PCM losing power.

I'm looking at the power distribution to see if this is power problem..

Initial thoughts - Reset the PCM connector (remove it and reinstall it. Verify the PCM ground is good..

This isn't related, but the photos will show you where the PCM and grounds are..

http://www.1999southwind.com/f53-tra...-and-2nd-gear/

..

ALSO - If you'r able to duplicate it, that would make it easier to find. i.e. start the engine, then go around and bang on stuff, relays, fuses, PCM, connectors, wire harness, etc, etc
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
If the accessories are working, i.e. lights, heater blower, turn signals, etc. can you hook up a scan tool and see what codes are set in the PCM

When it fails, on the instrument panel, do the other gauges still work? Oil pressure, temperature, fuel level, voltmeter?

Does the speedometer instantly drop to zero. ( this is interesting as it isn't related to the engine, i.e. fuel, ignition. But this gets its signal from the PCM, i.e. is the PCM losing power.

I'm looking at the power distribution to see if this is power problem..

Initial thoughts - Reset the PCM connector (remove it and reinstall it. Verify the PCM ground is good..

This isn't related, but the photos will show you where the PCM and grounds are..

F53 Transmission shifting weird in 1st and 2nd gear – 1999 Southwind 35S

..

ALSO - If you'r able to duplicate it, that would make it easier to find. i.e. start the engine, then go around and bang on stuff, relays, fuses, PCM, connectors, wire harness, etc, etc
That's some good information, thanks a bunch.
I'm with you on the speedo, but yes, it drops off as soon as the engine stops. The tach stays working until I shift it in neutral, obviously, the rpm's stop also. (I leave it in gear so that I have a little power steering, and easier brakes) All the gauges still work, the radio, lights, radio, everything, except as noted so far. It just doesn't make sense.
My son and I jumped the battery cut offs and it still happened, if we jumped the correct 2. I have a new chassis battery cut off, I don't mind spending that money, even if it's not the problem. But, we'll get some more diagnosing done when we tear into the RV Specialty Products distribution box. I'd like to sell this motorhome, and get a diesel, but I won't sell this until I get it fixed, karma would kick my butt if I sold it as is....

Thanks, wish me luck
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