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Old 06-06-2022, 11:55 AM   #1
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Routing wires through frame rail conduit

Has anyone had an luck getting wires from one end of the coach to the other? There's a plastic conduit that starts ahead of the rear axle on my Spartan chassis 2003 American Coach. I don't know where it ends or if wires come out of it before it ends (which I expect would make fishing through it harder). I'm afraid it might end next to the fuel tank but I have no idea; just thought I would ask if anyone had any first hand experience.
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Old 06-08-2022, 11:11 AM   #2
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At our dealership we never had luck with long runs in old conduit. There are too many branches and to many tywraps, etc.we always ran a new wire or wires in a new conduit. It is usually easy to tie the new conduit to the old one.
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Old 06-09-2022, 04:56 AM   #3
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If your 2003 is made the same as my '99 Dream...good luck, lol.
The fiberglass tubes on either side are as you said, terminate at the rear axle which is tight enough to get to, but the front(s) end at the fuel tank which is too tight to get your hand in or even see up there.
I was able to run a long fish line through my drivers side tube to run a new hydraulic line, but it was quite tough to do. Especially when you cannot remove the old line as they zip-tie the whole bundle together before it's shoved down the tube at the factory.
If it were me, (and again if yours is like mine) I would try and fish anything new down the passenger side tube. The drivers side has the hydraulic line for steering, plus return line, and both coolant lines for dash heat, plus a bundle of wires. The passenger side has the freon lines for dash A/C and some wiring, so there is more room.
Finally, if I were to replace lines again I would go into the basement compartments and cut sections (carefully) of the fiberglass tubes out to make access "windows" and then make covers out of sheet metal and install rivnuts to attach them. Even then you're still stuck with having to fish everything past the fuel tank which completely fills the opening between the frame rails.
One last tip, it really helps to access the end of the tubes at the rear if you get some HD jack stands and remove the duals on the side your working on.
Good Luck !
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Old 06-09-2022, 05:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ga traveler View Post
At our dealership we never had luck with long runs in old conduit. There are too many branches and to many tywraps, etc.we always ran a new wire or wires in a new conduit. It is usually easy to tie the new conduit to the old one.
Unfortunately, the way these are built there is no way to tie a new conduit to the old. They are completely sealed end to end within the frame rails, sealed to the basement structure.
The only way you could do it on this design is to go through each basement "upright" with a hole saw for a new conduit, and install new pvc in sections...which is totally feasible. I thought of this and was going to do it when I rebuilt my basement, but ran out of time. I may regret it in the future.
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Old 06-09-2022, 07:43 PM   #5
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The fiberglass tubes on either side are as you said, terminate at the rear axle which is tight enough to get to, but the front(s) end at the fuel tank
Yep, that sounds the same. the tube/box just looked like plastic to me but it could be glass or FRP I guess. I suspected they ended next to the fuel tank. Well, the good news is at the moment I just need to run a tiny wire - maybe a couple. But yeah I suspect you're right, quite a bit more room on the driver's side.

I think we're going to give it a shot this weekend, I had to order a fish tape.
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Old 06-09-2022, 07:51 PM   #6
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Yep, that sounds the same. the tube/box just looked like plastic to me but it could be glass or FRP I guess. I suspected they ended next to the fuel tank. Well, the good news is at the moment I just need to run a tiny wire - maybe a couple. But yeah I suspect you're right, quite a bit more room on the driver's side.

I think we're going to give it a shot this weekend, I had to order a fish tape.
Fishing new wire past old can be tricky. Instead of a steel fish tape which can damage existing conductors use the round nylon one (Harbor Freight has a cheap red one that works great). Another option is to choose an existing wire, cut it and use it to pull in your added wire plus another to replace the one you just cut, this is the safest and how we do it with line voltage, however there is some risk that you will get 1/2 way pulled and jam up, then you're SOL. I would only try that if the existing wires are fairly loose in the conduit. However you do it be sure to make your attachment very smooth and streamlined with tape so it does not hang up or damage the other wires. It also helps to have someone feed while you pull, it may not seem like it but that is a huge help when done properly, both people in sync. Rule of thumb when pulling, it should be easy, if you have to force it start over, something is hanging up and forcing it will only make it worse.
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Old 06-10-2022, 06:46 AM   #7
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What year coach are you guys working with? I just ran an ethernet cable from front to back and didn't see any conduit. Just curious
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Old 06-10-2022, 12:48 PM   #8
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What year coach are you guys working with? I just ran an ethernet cable from front to back and didn't see any conduit. Just curious
He's got a '99, mine is an '03
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Old 06-13-2022, 07:58 AM   #9
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For what it's worth, I did succeed in this and once I knew where to look, it was pretty painless. It appears to be a fairly clean shot through passenger and driver's side conduits -- I ran them both multiple times and never got hung up. Someone had already cut a bit of an access panel in the "TV" Compartment, I'm not sure if it was factory or not, they might have expanded the hole for the 110v outlet. I could see the fish above the fuel tank through this opening when I ran it in the driver's side rail but preferred it in the passenger side where it was running into a bundle of wire so I used a borescope to spot it and just reached in to grab it. No trouble pulling my wire back through. ...but yeah if you were trying to run a 1/2" or larger hose or something I suspect that could be a little dicey.
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Old 06-14-2022, 03:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ga traveler View Post
At our dealership we never had luck with long runs in old conduit. There are too many branches and to many tywraps, etc.we always ran a new wire or wires in a new conduit. It is usually easy to tie the new conduit to the old one.
What GA Traveler said!!!
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Old 06-14-2022, 03:32 PM   #11
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Yep, that sounds the same. the tube/box just looked like plastic to me but it could be glass or FRP I guess. I suspected they ended next to the fuel tank. Well, the good news is at the moment I just need to run a tiny wire - maybe a couple. But yeah I suspect you're right, quite a bit more room on the driver's side.

I think we're going to give it a shot this weekend, I had to order a fish tape.
Pull a fish line along with your new wire. That makes it easier the next time.

Mike
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Old 06-14-2022, 07:26 PM   #12
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For what it's worth, I did succeed in this and once I knew where to look, it was pretty painless. It appears to be a fairly clean shot through passenger and driver's side conduits -- I ran them both multiple times and never got hung up. Someone had already cut a bit of an access panel in the "TV" Compartment, I'm not sure if it was factory or not, they might have expanded the hole for the 110v outlet. I could see the fish above the fuel tank through this opening when I ran it in the driver's side rail but preferred it in the passenger side where it was running into a bundle of wire so I used a borescope to spot it and just reached in to grab it. No trouble pulling my wire back through. ...but yeah if you were trying to run a 1/2" or larger hose or something I suspect that could be a little dicey.
Sweet !
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