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Old 05-03-2021, 04:23 PM   #1
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A Scary Electrical Situation

After getting my 1998 Fleetwood Southwind Storm smogged for the DMV I started the drive home. About 10 minutes later... it went dead... dead as a door nail.

All gauges at zero... power steering lost... coasting along I put truck into neutral and turned the key... nothing... zip... dead. I made it to the side of the road scratching my head.

Next, I opened the panel where there are the two Battery Connect/Disconnect switches above the door are and pressed the Chassis battery connect switch Up... to connect the battery. Instead of the familiar Click, it chattered loudly. I released the switch. I pressed it down and heard the familiar Click. I pressed the switch up and again it chattered loudly.

Confused I took my voltmeter to the front of the vehicle and verified the truck battery had not somehow gone to zero. I got 12.9 volts.

I got back in the motorhome and pressed the switch Up again... I got the familiar Click. I quickly got in the driver's seat and the motorhome started!!! I quickly drove home and parked it and left it running. Then I got out of the driver's seat and clicked the Chassis battery switch Down. The motorhome continued to run as expected... in fact there is no Click for Down or Up while the truck is running... as expected.

It has been a week since then... so what the heck is going on? I'm quite skittish about taking it out... even to the smog shop until I figure out why this happened and what I can do to prevent it from happening again. Feels very dangerous. Thank you to this forum... I get a lot from reading it.
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Old 05-03-2021, 04:27 PM   #2
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First thing I would do is replace switch, sounds like it may be your problem.
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Old 05-03-2021, 04:48 PM   #3
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First thing I would do is replace switch, sounds like it may be your problem.
I replaced the switch a few months ago... it was a 3 position rocker and I always remembered to switch it back to center postion... until one day I forgot. A couple of 3 weeks later I went outside to check on the motorhome and found the truck battery dead. What the heck? I noticed I had forgotten to return the switch to the middle position and figured I had drained the battery by keeping the solenoid engaged. When I successfully started the motorhome using the auxiliary battery and got it charged up I noticed that if I pressed the switch up to engage the truck battery it would chatter like I described in my first post. That chattering went away and I considered myself lucky and quickly replaced the rocker switches with the kind that are momentary... a spring pushes them back to the nuetural position. No problems... a couple of trips until last week when the motorhome died while driving.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:46 AM   #4
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The thing that has me most confused is WHY did the motorhome just cut out and die... all gauges at zero while rolling along happily? THAT is what I don't understand.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:51 AM   #5
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I would bet that that switch is controlling a large contactor (relay), which I suspect is your problem. JMHO
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:54 AM   #6
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Check your battery cables at the engine battery. sound like you might had hit a bump and the cables aren't making a good connection. pull cables off and clean real good.
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Old 05-04-2021, 12:14 PM   #7
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I would bet that that switch is controlling a large contactor (relay), which I suspect is your problem. JMHO
I agree, sounds like the relay needs to be checked\replaced which if bad certainly would cause the clicking and the intermittent connectivity issues you reported.
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Old 05-04-2021, 01:14 PM   #8
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v> Replace battery isolator solenoid in the BCC
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Old 05-04-2021, 01:57 PM   #9
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You need a momentary switch in that battery disconnect position, not a switch that you need to switch to off.
Replace that so it doesn't happen any more, but thats not your problem now.

The Isolation solenoid isn't your problem either.

From your description, you need to check your chassis battery cable, from battery to termination, for a bare spot that's shorting to ground.
It may also be the positive battery terminals touching ground if they are not clamped down properly.
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Old Yesterday, 07:59 PM   #10
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(** this all refers to the actual disconnection device under the hood near the elec panel - NOT inside 'house')

if like my 1996 bounder, there are 2 electromagnet solenoid cut off switches under the hood in the panel that contains electric fuses and relays, a 4" x 8" panel holding the disconnect devices and large 12v connections and other things - should have diagram on back of panel - to help !!

there is a bar ~2" wide in each disconnect device which is the contact for the make/break disconnect of batteries - 1 device for chassis, 1 device for house.

as ALL contacts which are not used often, this may be rusty/dirty and thus the contact may not be great, as well as the solenoid which is used to move the contact bar - it is a Latching device - voltage to make, voltage to break via the 'solenoid' which may not be acting strongly or just bad 'bar' surfaces being flaky.

also, clattering of the solenoid in these boxes means either bad 12v connection (likely) to the device OR low voltage from chassis battery or both OR bad devices.

personally I would operate BOTH disconnect devices (listening as you did for click/clunks both ways) on and off quite a few times, and see if it works consistently - if not keep debugging.

also you can likely remove the big switch boxes and maybe? take apart and see if that contact/bar is clean.

as well check the connections to & FROM the box, loosen and re-tighten them to make sure a good 12v connection, old things get rickety and maybe not work so well - us humans too :-O.

operating these disconnects several times just might be all it takes !!

also make sure all 'output' connections are good & follow them for any other connections that might be flaky.

** likely the bar or device lost good contact inside and you lost your house and chassis 12v, thus you coasted down the road.

ps: did you try your 'bridge' button to see if that would help start engine when not working, if it did not work then it is likely BOTH the chassis AND house disconnect switches need your attention.

GL!
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Old Yesterday, 10:36 PM   #11
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Trust me been there and done that. Traveling 70 mph the whole dash and electrical went south causing me to stop on the side of the highway. You have two battery solenoids behind the fuse panel in the BCC and if one of them is not making proper contact you will lose all electric to the starter, dash, and everything that makes your motor home run. Inspect both of the solenoids and you will be happy you did. If I am wrong then the information is free and you can have a refund.
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