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Old 04-02-2020, 04:59 PM   #1
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Unhappy Ok guys I am absolutely desperate here

1 i have a 97 minnie winnabego its a rental and i nget no help from owners
2. ok i drove it from san diego to los angeles with zero problem everything was good


3 first problem i was driving and a white plume of smoke came out of the engine my partner thought it was an electrical fire hit it with a fire extinguisher . we were broke down in this spot till someone would jump us .
4 drive to next location cool next day battery is dead .
5. since then every day battery is dead
6 . ive now replaced the battery , alternator and starter and soloniod by the battery assuming were aere still in the same situatiin
.so far none of my attemts have worked I have a bmw mechanic working on it its a friend doing it cheap what might he not know about rvs that differ from regular cars ,
also few things to note last time trying to start it , first turning on my headlights would kill the battery , and then nothing on my dash would light up not even my hazards
honestly i swear its a relay or something somple but i have no clue again im [Mod Edit] desperte guys any help is greatly appreciated im stuck
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Old 04-02-2020, 05:11 PM   #2
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What did you determine the source of the smoke to be?

Do you have a voltmeter?

Where are you?

Also -- your post was light gray test on white -- unreadable without x-ray glasses.
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:11 PM   #3
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A "white plume" was probably steam from an overheated radiator rather than a fire.


Not sure what happened to the electrical system - maybe the fire extinguisher damaged something. Does the battery charge while the engine is running? If so, alternator and such ok. Does the battery go while sitting dead overnight, or while driving?
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:17 PM   #4
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You stated that "its a rental and I get no help from the owners." I would call them and demand help. You rented an RV from them and expected that it would be usable. Advise them that any money you spend fixing their RV will need to be refunded to you, or they can have you take it somewhere of their choice that will bill them to fix it. If the owner refuses then I would consult with an attorney regarding your rights.
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Old 04-02-2020, 08:07 PM   #5
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I burned up a regulator at speed once, and the smoke was copious, white, billowing, and stinky. It laid down a smokescreen that would have made Nimitz proud. My kid was behind me a few hundred yards and said it looked like I blew up.

If I couple that experience with the description in the OP and the part where it won't charge, it would reasonably make me want to check regulator function. That's why I was asking about the source of the white smoke and the voltmeter.

But it being a rental is an interesting angle. I agree that it shouldn't be the renter's responsibility to do mechanical repairs on a rented RV. I'd perhaps see if there was some legal way to just get it fixed and bill the owner. That's why I was asking where they are. If it's a long way from the rental lot, the leverage might be a promise to park it alongside the freeway next time it quit and take a rental car home.
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Old 04-02-2020, 11:12 PM   #6
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I'd call the owner and tell them you are dropping the RV off at the closest RV repair place unless they want to tow it to their choice for repair.
Then rent a car, truck or whatever you need to get yourselves and possessions home and leave.
The RV ain't your problem.
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Old 04-03-2020, 06:45 AM   #7
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Being the RV is a 1997 that he rented probably the owner of the RV can't afford to fix it either.
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Old 04-03-2020, 06:58 AM   #8
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What reputable place rents 23 year old RVs?
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenandterry View Post
What reputable place rents 23 year old RVs?
Please refrain from giving LazyDays any ideas...
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:37 AM   #10
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Whoever has been diagnosing the original problem has been guessing instead of actually diagnosing what the original problem was. If an alternator burned up the OP would have smelled a distinct burnt odor of burnt wiring which would still be lingering behind.
I have no idea of why someone would replace the starter.
Replacing the alternator should eliminate the voltage regulator if it's built into the alternator.
With the battery continuing to going dead there must be a wire burned through, a fusible link burned, a fuse blown in the fuse box, or the remote possibility the ignition switch is bad.
It's time to roll out a wiring diagram for this chassis and check the entire charging system.
Gary RVRoamer mentioned a possible coolant leak. To this point, of course the OP hasn't made only one post, there has been no mention of coolant loss or overheating. It could have had or has a leak which got into the alternator.
We don't have much to go on so even an armchair diagnosis is difficult and may not be accurate.
What chassis is this MH on?
We need a little more information to be of much help.
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:40 AM   #11
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I agree with Gary - without smelling the white smoke, it is generally water/steam.

Batteries can be load tested by most auto shops. Either drive to, or bring the battery (ies) to the shop and have it load tested on the bench - separated from the rest of the RV.

Was the original alternator bench tested before you swapped it out. Was it good or bad?

if the alternator was bad, I'd suspect one of the cables has rubbed and shorted out - the resulting white cloud would have been very acrid and sharp most likely.

Using a meter and disconnecting your battery and alternator (hot side) try a resistance measurement - if it's a short then I would think you found your problem a wire has welded itself to the frame of some other ground.

Assuming it's a short, you'll end up disconnecting major components, such as starter, switched and unswitched fuse block feeds, etc. You'd be looking for the short circuit to become open - repeat the procedure as you locate where a short might be.

Keep us informed and good luck - also, give thanks to your pal that is helping at a discount.
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:46 AM   #12
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Welcome to the forum:


Turning on headlights killing the battery is so easy to diagnose.

The alternator/regulator (which may be on the firewall), should be sorted out in about one voltage measurement, or two.

Large wire off the alternator should have 13-15 volts with engine running.

Battery should have 13.5 or so volts on it with engine running.

The path from the alternator to the battery may be compromised by the white smoke being let out of a (diode isolator) or wires. Not likely a wire if the smoke was white.

The diode isolator is a device that is simply a check valve (electronic). It takes the input from the garden hose at the house and splits it in two different directions. The splitter has {anti syphon} valves so they cannot interact with each leg of the split.

Look up diode isolator and you will find plenty of pictures of them.
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:15 AM   #13
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The OP. Brandon is long gone now.
The rental part is very suspicious in itself ?
Especially when he spent so many $$$s already.
Maybe he rentedfrom a friend or his father in law.???
And told them , Ill fix everything
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodekyll View Post
What did you determine the source of the smoke to be?

Do you have a voltmeter?

Where are you?

Also -- your post was light gray test on white -- unreadable without x-ray glasses.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:46 AM   #14
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Lots of 1997 motorhomes for rent on Outdoorsy

1997 motorhomes via Outdoorsy

So that part doesn't seem impossible....
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