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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > emergency start has been hardwired?

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Laurie_and_her_dog

Jackson, GA

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Posted: 09/20/19 11:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recently purchased my camper. It is a 1990 E350 Catalina. I have been having serious issues getting her started after sitting for even a day. If I drive for more than about 2 hours she starts to die and I have to shut her off for a while.
I have solar installed so almost all of the time I am running house stuff off of those batteries. Nothing inside the camper should be pulling power from the original battery and if I switch my solar setup to all batteries off (original and solar) nothing in the camper works. (As it should be.)
After much investigation (and replacing things that were not the problem) I have concluded that the previous owner hardwired the emergency start. The button is gone and the wires are somewhere behind the dash. :-(
So, from what I can tell the start solenoid is always "on" and is killing my batteries. He has done something very odd with the wiring. The camper will NOT start from the starter battery (fully charged and brand new) with the house battery disconnected. She will start from the house battery with the starter battery disconnected. I cannot find a picture of how the wiring is supposed to be. And no, a technical schematic will not help me.:-( I have the Chilton book for it.
So, I am hoping someone can tell me or show me a picture of how this is supposed to be set up.
I am happy to post whatever pictures are needed. ANY help is greatly appreciated.

Lwiddis

Oceano Dunes, CA

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Posted: 09/20/19 11:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMO it’s time to hire a pro mechanic for your almost thirty year old rig.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 09/20/19 11:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry but this may utterly overwhelm your ability to diagnose and correct. You need handheld meters and a 12 volt testlight. Doing a repair by guesswork and hit and miss is impossible.
.

Chum lee

Albuquerque, NM

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Posted: 09/20/19 12:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your best bet might well be with the previous owner or the person who "created" your current issue. A remote viewing guess would be at best, . . . . . just a guess with little value.

Chum lee

Flute Man

Payson, Arizona

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Posted: 09/20/19 12:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

See if you can find an electrical person to help you troubleshoot. Maybe even a mobile tech who is electrically savvy.

Jerry Parr
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Laurie_and_her_dog

Jackson, GA

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Posted: 09/20/19 12:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a volt meter. I do not have a test light. I do know if I remove the house battery and reinstall the drain stops. This is why I was hoping someone could show a picture of what it should look like. :-(
I suppose for now I will disconnect the battery when not driving until I can find a real solution.
The previous owner is not an option.
I appreciate the responses. :-)

wra

Florida

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Posted: 09/20/19 12:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your batteries positive sides are joined together with a solenoid. Open your hood, it may be to your left. The two large contacts come from the positive side of each battery. The small wire comes from the emergency switch. Note the color of the wire, and see if you can find it under the dash. If it is shorted to another wire under the dash, separate it. One of the wires goes to one side of the missing switch, the other wire goes to the other side of the switch. If you can't find the wires under the dash, just disconnect the small wire at the solenoid. Then run a new wire to the missing switch area. Install a switch with one contact going to the small wire you just installed. Connect the other side of the switch to the positive side of the house battery at the fuse box.

ndrorder

Southwest

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Posted: 09/20/19 02:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The original system probably looked something like this:

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/68/31/bf/6831bf44726ed0bfc17054540d57f9d0--rv-battery-bus-conversion.jpg

The solenoid might be a little different given the presence of an emergency boost switch.

There isn't enough information to understand how the solar is connected to the system. The following assumes it is 12 Vcd.

Problem 1- Dying after running a couple hours.
If the battery is dead when the engine stops, this indicates an alternator issue. Start the engine and turn off the solar but leave the batteries connected. Measure the voltage across each battery. At least one of the batteries should show more than 14 Vdc. If none are showing more than 14 Vdc, take the alternator to the local parts store for testing. Repeat the alternator test with the new alternator - see problem 3.

Problem 2 - Battery drain from solenoid.
WRA - gave a good description of repair and location but if it isn't where suggested, you can try turning off the solar, turn off the engine, and disconnect the negative cable from all of the batteries. Then in turn, touch the negative cable to its respective battery and listen and follow the clunk sound to the solenoid relay.
The solenoid will look something like this but a google search on RV isolation relay will show the many variations:

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTAwWDM3NQ==/z/GJwAAMXQrhdTViKp/$_3.JPG?set_id=2


Problem 3 - Wacka-doodle wiring.
The only scenario I could imagine for the engine to start when one battery is connected but not the other is that the Starter Battery is no longer part of the system. Hence the alternator test is problem 1 to understand if the starter battery even contributes. This could be caused by an internally broke cable or a bad ground connection to the chassis.

Looking forward to the answer, this was a fun problem.


__________________________________________________
Cliff
2011 Four Winds Chateau 23U

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las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 09/20/19 03:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

She needs to learn what ignition A and B means. If the alteenator was charging how to tell house batteries from vehicle battery. Then re-connect all of it correctly. Is the alternator functioning? Or is it connected to the house bank. Even for the most gifted of professionals this is a multi hour job AFTER they learn the depth of the error. A knothead can and will CONTINUE to switch wires until they are 100% buffalowed into exhaustion. Then they sell the rig after charging the batteries.

Nice folks huh?

Flute Man

Payson, Arizona

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Posted: 09/21/19 08:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Please report back to keep us updated.
Thanks

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