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Bus Discussion => Bus Topics ( click here for quick start! ) => Topic started by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 14, 2006, 06:51:55 AM



Title: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 14, 2006, 06:51:55 AM
Yup, the SpaceShip is still in Texas. Anyone not following the saga, we've had a few bus issues this 3,000 mile trip to the Midwest then down to TX: Bad front tire wear, a "ticking" horn, grease in a brake drum, and then the starter died. Or so I thought...

Let me say this first: it never felt quite right to me that a starter that had spun the bus instantly to life maybe a hundred times since I bought her would just as instantly die.

I put fresh 8Ds in her on Friday, pulled the starter on Saturday, put in rebuilt unit yesterday... heavy, greasy, grunt work. I even had the starter shop make up two new #00 wires for back there. Before I attempted to turn her over on the new starter last night, that nagging feeling made me attach my VOM to the batts.

With only the rear wires of the bus hooked up, she reads 25.3v. OK, fine. I then attach the #00 wire that leads to the front of the bus and notice a decent spark of activity (decent size load). Hmm... Voltage drops to 24.7 or so. Not good. I then turn on the master elec. switch of front. The buzzers and all are going off, of course (some more load) and then observe 24.2v on the meter. Wow! That would be a dangerously low voltage to try to start a DD. Maybe bad enough to fry another starter.

Craig/Gumpy told me when I "fixed" my horn issue by pulling the load wire: But you didn't cure the problem, only the symptom of the problem.

How right he was! And the ticking horn, even if unrelated (and I'm not so sure it was), at least forced me to pull the disconnect at every stop (since it was annoying). Once I "cured" the horn problem, it's silence also let me forget to pull the disconnect... like on that fateful night the batts were drawn down ($240), leading to the fried starter ($215) and a LOT of wasted time under a bus in Texas (no value). But... the Busnut education... priceless!

Still Stuck in Texas...
Brian B.



Title: Re: old starters don't awlways die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: kyle4501 on November 14, 2006, 07:13:51 AM
Thanks for sharing your educational benefits with the rest of us here.

Good luck finding the gremlin causing the source problem!


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Jeremy on November 14, 2006, 07:43:58 AM
Brian

Just to clarify, are you saying that an (as yet unknown) electrical load flattened your batteries and permanently damaged them? And then trying to start the engine (presumably with partially re-charged batteries) overheated the starter, which killed that?.

If so, that is very scary - both are relatively common situations which have I myself a number of times over the years without realising the damage which could occur

Jeremy


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 14, 2006, 08:21:32 AM
Jeremy, that's right. Both the starter and the batts were old... but they weren't ailing. Batts were dated May 2003. Starter was rebuilt back in '95, best I can tell. I think I could have gotten many more miles out of them, though.

It's now hard to say if the 8Ds were permenently damaged. I didn't realize the big drain on them until after I replaced them. Ain't life fun?

Cautionary tale, to be sure.

Cheers,
Brian B.


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Dallas on November 14, 2006, 08:45:51 AM
Just as a piece of information,

If you try to run a 24V starter on 12V you may get some clicking, and maybe a slow turnover, but, what actually happens is that the motor can't turn so heat builds up, quickly! The heat can't be diddapated and the engine can't turn, so, you have just fried a $275 starter.

I've been working on a starter for the last few weeks to get it running. I looked in this area for a rebuilder and the one that does it wanted $325 for a rebuild with a 90 day warrantee. The other option was a used one with no warrantee for $275 and the only other choice was one to be rebuilt shipped, rebuilt, and shipped again for about the same amount.

I did find out that some of the rebuilders have never heard of a CCW rotation starter. Hmmm, those kind of people could scare me.

Dallas



Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: edvanland on November 14, 2006, 10:01:43 AM
I have a friend in Phoenix who owns a rebuilding company and he says the best way to fry a starter is with low voltage.  He sees it all the time.
ED
MCI 7


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Stan on November 14, 2006, 10:27:43 AM
Dallas: I find it hard to believe that there no auto electric shops near you that repair starters and generators and alternators. I have been able to find them in every large and small city when I went looking. I have helped a lot of busnuts with electrical problems and frequently had to find a repair facility for them.

There used to be a man on the boards who told us how cheap the parts were for rebuilding and the last 24 volts starter I had repaired (about ten years ago) a small repair shop told me it couldn't cost more than $110.00 because they sold rebuilts for that price.

Like most things these days, a lot of the component parts come from the far east. I have been offered genuine Delco parts at about triple the price but with the same warranty from a repair shop. Most shops don't mention the source of the parts.

Auto electric seems to be a very lucrative business for a small two or three man shop and doesn't require  much training or equipment to get into the business. In my area they get a lot of business from farmers and one keeps Detroit starters on the shelf for the farm tractors.


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 14, 2006, 10:33:38 AM
I've isolated the short to one section of my driver's electrical panel. I'm a few bus bars away from finding the correct offending circuit(s). I'm now eating a sandwich and reading the boards. At least the weather here is nice... it's likely snowing by now back home in CO.

JL Vickers has been invaluable today for being my "virtual manual"... since I was stupid enough to leave mine at home.

I'll keep ya'll posted...
bb


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: kyle4501 on November 14, 2006, 10:46:44 AM
JL Vickers is one of the finest people I have met in this hobby. He is setting a fine example for all to see & follow.  8)  ;D


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: pete81eaglefanasty on November 14, 2006, 10:52:48 AM
   Brian,  I don't know if this info is any good in your situation, But i found that the main  battery switch was going to ground internally. It maybe whats drawing your voltage down, Take this info for what it is worth.


               Pete & Jean
                 Fantasy


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Dallas on November 14, 2006, 06:30:00 PM
Dallas: I find it hard to believe that there no auto electric shops near you that repair starters and generators and alternators. I have been able to find them in every large and small city when I went looking. I have helped a lot of busnuts with electrical problems and frequently had to find a repair facility for them.

There used to be a man on the boards who told us how cheap the parts were for rebuilding and the last 24 volts starter I had repaired (about ten years ago) a small repair shop told me it couldn't cost more than $110.00 because they sold rebuilts for that price.

Like most things these days, a lot of the component parts come from the far east. I have been offered genuine Delco parts at about triple the price but with the same warranty from a repair shop. Most shops don't mention the source of the parts.

Auto electric seems to be a very lucrative business for a small two or three man shop and doesn't require  much training or equipment to get into the business. In my area they get a lot of business from farmers and one keeps Detroit starters on the shelf for the farm tractors.


Stan, we do have a couple of Auto electric repair shops here. One, which will remain nameless, looked at me as if I had grown three horns when I asked about a 24V CCW Delco 50MT starter. They also didn't know anything about Keinzle tachographs, but that's another long story.

The second Auto electric shop specializes in import auto applications and doesn't really want to get into heavy truck and industrial work.

You have to remember, this is a town where when I needed a head gasket set for my 6-71, the lowest price I could find was $285. I ordered from Luke and got it for $58 with shipping.

I actually prefer to rebuild my own stuff, because that's the way I grew up. I'm also the kind of person that likes to know what is going on with my stuff. I enjoy tearing things apart and putting them back together.


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: NJT5047 on November 14, 2006, 07:32:43 PM
If no rebuilders nearby, a used MT Delco can be bought for $125 bucks.  UPS 2 day is reasonable. 
I bought one (conveted from air starter) with a solenoid, cables, (and starter) for $125 from Sam Caylor.  Been working since 02...
Luke would sell rebuilts, and Nimco may have a used LH starter for a GM.   
Don't forget that the solenoids failure will act like a starter failure.  I'll guaruntee that if a rebuild shop disassembles any MT, it'll need a "rebuild"....bet on it.  And it may of course. 
Brian, you'll get the starter sorted out soon I'm sure...still interested in what you find in the rear brake drum. 
Best, JR





Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 14, 2006, 09:47:31 PM
The DD fired off today without any trouble. I spent quite a while chasing down some rogue loads on the front cable. At some point, I just had to hear the old girl run again... no 2-stroke music for six days makes a man yearn. Anyways, I hooked up a temp 10ga positive lead to the rear mag. switch and she fired off on the first downstroke. Once she built up air, of course, it shut itself down from the stop air cylinder.

I then worked on my short circuit(s) with a bit more spring in my step. Turns out that nothing OEM was leaking to ground, despite a few confused tests where I was finding continuity to ground. JL Vickers told me that it's probably some relays or lights doing that, and it's fairly common and not necessarily a short.

I eventually winnowed it down to the aftermarket tach, speedo, and oil temp gauge lead as having the high-draw leak. It could be a bad sender someplace. I'll spend a few more hours on it tomorrow, but can always either run without them... or hook 'em up after the engine's fired up. And make sure I remove the lead before bedding down on the road.

Onward and upward,
Brian B.


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: gumpy on November 15, 2006, 04:55:53 AM
Are they not tied into your master switch?

Shouldn't they have just a short positive lead on them that goes to the power supply in the dash? The wires from the senders are typically grounds, aren't they?

Bad senders shouldn't cause a current leak, only a misreading gauge, and if they're tied into the master switch as they should be, then there shouldn't be a draw when parked.




Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Stan on November 15, 2006, 05:08:04 AM
Dallas: That sounds like a great part time business oportunity just crying for somebody to start. You are a young man with the knowledge and ability to train a young person to do the work. If you are anywhere close to a truck stop, there should be lots of work just doing the heavy truck stuff.


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Dallas on November 15, 2006, 06:11:42 AM
Dallas: That sounds like a great part time business oportunity just crying for somebody to start. You are a young man with the knowledge and ability to train a young person to do the work. If you are anywhere close to a truck stop, there should be lots of work just doing the heavy truck stuff.

Stan,

I've really given that serious consideration. There is a need for an alternator/generator/starter rebuild shop in this area.

Unfortunately, since the last rally, Cat, (my wife), has really hopped on the 'conversion' band bus! Now she's talking about doing this and that and going here, there, hither and yon. Whew, it makes me tired just thinking of the honeydew list she's coming up with!

I don't want to get into building a growler and all the other associated equipment for testing and rebuilding. Especially if we are planning on moving down the road in a year or two. Right now, if I do my own work and something screws up, I can holler at the technician who did the work and make the idiot do it right -- without pay of course.

However, it is easy work and it sure does pay well. I need to talk someone into coming to this town and setting up a shop, for a small consultation fee, of course. And maybe a recurring fee for appreciation! (Preferably in the 6 digit range of course!)

Any Takers????

Dallas


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: eglluvr on November 15, 2006, 06:18:44 AM
Dallas: That sounds like a great part time business oportunity just crying for somebody to start. You are a young man with the knowledge and ability to train a young person to do the work. If you are anywhere close to a truck stop, there should be lots of work just doing the heavy truck stuff.

I don't want to get into building a growler and all the other associated equipment for testing and rebuilding. Especially if we are planning on moving down the road in a year or two. Right now, if I do my own work and something screws up, I can holler at the technician who did the work and make the idiot do it right -- without pay of course.

Dallas

Just Throw it all in your 6th Bay, You Know, The empty one?  And make it a mobile operation.  just think of the curbside appeal   ;D


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Dallas on November 15, 2006, 06:59:46 AM
Dallas: That sounds like a great part time business oportunity just crying for somebody to start. You are a young man with the knowledge and ability to train a young person to do the work. If you are anywhere close to a truck stop, there should be lots of work just doing the heavy truck stuff.

I don't want to get into building a growler and all the other associated equipment for testing and rebuilding. Especially if we are planning on moving down the road in a year or two. Right now, if I do my own work and something screws up, I can holler at the technician who did the work and make the idiot do it right -- without pay of course.

Dallas

Just Throw it all in your 6th Bay, You Know, The empty one?  And make it a mobile operation.  just think of the curbside appeal   ;D

You bet,  ;)

The poor little bays in my 4103 are so packed now I'll have to haul the extra stuff on an 18' trailer when we get ready to go.

At this point we are also looking at building roof storage to pack up some of this junk!

When we went from a 30' transit to a 35' parlour coach, we thought we'd never run out of room..... Wrong!

Dallas


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 15, 2006, 07:12:02 AM
Are they not tied into your master switch?

Shouldn't they have just a short positive lead on them that goes to the power supply in the dash? The wires from the senders are typically grounds, aren't they?

Bad senders shouldn't cause a current leak, only a misreading gauge, and if they're tied into the master switch as they should be, then there shouldn't be a draw when parked.

Craig, I would think what you're saying should be true. But the ring terminals causing the leak ties right into the big feed wire to the dash. It's an OEM wire and goes into their loom and then I lose where it goes... but as best I can tell the only items on it are those aftermarket gauges. Maybe I should dig into the dash and figure this out, eh?

The P.O. used a lot of existing/ abandoned wires to run new circuits, so it's hard to tell what's what.

And you're right, a sender should short to ground to create any kind of resistence measurement... so I'm probably looking in the wrong place for my problem if I'm in the back of the bus.

Hmm...
bb


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: gumpy on November 15, 2006, 07:18:56 AM
Here's an idea.  I've not actually tried this, but there are several on this board that say it works.

Break your positive battery cable and install a test light between the battery post and the cable terminal. If you have a leak, you should see the light glow. The more leak, the brighter the glow.

Now, start undoing circuits (pull fuses and circuit breakers) until the light goes out. There's your offending circuit, now you can focus on that circuit and it's wiring and components.

Someday I'm going to try this for myself.


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: Buffalo SpaceShip on November 15, 2006, 08:16:53 AM
It does work, Craig. I used this trick yesterday to find the offending ring terminal leaking current. The continuity tester with no voltage applied to the coach got me into trouble because of relays, etc. But the test light + to + works great.

The test light to ground was very bright (duh) and the test light to the questionable ring terminal is about half as bright. Bright enough to be concerned about, though.

Boy do I love troubleshooting electrical issues! Beats getting crushed by a bus, I guess.  ;D

bb


Title: Re: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered
Post by: ChuckMC9 on November 15, 2006, 08:17:35 AM
Break your positive battery cable and install a test light between the battery post and the cable terminal. If you have a leak, you should see the light glow. The more leak, the brighter the glow.

I've done this with an ammeter instead of a light on my MC9. There's just a bit over one amp consumed, which I have yet to trace down yet. Probably some hack done by the PO. You can simply put the light or meter between the terminals on the switch if it's off, no wire disconnecting necessary.

The *first* thing I do after killing the engine is disconnect the batts. I'm working on an interior disconnect as well.