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Author Topic: Emergency Help Needed  (Read 4001 times)
Adarian
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« on: September 05, 2009, 09:44:36 PM »

Looking for somebody who knows how to hook up battery for a flxble metro-stranded on road!!!
1988 no a/c with an air starter
when turning on battery disconnect switch, 12 and 24 volt gauges do not move
when turning master run switch, nothing happens
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2009, 10:06:18 PM »

Hi adarian , Is the original battery still installed in the bus? I am no expert but know how it is on my coach.Where are you and what is the specific situation you are dealing with?More details will help us help you. I or someone else will probably know the answer.Details help.Thank you and Good luck .Stay calm .GFC
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Adarian
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2009, 10:13:10 PM »

original battery in bus; sure power dual vac 2-has a 24 volt in/12 volt out and a ground; 4 batteries in all- 2 commercial and 2 deep cycle; on commercial batteries: 2 black cables/2 red that run back to bus, 1 smaller gauge wire that runs to converter, 1 red cable that runs to the disconnect switch; on deep cycle batteries: 2 cables that each have two fittings, there are also three smaller gauge wires that run to some fuses in the battery disconnect box.  how do I hook up to get power back to the bus?  the only thing that works are the interior lights. 12 volt and 24 volt gauges do not read anything after turning on disconnect switch.   
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 10:21:37 PM by Adarian » Logged

1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2009, 10:51:36 PM »

I am not experienced with your model bus, Cummins engines, or with air starters in general. 

But basic troubleshooting techniques would be first to try to determine where the power stops.  Since you are broke down on the road, it was working, now it is not.  Something broke.  Do you have a multimeter with you to test it with?  If not are you mobile with another vehicle to go pick one up (Wal-Mart, hardware/home centers, Radio Shack, Harbor Freight, auto parts stores, just about any place sell them).

Once you have a tester, make sure the battery switches are on, and find out where the voltage stops or if the start batteries have any to give.  (I am presuming the house batteries are running the interior lights you mentioned.)  When you find where the voltage stops, then you can figure out how to bypass it to get the bus home or to a shop.
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Adarian
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 10:55:40 PM »

basically trying to figure out if battery is connected correctly.
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 11:05:35 PM »

Understood.  But you mentioned being stranded on the road.  The connections as they were (are?) got you that far.  Unless they have been altered while trying to figure it out, that shouldn't be the problem.  Barring that, the culprits I would be looking for would be broken wires, corroded wires, wires pulled out of crimp on connectors, a relay that isn't working (power in but no power out when it should be), switches that don't pass power through when on, etc.
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 03:18:06 AM »

Don't forget the ground.  Sounds like a loose somthing or a bad relay.  In you situation, if i knew what I was doing I would get power to where I needed it ad go somewhere safe and work it out.  Don't know your engine configuration, but I imagine you need voltage for engine management and shut down, the thing to watch out for is some componenents need 24 volts  some only 12 and if you mess that up and give 24V to a 12V system things will fry and you'll be really stuck.  As others said probably a loose connection, tighten all the main large cable connection, especially the ones in the engine by (like the ground strap from engine to frame, if you don't  have a Multimeter rig up a test light using a 24 V bulb and some wire, you can use this to trouble shoot,where power is and isn't.  Good luck and go slow so you don't miss anything.
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2009, 05:08:45 AM »

Adrian.

Where are you? Somebody might be near you...

I agree with HTRN. Check and see where you have voltage.

Did it just quit on you driving down the road, or were you stopped? Did you do anything with the batteries, or did it just quit?

Also, I would check your fuses. Sometimes they can power small, but essential things.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2009, 01:17:36 PM »

Must not have been too stuck on the side of the road Roll Eyes

God bless,

John
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2009, 01:36:02 PM »

Let's not be critical of the silence.  Wink  Let's rather hope that he got some sleep, gave it a fresh look in the morning, found the problem and got on the road again.
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2009, 01:43:45 PM »

Sorry, HTR. I have just checked in a lot more today, to see if there was an update. I hope that he is back up and running. Maybe he forgot his BB in the battery bay, and doesn't want to stop driving to get it Grin.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2009, 03:59:51 PM »

This guy doesn't need a battery to get the beast running.  He is air started.  That the bus was running doesn't prove that the engine bats were connected correctly.....this time.

What if:

He installed the bats in backwards?  Would the alternator "deplete" the charge?  Happened to me with a Corvair being pushed in reverse.  When he let out the clutch he lost headlights and when he rolled to a stop the lights came back on.  Pushed him three times and finally went up and said "just show me what you are doing with that gear selector.  Automatics could be push started back then.  My point is that it didn't "blow" anything, as I would expect, in retrospect.  Can a bus alternator "eat" the charge by charging the wrong polarity?

Doesn't that bus use the chassis bats to run the solenoids and air valves that are used to engage the starter?  A solenoid doesn't care much about bat polarity as it isn't using permanent magnets like a DC motor might.

This guy was stuck on BATTERY as the probable cause.  Has he had them out recently?  What does that Flex use for ground?  I heard that a Flex is a positive ground system.

If he disconnects his chassis bats and hooks in the deep cycles he should have enough relay power to engage the air start.

What caused it to stop running?  A safety shutdown that is voltage sensitive somehow?

I can't do it but he needs his first question answered: how are the chassis bats connected?  12....24....pos ground???

Just stirring the pot a little.

john

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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2009, 05:25:19 PM »

while we stir the pot it's a '88 flxble so probably neg ground.  As an 1988 model probably has tons of safety stuff to shut it down, plus lots of relays and fuses etc...Buddy sounds maybe like he's new to fixing vehicles, so this is probably a little over his head  unless he has all the manuals, and if he has all the manuals he should be able to work out the wiring for the batts.  I guess if he comes back, the basic info is a 24V system can use 2X12V batts connected in series (sequence would be neg lead(the one that goes to ground) attached to the neg  pole of the 1st battery, pos pole of 1st battery attached to neg pole of second battery, pos pole of 2nd battery attched to hot lead of bus.  In this case 1st and 2nd battery are named such arbitrarily to show the sequence, not in any way to refer to their location on the bus.
Me I'm figuring he fiddled with things when it shut down, got lost in the trouble shooting, finally hooked things up properly again as well as tightened a loose bat pole that hadn't been noticed, and is busy driving his transit home.
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Adarian
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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2009, 07:11:38 PM »

Thanks to all. I was able to figure it out at 3 am n the morning. I was in So cal outside of Palm Springs.
I told my wife to post here, that I should be able to find help.
I will post what I found out later about how the 24/12 system works on my Flx Metro bus.
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2009, 07:14:02 PM »

The 83 & 84 models with 2-8D batteries were wired wierd.

The Right Battery in the tray had cables going forward to an electrical box
in the bay forward of the fuel tank. The Left Battery had the same.

The disconnect switch wires also went to the same box.

The Negative of one of the batteries went to the ground on the frame.

(-) to box. (+) to box | (-) to Frame. (+) to Box.

The switch took the (+) from the right Battery via the box and routed
it through the switch and back to the box and connected it to the (-) on the
left battery.

It was very wierd. The switch actually was wired to break the link between the two batteries.

To jump one of these beasts you had to get the Ground on the (-) terminal of the Right Battery and the +24 Volts to the (+) terminal of the Left battery.

Always use a meter first, Especially if someone "rewired or simplified" the wiring.

Ok, Now I am tired, having to remember all that stuff.....
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2009, 07:49:24 PM »

Thanks to all. I was able to figure it out at 3 am n the morning. I was in So cal outside of Palm Springs.
I told my wife to post here, that I should be able to find help.
I will post what I found out later about how the 24/12 system works on my Flx Metro bus.

Glad to hear you are rolling again.  I look forward to hearing the whole story.
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2009, 06:35:19 AM »

Gauges on used Transit buses are particularly untrustworthy and in my mind, useless indicators. They work, they don't work, they read wrong, all on the same coach.

Transits also may be found to shut down just about everything electrical if the engine isn't running.

As noted by Dr Dave, you wouldn't believe how some transits are wired, or have been modified by the PO fleet, for some purpose completely foreign to a busnut.

Start messing around via the internet with one of these babies....

Adarian, do you have a maintenance manual with at least the factory schematics in it?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2009, 01:33:06 PM »

Okay, so here is the story.
Went to Phoenix Az to pick up a 1988 Flxible Metro. I live in Fair Oaks ca.
Went via greyhound bus to Phoenix.
I arrive in Phoenix around 4:30 pm, I want to be on the road by 6:30. That gives me two hours to check over bus. My goal is to make it back to LA by midnight.
I ask the owner all the questions I could think of. The bus started, goes into gear, no strange noises. All fluids look good.
Lights work, turn signal and brake lights. Air tanks are holding air. Tires look good.

I pay the monies and get the title to the bus. I ask the owner about the registration and it is not current. And no temp can be gotten as it is late in the day.
I has asked before going was the bus titled and registered? He said yes. What was said via email and truth are now different. I now want to make it back to California  as fast as possible and avoid getting pulled over in Arizona. Two hours to the Cal/AZ border.
It gets dark and I can't see the road. I stop at a truck stop to get fuel and I check the headlights, they are very dim. I purchase two new headlights and I am off again, now that i am able to see and I can also avoid any unwanted attention.

I make it to Indio Ca and decide to stop and rest. It is late and I am not making progress.
I get up the next morning to be on the road by 6:30 am.
Go out to start the bus and it will not start. I push the start button and nothing. I check to see if the bus is in neutral and the brake is set and so forth and I get nothing when I push the engine start button.
The air starter air tank is reading 110, so I know I have plenty of air.
I call the previous owner and he says that it should start.

I call roadside service through my insurance and they send out someone that has no clue.
he wants to jump start it. Finds the battery cables are loose and a few corroded connections.
removes batteries to check water level.
Install everything and go to start bus and now nothing is happening, no buzzer, no lights no nothing.

So he thinks the batteries are no good.
So okay, I call progressive and they wan to tow it to a shop.
One problem no shops are open. So now Progressive will not tow it.

Okay so I say. let me check out a few things.
I take the battery cables off and re-install them and still nothing.

But I am looking at the set up and I am trying to figure out how this is a 12/24 volt system?
I have 4 cables and 4 batteries. Each cable has two battery connection, giving me 8 battery post attachment in all.

I also have a 24 to 12 volt converter with  a 24 volt in wire, a 12 volt out wire and a ground.

So, I end up calling a mechanic, he comes out and they look as confused as me about how is this  12/24 volt system.
They make it a 24 volt system. Bus starts and I am off after paying them.

I get about 20 miles down the road and I am smelling battery acid. The 24 volt gauge is showing 32 volts.

I am able to pull off and stop next to a chevron. I pull the battery tray and  one battery is smoking. I start pouring water on it to cool it off and to wash the acid off the top.

I pull off the caps and the battery is now bone dry.
I fill with water and I am thinking these cables are still not hooked up correctly.
It is now 5pm. At 7 pm my brother calls me and says he will come out and help. He is about 90 miles out.
He arrives at 9:30.
We are having a discussion about hooking up batteries and 12/24 volt system.
We start to look at the battery disconnect switch and the voltage regulator and the wiring schematic in the box.
The disconnect switch has a bat 1, bat 2 and common terminals.
There are some 3 12v fuses and a 24v fuse.
We are tracing wires back and forth,
Looking at the disconnect switch,
One set of cables (+) from the batteries goes to the bat 1 terminal. The other set  (-) goes to the bat 2 terminal. The common terminal has a positive cable going back to the positive terminal of another battery.

We are thinking those cables don't make a complete circuit as it.


To make a long story short, the 24 v takes place in the voltage regulator. Not at the batteries.
At 3 am we connect the batteries back up correctly. Bus starts and I am off. No more problems the rest of the way.

What cause the original no start, I still don't know.

For my first bus , it was truly an adventure. But I now truly understand something that I may not have never understood before.

It makes for a good riddle. How do you make a 12/24 volt system with 4 batteries and 4 battery cables. each cable has two battery post connections.







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1978 Gillig 636D
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NLAAF Fitness Bus
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2009, 02:55:01 PM »

Just a guess, but I saw a Gillig that used a series/parallel Relay.  This switch combined the batteries for 24 volt to start and then back to 12 volts for all lighting (at least, I think that is how it worked?)  Jack
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2009, 04:48:10 PM »

Ah yes, the old 12V system with 24V start...and the series/parallel switch...glad those days are over!
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« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2009, 06:36:13 PM »

Interesting adventure, thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2009, 07:42:29 PM »

Interesting. But I don't understand why one would need 24V for starting when you have an air starter?
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« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2009, 08:04:52 PM »

Interesting. But I don't understand why one would need 24V for starting when you have an air starter?


It's a "Transit Bus" all or most are 24 volts due to the large a/c system loads.
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« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2009, 08:35:44 PM »

the 24v systems runs the majority of the electronics. Even the solenoids that control fuel shut off I think and the relay for the air starter. The 12v runs the headlights, brake lights and etc.
The bus doesn't have AC.
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1978 Gillig 636D
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Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2009, 05:00:23 AM »

the 24v systems runs the majority of the electronics. Even the solenoids that control fuel shut off I think and the relay for the air starter. The 12v runs the headlights, brake lights and etc.
The bus doesn't have AC.

Adrian,
First off welcome to the madness of bus ownership.
Second glad to hear that you were able to get-r-going & home!
Third did you say the bus doesn't have A/C?
Is that doesn't have as in never had? Had but doesn't work? Or  had but already removed?

I find it hard to picture ANY bus with out A/C as these things get hot inside since they are like 35'- to-45' ovens when out in the sun.

Good luck, enjoy and keep us posted as things progress!
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2009, 05:25:56 AM »

Interesting. But I don't understand why one would need 24V for starting when you have an air starter?

Air starter requires electricity to open the solenoid valve that allows the air to flow from the air tank to the engine.  Jack
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« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2009, 05:34:19 AM »

the 24v systems runs the majority of the electronics. Even the solenoids that control fuel shut off I think and the relay for the air starter. The 12v runs the headlights, brake lights and etc.
The bus doesn't have AC.

Adrian,
First off welcome to the madness of bus ownership.
Second glad to hear that you were able to get-r-going & home!
Third did you say the bus doesn't have A/C?
Is that doesn't have as in never had? Had but doesn't work? Or  had but already removed?

I find it hard to picture ANY bus with out A/C as these things get hot inside since they are like 35'- to-45' ovens when out in the sun.

Good luck, enjoy and keep us posted as things progress!
Grin  BK  Grin
It never had AC.
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Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2009, 05:44:18 AM »

No A/C and built in 1988, must have belonged to a much more northern fleet that was saving some money?

happy coaching!
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« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2009, 05:53:08 AM »

That is exactly how it is wired.
Also my story continues in another post involving a no start.
http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=13263.0
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NLAAF Fitness Bus
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« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2009, 06:20:57 AM »

No A/C and built in 1988, must have belonged to a much more northern fleet that was saving some money?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
It came from Portland Oregon, Tri-Met. Bus number 500,  JD099390
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« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2009, 10:39:44 AM »

No A/C and built in 1988, must have belonged to a much more northern fleet that was saving some money?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
It came from Portland Oregon, Tri-Met. Bus number 500,  JD099390

LOL...Well, that explains the no AC!   Grin

Jay
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