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Author Topic: old starters don't always die... sometimes they're murdered  (Read 2840 times)
Buffalo SpaceShip
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« 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.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2006, 07:19:02 AM by Buffalo SpaceShip » Logged

Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
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« Reply #1 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!
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Jeremy
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« Reply #2 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
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Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #3 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.
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Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
Dallas
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« Reply #4 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

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edvanland
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« Reply #5 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
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Ed Van
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Stan
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« Reply #6 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.
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Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #7 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
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Brian Brown
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« Reply #8 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. Cool Grin
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« Reply #9 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
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Dallas
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« Reply #10 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.
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NJT5047
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« Reply #11 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



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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #12 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.
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Brian Brown
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« Reply #13 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.


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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #14 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.
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