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Author Topic: Bus starting problem  (Read 2939 times)
jjrbus
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« on: August 05, 2008, 10:33:14 AM »

I'm reading about Chaz's misadventures and thinking how lucky I have been. Since 2000 I have had 4 stoppers!  The first was brand new alternator belts snapping, the First time I drove the bus!!!! If all is to be belived, MCI had distributed defective belts. I have not had a problem with them since.
 The second time was right in the middle of a huge busy intersection, the bus died. I pressed the start button and it fired up and no problem like it since.
 The next two were on the same trip, and I can not blame them on the bus. The first was alge blocked the fuel lines. Right in the middle of a street. It was a small suburban cul de sac and nobody complained. Frustrating but not that big a deal. The second I noticed the temp going up, pulled into a rest area, into a spot and the hot engine sensor shut it down. The bus God's were smileing on me.  On my pre trip I had looked at the sight glass and what I saw was dirt, not water!!! All in all I cannot complaine.
 Over the years after the bus sits for a while, when I pust the start button, I can hear the soliniod almost engage. After I push the start button 2 to 3 time it engages and the bus fires almost instantly. One of my bus hero's Jack, diagnosed it as surface rust building up inside the solinoid and cause it to hang up a bit. A couple try's on the start button and it cleans the rust off. This has been happening for several years.
 Now I have two new ones, I left Largo FL and am heading to Ft Myers. I pull into a rest area for lunch. I shut the bus off. I seldom shut the bus off.  I go to restart it and it just turns over. Nothing!! Oh No!!!  My bus starts instantly every time, Since 2000 I have never heard the engin turn over it just starts.  I push the button again, it turns over but does not start.  I am in a rest area, but still this is not good.  I push the button a third time and it starts instantly!!! Whew, but now I am afraid to turn it off.. I do not like these kinds of problems, either brake and get fixed or leave me alone!!!!
 I am trying to get into my site in N Ft Myers and I swear the brakes are hanging up. I've been in this site befor and the dirt is soft. But this does not feel right!!  Is it the dirt or the brakes? Guess I will have t figure it out.
 So any suggestions on where to begin on the starting or the brakes.
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2008, 11:23:51 AM »

Jim,
  Very difficult to diagnose a problem when it is not happening. When you tried to start the bus, did you notice any white smoke coming out the exhaust?  Sounds like no fuel to the injectors. A couple quick thoughts.
   Maybe the engine stop solenoid stuck, not releasing the air to the engine stop piston on top of the govenor. This could be a mechanical or electrical issue preventing the solenoid from functioning properly.  If this occurs again, go to the engine and look at the engine stop piston on top of the govenor. With master switch on, piston should be retracted into the cylinder with no pressure on fuel shutoff lever.
   Another possibility is that your fuel return line check valve is stuck open, allowing the fuel line to drain down.
    As far as the brakes, it could be the soft dirt.  We have had  mucho rain the last couple weeks (little over 2" yesterday afternoon).  Might want to do a preliminary test on a paved surface. If they still seem to be dragging, AFTER BLOCKING BUS, make sure they are properly adjusted. After adjusting the brakes, watch the brake linings from under the bus as Josephine makes a hard application. Brake linings should apply and completely release when brake pedal is released. Jack
PS: "Mom" said to tell Josephine HI
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2008, 12:05:10 PM »

Thanks Jack, I did not look for smoke and I only held the button down a couple seconds.   I was thinking (oh oh) on the brakes. For some reason I suspect the rear bakes. I was thimking I could jack up one side at a time and see if I could spin the wheel. But your idea seems much eaiser!!  Even though I do have a nice 12 ton air over hydraulic I like to play with.
                                                                   Jim
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2008, 12:12:32 PM »

If you jack up one side. don't forget to chock the other side and release the parking brake. Reminds me of the time I tried to adjust the drive axle brakes--forgot to air up and release the parking brakes DUH!!  Jack
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2008, 12:21:39 PM »

One trick that I have used to check the brakes to see if they are draging is to let the truck in this case the bus come to a complete stop on it's own.  Or stop and then let it roll a little.  If the brakes are draging you can feel bus com to a stop sooner than it could have.  If they are now draging you might even feel the bus roll back wards after coming to a complete stop if it is a little up hill grade where you are.  If the brakes are draging you can tell the difference if you pay real close attention.
This will work with any vehicle, I do it with all of mine from time to time when I am concerned about the brakes draging.
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2008, 03:48:02 PM »

I cant figure a way to make this as interesting as Gumpys thread. But will go on anyway. I changed over to the rear start to be able to obsearve, did you know the master switch has to be on to do this? I did not, or if I ever did know it, I forgot.
 When I pushed the rear start button, the starter engaged, barely moving the engine, made a horrible sound and then just spun. I am going to assume I have either a siezed up engine or a bad selenoid. Reading the service manual it seems that there are two windings in the solenoid, one should be bad. Not having the skills alot of you have I will try to find a starter/alternator shop in the Ft Myers area. failing that I will Huh?
 Now you can win 3 points, by perdicting what I will do next!! No psychics allowed.
 
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2008, 04:39:36 PM »

Might be the starter Bendix.  There is a large truck parts place in Billy Creek Industrial Park . This is the road that goes to Camping World. It is on the right as you make the last curve before Camping World.  I think the name of the Place is Jack Lyons.  Be careful when taking that last bolt out of the starter, it is very heavy. If you have a small floor jack, that is a good thing to lower the started.  You may need a 12 point socket for the starter bolts, sometimes thay use a special 12 point headed bolt.  Jack
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2008, 04:42:16 PM »

jj,

Electrical things do funny things when hot. The starter spinning tells me the solenoid is probably not getting enough power to keep it engaged.

My first guess is the starter relay, not the solenoid, but it could be the solenoid.

Start by cleaning all the contacts on the relay. If cleaning doesn't help try jumping around the relay. If that works the relay is bad.

If that doesn't help, then clean all the contacts on the solenoid. If that doesn't help jump around the solenoid directly to the starter. Watch out for big sparks when you do this!! The quicker you connect the jumper the less fireworks.

If that doesn't help clean all your large battery cables from the battery posts on back to the starter.

Battery posts slowly develop a slight dark colored corrosion layer over time and this reduces power available. They should be shiny and also the inside of the battery clamps do the same thing if they are lead coated.
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2008, 05:51:11 PM »

 If the relay is bad, would the solenoid try to engage?   I remember Lyons, Jerry and I went there together!
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2008, 06:05:07 PM »

Jim if you need anything like tools or help in any way, feel free to contact me. I will be available tomorrow after 12 and can make the trip to where you are. I have a short job to do in the morning but will be free. I guess I'm about 3-4 hours from you if that helps!
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2008, 09:32:28 PM »

ace, everybody but susan tells me what a nice guy, and helpfull you are.  you've just provin it again.  tell susan to go practice her bluegrass and quit makin comments to fran about you.. Grin
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2008, 11:38:37 PM »

Ace...That is very nice of you to help. Spinning Jim may still need you or who ever is closer for extra hands to do this and repair.

If I were there to witness & diagnose your problem, I can find your problem. For not being there I will try to give you step by step and hope I didn't miss any. Let us know what you're finding. Am not surprise it something else that not been reported.

Here are few steps to diagnoses starter & solenoid & bendix & relay before solenoid & NC (normal close) fuel pressure switch problem: Please use an analog meter only…so you can watch needle to be steady or erratically like a loose connection or dirty relay's points for diagnostic reason. Alligator clip on both test leads to get a good sable connection. Set meter range at 30 volt DC or the next higher scale.

Before the tests, the batteries should be at 80% or higher state of charge for diagnostic checks but not cranking voltage test unless full state of charge.

I attached a wiring circuit with numbers which label each test points.

A) NC fuel pressure switch:
1) Hook + test lead to #7 and – test lead to #8…while cranking, it should read 0 voltage until it starts.. If it erratically or full battery voltage before engine run…bad pressure switch. Hook up + test lead to #8 and – test lead to chassis GRD… it should read 0 voltage until it starts. If it erratically or full battery voltage before engine run…poor ground wire or connection.
2) If fuel pressure is higher then 8 psi @ cranking speed…checks for restricted return fuel line flow. It will cause the starter to shut down automatically.

B) Starter switch relay before solenoid:
1) Hook up analog meter + test lead to #6 and – test lead to chassis ground…it should be at battery voltage while cranking. Otherwise if it erratically meter movement….bad starter button switch or wire connection.
2) Hookup analog meter to solenoid coil post (#5) (it the same + from battery post) with + lead and – lead to (#4) pressure switch. Watch voltage meter for steady cranking voltage reading while hold down the start switch…if it 0 voltage while cranking is good. If it does erratically while using either front or rear starter switch mean bad wire connection to or in the relay or bad relay points.

C) Solenoid:
Hookup analog volt meter with + test lead to + post (#1) of solenoid and – test lead to starter's + post (#2). Watch for meter goes to 0 voltage while cranking…that is good. But if it erratically…bad connection either in solenoid's contact switch or starter's brushes or wire connection. Take it to repair shop for further testing or replace both solenoid & starter motor with warranties.

D) Bendix Drive:
1) Wrinnninnnn noise (spinning) mean over run clutch is slipping, mean a bad bendix drive.
2) Very loud gear clashing before fully engage…either worn gear's teeth    or    starter is spinning before fully engage…solenoid connecting link is out of adjustment or worn out. Replace both solenoid & starter motor with warranties.

E) Starter Motor:
Hookup analog or digital volt meter to solenoid's + post (#1) and the – lead to engine's ground. Watch for voltage dropping at the beginning & during cranking.  If the voltage is below 18v with a fully charged 24v system and growling noise mean starter bearing is worn out to cause armature to rub on field poles. Replace both solenoid & starter motor with warranties. If no growling noise…check power source for weak & “hot” (high resistance) connection of both the + positive & - negative. While cranking with fuel shut off, it should never have more then .5 volt drop between #1 and starting battery's + post. Same way with grounding between engine to battery – post of no more then .5 drop. Under size wire or cable will cause greater voltage drop as well old cable with a few broken strands from too much vibrating and/or corroding.


Whatever you do about getting parts replacement, always take the old one with you to the store same or newer version.

FWIW

Sojourn for Christ, Jerry
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2008, 06:09:01 AM »

If the relay is bad, would the solenoid try to engage?   I remember Lyons, Jerry and I went there together!
No, if the starter is trying to do anything, the realy is not the problem. Does the starter spin fast?  What is the voltage at the batteries when the starter is engaged? Would you like us to come down and help. I know Paula would like to visit with her "daughter". We can come down today or Friday. I have a Dr. appointment tomorrow.  Just give me a call.  Jack
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2008, 06:57:17 AM »

What great guys !!!

Although, I cannot offer to make the 1200 mile trip, I would like to add a comment.

Whether you are stuck along side the road, or trying to figure something out at home, there is value in additional inputs.   One, it gives you time to think more clearly.  Also, "Brainstorming" of various options is helpful.  I was always surprised to get excellent ideas - some of them used - by my kids who were 14ish at the time.

In this case, I would expect the analysis to have identified the problem.

Ed Roelle
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2008, 02:14:05 PM »

Jack,

I don't completely agree with you because sometimes the start relay will not pass enough voltage/amps to the solenoid to either engage it or hold it because of burned/corroded connections or termianls or just a weak coil.

This relay is very often the cause of starting problems. If it doesn't work properly nothing else to the starter will either.

A spinning starter means the solenoid is either not engaging the starter motor gear to the flywheel or is not holding it there.

It could be anything between the relay and the starter solenoid. It could even be the starter switch at the panell.  Jumping the relay will quickly show if the relay or switch is the problem. There was a string just recently in which the starter switch failed. As I remember all the starter switch does is ground the start relay.
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2008, 06:31:20 PM »

All the offers of help!!! I am very grateful. Wonderful community we have. I will try to muddle my way through it, I have a few weeks.

 As i sort through all the info and suggestions, it dawned on me that I am having two differnt issues, maybe?  At the rest area I was useing the bus and house batteries, the engin turned over but did not start. When the selonoid acted up I was useing the rear start and only the bus batteries. In the world of diagnostics I am comparing apples to oranges.

 I recently replaced the start bateries. The old ones were 7 years old without a problem. The new ones I am not happy with. I have taken them back twice, but they pass a load test. The old ones would hold a charge for a long time, these need a trickle charger on them or within 2 to 3 weeks are weak.

 On the bright side, I asked around today and found a real starter shop, they test, diagnose and rebuild.   Auto electric rebuilders corp.  623 Pondella rd. N Ft Myers FL  239  995 6334     With the advent of throw away, these places are getting harder to find!!

          Thanks for all   Jim
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« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2008, 05:35:53 AM »

Jack,
I don't completely agree with you because sometimes the start relay will not pass enough voltage/amps to the solenoid to either engage it or hold it because of burned/corroded connections or termianls or just a weak coil.
This relay is very often the cause of starting problems. If it doesn't work properly nothing else to the starter will either.
A spinning starter means the solenoid is either not engaging the starter motor gear to the flywheel or is not holding it there.
It could be anything between the relay and the starter solenoid. It could even be the starter switch at the panell.  Jumping the relay will quickly show if the relay or switch is the problem. There was a string just recently in which the starter switch failed. As I remember all the starter switch does is ground the start relay.

Gus,
   Thanks for the information, I did not know a relay could suffer a "partial failure". Every relay failure I have experienced was a total failure. At least my relay failures were easy to diagnose LOL  Jack
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2008, 04:23:44 PM »

Jack,

The relay coils didn't always fail it was most often corrosion on either primary or secondary connections. Since these relays don't use much current it doesn't take much resistance to put them out of operation. I replaced a couple of them with modern type relays because they were so old.

As I remember once it was also the start switch, mostly old age.

A lot of the wires going into the inst panel and electrical panel connectors on my 4104 were corroded. I have been replacing the connectors gradually as I work on different elec components.
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2008, 02:20:31 PM »

Jerry,

I really liked your write up. Smiley  Not many auto electric trouble shooters measure the "drop" across each component.  I get similar info by measuring the V at the first part of the load.  That should be the bat voltage minus the drop across the fuse or ampmeter shunt.  I take that voltage as a ref and then I work down the line, with only the + terminals to find the voltage drop to that point.  I have TS a lot of auto systems and I have never seen erratic voltages EXCEPT if the bat load was causing the voltage to drop low enuf to allow the starter to drop out.  This caused voltage fluctuations "everywhere", including at the bat terminals.  I guess it is how much it drops or fluctuates.   Sooooooo, if I have a fully charged bat and the term voltage is 25V.....and I hit the starter switch.....how many volts is permissible at the starter?  Another way, how many volts can I "legally" drop across the contacts?  I have seen the full bat voltage at the starter + term and the thing still turned over to slowly to start.  Only once did I see this and it was the starter and all the rest it was a bad ground cable "to" the starter, as I recall and I didn't know I would be facing a self quiz. Cheesy

Again, I think your write up was great and to address all the possibilities would be a LARGE book and outside our scope.

Thanks,

John
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2008, 04:25:15 PM »

That Jerry sure is a pro, not much gets by him.  I'm at the same park in N Ft Myers if you want to run down Jerry. 
 The rain and a roof leak have kept me off the starter project plus I have been looking for a analog volt meter. Maybe tomorrow?   Jim
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« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2008, 08:45:52 PM »

Thank you…JohnEd.
Sorry….perhaps I have not made my self clear on this subject. I am not a shop manual writer and not good in grammar but trying my best to get a step by step diagnostic in writing…while I am too far from being there to solve the problem.

You’re not the only one are confuse about my diagnostic check step from my earlier post.  And…I still see more posts after my reply, which they are suggesting whatever it could be. My profession has been diagnostic work in electrical, plumbing, old internal combustion engine (ICE), transmission, front wheel alignment, with/without posi-track rear end, air & hydraulic brake system. Most of it was my everyday job making a living since 1953 to 1970. I am not updated now since computer equips cars & trucks came out and am not perfect by all means.

What I am saying that most diagnostic can be done in must quicker time and replace only the problem’s part or parts or repair. Just follow the diagnostic steps.

Need to clarify this diagnostic step by step check points via using analog voltage meter to pin point problems….It is not all about resistant load in electrical system. Read on!
The following tests is using an analog volt meter is not to measure voltage but to see what the contact’s points condition are or wiring connections are like, by watching the needle movement for either erratically or steady while under load or cranking.

About erratic voltage meter reading…dirty or worn relay contact points from either the starter solenoid relay (before solenoid) or solenoid’s high current contact point (heavy duty relay). In other words, a partial contact or arcing points will cause a guarantee voltage meter to read erratically. If it good contacts…it will read a steady and low resistant voltage of less then .5 volt as per manufacture spec. (in general terms).

About measuring voltage….digital volt meter is much more accurate then analog version but cannot tell if how much of how high or big it is erratically if any.

On the other hand, you can use a cheap portable AM radio at about 1300 hertz with no station tune in. Hold radio near by starter or relay or whatever needs to check for arcing points/contacts or loose connection. It will sound cracking or scratching if it arcing or moving a loosen connection.
You can use AM radio to locate loaded or switch “ON” AC wiring in wall via listing for the humming “60 cycle sine wave” sound.

Also you can tell if you have shorted or open alternator’s diode by listening for high whining sound. Bad diode will sound growling and very hot alternator.

My hearing aid set on “telephone” mode will do the same as AM radio…cracking sound.

FWIW to you.

Sojourn for Christ, Jerry
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« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2008, 12:53:25 AM »

Spinning Jim:

Please if you will reopen my earlier "step by step" diagnostic post.

It all been modified to explain more clearly with a attach wiring map and labels.

Remember all testing results are done with cranking speed and fully charge battery.

Take care and say Hi to Josephine

Jerry & Lynette

PS...thanks for your support. LOL
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« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2008, 09:22:06 AM »

Thanks Jerry, I hope they add your post to the wiki archives. I have moved it around the computer and managed to print it. I am also greatful for all others input an offers of help as well. After some searching I have obtained a analog meter, Home Depot was the only place I could find one. When it is dry I will attempt to muddle through this and post the results.  Spinning Jim
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« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2008, 12:02:04 PM »

Jerry,

I hope you understood that I was agreeing with you.  My alternate method of finding the voltage drop across a device by taking measuring the voltage at input and output (+ and -) and taking the difference is just that, another way to do the same thing as you did.

You evidently have a lot of experience in an assortment of automotive associated specialities.  I think that makes a better trouble shooter than a singular discipline trouble shooter.  I started out as a RADAR tech. in the AF.  Radar is unique as a field as it contains hydraulics for antenna drive and control, diesel powered AC generators,  Aplidine generators, mechanical drivelines and devices, house ac power distribution, DC circuits and , of course, electronics up the yin yang.  I, as all others in my field, had to stay current and work on the systems that had the various specialties/skill requirements daily.  It kept your nose in the books.  For three and a half years I taught these subjects as a work center supervisor, OJT supervisor and in a formal classroom environment, at least as far as the equipment was contained in my Radars.  All of that military experience is sans computers.  I guess I was good at it as I promoted every man that worked for me, and to a man, they had "outstanding" fitness reviews that they well earned.  Every man reinlisted for 4 years and that from a base of 450 that saw not a single first term reenlistment in 4 years except from my men.

I have a friend that is the sole proprietor of "Always Jake" Auto Electric Repair.  I spend an hour a week sitting with Chris and talking about starters and generators and DC motors.  He is not only knowledgeable but generous with his 20 + years of experience and believe me when i say that I ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening.  There is no substitute for experience and in his field he has seen it all or almost all.  All of my training and experience insures only that I fully understand everything that Chris says about DC devices.  Yep, it is my humility that I am most proud of in my many virtues. Roll Eyes

Like you I guess that I am  a "jack of all trades" in some regards.  Even with 4 degrees i don't think I have mastered any of the ones I had.  Based on results I was good at them, though.  And you seem to share that experience and skill, and most importantly, willingness to share.  And like Van, I enjoy and profit from your company. Smiley

If you want to track down the source of "noise" on a DC line or detect a missing leg on a rectifier you can switch the analog Multi Meter to the AC scale.  Noise and excessive ripple register as AC voltage.  For those of us that don't have "hearing aids" to give us the edge in DC circuit analysis Grin Grin Grin Embarrassed

Hope this is clear,

John

PS: what is the significance of "to you" in you sign-off?
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
—Pla
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