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Maintenance Mahem

SteveMissingDix
Explorer
Explorer
Hello All,

I am new to owning this '08 HRambler Vacationer XL 34'. The facts are as follows:
It wouldn't crank. I have had trouble with the batteries dying in the past so I thought they might be bad. Not sure how old they were. Before running to the auto parts store I went ahead and changed the oil and fuel filter/separator. I filled the filter with fuel.

I went to the store, had the batteries checked and both had bad cells. I brought new batteries back and installed them. I was pretty sure I knew which wires went where. The entry step works fine (and runs off the chassis). When I entered the coach, before inserting the key, the Alt Fail light was on and the regen temperature warning. The Alt Light hadn't come on while operating the RV previously.

When I put the key in and turn to on position the battery isn't showing any power. I tried to crank it initially, for a few minutes. It tries to start but doesn't. I realize it might have air in the lines and then turn the key on (and wait) and off several times. I 'bumped' the ignition and then wait. I cannot hear the fuel pump work.

I haven't tried anything further as I wanted to throw this out to the group. Yes, I should have taken a picture of the battery compartment but didn't as it seemed straigtforward how it was wired, I also wrapped some of the wires together with electrical tape so as not to confuse anything, etc. I think the wiring is okay but I have attached pictures so

1. please let me know if anything looks wrong in the wiring?
WIRING PICS HERE
https://www.flickr.com/photos/128054324@N06/

2. Why isn't the battery showing a charge on the instrument panel?
3. Is there air in the lines and any tip on how to get this thing started?

Thank you,
Steve
10 REPLIES 10

Hjudge49
Explorer
Explorer
Can't tell much from your pictures, but the two 12 volt batteries should be hooked up in parallel, ground to negative, negative to negative, positive to positive to switch. As to the no start, if it's cranking over fast enough, you either have air in the lines or the stop solenoid is engaged. You didn't say which engine you have, and cats and cummins bleed differently. Most Cats have a bleeder pump on the side other engine, most cummins will self bleed by turning the key on and of several times. But if there is air between the pump and the injectors, you might have to bleed them. If you have never done it, and are not mechanically inclined, you will probably need a mechanic to do it.

hohenwald48
Explorer
Explorer
Non-start sure sounds like air in the fuel line to me. You gotta' get it out to get it to start. Need to bleed it.

It looks like you changed all your batteries. They all appear to have F4 date codes. I've seen folks put the new battery in backwards ie: positive on the left instead of positive on the right. If you did something like that then the wiring would physically appear to be the same as before the change but would be electrically different.
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fischer
Explorer
Explorer
First , when people hae replaced batteries and had your problem , 9 times out of 10 they had dropped a wire and was not hooked up. So go check everywhere.
Second do you have all 6 volt battery's or are 2 of them 12 volts ? the picture of 2 battery's looks like they are in parallel instead of series ?
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J-Rooster
Explorer
Explorer
Steve, I can't help you! I just wanted to be the first to Welcome you to RV.Net! Hope you get everything fixed so you can enjoy your new coach and congrats on your new coach.

JimFromJersey
Explorer
Explorer
A quick google on "How to use a voltmeter" should get you about 10000000 hits. They're relatively simple. Two leads, a dial to set, and a meter or digital readout. You could even use a simple test light to see if there's power. Getting to know how to use a test light, a volt meter, and other simple diagnostic tools is PARAMOUNT when owning an RV, since there are several areas that could cause trouble. The plumbing is not usually so bad. But as you've noticed, there are several levels of complexity regarding the electricity.

The way to check the dash battery gauge is to throw a meter on the battery one at a time, If it shows good voltage, then the problem is upstream. If it doesn't, then take the battery(s) back to Advance Auto and have them replaced under warranty. Again, any semi-qualified auto guy should be able to show you how to do it.
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SteveMissingDix
Explorer
Explorer
Thank you everyone. Yes, it is diesel. And the dashboard indicator is a battery gauge rather than a light.

Any further details on testing the electrical with a VOM (or reference to a good website describing how to do that) will be appreciated as I have not done that before. (I have done simple things like adding outlets etc to my house but nothing on RVs/diagnostics).

JimFromJersey
Explorer
Explorer
OK, we've got two things - the NON-START issue, and the "bad dash light" issue.

I'd fix the NON-START first. 🙂 That's spark or gas, as noted. Any decent mechanic should be able to diagnose and fix that, it's not a MH issue, it's an internal combustion engine issue.k (EDIT: Or a DIESEL issue, now that I've read the previous comment... 🙂

The dash light is different. First, I'd confirm, that I'm drawing 12+ volts out of the batteries. Then you need to trace the power out of the light assembly itself, making sure that you have a good connection there (esp. the negative). Put a volt meter on the wires coming INTO the light to make sure you're sending volts to it.

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gatorcq
Explorer
Explorer
The first thing is to confirm correct wiring. Using a VOM, measure from frame ground to the wires to locate the Neg lead. (Remove cables).

2 have (2) 6 Vdc batteries and what looks like (2) 12 Vdc batteries. I assume you then have a diesel. I also see a Battery disconnect Sopwith and maybe the Aux Start switch relay. This switch ties the 2 battery banks together if 1 fails.
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SteveMissingDix
Explorer
Explorer
The chassis batteries are on the right side. It cranks well but isn't starting. I just think the instrument panel should show full batteries when I turn the key to on--the fact that isn't happening worries me.But I was pretty sure I put all the wires back in the right spot.

JimFromJersey
Explorer
Explorer
I am by no means an electrics expert. Remember the engine starts on its own dedicated battery, and the coach guys should be completely independent. It's hard to tell from your pics which wires are going where, with most of them being RED, which is usually used only for POSITIVE or HOT wires. Your coach connections should be going to some sort of controller that routes juice to the lights, fans, fridge, water pump, and so on. But that should have nothing to do with the starting problem, per se. And I'm not sure which batteries are tied to the light on your dash, but if it reads "ALT", that's probably the engine battery.

A NO CRANK problem could be anywhere between the ignition key, the neutral safety switch, the starter, the battery, and few other spots that I can't think of right now.

If it cranks, but SLOWLY, that's usually BATTERY, less usually STARTER.

If it cranks like mad but doesn't fire, that's GAS or SPARK.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
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