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-   -   bird wont' start. Newbie looking for suggestions. (https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16830)

kroosmd 06-08-2013 10:32 PM

bird wont' start. Newbie looking for suggestions.
I bought a 1983 Bird last fall that had been sitting in a barn for 6 years or so the story goes. It has new belts, tires and said to have new batteries. I got it late last fall and went on 4 to 5 trips and then stored it out doors for the winter in Michigan. I pulled the batteries and had them on a trickle charger over the winter. No issues starting it at all last fall. Fast forward to the spring and I replaced the batteries and I have nothing. No ticking, clicking, wheezing. Nothing. So I pull the batteries and one is dead so I replace it. I went through many hoops with the batteries and ended up replacing all four with brand new batteries and I charged them all and install them. Now the volt meter on the dash goes to 12 to 14v but I have nothing again. From reading as many threads as possible I have replaced the battery bay grounding strap, cleaned all of the connections and lubed everything up with dielectric gel. I did a continuity check from the battery bay to the neg on the starter and I have continuity. I am reading 12v at the starter connections. I am baffled. I have four kids who ask me every day when are we going camping. I am game for trying anything.

Can these things be jumpstarted so I can get it to a mechanic? I have searched jumpstarting and found it discussed alot but not how to actually do it. Also, the A/T is in the off position. And I know about the switch under that dash that kills most of the power.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

iamflagman 06-09-2013 06:33 AM


When I approved your membership last night I noticed that you only included the year of your 'Bird but no model, which can be very important, such as in helping you with this problem, so please add the model and how long it is and the engine would be important also, to help you understand the different models read this thread Wanderlodge Owners Group > Frequently Asked Questions > How to use the Forum Features > Abbreviations and Acronyms, Using Them In Your Posted Messages And What They Mean

gcyeaw 06-09-2013 06:43 AM

The A/T (Anti Theft) switch on the dash will disable the starter circuit. Perhaps it was activated unintentionally. It should be in the ON position. Also the Neutral Safety switch on the shifter may be a problem, run the shifter back and forth a few times and be sure it is in neutral when trying to start.

Frank W. 06-09-2013 07:16 AM

All these thoughts are from an FC (Forward engine Control ) model owner (so if you have a rear engine coach there will be differences).

From the details you provided...sounds like you have good battery power. It is getting to the dash and you have the master switch on as you show volts on the dash gauge.

The A/T switch should be "depressed left" for normal operation.

The transmission must be in N as Gardner mentioned...jiggle it.

When you turn the ignition switch your activating a solenoid/relay that is located under the throttle foot pedal. You access this via the outside electrical bay cover at the drivers side headlight panel. IF you not hearing ANYTHING when turning IGN on...I would suspect the ignition switch or this relay for starters. The IGN switch has spade terminals that at times can become unattached/overheated or just fail...The second area to check should be that solenoid/relay...if you give it + 12 volts to the control terminal (small stud) does it "click"? There are two of these located under the floor...you do no harm by trying to jump them with a small (say 12ga) fused test jump wire...you can get the current via the distribution panel located in the same area.

Keep us posted on progress & discoveries...

IF you desire...send me a PM with your cell phone and I'll call you later today to discuss.

Check the FC section for "new owner tip sheet" for some additional guidance.

For a jump starting attempt if desired: Open the drivers side battery bay door and near the upper edge you should see two large brass terminals (may have plastic cup covers). These are your jump terminals.

iamflagman 06-09-2013 07:46 AM

There is yet another Ford style solenoid in the FC's CAT 3208 engine starting system, these quotes are from a previous thread;


Originally Posted by bwinter1946 (Post 114327)
Not sure what that relay does but if you are looking for a "Ford" style relay like this:

Then the Napa Echlin part number is: ST85. Should be available at most any Napa store. Or if you prefer the more generic ID: SS608 - Switch Interruptor Commutateur. That is a continous duty relay.

Local cost is about $60.


Originally Posted by iamflagman (Post 114307)
You have me a little confused (that's not surprising is it) with the location of what you are referring to as the starter solenoid, now I know there are differences in almost every 'Bird that has been built, but the starter solenoid on my '82 FC is located on the inside of the frame rail curb side just behind the engines front cross member which puts it very close to the starter, as you can see here in one of NH Bill's pictures on his '83FC.

These are sometimes referred to as FORD STYLE starter solenoids and are available at most parts stores, as to what the part number would be I can't help you with that, but sometimes you can find a part number on the solenoid itself.

Please post a picture of what you are talking about so that we can better answer your question.

Again these relate to only the FC models with the Cat 3208 engine.

Bill Pape 06-09-2013 09:02 AM

Kris we can fix this problem, we need a model type FC (Forward Control), or PT rear (Pusher Tag)

Crit Bliss 06-09-2013 10:29 AM

Don't forget the ever popular starter ground strap issue.

kroosmd 06-09-2013 11:31 AM

It is a 35FC with a 3208NA. Thank you for the link to the acronyms. I was 99% sure I had the lingo correct but planned to verify and add to my profile and well, I forgot. Sorry about that. I also forgot to mention that I checked that the shifter was in neutral and did shift it around and back to ensure nothing goofy there. Thanks for the replies so far, I will start digging in further.

kroosmd 06-09-2013 11:32 AM


Originally Posted by Crit Bliss (Post 210644)
Don't forget the ever popular starter ground strap issue.

I did notice that there is a ground strap down at the starter and I did not replace it, I did check it for continuity and it was good. Maybe I need to replace it? or at least clean off the leads?

kroosmd 06-09-2013 11:43 AM

I read a post about the jumper terminals but for the life of me, I cannot locat the rascals.

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