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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #11  
Old 12-26-2008
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
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Bill you should not be confused I am the one that is confused or is it Bluebird?? Lets see. The 1982 FC models do not have a battery isolator and had after manufacture a factory modification of the 80 Amp diode and 30 amp circuit breaker installed across the aux battery solenoid. Then the factory got a little smarter for they installed battery isolators in the 1983-84, 85 FC models. Well in my opinion only half smarter for the control box in the generator had the charging circuit for the generator battery already installed but the BB engineers for some reason never connected it. Then in 1986,87 and 88 FC models they reverted back to the 80 amp diode and 30 amp circuit breaker again for some reason only known to those at Ft Vally.

So Bill you are right and I was wrong. I assumed without looking at the manuals that the engineers at Ft Vally after making the first mistake learned their lesson and installed isolators on all of the models after that. But alas you know what assumed means?
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  #12  
Old 03-22-2009
Clueless Clueless is offline
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Post 82 FC Battery Isolator Update

Finally, spring is here, and once again I am able to put in some time on the "bus". Back in November, I picked up this coach, drove about 300 miles home and the batteries were about dead. I posted the battery isolator question, winter hit, and this is where we are now:

1. I do have the diode/breaker setup around the aux battery solenoid, and the step didn't hurt me. One of the connections was corroded off. Now that I think of it, I guess I need to fix that.

2. Battery Boilers were removed and output tested. One was 0 Volts DEAD. The other showed something like 40 volts DC. That's right, a whole bunch. I could hardly let go of it, but my arm didn't go to sleep. AC would be so much easier.
Needless to say, neither original charger was returned to service, and a replacement converter charger was installed. The charge wizard keeps my batteries up to snuff.

3. After poking around and fingering several wires, I never did find an Isolator, or anything to point me at anything other than the alternator. I bought this coach from KYSJOE who wrote:
"I drove straight through to Louisville KY (about 750 miles) though the mountains and arrived home 18 hours later. The coach did great."
so I thought maybe the alternator had some chance of being ok. The warmer weather inspired me to take out the alternator to get it checked. (I wonder, can both rotator cuffs be bad at the same time?...ouch). The alternator shop wouldn't even put it on their tester as the bearings were so bad. How did this bus keep running for 750 miles in August, and then 300 more in November? They are truly amazing. Anyway, I installed a rebuilt 110-555 160 Amp, and voala, it charges. Imagine that. I did struggle a bit with the idea that when the pos and neg terminals were hooked up, resistance did not show infinity between them. Somehow, I get a reading other than infinity between my disconnected Positive cable and ground. This could be bad. Something else to troubleshoot.
I also needed to switch to 59 inch belts because the new alternator has only 1 location to mount the adjuster, (as opposed to several locations on the adjuster mounting flange on the old Motorola) and my adjustment "eye-bolt" is too short for 60 inch belts.

By the way, while I was running the engine to check the alternator output, I remembered that on my maiden voyage, I was staring in awe, and testing several switches and buttons. One of the switches I moved was a Gas/Diesel switch (to switch input to the fuel gauge) When I switched to gas, the guage very rapidly went to the "E" portion of the scale. When switching back to diesel, the gauge remained bottomed out. Today, it was still bottomed out. Now before any of you go checking your drawings to assist with this one, I would like you to note that a percussion adjustment on the gauge brought it back up to indicate the level in the diesel tank. Two successes in one day. I learned this gauge adjustment technique right on this forum. (Actually, I learned this gauge adjustment technique during 28 years of working in an Electric generating station, but I did read about it here in one of the gauge posts).

So now I can drive the "bus" (if I have the right license). Got battery charging, fuel indication, and what seems to be a strong drivetrain. Next, we will try to pressurize the water system, check the bearings on the belt tensioners, check the air bags, check for moisture in the fuel, water in the air tanks, put some golf balls in the tires, pack a can of foot spray (I really like that one), etc., etc. Stay tuned. (Has anyone ever named a Bluebird "Murphy's Law"?)

So far I love this thing. Soon I'll be at the campground.

I have learned alot on several Bluebird topics since November from all the posters. Thank you for sharing the wealth of your knowledge.
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82 FC 33 SB SOLD
89 SP 36 Silver Edition SOLD
96 WB
Valparaiso, In./Baldwin, Mi.
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  #13  
Old 03-23-2009
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Thanks Dave for the info.

Keep us posted, we are also following John & Pong, & Gardner with early 80's Birds.
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Last edited by Bill Pape; 03-23-2009 at 10:55 AM.
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  #14  
Old 03-23-2009
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Clueless,are you an ASE tech?
hahahaa! most of us bird owners are ASE (Ask Someone Else) mechanics!
it sounds like your getting it together,what you need to do is find a rally near you,go meet some members,and have a good time!
thanks for posting!
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  #15  
Old 03-23-2009
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80', no isolator
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  #16  
Old 03-23-2009
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Hey David,

I have had the same issues you've had. When I replaced my alternator I also found the bolt was too short. Wasn't sure if I should move the alternator or get a longer bolt as the alternator is dangerously close to the air pump and the radiator 1" line. Did you have any issues with that?

Also, when on a trip I fipped my fuel gauge to check the generator tank and like yours it went dead. When I flipped it back it was still dead. I thought maybe a voltage spike took out the gauge. I did try the blunt force technique but to no avail. Then, two trips later, the gauge started working again! I haven't switched it yet thought.. still scared! hee hee hee

Welcome to the club.
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  #17  
Old 03-23-2009
Clueless Clueless is offline
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Michael:
When I went to the shorter belt, the 1 inch hose was in the way of swinging the alternator over far enough to get the belts on. I had to pull the elbow that this hose is connected to on the engine, and get the hose out of the way. Once I got the belts on and tightened, I put the elbow back, and there seems to be plenty of clearance.

I should mention that my hoses are not long enough to swing the radiator out enough to do much work, so I put a 5 gallon water can under the radiator, and drain 5 gallons of coolant, then pull the hoses and the wire from the top of the radiator. Since I need to do this to do any work anyway, pulling the elbow (which is connected to one of the hoses I remove) doesn't result in some hazardous spill, or too much additional work.
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96 WB
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