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

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  #1  
Old 02-12-2019
Preacher Preacher is offline
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Default Electrical Grimlin

Gentlemen, I've got a '94 BMC37 with a perplexing electrical problem. No electrical mods except solar panel charger to batteries and a residential frig installed three years ago. Both have been working just fine. Then this. Big reward to the person that puts me on the right track. In chronological order:

No brake, run, turn or emergency lights in the rear. Repaired loose connecter in steering column turn signal switch. Seems to fix problem but then...

Turn, stop, run and backup lights now all come on at the same time (but real dim) on both sides even with the ignition switch OFF. Cleaned a few connectors on the rear power panel (engine compartment) and wiggled a few wires. Lights go out and everything seems to work properly now. Next day...

Engine starts, turn on emergency flashers for system check and engine immediately dies. Tried it three times, same result. Start engine, don't touch emergency flasher switch and drive out to Loves for propane refill. After refill, engine starts but then dies when ignition switch moves to "run." Ten starts same result. Scratch head, smile at people in line behind me, notice all the lights in the rear are on dim again, wiggle a few wires around the power panel, lights go out, engine starts and runs.

I drive it to the best diesel mechanic in my small town. He puts voltage test light on various parts of the power panel while I work the ignition switch and notices the rear power panel contactor is not clicking off and on with the ignition switch every time. We change contactor and everything seems to work. I start it up to leave, pull the emergency flasher switch and engine dies. Then we notice all the rear lights are on dim again. Wiggle the wire that goes from the "always hot" rear power strip to the condenser fans and the lights go out (fans were not running, A/C switch was OFF). Engine keeps running with emergency flasher on. We scratch our heads, it's quitting time. I drive it home.

I decide to start throwing parts at the problem, get on Amazon and order all new 20amp circuit breakers for the rear power panel, disconnect the positive leads from the engine batteries, take the power strip apart (switched and unswitched), clean the copper connectors, blow and vacuum a lot of road grim out the area between the circuit breakers, clean all of the connectors, freshen up the grounds with new connectors, clean out and freshen up the two, large multiwire connectors at the front of the power panel, replace the four five-lead relays with new ones, install all new 20amp circuit breakers to the main power strip, check all connections one last time and reconnect the positive leads to the engine batteries. With the ignition OFF, my emergency flashers work properly and I have power to the solenoid input and to the unswitched part of the power bar. I work my 12 volt test light back at the rear power panel, the wife puts the ignition switch to ON, the solenoid clicks and I check for power at the solenoid output and the switched leads on the power bar. Everything is powered. She turns the ignition switch OFF but I hear no click from the solenoid. I check for power at the solenoid. No power at input or output or anywhere on the power bar (using my test light). I go out to check the rear lights and they're all on dim, both sides just like before. We cycle the ignition switch several times, no change. On a hunch (what sort I don't know), I disconnect the positive leads to the engine batteries and the lights remain ON. Huh? Yes, I've got the positive lead to the engine batteries disconnected and the rear run, turn, and backup lights remain on (both sides), but dim, not fully illuminated. So on my second inexplicable hunch of the day, I walk over and pull the 115V ground power connector out of it's 50 amp receptacle and the rear lights go OUT. Now I'm even more deeply baffled. At age 72, I'd rather break my arm than be baffled. But, my ace in the hole is the WOG. No one has to know that I can't figure out what to do next if one of you old hands slips me the right clue.

By the way, when I was hooking the positive battery lead back up, I got a little spark when I accidentally touched the battery carrier frame with the still unconnected positive battery lead. I go into the coach and turn off the battery charger. I still get that little spark. That don't seem right either. Anyway, I'm guessing there is a common failure point causing all of this. I sure hope someone can help.
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David Pace
Germantown, Tennessee
1994 BMC37
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Old 02-12-2019
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Lets go back to the first thing you did.
You worked on the turn signal switch,the stalk switch,right?
What was wrong with it,and what did you do to "fix" it.
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Randy Dupree
2000 LXI 43
Bainbridge,Ga.
Port St Joe Fl.
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Old 02-12-2019
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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The "run" lights and the "backup" lights are not involved with the stalk switch,right?
The only thing powered by the stalk are the turn lights,the brake lights,right?
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2000 LXI 43
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Port St Joe Fl.
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Old 02-12-2019
Fujimo Fujimo is offline
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I tend to lean to a ground issue, all the dim lights something looking for ground. As Randy said what was first problem and start their. But what do I know. .
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Green Cove Springs, Florida
1996 42' Wanderlodge
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Old 02-12-2019
Preacher Preacher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
Lets go back to the first thing you did.
You worked on the turn signal switch,the stalk switch,right?
What was wrong with it,and what did you do to "fix" it.
I didn't work on it. Two mechanics did. They determined that the connector at the end of the harness that runs up into the steering column and attaches to the connector coming from the turn signal mechanism had come apart over time due to the action of pivoting the steering column back and forth. A bracket that supported and held the connectors together had slipped out of position. It was all restored and put back together as it was.
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David Pace
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1994 BMC37
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Old 02-12-2019
Preacher Preacher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
The "run" lights and the "backup" lights are not involved with the stalk switch,right?
The only thing powered by the stalk are the turn lights,the brake lights,right?
According to the wiring diagram provided by Spartan, there are 10 wires coming from the turn signal switch and the diagram doesn't show a separate emergency flasher switch. So my guess is that the emergency switch itself is part of the turn signal mechanism. And the back up lights we both know should have nothing to do with the turn signal mechanism. And yes, power to the brake lights goes through the turn signal mechanism.
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David Pace
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1994 BMC37
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Old 02-12-2019
Preacher Preacher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fujimo View Post
I tend to lean to a ground issue, all the dim lights something looking for ground. As Randy said what was first problem and start their. But what do I know. .
Paul, you are the second person to bring up the "ground" issue. My diesel mech thinks that loss of a ground somewhere could be the source of the problem. That's why I spent money and time "cleaning" up the whole power panel to begin with. But as of yet, problem not solved.
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David Pace
Germantown, Tennessee
1994 BMC37
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Old 02-12-2019
Preacher Preacher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
The "run" lights and the "backup" lights are not involved with the stalk switch,right?
The only thing powered by the stalk are the turn lights,the brake lights,right?
My Spartan wiring diagram doesn't show the light switch nor identify the running lights wiring trace, but I agree there is no reason the run lights should go through the turn signal mechanism and I failed to mention it, but all of this strange phenomena happens with the light switch OFF except that my initial problem was that the running lights (along with the brake, turn and emergency) didn't work with the switch ON.
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David Pace
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1994 BMC37
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2019
GregOC GregOC is offline
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Emergancy flashers are brake lights not turn signal. Also brake lights are connected to transmission to unlock the torque converter. Check the trailer harness. also the brake light or signal act on the cruise control. Look for diodes in the wire diagram. I would disconnect the cannon at the rear tail lights and try the start stall situation. To rule out the taillight appliances
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Last edited by GregOC; 02-12-2019 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019
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It does seem like a bunch of unconnected problems but be advised there are relays and various lighting components in the outside compartment below the drivers window. There is a large plug in relay that most of your exterior lighting goes through....

https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.c...ad.php?t=12558
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Madera, California
1997, 37' BMC
1999, Jeep Cherokee, Toad
1970, VW Baja Bug, Alternate Toad
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