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Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over.
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marksch
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:25 pm    Post subject: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

Hi guys,

My heads a little black and blue from beating it against the wall so I figured I would spare myself some more punishment and ask for some opinions. Ive done some searching on here and tried a few things I read but nothing seems to do the trick.

I have a 66 bus, still 6 volt. Everyone once in a blue moon (including the morning of the last OCTO) I put the key in, turn and nothing happens. The green and red lights come on and dim significantly when I turn the key but no sound anywhere, no starter solenoid, no click on a relay, just the lights dimming.

I can come back the next day, the next week sometimes, and boom it starts right back up again.

I have tried arcing the starter which causes it to spin if the ignition is on but turning the key again does nothing.

Yesterday I replaced the 9 spade relay box with a couple spares I have since I was noticing a random clicking coming from the existing one but that fixed nothing.

I ordered a new ignition switch which will be here in a few days from Wolfsburg West, maybe that'll fix it but thought I would ask in the meantime.

The strange bit for me is the dimming of the dash lights. Something is obviously getting a load just not sure why the starter isnt spinning.

When it does turn over its very strong, battery is a new Optima 6v. Wiring harness is 2 years old.

Thanks for any advice.
mark
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

I had a similar problem a while back. What sounds familiar is the clicking in the 9 pin relay and the dimming of the warning lights.

Mine turned out to be a loose ground, at the battery terminal. I drove with it like that for a while. By the time I fixed the ground, it had killed a cell in my Optima yellow top.

How are all of your grounds? Do you have an Optima brand charger to test the battery?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

Check the push-on wire end connectors on the starter. I had one break on the side of the spade which caused all kinds of starting problems. It is a real PITA to get up there, at least in my bus, so all I did was look and everything looked OK. It wasn't until I reached up there and wiggled things that I found the issue.

You might want to try a hard start relay. That way your starting juice doesn't have to go all the way to the front of your bus and back to the starter.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:58 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

im having the same exact problem and its driving me crazy Embarassed
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:00 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

This wasn't on a Bus with a 9-pin box but when I had this problem it was:
Bad ground cable connection at the battery (or super old crappy cable)

Also check these, although I think the starter solenoid still clicks in these cases:
Bad ground wire from transmission nose cone to frame
Bad starter bushing
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

"I put the key in, turn and nothing happens. The green and red lights come on and dim significantly when I turn the key but no sound anywhere, no starter solenoid, no click on a relay, just the lights dimming."

This gives you significant clues^^.

Lights dimming indicates amperage is being drawn by the starter.

No clicking of the starter solenoid means it is not engaging, and that's the area of likely fault. Either the solenoid is not getting enough amperage to engage (high resistance in the circuit from the ignition to the solenoid, as mentioned by others), or the internals of the solenoid are "stuck" and the amperage is not enough to cause the internal switching to take place.

"I have tried arcing the starter which causes it to spin if the ignition is on but turning the key again does nothing. "


This tells you your starter motor is good^^. You must have arced the two lugs on the starter/solenoid to get just the motor to run without engaging the flywheel. If you arced the lug from the battery cable with the spade terminal on the solenoid, you would have sent full power/high amperage to the starter solenoid. If it then clicked, engaged the flywheel and starter motor, you would have shown that not enough amperage was getting to the solenoid from the ignition, because you bypassed it.

Clean up all connections, as mentioned by others. If that doesn't solve everything, your solenoid is the most likely problem. The no clicking is the key. Clicking without the starter motor running tends to indicate a problem with the motor, starter bushing, or a low battery.

A start relay will be an electronic version of arcing the lug from the battery to the spade connector on the solenoid.
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marksch
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

Thanks as always for all the suggestions. Tried them all and still nada.

Charged the battery all night, all the lights are nice and bright.

Checked the ground strap at the battery and near the transmission. Both look almost new, no corrosion. I loosened and looked underneath, nothing but shiny scuffed metal to make a solid ground.

Tried again to arc the to big posts on the solenoid, its spins nicely. Also double checked the connections up there were nice and tight.

Around that time the mailman showed up with my new ignition switch. I installed that real quick and still nothing.

My gut says solenoid.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

What "olliehank47 " said.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

marksch wrote:
My gut says solenoid.

Well there's one sure way to confirm that, you've been saying "arc the big posts" but that bypasses the solenoid, to test it properly you have to bridge from the large post the battery cable is on to the smaller spade terminal that usually has the wire from the ignition switch on it.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


If it cranks at all or even clicks loudly when doing that the solenoid is fine, if it clicks or cranks super slow there's an issue with a battery terminal, cable, ground or even inside the battery itself.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

Thanks for the pic, that would have been a great help!!... I say "would" happily frustrated though. I went into the garage to try arcing the solenoid as shown only to have the bus turn over with force and quickly start the motor. -sigh-

Next time it happens the first thing I'll do is try that arc. I'll update the post for sure. Thanks everyone for your ideas!

so back to Brick wall
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

marksch wrote:
-sigh-

Cheer up, you've made progress!, starter and solenoid are apparently OK as well as the battery cables, now it's time to probe the ignition switch as well as all the junctions leading up to the front and then back to the starter.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

No, for sure, positive thoughts all the way around as im definitely narrowing it down. It's just damn peculiar- and a little worrisome that Im going to get stranded if I dont sort it out. I was gutted last OCTO, got her all shiny the day before, woke up early and nothing but dimming dash lights.

Strange thing, a few years ago my buddy and I drove it across the country after we did a restoration on it. About a dozen time we would get something similar, wouldnt turn over except then the dash lights didnt dim. The fix was to crawl under with a pair of pliers with rubber handles and arc just the starter to get it to spin for sec. That would always fix it. Somewhere in the middle of the country, after I had my back on the nasty streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans we installed a quick push button. It hasnt done it in so long I finally took it off.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

marksch wrote:
No, for sure, positive thoughts all the way around as im definitely narrowing it down. It's just damn peculiar- and a little worrisome that Im going to get stranded if I dont sort it out. I was gutted last OCTO, got her all shiny the day before, woke up early and nothing but dimming dash lights.

Strange thing, a few years ago my buddy and I drove it across the country after we did a restoration on it. About a dozen time we would get something similar, wouldnt turn over except then the dash lights didnt dim. The fix was to crawl under with a pair of pliers with rubber handles and arc just the starter to get it to spin for sec. That would always fix it. Somewhere in the middle of the country, after I had my back on the nasty streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans we installed a quick push button. It hasnt done it in so long I finally took it off.


Maybe this will help. Look at the simplified drawing, below, of the typical starter solenoid/starter motor arrangement.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


When you turn the key to "start", current flows to the solenoid and activates the pull in coil and holding coil. That causes the plunger to move back and do two things at once: 1) it moves the lever back, causing the clutch and pinion gear to engage the flywheel, and 2) the rear of the plunger makes contact with terminals B and M (in the diagram), sending power from the battery (B) directly to the motor (M).

Generally, if you don't hear a click, the plunger is not moving. That could be from lack of adequate power to charge the coils, from high resistance in the solenoid coils themselves, or it could be from a mechanical problem that is jamming the smooth movement of the plunger or lever.

Sometimes, you won't hear a click and the plunger is moving but the contact plate is not making good contact with the B and M terminals so adequate power is not going to the motor to cause it to turn. High resistance from the contacts, or a worn contact plate, could cause high resistance that would prevent the motor from turning--especially when under load from being connected to the flywheel--and result in a no start but with significant dimming of the dash lights. In this situation, simply jumping the terminals on the solenoid will cause the motor to turn because it is free of the flywheel.

Finally, you may have a bad spot on the motor armature, or worn brushes. The solenoid does its job but he armature is in a position where good contact between the brushes and the armature is poor and the motor won't spin. Direct jumping may overcome that.

In your case, the solenoid is the most likely problem, IMO.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:27 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a bus that wont turn over. Reply with quote

One more thing. Check your starter bushing in the transmission. If it is missing or worn the starter motor won't spin cause the armature windings are touching the magnets.
If you don't want to pull the motor to replace the bushing, you can purchase what's called a self supporting starter.
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