randyl42

1993 Safari Ivory Electrical Problem

17 posts in this topic

It will run fine and then gauges stop working as do all accessories (wipers, hvac blower, etc.) and alternator doesn't charge chassis batteries.

Even when dash status lights don't come on engine will still start and run. I changed ignition switch but didn't fix it. Used to be while driving-- now it's doing it while just sitting still. Probably a loose wire (otherwise known as a needle in a haystack).

When it's good and ready it will correct, but do it again later.

Thx for any help.

Randy

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Randy,

Welcome to the Forum.

If your engine will start and run but none of the gauges work you have a bad solenoid. Find you 12 volt fuse panel. There will be several solenoids. Use a continuity tester. Ground one end and check, with the key on, both large terminal on the solenoids. Looking at the solenoid the left post should be hot. If the solenoid is good the right post will also be hot. If not that is your bad solenoid.

Herman.

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To expand on Herman's post, since electrical loads that are on only when the ignition is on are too much to run through the ignition switch, the ignition switch is just used as the "signal wire" to close the contacts in the ignition solenoid.

And, on coaches with electronic transmissions, they will generally NOT start if this solenoid is bad, as the Allison ECU is powered by the solenoid.

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I'm not sure, but pretty sure the solenoid you refer to is on the firewall. I hear it click every time the key is turned on, even when gauges and accesories don't come on. Just realized I have a tester with me to test it. Of course, as luck would have it, it's working now, and has been for over 1 hour. But I'm sure I'll have another chance shortly. Is it "normal" for this to go out intermittently as in my case and then allow everything to work fine.


Wolfe10 are you however, saying that since the motor home starts when the gauges aren't working the solenoid shouldn't be the problem. Will probably pick one up anyway just to have it. Thx for quick response. It's pretty much the answer i expected. Still hoping it's not an elusive loose wire, though. Thx again.

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Randy,

My solenoid did the same thing. I would turn the key on and nothing, on the third or forth time it would work. Yes it can be intermittent. When yu purchase the solenoid make sure that t is a 12 volt continues. This solenoid stays on as long as the key is on.

They can be purchased at any auto parts house.

Good, Luck

Herman

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I don't know if you have the Allison 3000 (electronic 6 speed) transmission or the hydraulic Allison 4 speed-- 1993 was the first year of the electronic transmission.

If the electronic 6 speed, most coach makers power the transmission shift pad and ECU off the ignition solenoid. So, if you have the 6 speed and it starts, the solenoid would not be at the top of my list.

Also, be aware that even for a given amp rated solenoid, you have to verify that it is meant for CONSTANT duty, not intermittent duty-- they look the same.

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Go to the original Safari Yahoo website & look up some of my original driving home problems posting, turned out to be a wire shorting coming over the frame rail feeding the dash board, I believe it was a 25 amp circuit.

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Well I did test the solenoid. Power on one side, no power on the other when dash lights weren't on. I wasn't smart enough to check this when the lights were on. I used a jumper wire to go from power side to non power side. Every time I touched the the wire to the contacts the dash lights came on. I was feeling pretty good that that was the problem. However, after buying a new solenoid and puting it in, nothing! BTW it does have the 6 speed electronic transmission. Which I've already found out is just great when the brain goes out. I forgot to make sure I was getting the continuous solenoid. Could that be the problem? Wouldn't there be at least a momentary flicker of the lights. Thx for the help and at least a place to start if I have to start running wires looking for a short.

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Yes, an intermittent duty solenoid will work, but will wear out in constant on duty. That would not be an issue in your testing-- it would certainly work that long.

OK, if jumping across the solenoid made everything work but it did not work with a new solenoid, you need to check the signal wire to the solenoid from the ignition switch.

Let me describe how this works: You have two large lugs on the solenoid. One always connected to the chassis battery. The other large lug gets power from the chassis battery only when one of the small terminals gets the "signal" from the ignition switch. Some solenoids have only one small terminal (signal terminal) and some have two small terminals. If two, the second is ground. If only one small terminal, the solenoid grounds through its mounting. If one terminal and not mounted on metal (i.e. ground) it will NOT work.

So, if properly mounted, you need to check for the signal (12 VDC) on the signal wire when ignition on, but 0 VDC when ignition off. That will tell you if you have a problem with the ignition switch or wiring from switch to solenoid.

You can also check by taking a small jumper wire (it will carry less than one amp) from the chassis battery lug to the small signal terminal. That will cause the solenoid to close and give power to those circuits downstream of the solenoid.

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i used my tester on the small signal wire when the key was on but no dash lights were on. the tester indicated that there was power on the signal wire but none on the outgoing large wire. i went to camping world as i thought they might be more knowledgeable about this type of solenoid, and got another solenoid that is supposed to be continuous even though i see nothing on it that says so. however, it only has one small connection. i'll connect the mounting bracket to the grounding terminal the small wire is already connected to. just to clarify I really have no confidence in camping world due my first experience with them last year. This time didn't change that feeling at all.

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12 VDC positive on signal wire, good ground on body or ground terminal and no power to "other large lug" means bad solenoid.

Again, the solenoid is easy to test. Verify 12.0+VDC to one large lug (chassis battery lug). Use any small wire from chassis battery large lug to the signal (12 VDC positive) terminal. If the solenoid doesn't "click" and 12 VDC positive go to other large lug, the solenoid is BAD.

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Rght now all is working normally and I checked and have power at both large wires when the key is on, so I don't know why the first solenoid didn't work but it seems obvious that that is the problem. I'll put the latest solenoid on tomorrow. I also checked with the jumper wire and it does click and have power at the outgoing wire. Of course right now it's working. I hate intermittent problems.

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Well I hope all is good. I put the second solenoid on today and all seems to be working. However, the old one was working before I changed it. So, only time will tell. I'm going to get another solenoid like the old one that came off just in case. Can anyone suggest what amperage I should get. I don't see anything about amps on the old solenoid. I've found several continuous solenoids of different amperages on ebay. A lot of them indicate being for golf carts. Are they different. I was surprised to get a little spark from the small signal wire while replacing the solenoid even though I disconnected the negative chassis battery cable and the ignition was off. Shouldn't that of kept the wire from sparking.

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Put on the other solenoid yesterday and drove about 350 miles today without even a flicker from the gauges or accessories. Thank you all.

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Just thought I'd update and mention an extra positive. Joplin, MO to Quartzsite, AZ after replacement of solenoid with no problems. I had been having problems with the inverter shutting off. That also has not happened since replacing the solenoid.

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Randy,

Thanks for the update-- glad the solenoid fixed it.

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randy,

One more thing. It is not a bad idea to carry a spare solenoid with you. Solenoids are just a magnatic unit, so while there is power to it it is active. Over a period of time they just give out, as you found out. A spare will almost surely guarentee that the solenoid in your coach will last for ever since you have a backup.

Good luck and happy you got your problem solved.

Herman

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