MarkKathy

Freightliner, Dead Instrument Cluster

43 posts in this topic

After a couple of weeks of inactivity, I thought it best to fire up the engine on my 2004 Itasca Horizon (Freightliner Chassis/Cummins 350HP diesel) although it fired right up, I realized none of the normal buzzers and lights preceded me.....low and behold every gauge and idiot light was flatlined! Checked the instrument cluster fuses both were fine. Had power to the fuse and grounded properly. Back lights work and turn signal lights work, other than that the dash is dead.......help!

FMCA #436820
Mark and Kathy
Rochester MN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

What you have is a bad solenoid. It can be found with your fuse panel. With the key on take a test light ground it and check for 12 volt power at the solenoid. There should be two cables on the solenoid. You should have 12 volts on both sides of the solenoid if not then your solenoid is defective.

When you get a replacement be sure that it is a 12 volt continuous duty solenoid of adequate amp capacity. Your can get them at most auto parts stores.

Let us know if that solves your problem.

Herman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to both of you, I'll call Freightliner on Monday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O' great thanks! When this has been resolved, I'll share the end result/solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

With the the ignition switch turned on (engine not running) the instrument panel should be active.

The fact the the engine started, indicates that the 30 amp engine fuse is good.

You posted that the cluster fuses where both good. That could indicate a defective ground or a Defective Display.

The MC has a built in Diagnostic Function that indicates whether or not the MC is receiving DATA from the Vehicle Data Computer(VDC)

If the data is not received from the VDC for more then 45 seconds, the Icon lights will "Dance" or initiate a chase pattern.

With out an indication of the test program, could indicate a defective panel?

Freightliner might ask you if the above test was run!

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More great feedback Rich. Thank you. There is no chase pattern or "dancing". I have it into a Motorhome shop today. Their initial thoughts are defective panel. It starts, it runs, the fuses are good and there is power and everything grounded. One question, Wolfe 10 you mentioned "common issue with this chassis" so I have to ask.....shouldn't there be a common resolution?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the instruments are dead with good power and ground then you will probably get a reman instrument cluster. Very common with GM chassis but I don't know what Freightliner use during that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

The cluster has some electrostatic parts that can be damaged do to static electricity.

They are an item that requires some understanding of how to remove, test and install the new units.

The cluster is supplied with the chassis when it is shipped to the coach maker. ACTIA supplies a number of the Dash instrument panels for the industry.

Your problem is or could be quite technical and many of the RV service centers do not have skilled chassis service employees.

The local RV service center farms out most of the electrical, transmission and engine work to a certified chassis service center for the specific chassis.

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rich, I would agree regarding "farming out" electrical work. The Winnebago dealer I purchased this coach from primarily deals in travel trailers 5th wheels and some class c and gas powered class A's. They kept it a week and said, it's out of our league, take it to Frieghtliner..........". The place I took it is certified Freightliner....but they had no instant answers. I'll share what the ultimate resolution is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Under the bed there is a instrument control module. It has the colored air lines going to it. Freightliner updated this module several times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Things are not progressing well. It appears at this point to be a control module, but even that is proving to be a challenge to get? My profile reads "I travel with pets" at this rate, I may not travel at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

When you mention a Module, are they talking about the VDC(vehicle data computer). It is an interface between the ECM and the Instrument cluster.

The VDC is shock mounted on rubber feet. One in each corner. Have they informed you of what is missing ?

Power, Data link issue, J-1587 Data Link from the ECM to the VDC, The 339D link between the VDC and the MC.

The Engine runs fine, so the ECM should be OK, is there data out to the VDC?, can they read the data coming from the ECM at the test port?

Could you use a Scan Gage system or VSMpc software to have all the information displayed, one needs. If they can not get items needed to repair you display.

Could you ask what type of system is used for your coach display.

Medallion ll VDC/MC or what ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should have specific answers this time tomorrow as the shop I am using have in fact been working with Freightliner to resolve this issue. They have a VDC box inbound tomorrow AM and hope to have everything back up tomorrow afternoon. Rich, I wish I had you along as I think you could have done some coaching on this! I did consider purchasing (and still might) a Scan Gauge as a very short term alternative until this could be resolved but I don't see where air pressure reads out on most systems, leaving me and other drivers on the road vulnerable to potential air brake failure and that's just not an option. Maybe I'm wrong and there is an output for air pressure?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

Thanks for the progress report!

You make a good point about being unable to read the air pressure(s) when the Digital Instrument clusters fail.

One could tap into the air lines and connect direct reading air gauges. Might not look pretty, but with air gauges and a Scan Gauge one could keep moving until the needed items are on hand for repairs.

When one is on vacation or full-timing a broken house on wheels is a bummer!!!!

Wounder if the A/D Coach builders need to rethink the air pressure monitoring method.

With an alternative engine / transmission monitoring system and direct reading air gauges, one could still use the coach.

The engines, transmission and chassis equipment can fail, but the number of failures are small with good maintenance.

The digital dash panels / displays fail with out any warning in most cases and there is no redundancy built into the systems.

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad to report the new VDC box did nothing. I'll have to follow up with a more technical description, however upon the VDC failure they were able to bypass some systems and fire up the bank of idiot lights and speedometer. They are going to try and pull an ECM from a similar Winnebago model on the lot and use that one to see if it will solve the riddle, if not at least we can make our trip to the North Shore/Arrowhead region of MN on Saturday and then back to the shop upon return. They have been in contact with Freightliner, but I did pass on Rich's questions/suggestions and "Markstella"s location of the ECM, so stick with me folks.....mystery not solved yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

No change with the new VDC? The fact that they could get some of the display working, kind of makes it look like a DATA link issue from the ECM. So without that information. Thinking your fuel gauge, Voltage and temperature gauges are missing.

Also, missing the Buzzer and Chime alarms.

The item listed above are digital signals.

Do you have Turn signal lights and High beam light?

Do you have. Wait to start, Stop engine, Check engine, Park Brake. There are other Active Low data signals that go through the VDC. Like primary and secondary pressure gauges?

Those signals / information is not part of the data link in the information I have.

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rich, my tech is eating up what you have shared with me, but his biggest challenge at this point seems to be finding the ECM? In an earlier reply from Markstella, he commented that it was located under the bed, however, my tech commented via phone just now that if it is, it's hiding? Anyone have any thoughts?

Everything you stated above regarding what I do and do not have is accurate so far. Problem is I am electro -techno challenged and am (I'm sure) losing something in translation, so I am literally sharing verbatim what you are writing. I am thinking we have time at this point, unless in the next three hours this whole issue is resolved as I will be picking the coach up for our trip with limited dash functions until I return late next week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

Winnebago should be able to tell you exactly where it is. Give them a call with your VIN.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That should have been glaringly obvious, I will do just that, Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good grief, I believe I am cursed, picked up the jury rigged coach so we could pack up, cool down the fridge and head out in the AM,and now no power to the fridge. I read the forum regarding Norcold high temp sensor and resetting it with a strong magnet. Tried that to no avail. I bypassed the sensor and the fridge does work. I suppose there's no quick replacement to that issue? You know, with the instrument cluster issue, and now this.....does anyone suppose the coach took an indirect lightning strike? We've had plenty of those over the last month?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

You may only have 2 choices.

1) Call Bill Murray and the Ghostbusters Team.

or

2) Call a Priest for an Exorcism.

It would be kind of like giving chicken soup to a dead man, It may not help, but it couldn't hurt. :lol:

Have a good one and hope you get home safe and in one piece.

Herman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Herman, I like your sense of humor. As a motorhome owner it is not if something will go wrong but when. I suppose I was due as I have literally had no coach failures (human yes, mechanical no) up until this one.

So, I will pass on the priest, and contemplate "Ghost Busters"!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now