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Old 09-10-2014, 09:02 PM   #31
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

The rust treatment worked well so I'm on to the paint. May take me a day or two to get this completed...

The batteries seem to die all the time and I have to keep a battery tender on them or I can't start the bus. Wondering if there may be a short somewhere or I just have some bad batteries. I also get the "Check Engine Light" but I'm not sure what I should check??? Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:27 AM   #32
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

Small power drains can add up to a bad day. You night look into a simple cut out switch that totally disconnects the batteries (?).
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:32 PM   #33
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

Bus won't start. When I try, I hear a "whirling noise" from the starter but it does not engage... Bad Starter, or did I remove some wiring thats required? That is the question...

So, took a break from the starting issue and finished painting the floor... Looks pretty good! Next I will patch the rust holes, then quick touch up painting, and finally lay the subfloor. Why do projects always seem to take twice as long?
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:28 PM   #34
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

Was the whirring noise like an electrical buzz or did you hear the starter turn over just not connect with the flywheel?

If it's a case of the latter, I'd say bad starter plunger. Dunno if it can be rebuilt or easier to replace. Have you tried to start it from the rear with the push button and listened?

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Old 09-14-2014, 11:39 PM   #35
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve.c
Back working on the bus this weekend. Covered the front flashers and need a new Pop Rivet Gun. 3/16 SS Closed End rivets are tough to install... Used Sikaflex 221 to seal the plates. Looks like it will work well.
Yo, grab one of these and an air compressor if you haven't already:

http://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-air- ... 61482.html

It will save you lots of pain than using a manual riveter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr
Liking the bus! I have a '99 - 40 footer. The electrical box seems a nightmare, I had been taking out a switch here and there and removing the wires little by little. I bought new toggle switches for the on/off things I will have, but will keep the 3 way ones for things like the wipers and such. I am going to eliminate that whole mess eventually and it will be 1 bus bar for the power with a separate fuse panel to connect the other items I need, so that way I can seal that panel off and access it from inside.

Nice work on the windows!

Welcome to the neighborhood!!!

-Doc
The box is not that bad once you realize how it is done. It is straightforward and there is a LOT that you can remove now that the school lights and stuff aren't used anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve.c
Yes, the $360.00 is all in worst case. If they can get them out of 2 sheets instead of 3, I could save a bit... I prefer it when that happens.

I went with 16 gauge as apparently the rest of the bus is out of it and the "old feller" making the parts said; "...they would be better out of the heavier material." He also said, "If your converting a school bus to a RV then you must care more about safety and less about gas mileage!" I would say add in "low carbon footprint, better for the environment, and a great family building project and he's got it right.
Check out how I did my window patches. For a "drop-in" replacement, I sandwiched 2 pieces of 7/16" OSB together with liquid nails and 16 ga steel over that, which ends up being the same thickness as the window frame. I then screwed the layers together and you end up with a nearly 1" thick solid patch that you can screw to and is structural and wont clang about. I made 6 patches out of 2 4x8 sheets of 16 ga which were $70 each, and some OSB which is like $9 a sheet. It isn't even hard to do and you can cut 16 ga with a jigsaw. Then you just silicone the edges and attach as the windows were before.

I cannot speak for the dead batteries on your bus because I have never had that issue. However, at the back of the bus in the engine compartment, there is a big black box on your right hand side if you are facing the engine. It has a start, ignition, and compartment light and oil pressure gauge on it. There is also a 200 amp rated circuit breaker. If you push the red button on this, it will kill power to your whole bus without you having to manually disconnect the batteries. I have left my bus for 2 weeks or so with it connected and it still started fine, but nowadays I keep it with a charger on always so I cannot say if it has a parasitic drain. But until you figure it out, you can keep it shut off like that so as not to drain the batteries.

As far as not starting, make sure you hold the key in the "on" position before cranking. You will hear ticktick - ticktick - ticktick - ticktick. That is the ABS self check at each wheel. Then wait to crank until all the warning lights have gone out. If when you crank you only hear a whirr near the starter motor and no engaging, hit the starter with a cledge. No joke. The gears can get stuck and not engage like they should, and that can disengage them. Though this us the sign of a faiing starter, it will get you going. Starters for these (aftermarket) are pretty cheap. PM me if you have any question as I have done plenty of down and dirty mechanical and body work on these as of late, and it is fresh in my mind.

Good work.
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:24 AM   #36
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

There's a couple reasons for a starter to act like that, porkchopsandwiches addressed it a bit as well. Here's a quick description of how most engine starters work:

There's a big-ass motor with a large electromagnetic solenoid attached to it. When you hit the starter button or key, you energize the solenoid coil with a relatively small electrical circuit. Since it's an electromagnet, it slams forward, doing two things:

1: it engages the "bendix" gear, which is a small pinion gear that engages the flywheel gear
2: it then makes a very solid electrical contact with a large power cable directly connecting the battery to the starter motor, thus making the starter motor turn over the engine.

There are a couple common ways this fails:

1. the solenoid fails, no clicky, no starty
2. the solenoid gets sticky, so it makes a clicky sound and nothing else - nothing else happens
3. the solenoid engages, but the bendix gear teeth are worn out, so the motor spins but doesn't engage the flywheel
4. the motor is failing. one or more windings is arced out inside and it's a weak motor
5. the starter is working as intended, but is hitting a worn out position on the flywheel ring gear.

#1 is an easy fix - replace the solenoid
#2 is the same as #1, but more annoying because it will fail when you don't want it to. You can work around on it by having someone hammer on the starter solenoid then try starting, or beat on it while starting.
#3 sucks, because you need to at least replace the pinion gear, if not get the starter rebuilt
#4 also sucks, the motor needs rebuilding/replacing
#5 really sucks, because you basically need to pull the engine out to put a new ring gear on the flywheel. Engines have a tendancy to "rest" at one of a few locations due to the way the compression will stop it after cutting off fuel. When you start it again, the starter gear hits the same spot each time.




Quote:
Originally Posted by steve.c
Bus won't start. When I try, I hear a "whirling noise" from the starter but it does not engage... Bad Starter, or did I remove some wiring thats required? That is the question...

So, took a break from the starting issue and finished painting the floor... Looks pretty good! Next I will patch the rust holes, then quick touch up painting, and finally lay the subfloor. Why do projects always seem to take twice as long?
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:32 AM   #37
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

first thing to do is correct battery issue. you may not be putting enough voltage/amperage to the starter and if so, can burn up the starter which may be good.
only hit the starter if it has been confirmed to be bad. otherwise, you risk permanent damage to a good, but misdiagnosed starter. best approach is remove starter, place on bench, and diagnose. BUT, its old, and has given trouble, and you have a lack of mechanical experience so i would suggest taking it to a reputable starter shop and have it overhauled. should be good to go for another 10-20 years. you know the bushings are dry of lube and the brushes are worn so its THE right time to fix it right!
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:31 PM   #38
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

+1, and I'd add if you're uncomfortable working around battery cables and associated machinery (not a knock, some people just aren't!) it's one of the few things that will set fire to your vehicle very quickly during a large short if you've done it incorrectly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by claydbal
first thing to do is correct battery issue. you may not be putting enough voltage/amperage to the starter and if so, can burn up the starter which may be good.
only hit the starter if it has been confirmed to be bad. otherwise, you risk permanent damage to a good, but misdiagnosed starter. best approach is remove starter, place on bench, and diagnose. BUT, its old, and has given trouble, and you have a lack of mechanical experience so i would suggest taking it to a reputable starter shop and have it overhauled. should be good to go for another 10-20 years. you know the bushings are dry of lube and the brushes are worn so its THE right time to fix it right!
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:19 PM   #39
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

I'm going to pull the starter and have it checked out/rebuilt. Can anyone point me to someone in the NVA/DC area that can rebuild this starter? Am I better buying a new one? If so, do you have a link?
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:26 PM   #40
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Re: 2000 Thomas Saf-t Liner

I would think that making sure the batteries are good and that the battery cables are good and connected well would be the first thing to check.
Make sure they are filled with water, charge them overnight, disconnect them from any cables and let them set at least a few hours and then check their voltage, 12.5 volts or above and the batteries are probably not the problem, might be best to take them to an auto supply place so they can test them under load,
You may have already done this but I did not see it posted.
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