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Old 03-21-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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1998 D444E not turning over

Hoping someone can give me an idea on what the problem can be. I purchased a 98 Thomas on a IH chassis in September 2012. I started it weekly until the temps got into the 30's and the batteries could not hold a charge. Some unexpected surgeries caused the bus to sit a couple months. Just put two new batteries in that I purchased from a IH dealer and when I try to start it all I get is the clunk of the relay to my left and the motor sits motionless. The rpm and spedo start their pre-run diagnosis but only sweep once then on the return to ''''0" and then the rpm needle quickly drops to pointing straight down for a sec before returning to 0. Lights and other electrical seems to work fine. Any help?
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:41 AM   #2
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

if batteries are connected correctly,sounds like they need to be charged, just cause they are "new" doesn't mean they are charged

You said lights work, does this include headlights? how about the horn?
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

If your headlights come on bright the batteries are likely fine.

If you have a volt meter, check voltage at the batteries. You should be seeing 12.7 or so from a fully charged battery, 12.1 from a half discharged batt. and 10.5 from a dead battery. They should hold a charge even with low outside temps. My two starting batteries will easily go three months between charges. When yo do your periodical startups let the beastie run for a while to top them off again. Diesel glow plugs suck a lot of juice out of starting batteries and you don't want to be drawing them down further and further with each start.

An easy way to check battery voltage is to test it at the cigarette lighter socket. That will test voltage up to the dash area.

I've heard that most school buses have a rear door interlock that kills power so make sure your door is closed.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:12 AM   #4
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

.... and for sh*ts and giggles you could bar the engine over, and see if it turns.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

I will try to bar the starter and see if it turns over. We have about 6 or 7 inches of snow on the ground with another 5 expected today so it may be a day or two. I had pulled the new batteries into the house when it didn't turn over so I checked the voltage and both show 12.68 volts - so the power is there, just nothing doing anything with it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:24 AM   #6
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

check the connection to the starter. the quick way is to click the key quickly a few (dozen) times. The right way is to look at it to see if it had corrosion or rust on it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Part-time
Sounds like your solenoid might not be making contact. It happens when they have been sitting for a while.
The clunk you get to your left is most likely the solenoid that turns the power on to the heaters, dome lamps, wipers and whatever else goes off when you turn the key off.
That solenoid screwed up on mine yesterday so all the stuff I noted above would not come on even after the bus was running.
A little "tap" with a screwdriver and everything was back to normal.
If you trace the wires the big cables from the batteries to the starter there will be a solenoid somewhere along the way, or at the starter (I don't remember off hand where they are).
Get someone to turn the key to the on position and see if there is power on the starter side of the solenoid. If there's nothing there just try giving the solenoid a tap and see if it makes contact.
Another way is to conect the two large poles of the solenoid together with a screwdriver and that will make the motor turn over even if the key is off (it will make sparks when you touch both poles, that's normal ).






The solenoid was the problem with my diesel Excursion. You can try jumping the solenoid to see if the engine turns over before you buy a new one. Did anyone mention whacking the starter with a hammer?
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:07 AM   #8
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Part-time
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Did anyone mention whacking the starter with a hammer?
And some people say that you can't fix an electrical problem with a hammer...
You can, but you need to have the perfect size hammer! :lol
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:03 AM   #9
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Part-time
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Did anyone mention whacking the starter with a hammer?
And some people say that you can't fix an electrical problem with a hammer...

Go ahead and laugh. You'll be buying me a couple of beers if whacking the starter starts your bus.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:29 AM   #10
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Re: 1998 D444E not turning over

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Part-time
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Did anyone mention whacking the starter with a hammer?
And some people say that you can't fix an electrical problem with a hammer...

Go ahead and laugh. You'll be buying me a couple of beers if whacking the starter starts your bus.
True story! Just as the contacts in a solenoid corrode when they sit unused, so goes the contacts in a starter. I have a shitrod of a truck that I got for free. It had sat for about 3 years when I got it, in need of an oil pan (and some other piddly stuff). After I got the oil pan and other piddly stuff in it, it would start maybe 1 time out of 10 just because of corrosion. Fast forward 6 months and I've been driving it a couple times a week and it starts each time. The problem was corrosion in the movable pole shoe starter. Sure, I could have returned the lifetime warranty starter to NAPA, but that would have required me getting under the truck and changing the thing out.

Here's my recommendation. "Bar" the engine over to make sure that a leaky injector or head gasket has not filled a chamber with incompressible liquid. Once you've assured that, beat the hell out of the starter while someone turns the key (assuming fully charged batteries). What do you have to lose?
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