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Old 04-01-2015, 04:07 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Year: 81
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: 885 Cummins Turbo (A-855t-11)
81 Crown Starting Problem

Hey all

I have an 81 Crown. It recently all of a sudden is not putting any voltage to the solenoid from the ignition. I have started it maybe 10 times since I have got it and it started fine then all of a sudden when I turn the key, nothing. No clicking of the solenoid. Got my batteries starter and solenoid checked out and determined via volt meter the ignition is no giving any juice to the solenoid. I opened the panel in the front of the bus and I am a little lost on the next move
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Old 04-01-2015, 04:10 PM   #2
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Does your ignition switch have any power at the backside?

Keep following your power till it stops. Might just need a new ignition switch.

Nat
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:39 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Year: 81
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: 885 Cummins Turbo (A-855t-11)
Not sure. How exactly would I check this, and are they universal, can you just get any ignition switch or are there specific one that would work. I know its 12v
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:25 AM   #4
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Your engine is a fully mechanical and is simple to start.

I need to make a sticky on how to start mechanical buses.



Power from your battery go's two ways. One big positive cable go's to the starter. A smaller wire will send 12 volts to the back of your ignition switch.

When you turn the key, the power at the ignition switch gets sent to a relay. In a crown, I have no clue where it would be.

The relay sends power to the starter solenoid.

When the starter solenoid gets power to the small lug from the relay, the solenoid completes the connection and spins the starter.






You need to pull the ignition switch from the dash, and count how many wires attach to the back. One of the wires needs to have 12 volts to it.

Untill you check for power at the back of the ignition switch, you don't know if it's the ignition switch or just a burned out fuse.

I would just hot wire it myself. Then compleatly rewire the ignition circuit.

Nat
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:38 AM   #5
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My buses starter relay.







The two larger studs are the power from the battery, and to the starter. The small stud is were the key sends power to, completing the connection.

Nat
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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Hi.

First I have a question. Do your headlights and other electrical items work? If not you could have a bad connection at your battery posts or the chassis ground or the battery could be dead. I'm not familiar with Crowns but some buses have ignition interlocks for the rear door(s) or escape hatches and windows. Make sure that they are all closed and locked. All starting systems work basically the same way. If you follow the large cable from the starter backwards it should lead to the starter solenoid (relay). On the other side of the solenoid the large cable will go to the battery. Check with a test light and see if you have power there. First check your test light on the battery to make sure it is working. I learned this the hard way years ago. Make sure you have a good ground on your test light and see if you have power from the battery to the solenoid. If not check your battery connections. If they are good and the battery is not dead follow the ground cable from the battery and make sure you have a good connection to the frame/chassis. If you have power from the battery to the solenoid have someone turn the ignition to the start position and see if you get power in the smaller wire at the solenoid. If not you could have a bad ignition switch or a bad connection somewhere. I've seen cases where the plug on the back of the ignition switch comes loose. Also check for any blown fuses. As a last resort I would use jumper cables to jump the solenoid. Put one red cable clamp on the positive battery post or the large cable on the battery side of the solenoid and the other red clamp on the other large cable on the starter
side of the solenoid. Just touch it there quickly. The engine should crank. If the ignition is on and there is no interlock interruption the engine should start. Just make sure your fuses are good and all of your connections are good. A little corrosion sometimes goes a long way. If it is a standard transmission you may need to hold the clutch in to activate the safety switch. If it is an automatic make sure it is in park or neutral. You could have a bad safety switch. CAUTION: if it is a standard in gear and you jump the solenoid it may start and take off without a driver in the driver seat. The same could possibly happen if an automatic is in gear. Be careful. You could also have a bad connection on the starter or maybe the starter just gave up the ghost. I think you'll probably find a bad connection as vehicles don't like to just sit around. Also I assume Crowns are negative ground. If the negative battery cable goes to the frame/ chassis it is negative ground. If you are not sure get someone to read this and give you a hand. If you need further help let me know. Good luck.
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Old 04-02-2015, 01:47 PM   #7
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I am going to start by stating the obvious--make sure the bus is in neutral. I can't tell you how many times I have received calls that a bus won't start and I have asked if the bus was in neutral and then the bus started right up.

On a Crown, regardless of whether or not it is a manual or automatic, there is a neutral safety switch. Both do tend to fail over time.

If when you turn on the key and buzzers start buzzing and the transmission is in neutral and the starter still doesn't turn you will need to start going downstream to discover where the juice stops.

But before you start checking circuits the very first place to look is to check the engine control panel on the street side engine compartment. If the start/run switch is in the wrong position you will have no juice at the ignition switch. While you are there see if the starter will engage with that switch. If it does you will know the neutral safety switches are good, the starter solenoids are good, and the problem is either in the start/run switch or the ignition switch.

The next place to look is at the first solenoid in the system. It is a solenoid that is always hot when the key is on. It powers everything up. If your buzzers are not buzzing this would be a good culprit to suspect. It is located in the electrical panel in the step well below the front heater unit.

The next place down the line is the solenoid inside the curbside engine compartment. That solenoid carries the signal from the switch to the starter solenoid.

The battery cables start at the batteries on the street side and go across the bus to the battery shut off switch in the curbside engine compartment. After the master disconnect switch there should be some very large fuses that protect the main leads. From there the main leads go to the (+) side of the starter solenoid. There are also other leads that go to the alternator and main electrical panel in the front of the bus.

The weak link in the system is the solenoids in the front electrical panel. When they were made by Cole Hersee or AC Delco in the US they lasted a long time. Replacement solenoids tend to be made in China with very variable quality control.

Good luck and if you have any specific questions feel free to contact me.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:38 PM   #8
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Any luck?

Nat
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:12 AM   #9
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If you need to start the bus to move it or something, you can hot-wire it very easily.

If you're getting 12V at the positive-in side of the relay, just get a piece of thick wire (i've even used coat hangars, gasp) and jumper that across to the other end of the solenoid (where the wire that attaches to the starter goes). The current will pass through your jumper and straight to the starter. It can be a bit dangerous, but not so much if you're careful. Mind the arcing. Obviously, remove the jumper once the engine is running!

I think the solenoid may be going out on my bus, so this is how I've been starting it in the meantime.

This is also the beauty of what are called 1-Wire diesel engines (mechanical ones like you and I have). The only wire you need to get it running is the positive lead to the starter. And once it's running, it's a 0-wire engine. It just keeps on going and going and going....
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:26 AM   #10
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On the post about using a jumper to bypass the relay you are better to jump power to the relay terminal, the small terminal and let the relay handle the major amperage
and if the relay doesn't do it's job and engage the starter you've found the problem.
Bad relay! As a side note in the event that you jumper past the relay and the wire you are using is undersize, use something to hold the wire other than your fingers or other body parts sensitive to heat as the wire can heat very fast. Don't ask me how I know.
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