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Old 12-03-2019, 10:53 PM   #1
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Bus Not Starting or Turning

Bought a short bus about a month ago - 2006 Ford E350, runs like a tank. Drove it back home 650 miles not one problem. Drove it two or three times since then after sitting in snow for a few days.

Started it about a week ago to drive it up on two plastic ramps to access underneath - started just fine.

Demo'd the inside, only wires that were cut were the lights in the ceiling, which were taped afterwards. The back door deadbolt was disconnected temporarily to remove the wall panel, then reconnected. Went to move it out of the garage and engine will not turn.

All emergency exits are closed, no emergency buzzer. Jumped the battery, no luck.

Here is an awful video: the clicking is me turning the key. The click is coming from the electrical panel above the driver's seat that houses all emergency exit wiring. Does this mean anything?

Where can I start? I'm convinced it's an electrical problem...as it worked fine up until the demo.

Appreciate any ideas you all have!
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:36 AM   #2
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Try moving the shifter to "N" and see if it starts?
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:43 AM   #3
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What does the service manual say about the battery indicator LED? I'm not used to seeing that particular indicator stay on like that.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:00 AM   #4
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Start with some basics:
Do you have a DVM (digital volt meter)? Even the 'free' one's from HF are more than adequate for automotive work...

What is your battery voltage at the batteries? Starter motor? etc...
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:49 AM   #5
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Try moving the shifter to "N" and see if it starts?
Ha, I was going insane the other day trying to get my bus to start, eventually realized I had turned it off while it was still in "D".
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:59 AM   #6
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I would first check the battery, then double check the battery.
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
Try moving the shifter to "N" and see if it starts?
Did try that - no luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Start with some basics:
Do you have a DVM (digital volt meter)? Even the 'free' one's from HF are more than adequate for automotive work...

What is your battery voltage at the batteries? Starter motor? etc...
I do, haven't checked any connections yet. When we went to jump the battery, it sparked, meaning something is pulling power. From what I've read, this is normal with buses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACamper View Post
I would first check the battery, then double check the battery.
Should I check the connections or the voltage? I read some threads that talked about reconnecting all battery lines.
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marceps View Post
What does the service manual say about the battery indicator LED? I'm not used to seeing that particular indicator stay on like that.
Manual says "Charging system: Illuminates when the battery is not charging properly."

Thanks for all your help so far.
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Old 12-05-2019, 12:37 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

Don't jump start. Use a battery tender instead.

If the bus still doesn't turn over after topping off the battery with a tender, confirm the recommended cold-cranking-amps rating from the service manual, take the batteries to a battery shop, and request a CCA test. If test results are below the recommended rating, ask about the shop's warranty policies. Try to get them on the hook for six months minimum.

Quote:
From what I've read, this is normal with buses?
Certainly ain't out of the ordinary.
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscobus View Post
I do, haven't checked any connections yet. When we went to jump the battery, it sparked, meaning something is pulling power. From what I've read, this is normal with buses?
I find it happens frequently when jumping vehicles, generally I don't pay it much mind. More sparking can mean something is turning on or is still pulling power. A ton of sparks could be a dead short, but since this is not a burnt up Porsche we're trying to get out of park, I highly doubt that would be your issue


Quote:
Should I check the connections or the voltage? I read some threads that talked about reconnecting all battery lines.
Do both, you can have perfectly fine voltage at your battery posts, but if the connections are loose or dirty then that good voltage won't make to your starter.

It would not be a bad idea to check if the starter is receiving power anyway on the chance that the starter went bad. And since it's a Ford, it may have an external solenoid mounted to the side of the engine compartment that sends power to the starter. I just had both go bad in my pickup, the solenoid a few weeks after the starter. The solenoid almost stranded me at a rest stop with the exact same symptoms, thankfully it made contact after a couple tries and I continued my trip with no further issues.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:40 AM   #11
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usually a roof hatch or emergency window wont prevent a start, but if the bus had a "vandalock" on the back or side emergency door to lock it, that lock has to UNLOCKED for the bus to start and run.. if the wires to said lock got cut then those will most likely be your culprit..
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
usually a roof hatch or emergency window wont prevent a start, but if the bus had a "vandalock" on the back or side emergency door to lock it, that lock has to UNLOCKED for the bus to start and run.. if the wires to said lock got cut then those will most likely be your culprit..
-Christopher
THIS^
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscobus View Post
Should I check the connections or the voltage? I read some threads that talked about reconnecting all battery lines.
The first thing I do is clean the terminals and terminal connections with a $4. brush or sandpaper.
Then if it won't start with a jump I short out the starter solenoid with a screw driver. If the starter won't go by shorting out I go back to the battery.

With a school bus you also have devices that will inhibit the start when doors are not closed, so if the starter starts by shorting but won't start from the ignition there is a good chance one of the doors are not closed properly.

Batteries can be tricky to trouble shoot.. Many people get good readings when they are bad and start looking at other things. If you can find a date on the battery it helps, a battery will generally last 3-4 years and will usually go out in the first part of winter IME.

Good luck keep us posted.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
usually a roof hatch or emergency window wont prevent a start, but if the bus had a "vandalock" on the back or side emergency door to lock it, that lock has to UNLOCKED for the bus to start and run.. if the wires to said lock got cut then those will most likely be your culprit..
-Christopher
Here are some pics of the back deadbolt lock: https://imgur.com/a/v4oIe4R

I didn't consider the fact that it may not be grounded properly because the sheet of metal it's connected to is "floating". Am I thinking correct? I will go back today and try it out
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:09 PM   #15
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Since batteries are in question here, where are you, the climate?


Do we even know what kind of vehicle, didn't watch the video?


Please fill out your profile in more detail.


This ain't rocket science but you have to know your bus pretty well to enjoy it.


Not part of the welcoming committee but welcome and good luck.


John
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscobus View Post
Here are some pics of the back deadbolt lock: https://imgur.com/a/v4oIe4R

I didn't consider the fact that it may not be grounded properly because the sheet of metal it's connected to is "floating". Am I thinking correct? I will go back today and try it out
On my bus, I bypassed the deadbolt by connecting the wire leading to it directly to ground (a screw run into the body). If your deadbolt is just attached to a free-floating piece of metal, that will not work (i.e. it will not complete the circuit and the bus will not start) regardless of whether the deadbolt is open or closed.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:17 PM   #17
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Is nobody going to address the "Elephant in the Room"??

Did I hear right? You are driving a 11,000lb front heavy beast up on a PLASTIC Ramp.. so you can crawl under it??
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:24 PM   #18
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Is nobody going to address the "Elephant in the Room"??

Did I hear right? You are driving a 11,000lb front heavy beast up on a PLASTIC Ramp.. so you can crawl under it??
Some are 12k capacity, though I would still use jack stands. When I was racing, the 4 legged stands always got an 1/8" plate welded to the bottom to make them work on hot asphalt.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:24 PM   #19
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Is nobody going to address the "Elephant in the Room"??

Did I hear right? You are driving a 11,000lb front heavy beast up on a PLASTIC Ramp.. so you can crawl under it??
My rhino ramps are rated for 6000 lbs each.
I think the 11k figure is probably closer to the GVWR.

Its safe. Pushing it towards the limits but they're likely to be rated pretty conservatively anyhow for legality/liability.

All fears could be assuaged with some cribbing.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:51 PM   #20
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almost everything that has a safety is rated for half of what it can handle by patented design with the material that the company sent in for a test patent.
does not mean that after they got there patent that they didnt outsource for cheaper and quicker production after patented.
i would strongly adhere to the ratings of any vehicle ramp and use a form of base plate for it and even on a normal concrete or asphalt drive and definite on gravel and grass.
dont wait until its unsafe to think of safety
plan ahead because THE COST COULD BE YOUR LIFE.
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