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Old 09-06-2012, 09:47 AM   #1
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Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

So I spent the last two weeks working on painting and removing the flashers, stop sign, etc off the bus, and NOW the thing won't start. Ignition just does nothing. When I turn the key I hear a semi-pleasant beeping noise. It doesn't even crank, so I think it's some sort of circuit interruption (deliberate or accidental). It's a different noise than if the emergency door was locked or open (that is a nasty buzzing noise). I don't quite remember from before if there is that beeping noise before the engine starts. It might be normal.

I'm theorizing that something electrical with the stop sign is causing the bus to not start. Not sure why. I just clipped the wires since there was no connector I could see. The only other changes since last starting it is removing the safety bar from the front, removing the radio antenna, removing the top flashers (front and back) and painted the vehicle.

Any ideas? When removing the exterior electrical components, do I need to do some rewiring on the inside, perhaps?
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:12 AM   #2
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

yes, removing the stop sign can cause the bus not to start. I had to do a bit of rewiring on mine after i removed the stop sign.. and also had to figure out which wires had to be connected together and which wires grounded when i removed the switches on the side doors and the back window...

you can pretty easily figure it out by trial and error...
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

Since you have the same bus as me I will add this.

I removed my stop sign assy, so I can modify it, I just unplugged everything and it's sitting in the bus and outside(even hose is still sticking thru the hole)

I have driven it a couple times...no problem with it starting so the stop sign (unless it's different) didn't effect me.

Only difference is that my front bar was already disconnected
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

I can't explain it, but after several attempts, the bus FINALLY starts. I didn't do anything except turn the ignition about 5 times. It did NOTHING the first few times, and then on the 4th try, I heard a single knocking noise (something electrical related) from the wiring panel on my left side. I then tried a 5th time and it WORKED! I really have zero explanation.

I am supposed to be getting it weighed tomorrow (and the title flipped) so I was getting stressed. I can deal with quirks later as long as I can get that other stuff done first.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:10 PM   #5
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomas_maly
I can't explain it, but after several attempts, the bus FINALLY starts. I didn't do anything except turn the ignition about 5 times. It did NOTHING the first few times, and then on the 4th try, I heard a single knocking noise (something electrical related) from the wiring panel on my left side. I then tried a 5th time and it WORKED! I really have zero explanation.

I am supposed to be getting it weighed tomorrow (and the title flipped) so I was getting stressed. I can deal with quirks later as long as I can get that other stuff done first.
Mine has done that 2 times since I got it, turn key to start and nothing (it should activate the solinoid->round thing on panel with battery cables going to each side and another smaller wire going to the key switch)
Similar to this


The clicking you hear from the panel is the solinoid activating

so either the solinoid is sticking or the switch contacts are dirty/bad...which are not allowing contact to be made to turn the starter over...I am going to replace both not $$ and I already have them from other projects

I also plan to check ground for that panel that everything is mounted to,because the solinoid needs to be grounded to work
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:45 PM   #6
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

The clicking noise can be caused by several things......

weak battery or batteries...
bad connection, dirty, loose or corroded contacts...
corroded cables...
bad starter...

or on a bus ???

just my 2 cents...
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

okay just came in from bus

On our bus there is a solenoid on the panel by driver(open door outside)

when you turn the key to the "run" position it should activate("click")
this powers up the 12v side of the bus, things like alternator and fuel shutoff solenoid

When you turn the key to the "start" position it sends 12v to the starter solenoid (shiny gold-ish thing on top of the starter)



this makes the starter spin to start the engine

So I noticed on mine (while getting you pics...thanks!.. that the monkey that put the brand new starter on didn't tighten the nut...which would explain a lot of my weird electrical issues.



Since the main 12v from battery uses this to "connect the rest of the system" to the bus (the other large gauge wire goes to the "hot" side of the first solenoid I posted a pic of.....so I need to clean and tighten this before diagnosing further


so if your not getting a "click" when you first turn the key and it wont crank over and all connections are tight...I would then look at the ignition switch (since it controls 2 separate "systems")

post up any findings

OH and disconnect battery before tightening any connections...you do not want to ground out a wrench
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:05 AM   #8
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

I hate dumbass monkeys.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:09 AM   #9
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

'a fool and his monkey are soon parted"...
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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Re: Bus won't start after removing flashers/stop sign

I had the same thing with a Harley I had once. A loose battery cable. I would be riding along and the bike would die. It never happened in a safe spot. It happened on the Golden Gate Bridge, in the Broadway tunnel and a few other nice spots. God bless union labor for their quality control. We won't talk about the fuel line that was barely on and could have set the bike and me on fire. An old timer found that one and I thought he was pulling my leg when he showed it to me. I did get a recall notice for the fuel line about 5 years after I sold the bike. This was on a brand new Harley. I'm done. Rant off.
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
okay just came in from bus

On our bus there is a solenoid on the panel by driver(open door outside)

when you turn the key to the "run" position it should activate("click")
this powers up the 12v side of the bus, things like alternator and fuel shutoff solenoid

When you turn the key to the "start" position it sends 12v to the starter solenoid (shiny gold-ish thing on top of the starter)



this makes the starter spin to start the engine

So I noticed on mine (while getting you pics...thanks!.. that the monkey that put the brand new starter on didn't tighten the nut...which would explain a lot of my weird electrical issues.



Since the main 12v from battery uses this to "connect the rest of the system" to the bus (the other large gauge wire goes to the "hot" side of the first solenoid I posted a pic of.....so I need to clean and tighten this before diagnosing further


so if your not getting a "click" when you first turn the key and it wont crank over and all connections are tight...I would then look at the ignition switch (since it controls 2 separate "systems")

post up any findings

OH and disconnect battery before tightening any connections...you do not want to ground out a wrench
In the photo where youre pointing at a solenoid (?) In the box on the side of the bus what is that part? Husband pulled some "dead wires" today and said it started arching that part when he turned the key to the on (but not turning over) position.
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:56 PM   #12
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My 2001 Thomas School Bus (5.9 Cummins) won't start after removing the stop sign +

Quote:
Originally Posted by chev49 View Post
yes, removing the stop sign can cause the bus not to start. I had to do a bit of rewiring on mine after i removed the stop sign.. and also had to figure out which wires had to be connected together and which wires grounded when i removed the switches on the side doors and the back window...

you can pretty easily figure it out by trial and error...
Oh man... I'm having this problem, but have no idea where to start.

I replaced my batteries, rebuilt my starter and I still get a single click when I turn my ignition key.

The click comes from a coil in the electronic panel.

We recently took off the stop sign and the swinging kid gate.

When you said, "You can pretty easily figure it out by trial and error"... What did you mean by that?

Note: I'm a bit of an electrical dunce so any useful hints would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for posting.
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:19 AM   #13
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Same here. Bought the bus in April and drove it from MI to NY where it's been sitting since. It will start if jumped, but the battery doesn't hold a charge for more than a few hours (battery is only 3 years old). The only thing I can think of is that removing the stop sign (the only electrical work I've done) somehow created a power drain.

Taking it to a shop today to have the battery fully recharged in the hopes that sitting for a month killed it and the subsequent jumps/short drives haven't fully charged it. *crosses fingers*
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Old 06-16-2017, 01:52 PM   #14
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I hate dumbass monkeys.
Then you are doing something wrong, monkey boy. I like dumbass monkeys. Finding a loose wire on the starter is easy peasy. It's the smartass monkeys you need to worry about. The ones that are smart enough to be dangerous. We don't need that relay if we do this and then tie that to there...

Sure it'll work on paper and even works fairly well in practice but as soon as one thing goes bad, you start getting really weird 5hit happening. The home grown electrical engineers are the worse of the bunch. One bad ground is hard enough to chase. Start rewiring stuff with no documentation and stuff goes tits up and is a nightmare to chase down.
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Old 06-16-2017, 02:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SashaRosen View Post
In the photo where youre pointing at a solenoid (?) In the box on the side of the bus what is that part? Husband pulled some "dead wires" today and said it started arching that part when he turned the key to the on (but not turning over) position.
Starter solenoid. Solenoids are voltage activated switches if you will. The starter, wiper motors, etc. draw a LOT of current. Instead of running wires the size of your thumb to the key switch, run little wires to a solenoid. Energize it and it draws the contacts closed on the high amp circuit. Relays and solenoids will "click" when the switching is being done.
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Old 06-16-2017, 02:12 PM   #16
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Same here. Bought the bus in April and drove it from MI to NY where it's been sitting since. It will start if jumped, but the battery doesn't hold a charge for more than a few hours (battery is only 3 years old). The only thing I can think of is that removing the stop sign (the only electrical work I've done) somehow created a power drain.

Taking it to a shop today to have the battery fully recharged in the hopes that sitting for a month killed it and the subsequent jumps/short drives haven't fully charged it. *crosses fingers*
That'll generally kill the batteries. They aren't meant to go to 0%. Deep cycles are but starting batteries are not. Mine did the exact same only they were 4 yrs old. I bought a solar panel that did nothing. Then I got tired of waiting half an hour for it to charge enough to jump start. Bought new 8D batteries by Duracell for $180 each (2x).
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:17 PM   #17
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I had this same issue, it turned out to be a tiny wire disconnected from my batteries when I removed them to charge em. Click but no turn. After putting the tiny wire back on, no issues.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:32 PM   #18
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Just a wee tip for everyone to do. Get some Wd40 and spray directly into where the ignition key goes and give it a couple of good squirts. Those switches get lots of dust bunnies in there that seem to develop into gremlins. Work the switch on and off a few times after the application and you can possibly eliminate a lot of ignition problems.

Out of curiosity, how many actually have removed the dash covers and inspected the wiring??
Mine was loaded with dust and cobwebs when I got the bus. I couldn't believe it ran like that but it might not have if I hadn't vacuumed it out and cleaned all I could. At least it makes for less chance of a cabin fire when you least expect it.

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Old 06-17-2017, 07:54 PM   #19
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Pardon my confusion, but which part will kill the batteries? Letting it sit for a month? I just wasn't sure if you meant that or removing the stop sign.

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:06 PM   #20
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Pardon my confusion, but which part will kill the batteries? Letting it sit for a month? I just wasn't sure if you meant that or removing the stop sign.

Thanks.
Simply sitting can (but doesn't always) drain the batteries. Some buses have so-called "parasitic" drains (items such as radio and computer memory circuits, alarms, etc), but the batteries themselves can also do it. Batteries can (and should) be "matched" for voltage and capacity ... if one battery holds 12.4 volts while the other two hold 12.6 volts, the lower one will discharge the others as they try to "charge" the low battery. Overnight this may not be a problem, but after a couple weeks or a month, you might have dead batteries. A dead cell in a battery will kill any others hooked in parallel.

I had to recover 2 trucks this week, one had been sitting 2 months, the other 4 months. Both were completely dead. (Of course, to be fair, these are late model trucks with computerized engines, radios with memory, and PeopleNet E-log units, so they had a fair amount of parasitic drain).
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