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Old 07-08-2019, 06:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
3800 International 96í

Hey everybody new post here, first timer. So introduction recently we bought a 1996 International Thomas Diesel Skoolie. After driving it back from Wisconsin to the place we are going to work on it we have having some mechanical issues. Iíve scoured the web and have found little to no help.

Anywho, after driving and starting the bus multiple times now we are getting no crank, and no start. The bus isnít even getting enough power to open or close the electronic doors. After assuming it was the battery we took it into Autozone and gave it a proper charge, first thing that I noticed is the bus only has 1 12V battery, and Iíve seen a lot of people having 2. Anyways the charge and battery were fine but we still are having the same problem. The dummy check engine light comes on and the fuse relays just click rapidly, still no power. I know itís not the rear door or hatch thatís not allowing it to start because thatís happened before and the buzzer isnít even going off. I suspect a dead or not grounded cord somewhere but I donít have any diagrams or anywhere to even start?

Any help guys?
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
I've had similar experiences with my Thomas Built. Here are the solutions that resolved the problem for me:
1] Ground strap. Mine looked and felt tight by hand, and after grinding grot into my hair, testing for current at the starter, I double checked it, only to find the ground was glued to the frame by a goopy black visvid substance. Scraping, degreasing, topped off with reconnecting it, after applying a judicious dollop of dielectric grease, and, VROOM!
I'd clean and double check the other battery connections while you're at it.
2] Kick in the pants. This is really bizarre, but it worked! If there is a loomed bundle of wiring harness coming down from the dash in the corner of the firewall by your left foot, give it a good, swift kick!
No, but tap the wires, gently, with your toe, and try it again.
Ripley's time, I know! Believe it, it worked!
.
Now: help us to help you!
Go to your profile and populate the list with location, bus specs, the whole schmeggegy!
It's doubtful, this time of year, that you'd need TWO batteries to start, but all I know for sure is you drove it from WI. Where to? North of the Arctic Circle. May need both, then...
PS: I presume AutoZone performed a load test on the battery, giving it a clean bill of health?
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Old 07-08-2019, 09:13 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
I drove it from Wisconsin to Minnesota and thanks for the timely response! Iíll make sure to give that a try, I know it must be a problem with the wiring or a grounding issue somewhere but I have hardly any knowledge so itís like trying to find a needle in a haystack even though I donít know what a needle looks like.

And Iíll update all that info! Thank you!!!
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Old 07-08-2019, 09:58 PM   #4
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Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Oh, you betcha, sure.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:36 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
So I am currently working on the bus today and still am having the same issue. I know you said the ďground strapĒ and I did find a ground strap hanging from the underside of the bus, it was on the passengers side a little bit before the door. It was just hanging and not connected to anything, basically just touching the ground. No pun intended. Where and how do I connect it to?
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:53 PM   #6
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Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 2,265
Year: 1975
Coachwork: Chevy
Chassis: 8 window
Engine: 454 LS7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabztheBus View Post
So I am currently working on the bus today and still am having the same issue. I know you said the ďground strapĒ and I did find a ground strap hanging from the underside of the bus, it was on the passengers side a little bit before the door. It was just hanging and not connected to anything, basically just touching the ground. No pun intended. Where and how do I connect it to?
is it sort of a braided strap? - that grounds the bus preventing static charges from building up - saves you from getting a shock when you touch the bus and prevent starting a fire when fueling your bus - one end just connects to something metal on the bus and the other end drags on the ground
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:08 PM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
"Current" nomenclature for the ground strap is the heavy wire that connects your 12V negative terminal to the chassis, grounding it and providing the electricity it's needed return path..
Typically, the battery box is on the driver's side, so no telling what you found dangling on the shotgun side. Did you give it a good hard yank to see if it was firmly connected?
Good. Don't! It may be a grounding wire for your tank, tho it seems unlikely, or to cause a failure to launch.
The fuel tank is just behind the service door. Can you take a widish view for orientation, then one up the wire into the undercarriage, and maybe one foto showing what sort of connector is attached? There's 3000 words you now don't have to type...
(After thought: is "a bit before the door" towards the back, or front?)
Back to the driver's side: Trace the wire (usually black, but not always), backtrace it from the "-" post, thru a large hole in the box wall, and it should be bolted to the frame opposite the batt box's back wall.
Take a socket to the bolt, but first try to tighten it. Mine felt finger-tight, a proper check proved otherwise.
While you're already down there, remove the bolt, and put a shine to the wire's connector, & where it contacts the frame. Cover the works with di-electric grease, but vaseline will do, in a pinch. The idea is to protect it from the air, which otherwise leads to corrosion, which leads to sh1t not acting right...
BTW, your battery IS fully charged, and properly topped off with distilled water..?
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:39 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
I’m currently working on the bus today so I’ll make sure to take some pictures of the wiring layout and hopefully I can get a better idea. First time and all....

Also I was planning to go get a voltmeter or a multimeter...that might prove useful to narrow down which wire is being grounded. It is so crazy because one minute it ran perfectly fine and now it’s click,click, click!
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:47 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
So this is what Iím looking at in terms of wiring beneath the dash...and if Iím being completely honest here Iím having a real hard time finding the starter on this Thomas Bus. Like chasing needles in a haystack
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File Type: jpg 61469D0D-8FC6-490A-B7EF-344380658D9D.jpg (174.1 KB, 2 views)
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:03 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
Triple Post....

A little more insight....the closest answers I could find on YouTube was this gentleman who had the exact same problem. These were his replies but a little hard for me to understand. Any pointers?
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File Type: jpg C4A470D6-3191-4A2D-8FD2-11CAEF325516.jpg (122.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg C4D146B2-D8A1-4864-B234-21DF418AD58D.jpg (113.9 KB, 2 views)
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