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Old 05-26-2016, 12:44 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: dt466
Draining batteries

I am in no way mechanically inclined. I bought 3 new batteries for my bus engine and it still is doing same thing.... When I fully charge the batteries and hook them up, I try to start the bus but as it cranks it doesn't seem to have enough power to turn over even on the first try. Please someone help.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:54 PM   #2
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If the batteries are new then they haven't had a chance for their cranking capacity to degrade. If they've just come off the charger then they can't be drained. All that's left are the connections and the starter motor itself. Use a battery terminal brush to ensure the posts and clamps are clean. Inspect where the wires attach to the clamps to be sure they're clean. Likewise check the other ends of the wires -- the red one at the solenoid which is most likely part of the starter motor assembly, and the black one wherever it connects to the engine block. If all the connections check out then it's time to pull out that starter motor.

You may have a shop nearby who can test it, but if not, then buy a new starter. The solenoid contacts and motor brushes do wear out, and the weak cranking symptom of a worn-out starter can look and sound exactly the same as a weak battery or bad connection problem. The onset can actually go quite quickly. My most recent starter replacement was on my 5.9L Cummins engine. It decayed from cranking fine to "I'm not sure this is going to start even once more" over the course of maybe 10 starts. Since the batteries and wiring seem to be eliminated it must be time to look at the starter.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help. Going to try it Tomorrow.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:37 PM   #4
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Question, what are the amps for? If I have volts does it matter about the amps? What should amps go up to while trying to start?
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:44 PM   #5
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Think of electricity as a water pipe. Volts is like the water pressure pushing water through the pipe. Amps is like the size of the pipe.

So, given the same pressure (volts) a small pipe will flow a small amount of water and a large pipe will flow a lot of water.

That's why you need a larger wire for a high amp draw appliance.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Think of electricity as a water pipe. Volts is like the water pressure pushing water through the pipe. Amps is like the size of the pipe.

So, given the same pressure (volts) a small pipe will flow a small amount of water and a large pipe will flow a lot of water.

That's why you need a larger wire for a high amp draw appliance.
So why would I not have any amps?
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Old 05-26-2016, 03:05 PM   #7
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Like Family Wagon said, you probably have either a bad starter or bad connections. A fully charged battery may show 12.7 volts even with an iffy connection, but a bad connection won't let the full power of the battery flow to the starter.

Do the easy (cheap) fix first and clean up those connections, including the engine-to-frame and frame-to-body ground cables. If that doesn't help, pull the starter and have it checked out at an auto parts store.

All this assumes that there's nothing wrong with the engine itself. Did it turn over easily before this problem surfaced? Has it been parked for a long time? Corroded battery cables can look OK but be all eaten up inside the insulation.
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Old 05-26-2016, 03:10 PM   #8
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It started fine before this week now I am going to pull my hair out... All connections have been cleaned, the wires have been checked for bulges especially near the connections. Now we are fixing to see if we can pull the starter, (probably not) and if not see what it's going to cost to have someone come do it.
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Old 05-26-2016, 03:32 PM   #9
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If the motor turns then it's drawing some current (amps). It might not be enough to crank the motor at high enough speed to actually start burning fuel though. If the problem is indeed in the starter motor, low or no amps/current is most likely the result of a brush being so worn that it doesn't touch the terminals on the commutator, or of a solenoid terminal having deteriorated to where it has little or no electrical conductivity. It's kind of like a light bulb with a burned out filament: once the filament opens, no more current flows.

In case you're curious to know how a starter can fail the following might be interesting. Otherwise just skip over it!

I know yours isn't a Cummins engine, but it's what I'm familiar with, so here's a link to a place offering rebuild parts for a Denso/Cummins starter. fostertruck.com All starters are more-or-less similar inside so the exploded parts diagram and the color pictures of the individual parts that wear might help you visualize how a starter could fail. For that matter, if you're brave, it might give you the inclination to disassemble yours just enough to peek inside. Though you might not want to tackle rebuilding it yourself, a peek inside might reveal something that is obviously worn. I sometimes do this to gain confidence that an item is broken and that spending a chunk of money to replace it is the right thing to do. If I can't find anything wrong then I may be able to re-assemble it. If not, I was at the point of guess-and-check replacement anyway so there's really no loss for having definitely broken it by peering inside before buying the replacement.

First look at the photos of the brushes and the brush plate. On the brush plate there's a coiled spring pushing each of the four brushes in toward the center. The brushes on the left and right bring ground/battery negative to the motor; the brushes at top and bottom bring battery positive.

Now look at the photo of the armature. Those shiny copper fingers at the left end are the "commutator." The brushes in the brush plate are temporarily held back so that the commutator can be inserted through the center of the brush plate. The springs then hold the brushes firmly against the copper fingers, carrying electric current into the wires wound around the armature. The armature/commutator literally grinds away the brushes as it spins. Eventually so much of the length of the brush has been ground into dust that the brush can't be pushed in to the commutator any more and it doesn't make good contact. The motor's speed/power drop off quickly as the last bit of a brush is consumed.

When one brush gives out the motor can work only half as hard and engine cranking will sound weak. Soon the brush on the opposite side will wear out too and then the motor won't run at all. Maybe this could be what has happened with yours. If you can lift the back cover off the motor enough to peek in at the brushes you might be able to see whether this is the case. Be careful not to lift so high that the brushes pop off the commutator: it can be tricky figuring out how to hold all four of them back at the same time so the thing can be re-assembled!
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Old 05-26-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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Great explanation! I've never had a starter apart myself.
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