I just purchased a 97 Ford/Carpenter 54 seater bus on Friday, and just 2 days later, now the thing won't start. (My mercedes diesel cars did the same thing when I got them, haha).
I suspect something was left on via the giant switch panel, but I don't see any switch in the on position particularly. There was literally no problem with the vehicle when I got it, but now it won't even crank.
I don't have a clue how these things are _supposed_ to act when they start, but when I turn the key into the ON position, I hear two sounds - a repeating beeping sound like the bus is backing up (though it's in neutral and the parking brake is on. And then a low pitched buzzing sound coming from the switch panel on the left of the steering wheel. Can anyone explain what these sounds ARE? (and if it's possible to shut them off if they're not something too important)
I remember when the bus started that the beeping noise went away, but the buzzing sound was persistent and never went away (until the vehicle was turned off). Is that normal?
Last night my 7 year old locked himself in the bus and was honking the horn maybe half a dozen times, and I think I remember him pressing on the brake pedal, which made a grinding noise. As I now press on the brake pedal (even with the engine off), it makes a loud grinding-like noise and the light "Motor E Brake" lights on. As long as I hold the brake pedal, it stays on with the noise and the light. For some reason I thought it shouldn't be doing this - and that the sound (and light) should only come on when the bus shuts off. Should the pedal make noise and the E-Brake light stay on? Maybe someone can clarify how it works.
I tried jumpstarting the bus with my Mercedes 300TD turbodiesel station wagon (a fairly large battery), but not any inkling of a crank. I notice that the voltmeter on the dash is around 12 or 13 volts (ranges from 8 to 1
when the key is in ON, but when I put to START, it drops to nothing (below 8 ). I tried looking at the batteries and there seems to be a slight amount of corrosion, but I don't see how that would interfere with the battery (I will get some steel wool to clean it all tomorrow). A hand held volt meter reads about 13ish volts when the bus is off. Shouldn't it be more like 14 or 16? There are two batteries on the side of the bus, slightly behind/under the driver's seat, in serial.
So far I have a charger connected, set to 10 amps and it has a reading varying from 50-75 % charge. Shouldn't I at least get a crank or two at 75% charge? I hear nothing.
If it's not the battery, is there a way I can bypass the starter solenoid? To at least see if maybe the solenoid has a corroded wire (odd that this happens just 2 days after purchase when there were zero problems starting while I test drove, etc) or if the solenoid is bad. This is a 5.9L cummins engine. I haven't touched anything mechanical under the hood. And where the heck would I get info about the electrical system? From Cummins? Ford? Carpenter? Modifications are going to need to be made at some point.
I also didn't have problems on the whole 1st or 2nd day when I turned the vehicle on and moved it around my yard.
Is there maybe some safety switch or something that is preventing the starter from kicking in? (that my son accidentally messed with) None of the panel switches are on.
On a separate note, I've been told by the Motor Vehicles of NJ that I need to get the stop sign and the flashers off the vehicle. Do people typically put sheet metal over the lights? And is there some way to disconnect it from the electrical system so when I open the door they aren't triggered in the electrical system? I'm still figuring out what the heck that weird electrical solenoid thing is that is next to the front door lock. I think it has a spring and button or two that gets depressed when the door handle gets pushed open.
I've been trying to find an operator's manual for the Carpenter bus online, but no success so far. I'm not sure if I should contact Ford or Carpenter, or somebody else. It's a 1997 bus, so I don't think that's too old to no longer print documentation.
I just want to be able to move the bus to the other side of my yard so I can wash and then paint the thing! =(