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Old 06-18-2015, 12:45 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Problems starting 1991 Ford B600

Haven't been on the site for a while. Apparently they've recycled my account :/, but I was the OP on this thread: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f17/fo...sion-5293.html

The B600 has been sitting in my driveway for a few years now and the batteries are totally dead. It has 2 big 12v batteries (I'm not sure off the top of my head amp/hrs), and to make things totally #@$&'ed, there's a building in the way of being able to open the battery box and check on them, etc. I know that it's a stupid setup, but I have been known to do pretty stupid things.

The landlord has recently told us that they need us to move the bus to do some work on the driveway next week. So I've been trying to do whatever I can to get it started. I have a 1985 300td mercedes diesel station wagon, so I thought I'd try to jump the bus with my car. I got the biggest baddest cables I could find (they're really long, but they're amazingly beefy), and I connected the + end to the positive starter terminal on the bus and the - to the ground terminal of the starter, and then the other end to my car (I tried attaching the - to the frame and then to the actual battery). I set the car to a high idle and then let it sit like that for a while.

After about 20 mins I tried to start the bus. There was indeed power (cabin lights, etc turned on), but when I tried to start, I got the most timid starter sound. Some whirring and that clicking noise, but not nearly the giant exclamation of power that it normally requires to start up.

I had a similar situation a few years ago when we were camping somewhere and tried to start the bus and the starter barely cranked. We flailed for like a half hour before we took a closer look and saw that one of the batteries had become disconnected and we were just trying to start it on one battery.

Which makes me think that I'm just not getting enough current to the starter (I really don't want to think about replacing the starter....). I have a couple ideas, but I wanted to see what people thought, whether they were insane:

- Disconnect the dead batteries from the starter. Is it possible that they are so dead and unable to hold charge that they're essentially sucking current from the starter circuit? What would I do after I jump the bus though?

- Go and buy 2 new 12v starter batteries from autowhatever. They'd come fresh and charged and even though I can't really get to the batteries themselves, I could disconnect the dead ones and use the jump cables to start the bus. I'd then have to figure out what to do now that the bus was running, but I think I could at least move it far enough away to get to the battery box again. I sort of don't want to spend the $$ on 2 new batteries considering it's pretty much permanently parked and probably will remain so after the driveway work is finished.

- Buy one of those fancy jump start booster things. But it's essentially a big battery in a plastic box with jumper cables, so wouldn't it make more sense to just buy the batteries?

Random questions:

- What would happen if the bus was running, but the batteries were disconnected? All of the electrics would run off the alternator? Is there an issue with breaking the circuit like that?

- Is it possible that I just need to let the bus batteries charge for longer? What sort of fancy equipment would I need to find that out? Could I do it with just a normal digital multimeter?


Thanks!
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:26 AM   #2
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First of, I'd say ditch the two starter batteries and replace with one 8D with 1400+ CCA. Second, and if you can't get the new battery right away, Home Depot has a 40amp battery charger that's fully automatic.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:27 AM   #3
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Id disagree.
if only starting it once in a while, I'd go with ONE group 31.
No sense in wasting money.
Can always add another.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:48 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Should I be trying to disconnect the currently dead batteries? If I tried to use a brand new group 31 as a jump start battery, would I drain/waste it if I left the dead batteries in the electrical circuit?
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:22 PM   #5
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Yeah, I meant you'd need to pull the two dead ones and run just one good one to save buying two.
For how often you start yours, an $80 battery is all you need.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:20 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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yeah it's just that I made the particularly dumb decision to park it in such a manner that the battery box itself is inaccessible. I've gotta figure out how to disconnect them - the starter itself is super hard to reach and I really don't want to cut any battery/starter cables (although it might end up just coming to that...)
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:36 PM   #7
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I guess moving it first isn't an option??
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:50 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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stupid b600 comes with these ridiculous parking brakes that are supposed to simulate air breaks (fail closed), so I don't think I can get them to open without starting it. Ah here's the thread on them:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f34/ho...b700-7066.html

Actually, reading that it doesn't seem too bad, maybe I could just release them and (very carefully) push it far enough to get to the battery box....
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:54 PM   #9
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Do that before you do something drastic like cutting on the battery leads!!

Hey where are you located?
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:04 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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At the moment I'm in the SF bay area (Oakland). Rent is so expensive here that having an extra bedroom for our house for the last 3 years has probably saved us on the order of $500/room per month * 36 months >= $15k.

So I guess buying a $100 battery will probably be worth it. Looking at it again, I might not be able to push it far enough. How bad would cutting the battery cable really be? Couldn't I just repair it with some fancy connectors (like the battery leads) and a bunch of insulating material?

The starter on this thing is buried in probably the most difficult to access location - I dunno how I'm gonna get in there....
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