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Old 07-18-2019, 10:02 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 333
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Help! Stranded in Canadian Wilderness

We’re on our now annual trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, and in the last leg of our trip here the bus started acting up.

First problem was that there was a slight hesitation and then surge at highway speeds. Barely noticeable but still there. We kept going and that slight hesitation got progressively worse once we got north of Toronto. At one point we stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and when I restarted it shut off while idling. After that things got more interesting.

The hesitation turned into a shudder and even stronger surge, it felt like the bus wasn’t getting any fuel for a second or two and then getting it back. On one occasion it shut off completely going North on 11. After that I went to 5 different garages asking for help but couldn’t find anyone that could. So I kept the speed low (45 mph) and didn’t have any more problems until I stopped to refuel right before getting to our campground.

At that point I realized that the batteries had stopped charging at some point, though I don’t know when they cut out. It had to be after the problems started based on the amount of stopping and starting that happened going garage to garage.

So now we’re stuck with a bus in the middle of nowhere, not sure what to do, what the problem is, how to fix it, or who could help if I don’t have the supplies needed for the repair.

I was thinking Ecu or something along those lines given the spread out nature of problems. We contacted a few garages who insisted it was a wiring issue.

I have my multimeter and a decent amount of tools with me.

I welcome any and all suggestions regarding what to check, how to check, good garages in the north bay Ontario area, places to get parts, etc...

If possible, please respond ASAP. We have no service where the bus is at and had to get a ride out of the park to post this. I’ll be able to check responses again in about 3 hours but I don’t know when next.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:31 AM   #2
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Location: E Central Tejas
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Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
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Wow! That stinks!!!
No idea of what idiosyncrasies your type of engine might have. Other than my best wishes you get mobile again ASAP, the only thing that occurs to me is either a slipping belt, or the alternator itself is toast.
Guess you aren't parked next to utilities that'd allow you to charge the batteties...
I'll text CK, he might have some better ideas.
Bon chance!
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:47 AM   #3
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Engine: 350 Chevy
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Try charging the batteries. Hopefully it'll start again. Then focus on the charging system if you have multimeter with you.
It's either electrical or fuel related, but dead batts are pointing more towards electrical in nature...
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:45 AM   #4
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Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Get batteries charged at a garage and see if it starts.

Do you have a volt meter or multimeter?

Use these steps to test the alternator.

https://www.wikihow.com/Check-an-Alternator

If you donít have a meter, pull it and take it to an auto parts store that has a testing machine.

Check the battery terminals. Are they clean with a tight connection? If in doubt, clean them. If you have a lot of corrosion buildup, you can use baking soda mixed with water and a toothbrush to clean that stuff off. Use sandpaper or a wire brush to make clean connections.

Check the connector at the alternator. Is the connector in good condition and tight? Look for worn wires.

Check ground wire connections to the battery and frame. If in doubt, clean and tighten.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:57 AM   #5
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Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
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What year, engine, chassis?
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
Weíre on our now annual trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, and in the last leg of our trip here the bus started acting up.

First problem was that there was a slight hesitation and then surge at highway speeds. Barely noticeable but still there. We kept going and that slight hesitation got progressively worse once we got north of Toronto. At one point we stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and when I restarted it shut off while idling. After that things got more interesting.

The hesitation turned into a shudder and even stronger surge, it felt like the bus wasnít getting any fuel for a second or two and then getting it back. On one occasion it shut off completely going North on 11. After that I went to 5 different garages asking for help but couldnít find anyone that could. So I kept the speed low (45 mph) and didnít have any more problems until I stopped to refuel right before getting to our campground.

At that point I realized that the batteries had stopped charging at some point, though I donít know when they cut out. It had to be after the problems started based on the amount of stopping and starting that happened going garage to garage.

So now weíre stuck with a bus in the middle of nowhere, not sure what to do, what the problem is, how to fix it, or who could help if I donít have the supplies needed for the repair.

I was thinking Ecu or something along those lines given the spread out nature of problems. We contacted a few garages who insisted it was a wiring issue.

I have my multimeter and a decent amount of tools with me.

I welcome any and all suggestions regarding what to check, how to check, good garages in the north bay Ontario area, places to get parts, etc...

If possible, please respond ASAP. We have no service where the bus is at and had to get a ride out of the park to post this. Iíll be able to check responses again in about 3 hours but I donít know when next.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!
at first reading about the strange surging, the fuel filler cap came to mind - it's happened before when a plugged vent on the filler cap created a vacuum in the fuel tank and the motor started to surge, and at times starved the motor of fuel to the point the motor died - after sitting for a little while, the motor started and ran fine until it starved again - simple temporary fix is to leave the filler cap loose until you can replace it - battery problems are another story - possibly from multiple tries at starting the motor? - tips previously given by other posters are good ones - get the batteries charged up for a start
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:06 PM   #7
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
What year, engine, chassis?



looks like its a 7.3 in an E-450..


my guess is that the batteries discharging is the heart of things.. thse engines dont like to run with low voltage.. the injector IDMs start dropping voltage which makes the injectors misfire... do you have any method for charging the batteries? solar charger you camn connect that will push some power into them while you are still camping?
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:08 PM   #8
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If you have CAA Premium or know somebody with it, give them a shout.
They will tow up to 200 miles free I think. So, maybe right home if need be.

I can imagine your predicament up there, no matter what part of the park you are in. But there are busyards near or at either end of the park.
I would get it boosted and do some testing after changing out the fuel filter and after separator draining. Hopefully you have some power at your campsite but I am thinking likely not.
Watching your progress here.



John
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:46 PM   #9
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Thanks for all the replies. To answer some questions...

Yes, I can charge the batteries.

And yes it starts fine when they are charged.

I have my multimeter for testing them.

Towards the end of the trip they werenít getting anything from the alternator.

The connections Iíve checked so far all seem good. Tight and no corrosion.

Itís a 7.3 powerstroke in an e450.

Iíve replaced the alternator once but that doesnít mean it couldnít be shot.

However, the bus was started probably 10 times after the surging problems first started. There is no way the batteries werenít being charged in the beginning, I checked them first thing when I noticed the problems and they were still charged.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #10
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Engine: 7.3 Turbo
So my range if I can’t fix it is probably however long it will go on one full charge. I peg that around North Bay Ontario
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