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Old 09-13-2008, 09:21 PM   #1
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

Mine is rear engine, but it has a switch that prevents starting if the hood is open...

Another thing to look for is the 'shut-off solenoid' but I suppose that would only keep the motor from running but not stop the starter from turning.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:20 PM   #2
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

Do you have a good engine ground that is clean and tight?, then look at the wires on the starter are the small secondary wires on the right terminals of the starter solinoid? one of them should show 12v when the key is turned to the start position, if not then check the trans linkage for a neutral safety switch, neutral or park positions only should allow the engine to crank, this switch is usually either on the trans or on the linkage on top of the steering column under the dash. if the wire at the solinoid has 12v it should be on the terminal that pulls the solinoid in
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

reverse lights are supposed to be wired thru the PRNDL switch on automatics, so if the neutral and park detents are adjusted correctly its good to go. on a manual trans the reverse light switch is on the trans, and neutral safety switch is on the clutch linkage, on this vintage vehicle.
I like your deductive reasoning and thought process that says to look outside the box keep it up
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:03 PM   #4
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

some of the solinoids have a run terminal and a start terminal if you are wired up to the run terminal with the start wire the solinoid will not energize, therefore no starter.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

good job on the electrical,
look for a way to manually prime the system, is their a hand pump or lever on the lift pump, it will take a long time to purge the air from the ip by cranking the engine. as you crank you will start to get some fuel at the nozzles as you do tighten the lines and get the engine to fire up, you can then go back and crack the lines one at a time to finish bleeding the system and also see which cylinders are good and strong and which weak by the amount of rpm drop.
good luck
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Old 09-19-2008, 09:11 PM   #6
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

Though most mechanics will tell you NOT to do this, almost all of them will do it in a pinch. Try giving the intake a shot of starting fluid. No, it is not good for the motor....but it won't kill it either. My bus came with a dash button for driver to give it a shot of starting fluid from a built-in system.

When I went to get this bus up in Harrisonburg it wouldn't start for me, I about killed the battery trying. Finally giving up hope on an easy start, I went back down to the city bus barn and swalled my pride and asked for help. They sent out a guy with truck full of stuff, and he must have emptied a couple cans of starting fluid into the intake. It would run on that but quickly die again. They finally put 20 gallons of juice in the tank and then one little shot of fluid got it fired up. I then drove the thing 5.5 hours home and even when I stopped for fuel I left it running...but it has never failed to start for me since then!!

Gotta love those old Cat's!!
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You just might be a Redneck if...
...your motor home used to be a school bus!
...Your living room has a steering wheel!
...Your home has brake lights

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1989 Thomas Diesel Pusher (Cat 3208/Freightliner)
Chesapeake, Virginia
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:36 PM   #7
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

Pouring a little diesel down the intake can help as well. Just don't drown or hydrolock it. Other chemicals around the garage like fuel injection cleaner, brake cleaner, etc are also flammable, but not nearly as hard on an engine as ether. We ran our tranny dyno on a 50/50 mixture of injector cleaner and brake cleaner last year...it was expensive, but it ran better and cleaner (we sniffed the pipe just to see) than on gas and worked better than a gummed up carb.
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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Re: Help - my bus won't start

I'm partial to a gas soaked rag held up to the aircleaner inlet while granking, the vapors will help the engine fire but can't cause a hydrolock and resulting damage.
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