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Old 06-15-2016, 11:52 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: South Portland, ME, USA
Posts: 28
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Chevy P-30
Engine: Chevy 454 Big Block
Sometimes when I turn the key...

When I first got my bus, sometimes when I would try to start her up I would get no response whatsoever. Electronics would come on, headlights, horn would work.

Literally, turn key...

No sound, no movement, no vibrations.

After waiting, or kicking something, or making sure the emergency exit was closed and locked eight times, or opening the side door, or saying 4.3 hail marys, then it would roar into life like it was fresh off of the line. It hasn't done this in awhile, because it isn't starting at all right now, but I was wondering if anyone had any insight as to what would cause such a phenomenon.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:44 AM   #2
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Location: Johnstown, PA
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9
Rated Cap: 83
Bad starter, solenoid, ignition switch, clutch safety switch on manual transmission. Emergency door or window ajar or a bad switch. Dirty contacts on battery, cables, ignition wires. Try jumping the starter solenoid (manual transmission in neutral). If that won't work let us know.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:48 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: South Portland, ME, USA
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Chevy P-30
Engine: Chevy 454 Big Block
She's an automatic trans. I believe it might have been related to the emergency door, because it either stopped all together or less frequently after I dismantled the wiring from the escape hatch. After I get her started from her most recent mishap, I will update you. Right now she isn't starting at all and hopefully, it is just that I need a new battery.

I did go through your checklist when it first started happening, so I must be on the right path and learning more than I thought! WOoHoOO
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:43 AM   #4
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One fellow I worked for had an ancient International gas powered dump truck. It had a tendency to only start when it wanted to. Turn on the key and the lights/gauges would do their thing, but either no starter, or the starter would spin, but not engage the flywheel. We knew the starter was faulty, just never bothered to replace it.
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:35 PM   #5
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9
Rated Cap: 83
OK, since it is an automatic it could also be the safety switch that will only let it start in park or neutral. When it won't start try moving the shifter a little or put it in neutral and see what happens.
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Roadrunner View Post
OK, since it is an automatic it could also be the safety switch that will only let it start in park or neutral. When it won't start try moving the shifter a little or put it in neutral and see what happens.
I've spent atleast 4 hours total spread over a few days troubleshooting exactly this. The shame and embarrassment felt when I resolve the issue is strong.
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Old 06-18-2016, 06:55 PM   #7
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My truck does this sometimes, and I cycle it from neutral to in gear back to neutral then key to ff and back on and it starts right up. For whatever reason it seems that it doesn't think the gear selector is secured or something and then have to return to off before re-attempting a start-up. Buses have the added loophole of all the door and window sensors until you get them all disabled or bypassed.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:17 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: South Portland, ME, USA
Posts: 28
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Chevy P-30
Engine: Chevy 454 Big Block
I got pulled over for not having plates when I purchased my bus. I was flying an "in transit' sign with the title and insurance papers in the rear window, so it was all good... apparently good enough that the bus decided it was the perfect time to pull this non-starting stunt of hers! Haha, I already have some pretty good war stories from the six months that I have actually been able to drive her!
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Old 06-18-2016, 10:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mightymainermite View Post
I got pulled over for not having plates when I purchased my bus. I was flying an "in transit' sign with the title and insurance papers in the rear window, so it was all good... apparently good enough that the bus decided it was the perfect time to pull this non-starting stunt of hers! Haha, I already have some pretty good war stories from the six months that I have actually been able to drive her!
Man, we gotta start a thread about this subject- the crazy stories of early bus ownership. The craziness of owning a bus never truly goes away. I sorta love it, even though I've had plenty of stress over buses in my life. I blame buses for my beard being silver instead of reddish brown @ 36 years of age.
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Old 06-18-2016, 10:23 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: South Portland, ME, USA
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Chevy P-30
Engine: Chevy 454 Big Block
I believe it! I have lived a very dynamic, unconventional life by most people's standards, but since I got my big yellow chariot... let's just say I have a permanent welt from pinching myself on my arm now. If you think you have been through it all and life holds no more surprises, then you my friend, need to acquire a school bus! Even if I never make it to Burning Man or anything, my schoolie has more than paid for itself in terms of "That just happened!" moments!
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