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Old 10-15-2018, 04:31 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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3600 won't start after dead batteries replaced. Brake buzzer and light

Hello everyone!

I have a 97 Thomas Vista 3600 T444e. I let it sit for a few months and the batteries died. I just got new ones and now the bus won't start.

The electrical starts, warnings go off and then stop but the brake pressure one stays on and the air brakes won't build pressure.

The engine sounds like it wants to start, but won't. It sounds healthy and good. I'm not sure what it could be. It was 100% a few months back. Is there a way that the air pressure not building would stop it from starting? Should the pressure begin to build before the engine starts?

If it's not the air brakes, what would be the next thing to check?

It does seem like it wants to start but something is not allowing it (like a safety?)

Thanks for all the help!!
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Old 10-15-2018, 04:44 PM   #2
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3 major things to look for:

1. Is your oil low? The T444E uses HPOP injectors which don't work if you don't have enough oil.

2. Are your glow plugs working? T444E doesn't need them during the summer months but when the temperatures cool down it won't start without them. Turn your key to the accessory position and note your voltage. Then turn it to the "run" position and compare. The "wait to start" light should be lit and the voltage should be obviously visibly lower for up to 2 minutes. If the reading is the same, you may have glow plug problems.

3. if you have an air leak in the fuel line, all of your diesel may have drained back to the tank. Building pressure back up is a pretty painful ordeal.

Your air pressure won't build up while the engine isn't running. The compressor is driven by the engine so it's not doing much just from the starter spinning. Also, if the starter is spinning, you're cleared any potential interlocks.

For sure check the first 2 things before digging into the fuel system. My Vista had a bad glow plug solenoid and I didn't know it for months, until the temps dropped below 50!
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Old 10-15-2018, 04:55 PM   #3
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Thanks brokedown

[QUOTE=brokedown;294682]3 major things to look for: thank you for your reply!!!

1. Is your oil low? The T444E uses HPOP injectors which don't work if you don't have enough oil.

-I have checked the oil: full!

2. Are your glow plugs working? T444E doesn't need them during the summer months but when the temperatures cool down it won't start without them. Turn your key to the accessory position and note your voltage. Then turn it to the "run" position and compare. The "wait to start" light should be lit and the voltage should be obviously visibly lower for up to 2 minutes. If the reading is the same, you may have glow plug problems.

-glow plug seems to be fine. Warning comes on then after a few seconds goes away like normal.

3. if you have an air leak in the fuel line, all of your diesel may have drained back to the tank. Building pressure back up is a pretty painful ordeal.

-I was almost out of diesel and had to put some in. Could there be an issue there?


Your air pressure won't build up while the engine isn't running. The compressor is driven by the engine so it's not doing much just from the starter spinning. Also, if the starter is spinning, you're cleared any potential interlocks.

thanks again for your help!
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:37 PM   #4
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The "wait to start" light doesn't indicate that the plugs are actually doing anything, only that it's telling them to do something. Watch the voltage, the needle should really dive low when the plugs are lit up, they take 80+ amps so you won't miss it on the voltage gauge!


being low on fuel shouldn't hurt it as long as it wasn't so low that it was sucking air.. aka basically empty or very low and parked on a steep incline. Generally speaking, if the engine turned off because you turned the key, it probably wasn't out of fuel. You can look in the fuel filter housing and make sure it's full. Should be a spin-on cap under the hood, I can send a photo of where mine is if it helps.

But really I'm expecting it to be a glow problem based on my personal experience.
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:46 PM   #5
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Cycle the key to "ON" and wait for the "Wait to Start" light to go out. Turn key "Off" and repeat 3-4 times before trying to crank the engine.
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:47 PM   #6
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While you're cranking, is there any smoke coming out of the exhaust?

If there is white smoke coming out of the exhaust, I'd 2nd the glow plug nod. But seeing that you're in san diego, I highly doubt glow plugs are the issue.

Watch this video to see what I'm talking about.


Are you sure when you changed the batteries that you have all the wires hooked back up correctly?
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:01 PM   #7
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John,
What is the advantage of multiple cycling?
George
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George View Post
John,
What is the advantage of multiple cycling?
George
Sometimes the glow plug relay can go bad and it will work a few seconds before it craps out. Multiple cycles will give the glow plugs a little more heat up time if this is the case. If the relay is toast, then this will do nothing.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:57 PM   #9
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John
Thanks for that info
George
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:28 AM   #10
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As you wrote that you had a low fuel situation it sounds like you need to bleed air out of your fuel system (i.e. prime), provided that the fuel shutdown solenoid isn't closed. You need to have fuel up to the injectors to get a diesel to fire and run.

Excessive cranking of the engine to try to get it to prime destroys batteries and starter. Every diesel bus owner needs to know how to properly change fuel filters, and if needed, to prime the fuel system.
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