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Old 11-13-2017, 09:11 PM   #1
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Back from dealership, still won't start

Hey, I have a 97 International 3800 with a T444E and I brought it to the dealership because it ran fine one day and the next wouldn't fire. Cranks GREAT but won't fire.

3 days and $1700 later it has a new lift pump and it's "ready to be picked up" however it doesn't start in their lot, won't start with a boost, and I need to leave it there.

The next day I get a call that I need new batteries as well, so I buy 3 new batteries from them, still won't start. They try about 7 more times with a charger on it and finally it goes.

I leave with it running under the assumption that the new batteries need a full charge and then they'll work out but they don't. After parking it behind my place the subsequent 20 start attempts yield nothing. Batteries are fully charged, block heater has the engine warm to the touch, glow plug relay functions normal, new cam position sensor, but something weird that still won't let it fire.

Dealership says to bring it back and do an AVR and they can start looking for electrical issues but after $2k into a no-start and driving down there twice to pick it up but it still won't run I'm losing faith in them.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:26 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't answer for your combination but dealership and there mechanics are rip offs.
There are others here that can help with your problem? Or at least more knowledge in the computer controlled world
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:51 PM   #3
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Check the regular fuel pump.

The lift pump will supply fuel, but really needs pressure from the fuel pump to work without becoming damaged.

A failed fuel pump could cause those symptoms. If it's fused, check that first.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:23 PM   #4
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I'll try to get at it tomorrow, I think there's a floor access panel. Do I just pull one of the fuel lines and and see if it flows while cranking? Should it prime with the key turned to accessory?
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MeloYelo View Post
I'll try to get at it tomorrow, I think there's a floor access panel. Do I just pull one of the fuel lines and and see if it flows while cranking? Should it prime with the key turned to accessory?
It should flow diesel when you turn on the ignition. Pretty much all modern vehicles do to pressurize a fuel rail (or lift pump). But others will have better info on this than I have.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:34 PM   #6
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I may be confusing you with bad information.

Here is a decent article:

Lift Pump Primer - Basic Training - Diesel Power Magazine

It appears that the lift pump IS the low-pressure pump, so I guess you need to find out if it is getting a steady flow, in and out.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:48 PM   #7
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Your description of symptoms is very confusing. Does it crank away but not start or crank very slowly or not at all? If it cranks slow, check all battery connections, possibly bad starter. If it cranks away but not start, possibly blown ecm fuse caused by a shorted fuel heater or the glow plugs are not working.
Also if the oil is too thin it could cause a very hard start. Oil pressure fires the injectors when the solenoids open.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:03 PM   #8
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Your description of symptoms is very confusing. Does it crank away but not start or crank very slowly or not at all? If it cranks slow, check all battery connections, possibly bad starter. If it cranks away but not start, possibly blown ecm fuse caused by a shorted fuel heater or the glow plugs are not working.
Also if the oil is too thin it could cause a very hard start. Oil pressure fires the injectors when the solenoids open.
It cranks great, it always has. Where is the ECM fuse? I'll check it and see but the dealership plugged it in to their scanner one last time before I left. They looked honestly stumped and NOT confident that it was fixed.

I can try testing the glow plugs and I don't think an oil change would hurt either.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:04 PM   #9
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If you have access to your fuel lines at the tank check your return line see if fuel is making it back. If not then look at filters or fuel pump. If your getting fuel back to the tank then you need to look into the computer controled injection system. The best way to do this would be to have a shop hook it up to thier scan tool to find engine codes.

Powerstroke 7.3 forums might have related info for your problem since the engines are very similar.

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Old 11-14-2017, 12:02 AM   #10
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BTW. $1700.00 for a lift pump is outrageous. Did they do other stuff too? Did they actually change the hi pressure pump?
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:50 AM   #11
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I have a Cummings, that had a similar issue:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f39/dr...ing-19991.html

I have 2 new batteries at 810CCA each, yet my voltage will drop to 9V immediately after starting. With one battery, it started fine until the weather got cold; then would not. My guess is there is a bad heater of some kind that is loosing its electrical resistance and is drawing down the battery when active. (This was confirmed by family wagon on my post)

If there is an electrical problem that causes your battery voltage to drop too low, your computer will not operate properly, and will not activate the fuel system. The motor may spin fine. This happens with gas motors also.

A bad battery cell can cause this. The battery may read 12.4V, but when cranking, it drops too low for the computer. 10V often is the low threshold, but each CPU is a little different.

In my case, with good batteries, I need to look at something with a system designed to pull a lot of current without blowing a fuse. Why I think it is a heater of some sort. Note my dash lights go dim-bright-dim-bright and the voltmeter corresponds with a drop to 9V and back to 14V in about 5-second cycles, until about 3-5 minutes after starting, and only when it is below 50 F.

So check your voltage at the battery with a handheld meter while trying to start it. If it drops below 10V, do consider that to be a problem for the CPU. Then find out what is the source of that problem.

Knowing the "error codes," if any, your computer has, as well as any live data it can produce, would be paramount to finding what the problem is if your voltage is not dropping while cranking. Beyond that, I would think more specific inquiries are needed by a pro on-site.

For me, two batteries in parallel gets me started without hesitation. But the voltage still drops to below 10V in that weird cycle I mentioned.

Hope that helps.

BTW - avoid dealerships. The one I took my BlueBird to told me my brakes were fine upon inspection, even though my bus would barely stop. A week later they went out completely; a new treadle valve and my bus stops smoothly now.

As a self-employed mobile mechanic, the last client I had that went to the dealer had a Chrysler minvan that wouldn't start. He spent over $2000, while they replaced everything including valve covers! He went to pick it up, it wouldn't start. The tech who "fixed" it tried 20 times, and it started, and they sent him on his way. 10 mins later it would not start again. Then they told him it needed a new transmission, because a tranny computer sensor was bad. Another few $$$$$
His friendly neighbor replaced the starter. Still nothing.
I looked at it, and found no signal from the ignition switch getting to the starter, and traced it back to the switch itself. The switch was sending nothing when "on" and an "on" signal when starting. Confused the tranny computer. $20 for the switch, and $120 to install it.
They missed the ignition switch on a no-start? REALLY? Then again they stole $2000, so they don't care....
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:00 AM   #12
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Remember dealerships hire kids strait outta tech-school and send them to a 1-week "factory training" program. Then they do assembly-line maintenance on newer vehicles. Then they get sick of it and move on.... Many dealerships do not even work on older vehicles, because their techs are "not trained" for those vehicles. Others will let some kid either (a) guess, or (b) gouge you for commission.
It is a nearly impossible task at times, but find an independent shop or tech that cares and has real diagnostic sense.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:40 AM   #13
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Any smoke from the tailpipe while cranking?
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:05 AM   #14
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this engine has a mechanical lift pump driven by a cam lobe, not electric.. and there is no second fuel pump.. it is a HEUI engine.. are you getting a WARN ENGINE light? and if so, can you use the diagnostic button and pull the codes ? the warning lamps will flash them out to you..

tuen on the key does the WARN light come on for a few seconds then go off? if it stays on, there are hard codes to read... press the diagnostic button under the dash (its next to the round computer connector).. the oil / water alarm light will flash oiut the codes to you in patterns of 3 digits..

flash-flash Pause flash-flash pause flash pause. = code 221 as an example.

-Christopher
make sure you arent low on Oil.. low oil will shut thius engine down as it uses a second OIL pump up high pressure to drive the injectors..

your glow plug relay may "kick" but are the glowplugs actually getting power? as in measure voltage across the relay to make sure its getting across the contacts.

the CPS is the most often culprit of no-starts on this engine.. there is a schraeder valve up by the fuel filter on top where you can measure pressure.. you will get a pulsating pressure as you crank the engine... this is a mechanical function and not part of the computer so you should see this even if a sensor is not working right.

-Christopher
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebird90 View Post
BTW. $1700.00 for a lift pump is outrageous. Did they do other stuff too? Did they actually change the hi pressure pump?
They changed the lift pump, reattached the driveline from having been towed there, and broke off the low pressure hydraulic brake switch which they replaced. My hydraulic brake pump was screaming the whole drive home which it never has and didn't before they got their hands on it and broke that switch.
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
I have a Cummings, that had a similar issue:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f39/dr...ing-19991.html

I have 2 new batteries at 810CCA each, yet my voltage will drop to 9V immediately after starting. With one battery, it started fine until the weather got cold; then would not. My guess is there is a bad heater of some kind that is loosing its electrical resistance and is drawing down the battery when active. (This was confirmed by family wagon on my post)

If there is an electrical problem that causes your battery voltage to drop too low, your computer will not operate properly, and will not activate the fuel system. The motor may spin fine. This happens with gas motors also.

A bad battery cell can cause this. The battery may read 12.4V, but when cranking, it drops too low for the computer. 10V often is the low threshold, but each CPU is a little different.

In my case, with good batteries, I need to look at something with a system designed to pull a lot of current without blowing a fuse. Why I think it is a heater of some sort. Note my dash lights go dim-bright-dim-bright and the voltmeter corresponds with a drop to 9V and back to 14V in about 5-second cycles, until about 3-5 minutes after starting, and only when it is below 50 F.

So check your voltage at the battery with a handheld meter while trying to start it. If it drops below 10V, do consider that to be a problem for the CPU. Then find out what is the source of that problem.

Knowing the "error codes," if any, your computer has, as well as any live data it can produce, would be paramount to finding what the problem is if your voltage is not dropping while cranking. Beyond that, I would think more specific inquiries are needed by a pro on-site.

For me, two batteries in parallel gets me started without hesitation. But the voltage still drops to below 10V in that weird cycle I mentioned.

Hope that helps.

BTW - avoid dealerships. The one I took my BlueBird to told me my brakes were fine upon inspection, even though my bus would barely stop. A week later they went out completely; a new treadle valve and my bus stops smoothly now.

As a self-employed mobile mechanic, the last client I had that went to the dealer had a Chrysler minvan that wouldn't start. He spent over $2000, while they replaced everything including valve covers! He went to pick it up, it wouldn't start. The tech who "fixed" it tried 20 times, and it started, and they sent him on his way. 10 mins later it would not start again. Then they told him it needed a new transmission, because a tranny computer sensor was bad. Another few $$$$$
His friendly neighbor replaced the starter. Still nothing.
I looked at it, and found no signal from the ignition switch getting to the starter, and traced it back to the switch itself. The switch was sending nothing when "on" and an "on" signal when starting. Confused the tranny computer. $20 for the switch, and $120 to install it.
They missed the ignition switch on a no-start? REALLY? Then again they stole $2000, so they don't care....
Thanks for the detailed reply, I think chasing the voltage drop is my best bet because it DID start and started just fine when hooked up to their cart charger and on engine start but won't with my 3 new batteries at full charge.

I've pulled the heated mirror circuit, there are some headlight wires that are rubbed through on the hood. Would unplugging the headlight harnesses be an ok way to isolate that possible short? Will an unplugged headlight harness in the engine bay lead the ECM not to fire?

I'll definitely try my multimeter on the batteries while I crank and see how low my voltage drops and report back.

As for fault codes there aren't any that have been thrown, they cleared them at the dealership when it was in during their first diagnostic and before it left they scanned it again but nothing came up.

I did buy a scanner and I can check again it my warn engine light wants me to.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
this engine has a mechanical lift pump driven by a cam lobe, not electric.. and there is no second fuel pump.. it is a HEUI engine.. are you getting a WARN ENGINE light? and if so, can you use the diagnostic button and pull the codes ? the warning lamps will flash them out to you..

tuen on the key does the WARN light come on for a few seconds then go off? if it stays on, there are hard codes to read... press the diagnostic button under the dash (its next to the round computer connector).. the oil / water alarm light will flash oiut the codes to you in patterns of 3 digits..

flash-flash Pause flash-flash pause flash pause. = code 221 as an example.

-Christopher
make sure you arent low on Oil.. low oil will shut thius engine down as it uses a second OIL pump up high pressure to drive the injectors..

your glow plug relay may "kick" but are the glowplugs actually getting power? as in measure voltage across the relay to make sure its getting across the contacts.

the CPS is the most often culprit of no-starts on this engine.. there is a schraeder valve up by the fuel filter on top where you can measure pressure.. you will get a pulsating pressure as you crank the engine... this is a mechanical function and not part of the computer so you should see this even if a sensor is not working right.

-Christopher
Thanks Cristopher, engine oil level is good, no warn engine light when running or flashing. Glow plug relay is sending power to the plugs not just clicking. Thanks for the info on getting the codes analog like that. I have a code reader but haven't used it yet as there is no warn engine light bothering me to do so. I'm going to dig back into it this afternoon.
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:11 PM   #18
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juyst as kind of an overview of what happens in this engine. of course glowplugs heat up in the cylinders.. the mechanical lift pump provides pressure at 47 or 72 PSI to the fuel rail.. that pump is a bit pf a PITA to change.. so I can see how they could bugger up stuff doing it.. its in the valley of the engine..

its a negative pressure pump so it sucks the fuel from the tank to the pump and then pressurizes it into the filter.. if there is a leak in the fuel lines or fittings coming from the tank pickup up to the fuel pump the fuel would bleed down and possibly cause a loss of prime and / or a no-start... (checking fuel PSI at schraeder rules this out)..

engine oil pump on crankshaft pumps lube opil through the engine, and also fills up the High pressure oil pump reservoire .. the HPOP build up very high oil pressure in the injector rails of the heads.. this pressure is regulated by the IPR.. and the computer verifies the pressure with the ICP.. if you can read PID 164 with your code scanner you can see if the HPOP pressure is up.. (usually the WARN light will tell you if the ICP sees no pressure).. PID 164 reads while cranking.. of course if you do get a start you know thats working..

the CPS sensor tells the computer where the rotation of the engine is and also that it has RPM.. on mine if im cranking for a bit I'll see RPM read on the scan tool.. it never shows oin my dash gauge because the voltage drops low enough that the dash gauges just re-set all the time.

the injectors are controlled by the computer.. and the electricals driving them are 100+ Volts DC coming from the IDM.. if you have a 97 or newer then the IDM voltage is supplied directly from the ECM on the valve cover.. these harnesses can and do work loose... make sure they are properly installed and torqued.. if your ECM fails to boot obviously the engine wont start... you said you have no codes.. be interesting to know what codes the shop cleared out...

you should see your WARN light come on when you first turn the key.. if you dont then either the bulb is burned out, removed, or such, or possibly the ECM is not booting at all (No start)..
-Christopher
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:55 PM   #19
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So I hooked up my multimeter while cycling the glow plugs and while cranking. While cycling the glow plugs it drops to around 11.82V and while cranking my voltage drops to 10.18V. I've been told that the injectors won't be commanded by the ECM with under 11V (can anyone confirm?) and if that's the case I'm going to keep searching for an electrical issue.

My warn engine light comes on-yes but doesn't stay on or flash.

I found some pretty crispy/overheated looking connectors coming off the main fuse bar for the heater and defroster and hoped that they were the culprit but isolating them didn't help the issue.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeloYelo View Post

I found some pretty crispy/overheated looking connectors coming off the main fuse bar for the heater and defroster and hoped that they were the culprit but isolating them didn't help the issue.
Keep checking connectors and relays. Spencer and his prison bus had no-start situation, found bad fusible link.
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