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Old 10-08-2018, 03:45 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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What is this this called?!?

Hi guys, I'm new here, but have been lurking for a while. Now I seem to need advice lol. I am buying a 1997, Thomas International 3800 with a DT466E diesel in it. This bus has been running fine, then we made the long trek up to her yesterday and she wouldn't start.

Now, I know WHERE the problem is, as my Dad had an old Satellite Sebring that this thing would go out on him every few months, so he kept a handful of them in his glove compartment lol. It's cheap, but without it, the vehicle won't start and you think you have a bad battery connection or even a low battery. But I can't remember the name! So here is WHERE it is

Driver's side, side access panel beneath the driver's side window. LOOKS like a starter relay, ignition relay, etc but all my searches are saying those are on the engine, firewall, etc and I cannot for the life of me find ANY diagrams, pictures, and labels that tell me not only what all those switches DO, but also the other components under there. The solenoid should be on the starter itself, correct?

What it DOES (and the battery is charged) is... when you turn the key to start it, you hear a ...not really a click as this is louder, deeper and meatier than a girly little click lol. It's more like a clunk but comes EXACTLY from that round, metal device attacked under the access panel that has... oh God if I can remember... 2 red and a black wire (I THINK) going to it. You can FEEL the click/clunk sound every time you turn the key. It's frustrating to not remember what it is. It's an easy switch and cheap, but I have to remember what it is called, as I in no way trust auto parts stores. I may be female but I drove trucks coast to coast over 20 years and always worked on my own cars and trucks etc and KNOW better than to assume they have a clue what you are talking about lol.

As an aside, I will mention that this mounts on its side, right up next to the outer wall, is maybe 6 inches in length, maybe 2, 2 1/2 inches across and the wires connect on the end facing the passenger area. So it attaches parallel with the outer wall of the bus.

Can anyone help, and does anyone know where to get a nice color picture of that access panel inside and out with everything labeled? Thank you all in advance. Her name is Zerah and she is to be our home, so I need to do this right.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:50 PM   #2
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sure sounds like you are describing this

https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/...FVF0wQodOEMBdQ

the link above is a picture... it is a starter solenoid, the kind used on fords in the 60's, 70's, and 80's

william
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormravyn View Post
Hi guys, I'm new here, but have been lurking for a while. Now I seem to need advice lol. I am buying a 1997, Thomas International 3800 with a DT466E diesel in it. This bus has been running fine, then we made the long trek up to her yesterday and she wouldn't start.

Now, I know WHERE the problem is, as my Dad had an old Satellite Sebring that this thing would go out on him every few months, so he kept a handful of them in his glove compartment lol. It's cheap, but without it, the vehicle won't start and you think you have a bad battery connection or even a low battery. But I can't remember the name! So here is WHERE it is

Driver's side, side access panel beneath the driver's side window. LOOKS like a starter relay, ignition relay, etc but all my searches are saying those are on the engine, firewall, etc and I cannot for the life of me find ANY diagrams, pictures, and labels that tell me not only what all those switches DO, but also the other components under there. The solenoid should be on the starter itself, correct?

What it DOES (and the battery is charged) is... when you turn the key to start it, you hear a ...not really a click as this is louder, deeper and meatier than a girly little click lol. It's more like a clunk but comes EXACTLY from that round, metal device attacked under the access panel that has... oh God if I can remember... 2 red and a black wire (I THINK) going to it. You can FEEL the click/clunk sound every time you turn the key. It's frustrating to not remember what it is. It's an easy switch and cheap, but I have to remember what it is called, as I in no way trust auto parts stores. I may be female but I drove trucks coast to coast over 20 years and always worked on my own cars and trucks etc and KNOW better than to assume they have a clue what you are talking about lol.

As an aside, I will mention that this mounts on its side, right up next to the outer wall, is maybe 6 inches in length, maybe 2, 2 1/2 inches across and the wires connect on the end facing the passenger area. So it attaches parallel with the outer wall of the bus.

Can anyone help, and does anyone know where to get a nice color picture of that access panel inside and out with everything labeled? Thank you all in advance. Her name is Zerah and she is to be our home, so I need to do this right.
Most buses have two big "body" solenoids in the electrical panel compartment. They do fail regularly. I've had to replace one on a couple buses I've owned now.
Thes two in the center here-

One is for the starter and one is for all the accessories, IIRC.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:32 PM   #4
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ECCB is correct: solenoid is the word you're searching for.

Yes there's a solenoid on (built into) most starter motors. But "solenoid" is a general term in the same way that "switch" is (toggle switch, rocker switch, pushbutton switch, knife switch, etc). They come in all endless shapes and sizes. That clunk-making cylinder in the electrical panel is a solenoid too.

If the solenoid in the electrical panel has failed it's important to choose a replacement that is rated for continuous duty (notice the abbreviation "CONT" on the white label in the photo ECCB attached). Some solenoids are rated for intermittent duty. The solenoid for a starter could be likely to be for intermittent duty, for example. You wouldn't want that kind for this use because it would overheat and then fail prematurely. The solenoids in the electrical panel are turned on continuously while the ignition key is in "run."
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:08 PM   #5
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The body solenoids are easy to replace and easy to test.

I now keep a couple new ones laying around in my parts collection.
FWIW- Josh can fix a sticking one with a rock and some spray lube!
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:39 PM   #6
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The one with the bigger wires is the starter solenoid.
With everything connected.
With key switch on to run (not an extra hand turning the key to start).
Go outside to the solenoid.
Use a screw driver to make contact between the positive post and the I(ignition) or S(starter) post.
If the starter turns then replace the solenoid.
If it doesn't I would look at the key switch and wiring between the two.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
The one with the bigger wires is the starter solenoid.
With everything connected.
With key switch on to run (not an extra hand turning the key to start).
Go outside to the solenoid.
Use a screw driver to make contact between the positive post and the I(ignition) or S(starter) post.
If the starter turns then replace the solenoid.
If it doesn't I would look at the key switch and wiring between the two.
If the ignition is in the on position and jumping with a screwdriver engages the starter, isn't it working correctly. What you have done with the screwdriver is what would happen when the key is turned to the start position. If it starts with the screwdriver, but not the key, I doubt it's the solenoid.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:41 AM   #8
Almost There
 
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Actually your basically bypassing the solenoid or bridging the connection and taking the solenoid out of the equation. That's why when the solenoid went bad in my old chevy truck I would just bridge the connection until I could replace the starter solenoid...
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
If the ignition is in the on position and jumping with a screwdriver engages the starter, isn't it working correctly. What you have done with the screwdriver is what would happen when the key is turned to the start position. If it starts with the screwdriver, but not the key, I doubt it's the solenoid.

Nice try but WRONG!


The way you state it is wrong.


The solenoid has 2 parts, the coil and the magnetic contacts.
When the coil isn't working the magnetics don't either. Manually crossing those terminals will start things yes. That doesn't have anything to do with the coil being good or bad.


Turning the key on a working solenoid makes the contact to power up the starter solenoid A bad coil will not move those contacts period.
What you are doubting is completely wrong in my mind.
Please don't lead people astray like that with limited understanding.
Sorry folks, had to step in here and add this.


John
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
Nice try but WRONG!


The way you state it is wrong.


The solenoid has 2 parts, the coil and the magnetic contacts.
When the coil isn't working the magnetics don't either. Manually crossing those terminals will start things yes. That doesn't have anything to do with the coil being good or bad.


Turning the key on a working solenoid makes the contact to power up the starter solenoid A bad coil will not move those contacts period.
What you are doubting is completely wrong in my mind.
Please don't lead people astray like that with limited understanding.
Sorry folks, had to step in here and add this.


John



Perfect answer right here.
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