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Old 12-10-2017, 12:21 PM   #1
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Angry 2002 Thomas FE 3126 wont start after unplugging emergency door switch


First off introductions.
I am a long time lurker of this forum and have already done and sold a Skoolie in the Mid 90's. 76 GMC Carpenter 366 gasser converted for the bullet proof camping/hunting rig.

Currently I have a 2002 Thomas FE 30 foot handi bus with the dreaded 3126 and 545 combo.

Situation: Unplugged the back emergency door switch and removed the connection #5 on the yellow box inside the compartment outside the drivers window for the stop sign.

I was in the process of removing the "School Bus" related items and now I have a dead bus..

I completely re-attached the two wires that I previously unplugged and now still dead.

When I turn the key to on position all 12 volt accessories work however there is no indication of the pre-startup diagnostics/glow plug warm up.

The bus does turn over but will not start. I have searched exhaustively on this and many other resources and come up blank.

There are no Vandal locks everything is back to where it should be but still no avail.

I do need to put some juice back in the batteries as I have been trying to figure this out on my own. (Pride Thing)

- Every door has been opened and shut multiple times to make sure that is not it.
- Emergency hatches are completely shut and latched.
- Tried cycling the shifter to ensure it was not the neutral safety switch.
- Pointed left butt cheek towards north star while standing on one foot
- Checked every fuse with meter and no magic smoke has been removed.
- Connections to Battery look great as this bus was in service up to the date I bought. Tacoma Washington School District.
- Up to the aforementioned dilemma bus has performed flawlessly.
- Has one of those Child push button thingamagiger on the back door and I have pushed it in all possible combinations possible.

Every post I have read have been totally opposite of the condition I am experiencing. Mine turns over just no start and no cycling of gages.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:21 PM   #2
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Perhaps your interlock system is tied in with your electrical fuel shutoff valve.

If you're sure things are rewired correctly, perhaps disconnect the battery for a while, then reconnect so your computer resets.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:22 PM   #3
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Robin,
Didn't work. Disconnected batteries for an hour and still same issues. Went over all connections previously screwed with just to make sure and no avail.

I know I need to put some juice in my batteries currently at 12.2 volts measured with Fluke on batteries. Would that low of voltage prevent the startup diagnostic when the key is put in the on position.

Motor still turns over just with not with the gusto previously.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:32 PM   #4
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I agree with you. Charge those batteries up but top them up first with distilled water. Are those cable connections good at the batteries, starter and ground?
The speed of the starter adds to the heat needed for combustion so a slow starter isn't helping you.

John
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reminder to top off the cells, John. I'd cleaned my terminals and such as part of fall maintenance previously, but just recently bought another jug of distilled water. No plates were showing but it took nearly three quarts total.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:11 PM   #6
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Robin and John,

Thanks for the replies I will do just that. The only thing that still has me confused is when the key is put in the on (not start) position there is no indications of the glow plug preheat and the gages do not cycle.

That is where I am perplexed.

Is there something in the ECM that controls that if there is not enough juice?
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:19 PM   #7
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Sorry, I chose an all mechanical system so I didn't have to get headaches from electronics problems.

John, your up.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:21 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=ShagNasty;238349]Robin and John,

Thanks for the replies I will do just that. The only thing that still has me confused is when the key is put in the on (not start) position there is no indications of the glow plug preheat and the gages do not cycle.

That is where I am perplexed.

Is there something in the ECM that controls that if there is not enough juice?[/QUOT

There must be a sensor on battery voltage but don't ask me where that is.
You need a long slow charge , possibly 24 hours to get back to normal capacities. One or tow batteries? Charge each individually also.
No gauges at all seems strange unless a battery conservation measure for the power they still have.


John

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Old 12-10-2017, 04:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Thanks for the reminder to top off the cells, John. I'd cleaned my terminals and such as part of fall maintenance previously, but just recently bought another jug of distilled water. No plates were showing but it took nearly three quarts total.

Robin, yw...just be careful now they don't bite you back. they should have a lot more punch now if they are charged properly.
It's those little things that make for a happy bus.

John
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:44 PM   #10
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Yes, the little things count. I'm pretty good on preventative maintenance.

Previously, when it was still warm, I didn't have any remaining distilled water while servicing the battery terminals. I'd used it all up in my coolant replacement. But thanks for the reminder. It would have eventually caused a problem. My battery hasn't shown any signs of weakness and I want to keep it that way.
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Old 12-17-2017, 03:10 PM   #11
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Did a little more troubleshooting today and got some questions for the group.

#1. The solenoid that sends power from the ignition switch to the ECU and such has a purple with strip wire that when the key is in the on position has 12 volts middle post on solenoid.

#2. Same post on solenoid has a ground wire with what looks like a diode on it. What is the purpose of that.

#3. If when the key is in the on position and there is 12 volts to the Main lug and 12 volts to the small middle post and nothing coming out of the gozouta lug does that mean bad solenoid.

#4. When I jump the main gozinta and the gozouta my gages and prestart warmup work.

#5. Off to get a charger, batteries low.

#6. When I turn key to start position the purple wire looses voltage i.e. 0 volts.

Dan
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Old 12-17-2017, 04:50 PM   #12
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Start with good and charged batteries. If you don't hear that solenoid make an audible clunk/thunk sound when you turn the key then it is likely going bad. You can take the back of a screwdriver and tap on it roughly and it might engage ? I tend to use a hammer but it either helps or hurts.
If the solenoid is not engaging with good battery charge then when I was replacing it I would clean every connection.
If you do have any stranded wires that are just twisted and wrapped around any connection point then you need to pick up the proper ring or spade connectors while you are at the parts store getting a solenoid. Look at your wire size because the connectors on have a specific range of wire like 14-16 AWG or 16-22AWG so be careful on your options and to me ring terminals are better than spade/forked ones when you have a choice and a little dab of dielectric grease will only help in the long run.
Good luck
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Old 12-17-2017, 08:19 PM   #13
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If you're handy like Josh you can even take that solenoid apart, sand the contacts and maybe get it working again till you can get a new one.
Worked for me!
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Old 12-26-2017, 03:35 PM   #14
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The one thing that I have come to realize when it comes to creating your dream from something that was not meant to be is DETERMINATION.

Jolly Roger,

You are a steely-eye-missile man!!!

Any thing can happen with the proper application of mechanical agitation.

Looks like I need a solenoid, but with a thump from a well placed blow to the body of the solenoid I have magic happening.

Nothing is more disheartening then stuff key in ignition turn to go position and queue the Mario Brothers sound byte of when you die. Knocks the wind right out of you.

Turn key on beat the ever loving s@#t out of the solenoid and bus goes Vroom-Vroom

Let this be a lesson to me and to whomever reads this. ALWAYS repeat ALWAYS start your bus before tinkering with it. What I thought was induced by me (pulling wires from emergency door) was in fact a condition that just reared its ugly head causing me to loose sleep

Dan.

P.S. Wifey got me a Natures Head for Christmas
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Old 12-26-2017, 04:43 PM   #15
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I agree with the use of the cylindrical impact device. It... unsticks things.

At the same time I don't understand the need to remove wires if they're not causing a problem. I leave wires knowing I can use them in the future for LED lights or whatever. The weight of the wires is the least of the worries for my bus.
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:21 PM   #16
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I also have another habit when I am playing with,cutting wires that I don't know about?
start the what ever vehicle put it through the motions (engine,tranny F&R then park) minimum.
Cut one single wire and leave enough to reconnect at the thing you want to get rid of.
Start? Good.

Cut the next one?
Start? Good.
Little bit of time consuming but then you know EXACTLY where your at when your done.
HOUSE WIRING ISSUE OR STARTING ISSUE. Keep them seperate when you can?
My opinion?
Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:31 AM   #17
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Replaced the pesky solenoid and now everything works..

I was a little concerned that we ordered the wrong one because when I put a meter on the old the center post had no continuity to ground and the new one does.

The original has the ignition 12 volt to center post when key to start and also a wire to ground with a diode of some sort.

Wired the new one exactly as original and bus started and no magic smoke escaped from the wires.

Anybody out there experience this??

Dan
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:45 PM   #18
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You mean diagnosing the problem, ordering the right part, installing it and wiring it correctly the first time, and having it work right off the bat?

Nah.
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Old 01-23-2018, 03:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShagNasty View Post
Replaced the pesky solenoid and now everything works..

I was a little concerned that we ordered the wrong one because when I put a meter on the old the center post had no continuity to ground and the new one does.

The original has the ignition 12 volt to center post when key to start and also a wire to ground with a diode of some sort.

Wired the new one exactly as original and bus started and no magic smoke escaped from the wires.

Anybody out there experience this??

Dan
Well Shag, we had to go through all the motions for you to determine the bad solenoid. That's typical to know batteries are in good shape and leads to the next steps.

That solenoid that crapped out has probably seen many cycles in its lifetime so coils burn out after a while and when that happens, there is no magnetism to activate the contacts to energize all the other needs.
Sometimes the coils is good and the contacts are badly burnt.
Keep a spare onboard just in case, new ones sometimes fail too.

Seems to be a pretty common problem from what I am seeing in most used buses over 10 years old.
Take that old one apart for the heck of it and see how it is made, see how the contacts look and share pics if you can.
Glad you got her running good again,

John
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:08 PM   #20
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You mean diagnosing the problem, ordering the right part, installing it and wiring it correctly the first time, and having it work right off the bat?

Nah.
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