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Old 06-05-2017, 05:05 PM   #1
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Please help, bus won't start

Hi everyone,

My wife and I need some urgent help. We have a Thomas yr 2000 with a 5.9 cummins, electronic. Our bus won't start but needs to me moved out. I'll describe the problem as best I can below:

We removed the fuel tank and spent one month repairing it. Meanwhile the bus was sitting. We went to start it after replacing the fuel tank and it didn't start. Turns out the batteries died. We replaced the batteries and the bus turns over but doesn't start. there is fuel in the filter. We tried cracking the injections lines so I do not think there is air in the lines.

The really weird part is that something beeps in the fuse box while the key is NOT in the ignition. There are also warning lights : stop light, EPS stop engine, and water in fuel line light. When I turn the key to the on position the beeping gets louder and the lights turn off. Then I try to crank the engine and it turns over but doesn't start. When I turn the key back to the on position, the bus power goes out. the power seems to come back on after a few minutes or if I disconnect then reconnect the battery lines.

I also tried to bypass the start circuit stuff with jumper cables, but still same thing.

If any one has any advice, please share. We have no clue what to do.

Thank you!
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithandDima View Post
Hi everyone,

My wife and I need some urgent help. We have a Thomas yr 2000 with a 5.9 cummins, electronic. Our bus won't start but needs to me moved out. I'll describe the problem as best I can below:

We removed the fuel tank and spent one month repairing it. Meanwhile the bus was sitting. We went to start it after replacing the fuel tank and it didn't start. Turns out the batteries died. We replaced the batteries and the bus turns over but doesn't start. there is fuel in the filter. We tried cracking the injections lines so I do not think there is air in the lines.

The really weird part is that something beeps in the fuse box while the key is NOT in the ignition. There are also warning lights : stop light, EPS stop engine, and water in fuel line light. When I turn the key to the on position the beeping gets louder and the lights turn off. Then I try to crank the engine and it turns over but doesn't start. When I turn the key back to the on position, the bus power goes out. the power seems to come back on after a few minutes or if I disconnect then reconnect the battery lines.

I also tried to bypass the start circuit stuff with jumper cables, but still same thing.

If any one has any advice, please share. We have no clue what to do.

Thank you!
Many issues possible. Try getting rid of that water in the fuel light first. You must have a filter with a drain fitting to do that. Open it and drain it
out then try restart. If not bleed the air out again and try.

I'm sure there are a few more things to try but that should help. Hopefully someone else will jump in the conversation with the same type engine etc.

John
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:20 PM   #3
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seems like you shorted something out, batteries should go months with no problem. removing the fuel tank would put air in the line back by the tank but it should still fire right up with the fuel left in the system and then die once it worked its way to the hpp. look around the area you were working, be sure you hooked the wires going into the tank properly . good luck
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:52 PM   #4
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Don't forget the basics. Tranny has to be in neutral, all doors must be closed and unlocked and the hatch has to be latched properly but doesn't need to be closed.

I agree you've got air in your fuel lines. Try cycling through the start process several times in hopes of the lift pump putting fuel through to your injector pump.

Another issue that pops up now and then is the electrical fuel shut off selenoid stops working.
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Old 06-05-2017, 06:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithandDima View Post
The really weird part is that something beeps in the fuse box while the key is NOT in the ignition. There are also warning lights : stop light, EPS stop engine, and water in fuel line light. When I turn the key to the on position the beeping gets louder and the lights turn off.
I don't know about the first beep, but the "beeping gets louder" might simply be the low air pressure buzzer coming on (it has air brakes?). All those warning lights should come on for about 2 seconds when the key is first turned on, and then they should go out. If the water-in-fuel or other trouble lights are staying on longer than a couple seconds then definitely go after that first as BlackJohn suggests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithandDima View Post
Then I try to crank the engine and it turns over but doesn't start. When I turn the key back to the on position, the bus power goes out. the power seems to come back on after a few minutes or if I disconnect then reconnect the battery lines.
I've seen some that only allow one attempt to start; the key has to be turned completely off to try again. Seems like that was a feature of the key switch though.. Anyway, I'm not sure whether that could explain the "bus power goes out" observation.

Because it cranks, can we assume that all the door interlocks etc are OK? IIRC those interrupt the start circuit; they don't operate a fuel cutoff (or other engine kill).

This engine uses an electric lift pump that should run all the time. Easy things first, speculating that maybe the fuel filter housing isn't fully refilled, let's try making the lift pump run. A lot. If you "bump the starter" then the lift pump should run for about 30 seconds. It should be audible if you're in a quiet place and listen carefully. ("bump the starter" means turn the key to start/crank just briefly; make the starter run for just a moment.) Do this maybe 6 times in a row to give it abundant opportunity to purge air from the tank pickup, supply tube, filter housing, the supply side of the injection pump, the return tube, etc. Then try actually starting the engine; give it 10-15 seconds of continuous cranking if needed.

If that doesn't work out then we can get into more details to confirm that the lift pump etc are working to bring fuel from the tank to the injection pump, make sure air is purged from the high pressure lines, etc.
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:47 AM   #6
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I know this might sound simple and I'm sure it's good, however check over all the connections and grounds to your batteries and make sure everything is connected properly. If I'm understanding correctly, the bus ran, you decided to do fuel tank maintenance, the batteries died and were replaced and now the bus will not start.

What stands out is that you're getting power with the key out of the ignition. Please check the positive connections on your batteries and the grounds.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:48 AM   #7
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I have 2003 5.9 24v electronic also. I just dropped and cleaned my tank, replaced all the fuel lines so I have a good idea where you are at.

1 thing to consider: That motor has a Bosch VP44 fuel injection pump that is expensive to replace and fussy about it's clean 15 psi fuel pressure. The engine mounted electric carter lift pump is inadequate. I relocated fuel pump by tank to push fuel- read my build. took 3 bumps to purge 30 feet of fuel line and fill filter.

Strong batteries, clean posts, good ground-- don't forget any pigtails.

Doors and hatches all opened, closed and re-latched for takeoff.

Bump starter and have helper listen to driver side of engine for whirr- 15 sec.- is yes, keep-on.

WIF- you have a drain on the engine mounted fuel filter, 2 types, one flips- delicate.- drain into a bucket, see what it looks like.

If good fuel flow, then you can carefully crack the injector lines at engine- 19mm, (i think), gentle w big wrench. bump, look for fuel. may start rough, tighten injector nuts and she'll smooth-out.

Take your time, no crescent wrench/vise grips here!
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:46 PM   #8
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We're very grateful for all the help. We checked over all the connections again and it turns out I didn't connect the batteries the right way. I guess I was just overthink the situation.

Again thanks for all the help. Feel free to check out of blog at 240squared – Living big in 240 sq feet and youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJn...oAQsf7cjIz5U7w
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:48 PM   #9
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Thank you for the advice because you were absolutely right! I didn't connect the batteries right. I reconnected everything, tightened with a wrench instead of just fingers, then cranked it for 30 seconds and it fired right up. it was rough but recovered.
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Old 06-06-2017, 03:01 PM   #10
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Excellent !

Loose connections on batteries can melt lead the posts-off the top. The higher compression of a diesel requires more grunt to spin, draws more amps.

Protect that injection pump with pressure gauge/alarm and it will last.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:33 PM   #11
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Glad to hear that! Way to go!
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