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Old 12-20-2017, 02:11 PM   #1
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Thomas build 2002 trouble starting

Hello new friends!
We're based out of New Orleans Louisiana and we've just purchased a 2002 Thomas bus with a 7.3 caterpillar engine. We drove it back about 140 miles from Mississippi where we got it without any problem! Now we've begun the rebuild, starting with ripping out the floors and grinding away any surface rust. we're lucky to have no rust corrosion so bad that it's eaten through any of the metal on the bus.


Now all of the sudden about a week after we've brought the bus home, it won't start. I can get the electric components of the bus to turn on with a single turn of the key and i know that everything is working including the lights and the wipers. but when i try to turn the ignition it does not turn over. I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me with this issue. This is my first post in a thread like this and I am a new comer to this site so apologies if this is not the correct location to post this thread. appreciate any help or advice anyone could give. Thank you!


Austin
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Old 12-20-2017, 06:22 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 23
Hey Iím no expert but I know a bit about car mechanics I can try to help
first off check fuses maybe there just one blown thatís gunkin up the works
does it turn over at all?
If it doesnít Iíd take a look at the starter make sure itís getting voltage and if it is but it isnít doing anything with it then Iíd take a harder look around the starter system
If it is turning over but not starting then Iíd take a look at fuel delivery check to make sure your getting fuel to the engine
If thatís happening Iím not too familiar with diesels but Iíd say check to make sure your getting compression


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Old 12-20-2017, 06:40 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,715
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Disconnect your batteries and charge them up individually after you top them up with distilled water. You might have a parasitic drain happening until you get to know the bus better. Give them a slow 24 hr charge each then try starting.
Takes a few starts to get the hang of how that happens as far as heating so maybe you'll get lucky doing this. You need all the power those batteries have for that to start if it sits for a week.
Did anyone show you how to start it up when it's (the engine) is stone cold?
Whatever don't use any starter fluids at all.

John
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Old 12-20-2017, 06:43 PM   #4
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I am planning on trying a jumper pack on the batteries. hopefully that will work to start the bus.

We were initially shown how to start it from 'cold' being told that we need to wait for the lights on the dash to go off before turning the key to spark the engine. Is there further instruction required? Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2017, 07:52 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,715
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundofsonix View Post
I am planning on trying a jumper pack on the batteries. hopefully that will work to start the bus.

We were initially shown how to start it from 'cold' being told that we need to wait for the lights on the dash to go off before turning the key to spark the engine. Is there further instruction required? Thanks!
Jumper packs might work on a car but these buses, your bus needs major power to get it running.

Well, there are certain things that can happen if you have opened emergency exits, roof hatches etc. They have to be all in series before the starter works at all.
You might be able to hear a loud click in the driver's area when the key is put to on. If not, that is the first thing to chase down and find out why.
You may have a rear start panel for that bus also where you can try to start it also.
Buses don't like to sit like yours has, they need to run to keep from developing a myriad of issues from fuel issues, electrical and such.
You can look for a block heater as well which, if plugged in for 2 hours, normally warms things up enough for much easier starts. These are high compression engines and they hold lots of thick oil when cold, adding resistance to the starter mechanism.
I take it that it doesn't get real cold wherever you live but this won't hurt till you can determine battery strength and condition.
Clean all battery terminals up and connections of those to ground and to the starter itself. Very basic stuff.. read lots in here, similar issues have come up a lot.

John
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:19 PM   #6
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
I think what they have done is simply locked the back door with the barrel bolt and they've activated the interlock system.

Your rear doors have to be unlocked for your bus to start. Also if someone has gone through the top hatch and not reconnected the electrical connection properly, it won't start.

Check your top hatch and make sure the electrical connection is good. Unlock the barrel bolt on the back door. If you have other exits on you bus make sure they don't have a lock on them that would activate the interlock system.

It sounds like a simple interlock issue. This happens several times a week.
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