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Old 01-17-2011, 11:42 PM   #1
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466e
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HELP! Emergency starter system help needed: stuck in frost!

Ahoy forum-goers, we're stuck MID-trip across the country in frosty Lansing Michigan with a starter problem that's probably a no-brainer for most of ya'll...

Got a 1997 International 3800 DT4663. As it goes on the cold start this morning:
  • 1) neglected to put the block heater on overnight/in the morning
    2) tried cranking a few times before eventually losing battery power. ALMOST made it to ignition!
    3) plugged in the block heater, hooked up our truck via jumper cables and let go for an hour...
    4) cranked, got it to start, and unfortunately didn't balance the gas pedal right and it conked out

NOW the beast ain't turning over. I'm getting electrical power, but when I turn the key to the right after the 'Warn Engine' light goes off, I only get one click and no other response. It *seems* like it wants to fire, and that one interrupted start has become particularly frustrated.

Called Good Sam and they sent a fella out who suggested that we get a 24v charger (erroneously, I think, as our system is 12v, right??) While he was here we tapped on the starter a bit and tried to crank but to no avail. It's 12:30 am now, cold as heck, and the block heater is on with a 2 amp charge. I'm sure I'm getting full battery power, but still only one click from the starter. Is it 'locked' somehow?

What should I do? Ack. Help! Desperately trying to head south and having a real harshed day. Supposed to get above freezing tomorrow, so hoping that might do something.
Queen of the Monsters | 1997 International 3800 | DT466e | In the Company of Storms
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:08 AM   #2
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Re: HELP! Emergency starter system help needed: stuck in fro

auto or manual? if manual you could try rolling her and drop the clutch a bit to get the motor to move a bit.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: HELP! Emergency starter system help needed: stuck in fro

Try bridging the starter posts directly with a screwdriver that has an insulated handle. There may be sparks and there is some serious electrical current going through there so be careful (don't touch anything metal). If the starter spins then the problem is not related to the battery but rather the ignition circuit. If you get nothing, then either the starter/solenoid is bad or battery is weak/dead, or power from battery is not reaching starter, or bad connections somewhere in that circuit.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:30 PM   #4
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Re: HELP! Emergency starter system help needed: stuck in fro

Simple test: turn on the headlights and turn the key, see if the lights dim. No? Starter not getting circuit or bad starter solenoid. Yes? Most likely a connection problem...clean all the connections and try again.

Also, for future reference: I THINK the 1997 DT466E engine can be safely cold-started with starting fluid. Ether is the most common...I find Liquid Wrench works and is easier on the rings.
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