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Old 03-13-2016, 09:04 PM   #61
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Have you cleaned your batter terminals? Check your ground wire to the frame? You might even get your battery checked out.
All of this stuff would be good for you to learn to do yourself. Maybe you already do. It's just good to know preventative maintenance in case this ever happens while you're out in the boonies.

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Old 03-13-2016, 09:18 PM   #62
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Definitely and thank you for the kick in the pants. Unfortunately I've run out of time tonight but I will get right back into this as soon as I get back.

Thanks again for the reply!
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:45 PM   #63
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After it went off, you may have a reset somewhere that needs tripped.
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:52 AM   #64
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do you have an ECM? If so, maybe a hard reset would help. Remove the neg cable from the battery for 30 seconds...... Just a thought.
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Old 03-14-2016, 06:55 AM   #65
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I do not believe there is an engine control module. This is a 1998 Cumins 5.9L, the last year they made the non-electronic version. But I'll check to verify.

Thanks for the response!
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:59 PM   #66
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So I've checked the batteries and each are showing 11.75 volts. A little weak but should still be able to start. Again, since I bought it in October it's started strongly every time without issue so this is a real mystery.

The issue followed me removing the rear door contact and housing, verifying it was ok and then screwing it back on. When I hit the ignition that rear sensor does not sound off to indicate the door is not closed (or rather the contact isn't pressed). After that it's a real head-scratcher because I did nothing else to the bus, she just all of the sudden won't start.

Here's a video of what I get when I turn the ignition:

https://youtu.be/duHxThS3tC0

The center warning light is for the brakes which do have a minor issue that I'll get to. The left warning light is for the oil pressure/water temp. Then there is a "P" warning light at the bottom right which you cannot see.

If memory serves all three of these have come on in the past and never impacted it starting, but I could be wrong about the "P" warning light. I've looked through all three of my manuals, Cummins, Thomas and Freightliner and none of them indicate what the "P" warning light is for.

This is pretty frustrating because I'm sure it's something simple but I cannot put my finger on it. Any ideas what I can try next?

THANKS in advance!
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:56 PM   #67
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The door safety switch you reinstalled may not be adjusted properly to make contact. You notice they have threads and lock nuts, or some do anyway.
If my guess is right there are two wires on that switch? Try bypassing the switch in case it went bad.
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Old 04-04-2016, 03:05 PM   #68
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Thanks! I'll try that, but I hadn't yet believing that if there is anything wrong with that switch won't it sound off? There just happened to be an issue with that switch when I bought it. It couldn't be started then but as soon as we figured it out and had it making good contact the bus started just fine and there wasn't an alarm going off anymore. Not hearing that alarm now led me to believe it wasn't that switch, but it's worth verifying at this point for sure.
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Old 04-04-2016, 03:41 PM   #69
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Yeah, it could be a lot of things. I'm just guessing. Could it be that it's not grounding well after you removed it and cleaned that area?
You're getting lights but it doesn't crank. I'm going to assume you've cleaned the battery terminals and made sure your ground wire has a good connection with the chassie. You've checked your fuses.
When fuses are replaced with breakers in vehicles they reset automatically as far as I know.
Sometimes, and I mean once in a while, a starter gets stuck for some reason and a couple taps with a hammer on the starter casing will make it act like nothing was ever wrong. Just another guess that doesn't cost you much to find out if it works.
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Old 04-04-2016, 03:54 PM   #70
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Thanks Robin97396,

Just to clarify something, I've been operating under the assumption that if there is anything wrong with that switch that it would sound its alarm whenever the ignition is engaged. Is that a wrong assumption?

I need to completely remove that switch anyway so this is all good, I'm just a little unclear how this thing normally works is all. If I have my way I'll disconnect it from the ignition system all together and be done with it. I'll need to confidently trace the wiring to the ignition side and remove it there, but I'm not sure how that can be done properly without hosing the system and creating a bigger issue.

Does anyone know how to do that? How do people normally deal with this unnecessary switch?

Thanks in advance again - you doods are awesome!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:43 PM   #71
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Is it an auto tranny? Try moving the shifter around. Or try neutral.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:29 PM   #72
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Not sure about the Thomas buses. However, on a Bluebird there is a small deadbolt below the rear door latch(for security). If it is in the locked position, the starter will not engage.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:42 PM   #73
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I'd say that's a reasonable assumption about the switch being bad and sounding the alarm when the ignition is engaged. There are a bunch of people that have dealt with this same problem in the recent past, but I skimmed through that part. I've gotten to where I like the alarm when I forget to latch a door properly so I don't plan on disconnecting mine.
Does you switch have two wires or just one?
You didn't happen to paint before replacing the switch after cleaning?
It's got to be something simple and right in our faces. It always is.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:53 AM   #74
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Thank you all, sdwarf36, wauto and Robin97396!!!

It is an auto tranny and I do think I moved the shifter a couple of times but will try that again. There is no deadbolt at the rear door but I will also check that just to be sure I haven't looked over anything.

My build-out plan is to eliminate the door from the height of the garage roof/bed platform and up while skinning over the rest of the rear (removing all windows). I'll still have exterior access to the garage but only as high as its "roof," if you will.

I did not paint or do anything other than remove the switch housing, photograph it and then put it back. There are two wires feeding it. Here's the pic:

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Old 04-05-2016, 12:14 PM   #75
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Now you've got me scared to take mine apart.

Everything looks right. The only thing I can see is that the protective cover around the switch looks like it needs to be grounded to the bus body. I'm sure you've already replaced everything where it was, but my guess is it's not grounding properly.
There are a number of people that were recently dealing with this same problem. I don't understand why they haven't given their account on the safety switch problem, because this sound identical.
I would suggest starting a new thread named with the specific problem you are having, such as "Emergency door safety switch removal" and I think you'll get some responses.
Personally I would try making direct contact between the two wires leading to the switch to see if that activates the buzzer. The fact that there is no sound at all would indicate a fuse maybe?
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Old 04-05-2016, 12:19 PM   #76
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On my Thomas, there are multiple points that will prevent the ignition circuit from completing:

Side door
Engine bay door
Rear emergency window

What are the colors of the wires feeding that device? Blue and purple? They should also have tiny white letters and numbers on them. The switch usually completes a circuit instead of breaking it, so when the button is pushed, power gets connected.

That switch though, since it has a buzzer, may do the reverse.

Hold on a minute. I still have mine right here. Let me do some tests.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:09 PM   #77
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Okay, on that switch, if the button is part of the way out, it makes a connection from one of the incoming wires to ground, completing a circuit which should fire off the buzzer. Further up the the line of the 2 incoming wires should be a splice, a red to one and a yellow to the other (it could also be pink to one grey to the other)

Well it turns out my buzzer is fried so I can't test if it is also a relay that's normally open or normally closed.

If you're feeling adventurous, cut and isolate the 2 incoming wires so they dont touch each other and don't touch a ground. See if it starts. If it doesn't, connect the 2 wires to each other and see if it starts. That's the only 2 outcomes that can happen there. My bet is you have to connect the two to keep the start signal going to the starter solenoid.
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:59 PM   #78
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Success!

Sort of...I took the switch housing off and inspected it. All looked in good order. I took special note of one of the wires going to the buzzer because the wire coming off of it looked kinked. It wasn't so I put it back together and refastened it to the wall and voila, she started up on the first turn just as strong as always. ???

I wish I knew what I did to fix it, but other than simply removing the housing and putting it back on I really didn't do anything definitive. The only weird thing that happened is that now the bus will start no matter if the switch is engaged or not. She'll start with the rear door completely open or closed and latched, and the buzzer does nothing.

RHOMBUS: Thanks a million for the details. I am feeling adventurous and I plan to follow those wires to see where they lead and what they turn into. My hope is to completely isolate that entire switch and buzzer connection at the starter.

I was thinking that it's "prolly" better to isolate it where it starts rather than leaving unneeded wiring running all the way to the rear to potentially (however small) cause an issue in the future once I've got her all completely built out and sealed up. Do you know how I might be able to isolate it at the starter? Would you even recommend it?
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:34 PM   #79
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Leave the wire intact minus the dead ends in case you need/want something later unless you are having problems with it (broken wire) then take it out and remember you have room for one more in there? I opened all of my bus ways looked at isololated and added and built to accommodate an accetable/workable portion later if needed.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:21 PM   #80
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I'm glad to hear you got that worked out.

Yeah, those wires could power some lights or something later. Or maybe you'd like to keep that buzzer hooked up so you can freak out guests from your control panel. Well, to much work to get it working again.
My wheel chair door has three switches on it so I don't even want to mess with it until something doesn't work. Besides, sometimes I need the reminders.
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