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Old 06-04-2019, 07:46 AM   #1
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International 3800 not starting

Halp! Our skoolie won’t start. 2000 International 3800 DT466E. When we turn the key to hot it doesn’t even crank and there is a light that says “water in fuel.” I drained the water separator... perhaps too much? I drained it for a long time.. Anywho it still doesn’t start and we are stranded and trying to figure out what’s next. Any ideas? Or knights in shining armor in Nashville? 😍
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:52 AM   #2
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When you say “crank” you mean the motor doesn’t turn at all? Sounds right of the bat like dead or weak batteries. Do you hear a loud click when you try to start the bus? Try testing the batteries with a multimeter to see what voltage they’re at. You might get lucky and just have a loose connection.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:54 AM   #3
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Dont worry about the Water in Fuel light. That always comes on when you try and crank the engine.

There are 2 most likely suspects: starter is fried(that happened to me a while back) nothing would happen when you turned the key, just the clicks of the solenoids.

2nd: could be electrical such as an interlock preventing start, battery issue, or solenoid issue.

Good luck!

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Old 06-04-2019, 07:57 AM   #4
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If it's not even cranking (spinning the engine when you turn the key) I would start by checking the interlocks. on the windows, hatch, rear door, etc. These can all interrupt the starter circuit.

if those look OK, I'd next test the starter by bypassing the starter solenoid. Locate the solenoid (likely attached tot he starter, and note there are 2 big terminala and 2 small terminals. If you bridge the 2 big terminals with a plastic handled screwdriver, you are bypassing everything that decides if the starter should spin and applying power directly. of course, make sure you are in neutral with the parking brake set. If the starter doesn't spin when you bypass the solenoid, verify there is 12v power on one of those big terminals (one comes from the battery, the other goes into the starter. the one from the battery should have 12v). If you have power, the starter is bad.

If however the starter spins, you can next test the solenoid itself. Use your multimeter to determine which of the small terminals is a ground, and apply power tot he other small terminal. This bypasses the interlocks, neutral safety switch, and everything else north of the solenoid. If applying power to the solenoid properly triggers it, the starter should spin. If not, your solenoid is bad.

If you've gotten this far, you'll have to check your interlocks and neutral switch for proper function, and even the ECU I believe can prevent the start command on that one... So hopefully one of the earlier steps has found the problem!

If the starter spins,
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:04 AM   #5
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Correct, it doesn’t crank at all. I do hear a fairly loud click from my left from the fuses area or from behind the various switches. I’ll see about testing the battery... voltmeter on the dash shows 12V
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:08 AM   #6
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May be apples and oranges, since my mill is a 444E. I was experiencing the same symptoms, ran thru all the preceding procedures, no joy!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
Correct, it doesn’t crank at all. I do hear a fairly loud click from my left from the fuses area or from behind the various switches. I’ll see about testing the battery... voltmeter on the dash shows 12V
Digging deeper, I found what sounded like a nut-job suggestion. The guy making it was a pro bus driver, so I gave it a try.
rum, rum, rum, VROOM!
Is there a bundle of wires coming down thru the firewall, in the corner, forward of your left foot?
OK, this is where it gets complex, so I'll type really sloooooow.
Lightly tap the bundle with your foot, and try to start it again. It worked the 1st time for me. If not, well, lather, rinse, repeat...
I know- improbable! Doesn't mean impossible.
Hope that's all it takes for all y'all! 🤞
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:53 AM   #7
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12v on the dash indicator does not guarantee charged batteries. A charged bat would actually be over 12vand closer to 13-14. The dash gage often just isn't that accurate. If the solenoid clicks when you turn the key, i personally would suspect dead (not fully charged) batteries as opposed to a lockout
.that or bad connections. Of course,make sure it's in natural. It it beyond super common for this to happen and these engines need a lot of juice to turn over and to power all the components in the electrical systems.
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haz.matt.1960 View Post
May be apples and oranges, since my mill is a 444E. I was experiencing the same symptoms, ran thru all the preceding procedures, no joy!Digging deeper, I found what sounded like a nut-job suggestion. The guy making it was a pro bus driver, so I gave it a try.
rum, rum, rum, VROOM!
Is there a bundle of wires coming down thru the firewall, in the corner, forward of your left foot?
OK, this is where it gets complex, so I'll type really sloooooow.
Lightly tap the bundle with your foot, and try to start it again. It worked the 1st time for me. If not, well, lather, rinse, repeat...
I know- improbable! Doesn't mean impossible.
Hope that's all it takes for all y'all! 🤞


I was a radio tech air when I was in the Air Force back in the day of tubes, resistors, and capacitors - some mornings we would get a report of a non serviceable radio or transmitter - the first thing we would do was to unfasten the wing nuts that held the piece of equipment in place, slide the black box out on it's rails far enough that it disconnected the multi-pronged plugs on the back of the bus, then SLAM it back into place - that insured the plugs made proper contact, and frequently saved us hard working ( NOT ) airmen a lot of work - lol
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:02 AM   #9
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LOL
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
I was a radio tech air when I was in the Air Force back in the day of tubes, resistors, and capacitors - some mornings we would get a report of a non serviceable radio or transmitter - the first thing we would do was to unfasten the wing nuts that held the piece of equipment in place, slide the black box out on it's rails far enough that it disconnected the multi-pronged plugs on the back of the bus, then SLAM it back into place - that insured the plugs made proper contact, and frequently saved us hard working ( NOT ) airmen a lot of work - lol
Don't know if you watched, "The Sopranos," but there was a funny scene where their ill-gotten DVD player wouldn't work.
Paulie said all it needed was the Cordovan Treatment he'd learned in the army.
And them proceeded to slap the sh1t out of it with his shoe.
(That SOP didn't work on the DVD, BTW...)
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haz.matt.1960 View Post
LOLDon't know if you watched, "The Sopranos," but there was a funny scene where their ill-gotten DVD player wouldn't work.
Paulie said all it needed was the Cordovan Treatment he'd learned in the army.
And them proceeded to slap the sh1t out of it with his shoe.
(That SOP didn't work on the DVD, BTW...)
didn't see that one, but I can believe an Army guy would do it that way - lol


moral of the story of course, is make sure all connections are actually connecting
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:10 AM   #11
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12v on the dash indicator does not guarantee charged batteries. A charged bat would actually be over 12vand closer to 13-14. The dash gage often just isn't that accurate.
Correct in that the gauge may not be correct. Correct that the indicator may not be correct. Incorrect in that a charged battery would be closer to 13-14. Typical 12V battery voltage is around 12.5-12.8 with a good charge, they'll only show 13-14V running with the alternator charging properly. Typical voltage running with a good alternator is 13.8. No disrespect intended, simply speaking from my own experience.

Anything less than 13.4-13.8 is undercharging, anything more than 14.0 will cook the batteries (will literally boil the fluid out of the battery, which I will cover in a moment). The only way to truly know the actual voltage is to test the voltage at the battery terminals with a handheld voltmeter. Any charging system issues can be something as simple as a bad ground wire or loose connection, or as involved as a faulty alternator or voltage regulator (some regulators are integral with the alternator).

However, Aimless, I can suggest a few possibilities here.

One thing to try before doing anything else. Check your terminal connections for evidence of oxidation (a fuzzy odd-colored coating on the terminals), or corrosion. Sometimes it won't be easy to see. A bit of Coca-Cola poured on the terminals will dissolve any oxidation and help restore the connection. (Sometimes takes a bit more than you think)

Also, check the terminals to make sure they are not loose or worn to the point they cannot maintain a good connection. This is probably the most overlooked issue. I have a Toyota with bad terminals that I have to wiggle and twist to start the car -- there is nothing wrong with the battery, the terminals simply cannot be tightened properly. I don't really drive the car anymore, and plan to sell it, so to me, there is no point in fixing it.

If your transmission is manual, there should be a safety switch on the clutch pedal assembly to prevent starting in gear. Make sure this switch is not bad. Automatic transmissions should have a neutral safety switch that serves a similar purpose, and can also go bad. Either of these can prevent the engine from cranking.

Lead-acid batteries are comprised of individual cells. If one or more of these cells has a problem, the battery will not hold charge. Cooler / cold temps will tell on this every time. Unfortunately, the only way to know is to remove the battery / batteries and take it / them in for testing. However, before taking them in for testing, you may consider checking the fluid level, if applicable (covered in the next paragraph).

Another thing to check (AND BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL, THIS DEMANDS A VERY STEADY HAND AND TAKING IT SLOW). Some batteries are maintenance-free, and this does not apply to them. Most buses (GM P/G-chassis and Ford E-chassis excepted), will not have maintenance-free batteries. Those that are not maintenance-free, will have two long rectangular 'caps' on top of the battery. They have pegs that fit into holes in the battery case sort of like a Lego brick.

Checking the fluid inside (DO NOT TOUCH THIS FLUID, IT IS HIGHLY CORROSIVE ACID!) is potentially dangerous, but pretty easy. The appearance of a coating of grime or wetness on or around these caps is indicative of fluid being pushed out of the battery cells, usually due to overcharging -- it is highly acidic, and I recommend you wear industrial / mechanic's gloves and safety glasses while doing this, to prevent injury. Smoking / open flame is a no-no. If the caps appear overly grimy or wet, wipe the caps and surrounding area to properly clean them and minimize danger.

If done carefully, there is little to no danger, I do this all the time without gloves or safety glasses, but I wouldn't recommend doing this without proper protective equipment to anyone else. I know what I'm doing with it, but the law of averages says that if you tease a snake often enough, eventually it will bite you. HENCE, take proper protective measures, take your time, and you will be fine.

VERY carefully, use a flat-blade screwdriver with very gentle, slow pressure to slowly pry up these caps individually, slowly working your way around the edges. NEVER TOUCH ANY PART OF THESE CAPS THAT HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO THE ACID INSIDE -- ONLY HANDLE THEM BY THEIR SIDES.

Try not to let the cap pop free all at once, it can sling acid and hurt you badly. Once these caps are off, look (DO NOT STICK ANYTHING INSIDE) in the holes to see if the fluid level is low.

Low fluid level is indicative of overcharging, but some batteries just push it out the vents from overpressurization and heat. If it is not close to the top (within 1 inch), or you cannot see it, slowly add water (tap water will work, distilled water is best). Then replace each cap slowly and carefully. It's a lot easier than it sounds, you just have to be very careful when removing and replacing the caps. Often a battery with low fluid will perk right back up just by doing this, but sometimes may need a charge if it is already low.

If everything else checks out, you may have either an electrical short in the wiring causing a current draw when the engine is not running (one or more accessories retaining power when they should not be), or perhaps a bad connection or bad ground somewhere.

Just my $0.02 - Hope one of these solves your problem.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:35 AM   #12
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^ Agrees with above, thorough explanation ^
Additionally, the phosphoric acid in Coke, or nearly any other brown soda, will convert the corrosion. Best to tuck a rag under the work area to minimize the mess. Also to avoid the inevitable damage the H3PO4 will cause to painted surfaces.
Tap water should only be used in a pinch to refill battery cells. DDI is the correct choice, as it will not introduce deleterious ions &/or contaminants into the sulfuric acid, which will shorten your batt's life expectancy.
Mi dos centavos.
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