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Old 07-05-2018, 06:48 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Duncan, South Carolina
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Chevy Blue Bird
Engine: 3116 Cat
Starter Relay Problem Please Help

Hello everyone,

First I'd like to say what a great resource this site has been. I'm six months into a conversion and have made tremendous progress die to these threads.

I apologize if this is the wrong place to post my question I just honestly need some advice badly and I've scoured the posts hoping to avoid this post but can't find the answers I'm looking for.

My problem is I made a huge mistake and I know I'll catch heat for it but trust me I feel as dumb as possible already so bare with me.

Trying to figure out a battery drain I was pulling wires and testing the battery for voltage drop one at a time and was having no luck and getting frustrated. On the outside of the bus an antenna and on the inside firewall directly through the bus was the starter relay. At the time the business starting fine everytime. In my frustrated wire pulling state i took out the starter relay thinking it was part of the antenna. Also disconnected the heat switch for heater which I think was the battery drain because the solenoid on it was warm to the touch. But by the time I realised I messed up it was too late and I couldn't remember exactly how the relay was connected to begin with.

I already took out all the emergency exits and doors weeks prior and possibly that had something to do with the battery drain and not the heater switch? Batteries are testing fine noe they aren't dropping any volts but ideally need some help getting this relay reinstalled properly.

The relay has 5 prongs 3 that have wires coming off of then and 2 that loop together. In the photo I added there is a. Red dot and a good ring. One of the wires for sure ran to the red dot. At least one of the other 2 wires ran somewhere in the gold circle. I believe both of then did but not 100%.

As I research it made me think it should be grounded somewhere but all the wires are red and ran to the red dot and gold circle in my photo so idk.

Any advice is greatly greatly appreciated. My bus is a 96 chevy bluebird with a cat 3116 engine.

The last picture is hobbit looked before I removed it it's not a great picture but gives a little reference

mapletwag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2018, 07:21 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,798
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
need the picture

The minimum I think you going to use is three wires..... assuming you are by passing all other safeties.

One big cable from the + side of the starter batteries

one big cable going to the starter motor

one smaller wire that gets 12 v + when the key is turned to the "start" position.

All starter solenoids I have ever used are grounded through the body of the solenoid itself, which means the thing has to be attached to with a metal bolt on to some sort of grounded material.

If this was a gasoline engine you might use another wire, but I for the life of me could not see why five posts.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Duncan, South Carolina
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Chevy Blue Bird
Engine: 3116 Cat
Thanks for the response! I understand what you are saying but the larger wires go to the line of posts running diagonal on the firewall in my pictures. I just added them so you didn't get to see them before. The smaller red wires coming from The Starter relay hooked into the busbar so it gets confusing for me.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:05 PM   #4
Bus Geek
ol trunt's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,236
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Hey MW, here are a couple of thoughts for you to consider:

Your second pic is of a 5 terminal relay—not a solenoid thought they are similar. With the help of a Harbor Freight multimeter (Cen-Tech 95683) you can easily solve your wiring problem. I’ll help you out with the relay. A relay is a switch which allows you to use low amp current to open or close a high amp contact. For example, the ignition switch activates a low amperage magnetic coil which closes a pair of high amp contacts allowing high amp current to flow to a load—such as a starter solenoid. Without the relay, way too much amperage would have to pass through the ignition switch leading to hot wires and fire danger.
You probably know that “NO” means normally open (off) and “NC” means normally closed (on). There will be a schematic showing on the side of your relay. It tells you that when 12v power is applied to terminals 85 and 86 (one +, the other-) , the electro magnet part of the relay will shift terminal 30 from its NC relationship to terminal 87a to NO terminal 87. When the ignition switch is in the start position, that wire will connect to the + side of the relay electromagnet. Use the multi meter to figure out where wires lead to as well as to determine the actions of the ignition switch. Once you do this, logic will dictate how to connect your wires. Just to mess with you, sometimes the electro magnet part of a relay is activated by closing the ground (-) side of the coil. Jack
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electrical, relay, starter

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