Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-18-2019, 10:02 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 336
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Help! Stranded in Canadian Wilderness

We’re on our now annual trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, and in the last leg of our trip here the bus started acting up.

First problem was that there was a slight hesitation and then surge at highway speeds. Barely noticeable but still there. We kept going and that slight hesitation got progressively worse once we got north of Toronto. At one point we stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and when I restarted it shut off while idling. After that things got more interesting.

The hesitation turned into a shudder and even stronger surge, it felt like the bus wasn’t getting any fuel for a second or two and then getting it back. On one occasion it shut off completely going North on 11. After that I went to 5 different garages asking for help but couldn’t find anyone that could. So I kept the speed low (45 mph) and didn’t have any more problems until I stopped to refuel right before getting to our campground.

At that point I realized that the batteries had stopped charging at some point, though I don’t know when they cut out. It had to be after the problems started based on the amount of stopping and starting that happened going garage to garage.

So now we’re stuck with a bus in the middle of nowhere, not sure what to do, what the problem is, how to fix it, or who could help if I don’t have the supplies needed for the repair.

I was thinking Ecu or something along those lines given the spread out nature of problems. We contacted a few garages who insisted it was a wiring issue.

I have my multimeter and a decent amount of tools with me.

I welcome any and all suggestions regarding what to check, how to check, good garages in the north bay Ontario area, places to get parts, etc...

If possible, please respond ASAP. We have no service where the bus is at and had to get a ride out of the park to post this. I’ll be able to check responses again in about 3 hours but I don’t know when next.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!
PigPen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 10:31 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
HazMatt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Wow! That stinks!!!
No idea of what idiosyncrasies your type of engine might have. Other than my best wishes you get mobile again ASAP, the only thing that occurs to me is either a slipping belt, or the alternator itself is toast.
Guess you aren't parked next to utilities that'd allow you to charge the batteties...
I'll text CK, he might have some better ideas.
Bon chance!
__________________
Those who say that it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it.
HazMatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 10:47 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 612
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30
Engine: 350 Chevy
Rated Cap: 10K
Try charging the batteries. Hopefully it'll start again. Then focus on the charging system if you have multimeter with you.
It's either electrical or fuel related, but dead batts are pointing more towards electrical in nature...
peteg59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 11:45 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,292
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Get batteries charged at a garage and see if it starts.

Do you have a volt meter or multimeter?

Use these steps to test the alternator.

https://www.wikihow.com/Check-an-Alternator

If you donít have a meter, pull it and take it to an auto parts store that has a testing machine.

Check the battery terminals. Are they clean with a tight connection? If in doubt, clean them. If you have a lot of corrosion buildup, you can use baking soda mixed with water and a toothbrush to clean that stuff off. Use sandpaper or a wire brush to make clean connections.

Check the connector at the alternator. Is the connector in good condition and tight? Look for worn wires.

Check ground wire connections to the battery and frame. If in doubt, clean and tighten.
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 11:57 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
somewhereinusa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,151
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
What year, engine, chassis?
somewhereinusa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Sleddgracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 2,265
Year: 1975
Coachwork: Chevy
Chassis: 8 window
Engine: 454 LS7
Rated Cap: 24,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
Weíre on our now annual trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, and in the last leg of our trip here the bus started acting up.

First problem was that there was a slight hesitation and then surge at highway speeds. Barely noticeable but still there. We kept going and that slight hesitation got progressively worse once we got north of Toronto. At one point we stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and when I restarted it shut off while idling. After that things got more interesting.

The hesitation turned into a shudder and even stronger surge, it felt like the bus wasnít getting any fuel for a second or two and then getting it back. On one occasion it shut off completely going North on 11. After that I went to 5 different garages asking for help but couldnít find anyone that could. So I kept the speed low (45 mph) and didnít have any more problems until I stopped to refuel right before getting to our campground.

At that point I realized that the batteries had stopped charging at some point, though I donít know when they cut out. It had to be after the problems started based on the amount of stopping and starting that happened going garage to garage.

So now weíre stuck with a bus in the middle of nowhere, not sure what to do, what the problem is, how to fix it, or who could help if I donít have the supplies needed for the repair.

I was thinking Ecu or something along those lines given the spread out nature of problems. We contacted a few garages who insisted it was a wiring issue.

I have my multimeter and a decent amount of tools with me.

I welcome any and all suggestions regarding what to check, how to check, good garages in the north bay Ontario area, places to get parts, etc...

If possible, please respond ASAP. We have no service where the bus is at and had to get a ride out of the park to post this. Iíll be able to check responses again in about 3 hours but I donít know when next.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!
at first reading about the strange surging, the fuel filler cap came to mind - it's happened before when a plugged vent on the filler cap created a vacuum in the fuel tank and the motor started to surge, and at times starved the motor of fuel to the point the motor died - after sitting for a little while, the motor started and ran fine until it starved again - simple temporary fix is to leave the filler cap loose until you can replace it - battery problems are another story - possibly from multiple tries at starting the motor? - tips previously given by other posters are good ones - get the batteries charged up for a start
Sleddgracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 12:06 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,810
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
What year, engine, chassis?



looks like its a 7.3 in an E-450..


my guess is that the batteries discharging is the heart of things.. thse engines dont like to run with low voltage.. the injector IDMs start dropping voltage which makes the injectors misfire... do you have any method for charging the batteries? solar charger you camn connect that will push some power into them while you are still camping?
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 12:08 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,902
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
If you have CAA Premium or know somebody with it, give them a shout.
They will tow up to 200 miles free I think. So, maybe right home if need be.

I can imagine your predicament up there, no matter what part of the park you are in. But there are busyards near or at either end of the park.
I would get it boosted and do some testing after changing out the fuel filter and after separator draining. Hopefully you have some power at your campsite but I am thinking likely not.
Watching your progress here.



John
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 03:46 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 336
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Thanks for all the replies. To answer some questions...

Yes, I can charge the batteries.

And yes it starts fine when they are charged.

I have my multimeter for testing them.

Towards the end of the trip they werenít getting anything from the alternator.

The connections Iíve checked so far all seem good. Tight and no corrosion.

Itís a 7.3 powerstroke in an e450.

Iíve replaced the alternator once but that doesnít mean it couldnít be shot.

However, the bus was started probably 10 times after the surging problems first started. There is no way the batteries werenít being charged in the beginning, I checked them first thing when I noticed the problems and they were still charged.
PigPen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 336
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
So my range if I can’t fix it is probably however long it will go on one full charge. I peg that around North Bay Ontario
__________________
Our build thread
PigPen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 03:59 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 612
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30
Engine: 350 Chevy
Rated Cap: 10K
Any parts stores nearby that can do an alternator check? It sounds like that is likely your issue.
Is there a gauge for the charging system or just an idiot light?
peteg59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:05 PM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,292
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
Thanks for all the replies. To answer some questions...

Yes, I can charge the batteries.

And yes it starts fine when they are charged.

I have my multimeter for testing them.

Towards the end of the trip they werenít getting anything from the alternator.

The connections Iíve checked so far all seem good. Tight and no corrosion.

Itís a 7.3 powerstroke in an e450.

Iíve replaced the alternator once but that doesnít mean it couldnít be shot.

However, the bus was started probably 10 times after the surging problems first started. There is no way the batteries werenít being charged in the beginning, I checked them first thing when I noticed the problems and they were still charged.
Well, you could have more than one problem, but as Cadillackid said, it could be that you didnít have enough juice to drive the injectors.

Did you notice the dash lights flickering?
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:16 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,116
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
start it up and while running pull the positive cable or cables off of the batteries and if it doesnt stay running then the alternator is shot. if it does then the alternator is charging.
Multiple starts in short trips can cause weak batteries.
Belt slipping under engine load could cause weak batteries.
If those check good then it could just be weak batteries?
After that is checked and or replaced and the running problem still exist then its time to change the fuel filter but you good hot batteries for that.
good luck
Jolly Roger bus 223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:24 PM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
HazMatt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Better yet:
While idling, take the VOM to the batteries. 14V + indicates the alternator is working, less than 12V, not so much so...
I presume when you checked connections, that included all leads going into the alternator?
If you have some distilled water, I'd ensure all your cells are well hydrated in this heat!
__________________
Those who say that it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it.
HazMatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:35 PM   #15
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,902
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
So my range if I can’t fix it is probably however long it will go on one full charge. I peg that around North Bay Ontario

You might want to hang out where you are till the heat breaks hopefully on Sunday. Got any ac happening in the bus? Hot here in the middle of Lake Ontario today, 100fnF and humid.


On those roads you don't need an engine that is running rough. If you do happen to go to NB, be careful of those roads. The shoulders are narrow and often washed out, easy to tip it over. Traffic will be hellish too.


Heading up there are a few towns that might get you parts and all have school bus depots as a last resort for help.



John
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:42 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 336
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
I’ll get the bus started and check the voltage. I’ll also check to see if belts are slipping.

I forgot to mention that the “Service Engine Soon” light came on at some point during this. I don’t have my scanner on me to see what it has to say however.
__________________
Our build thread
PigPen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:45 PM   #17
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 336
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
As far as staying there longer, that is only an option if I’m able to snag a “first come first served” site tomorrow or Saturday. There is one right beside the one we’re in but ours is booked by someone else starting Saturday night
__________________
Our build thread
PigPen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 04:57 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
TheHubbardBus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Hotzona
Posts: 932
Year: 2003
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar T444e
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
Belt slipping under engine load could cause weak batteries.
That was the first thing that came to my mind when reading through the original post. Slipping would run down the battery, and when slipping, also show battery voltage across the injectors, which could cause insufficient fueling at high demand. Might be the reason he didn't have (as many) problems at low speeds/loads... less slip + less fuel demand. And why the problems got worse as time progressed (and battery voltage declined).

Pigpen, with the batteries fully charged, what's your voltage across the terminals with the engine idling? When you were experiencing the surging, did your voltmeter dip?
__________________
-Sharon & Jody
Mr Beefy Short Bus Acquisition & Build Thread
TheHubbardBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 06:40 PM   #19
Bus Crazy
 
roach711's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,898
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
A failing cam position sensor (CPS) on a 7.3L Powerstroke will cause the engine to "hickup" like the ignition key had been shut off then turned back on, but that wouldn't have anything to do with the charging problem. My guess is the alternator or serpentine belt is the problem.

Your fuel pump is electric and low volts could easily cause it to stop pumping.


Edit: can you connect your starting and house banks? That would extend your range considerably.
__________________
The Roach Motel
roach711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 07:50 PM   #20
Site Team
 
Johnny Mullet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,376
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Yes. The 7.3L needs good batteries or it will start missfiring before shutting down. That van has 2 batteries right? One in the engine compartment and one on the passenger side frame? One bad battery can kill the good one.
Johnny Mullet is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×