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Old 02-12-2017, 07:48 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Exclamation Won't start; bright red light near parking break + buzz on key turn.

Hey guys,

So yesterday I drove my bus about 3 minutes to a place to work on it...and when trying to start it later that day, there was a very loud buzz [it seems to be FROM the light as a warning buzz rather than a side effect of something failing] and bright red light on near the parking brake release section of my front dash (llower to the left). I don't think it's a mechanical issue....but it could be electrical. There is a small chance it is out of fuel, but not sure if this is what it does in that case..I'm going to put more in as a test. We took off the front round mirrors that let you see in front of the bus and there was a wire to each, which we cut. We also took off the antennae I think was for call dispatching? The radio they talk to each other with? This had a wire as well...and we think one of these wires could be causing us trouble but we don't know. Does anyone here know? Other than that we didn't do anythng...(we checked the oil levels by pulling out the long dipstick but that shouldn't be a thing?)

Also, if anyone knows, are these features of the 'school bus', features of the 7.3L engine, or features of a ford E350? It's tricky to track down Google results when you're not sure of the relevant information.

I have a 2003 Ford E350 with a 7.3L diesel engine

Thanks so much! Hopefully I get the bus to start soon, I need to move it today haha
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:51 AM   #2
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Are all the emergency hatches and doors 100% closed?
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:54 AM   #3
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I think so...we did have the roof one open and the back one that day but as far as I can tell they are shut now. I'm of course going to triple check though.

I put 5L of fuel in it last week and drove it about 6km total...and now it is on a slope front down so I was thinking maybe something is happening with the fuel. Does this seem like something that would happen if the fuel was empty though? I'll walk to the gas station with a jerry can soon
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:02 AM   #4
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I just want to add that the lights are going on, and this buzzer is bright and loud..so I don't think it's a battery issue.

I'm shocked I can't find anything on Google about this.
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:15 AM   #5
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ECCB has the right idea.. that loud buzzer is likely an open emergency door or emergency hatch.. im guessing when you turn the key you get nothuing.. no starter crank or anything..

recheck to make sure all of your emergency hatches , emergency windows, and emergency doors are closed and the handles latched and pressed all the way down...

-Christopher
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:21 AM   #6
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Thanks, I'm going outside to check again right now. Was just checking out an owner's manual I found on the internet (though I think its for a E150). Sounds like this is specific to the school bus mod's though, not the EXXX.

And yes, sorry, my diagnosing skills are still admittedly weak. That's right, I get nothing when turning the key. No 'crank' (remains silent as far as I can hear over the loud buzz). I imagine if I heard the crank but it didn't start, it would be more likely a fuel issue?

It's also a loud buzz, not a "whine" like when the key is in and the driver's door is open..if that helps at all. Okay, going out now - and will even try to return with a video if playing with all the doors and hatches doesn't fix it!
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:26 AM   #7
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yeah its part of the school bus part and not the ford van..

the Buzzer is there so if a sschool kid opens and emergency door the driver knows right away... and it interlocks the starter so a bus driver wont accidentilly start and drive the bus without making sure all of the hatches and doors are closed and locked..

there is usually a little plunger switch somewhere on each door that gets pressed in when the door is closed.. the roof hatch is often a culprit if it isnt perfectly latched down and locked.. I know on my bluebird its sensitive.

-Christopher
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:27 AM   #8
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Couple things...

First, clarify "won't start". When you turn the key, does the engine crank but won't fire or does it do absolutely nothing?

If it cranks but doesn't fire, that has nothing to do with the emergency exits and could be due to a fuel issue.

If the engine doesn't crank at all, fuel has nothing to do with it, and its most likely emergency exit related.


Second, it's not enough to just look at the exits and say "yep, they're closed." Turn the key on and play with the latches on them and see if the buzzer goes off. If that doesn't make a difference, open the hatch or door and find the electrical switch on the latch and manually depress it with a screwdriver or knife or something, and see if that makes the alarm turn off.

On my first drive in my bus, I stopped for fuel and was playing with roof hatches and got the buzzer when I went to start it to leave. The roof hatch was latched properly, but evidently when I closed it, the handle caught the metal contact on the switch and bent it to where it would no longer make contact.
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:44 AM   #9
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Okay, based on that post I'm going back out and checking my latches.

I got a video but I'll go check latches before I bother posting it up! I even tried boosting the bus with a friend's truck just now, against all hope
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:48 AM   #10
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If you did run it out of fuel, its usually not as simple as just pouring in some more. You'd likely need to prime the fuel system.
Since you opened the roof hatch, and since they're so cheaply made and chintzy, my bet is that the latch or switch isn't FULLY seated somehow.
Best of luck, man. keep us posted.
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Old 02-12-2017, 09:11 AM   #11
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It's not the hatch, I opened it and a different whine started. Same with the back door.

What's involved in priming the fuel system? How can I determine if this is the issue before priming the system?

Gus won't start.mp4
Gus won't start 2.mp4
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Old 02-12-2017, 09:50 AM   #12
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Could this be caused by a short? We cut the wires in the mirrors when we removed them...I can't find them now, they are somewhere in the engine. I think it was for heat?

What are the usual symptoms of a short?
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:02 AM   #13
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On my BB, that light and buzzer next to my park release is for my Air System. Once it drops below 90 or so PSI it lights up and crys...
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:48 AM   #14
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I know that with the air alarm, it will not sound if the key is turned to the "accessory" position (turning key left instead of right). If, when you turn the key to the left and the buzzer still sounds, it is an emergency exit of some sort. On mine, the emergency side windows as well as the roof hatch and back door will sound the alarm. Even if the Air alarm is sounding, it will still allow you to start the vehicle.

If you are 100% sure that it is not the emergency alarms that is causing the no-start, I would then look at the starter. Mine went out a few months ago, and when you turned the key, you would only hear the clicks of the solenoids activating and no cranking of the engine whatsoever.

Hope this helps!

John
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:25 AM   #15
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I'm assuming it has hydraulic brakes since it's an E350.

Is there anything that runs on compressed air on the bus? An air door? Air ride seat? ? Guess would be that it doesn't have an air system on it. I can't think of what else the buzzer would be other than an emergency exit.
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:49 AM   #16
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I had exactly the same thing last week in my Bluebird.

It turned out to be an intermittent butt splice (emergency exit switch) buried behind an access panel about midway down the length of the bus. The buzzer was the give away.

Had me chasing my tail.......
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Old 02-12-2017, 03:19 PM   #17
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Okay so I've not got it fixed yet....but some weird behavior. The buzzing went away recently and it allowed me to try starting the engine. It made some noises but sounded like a dead battery. I tried to jump it but no luck. Now, I've got a charger on the battery.

But, the buzz has come back. Maybe it buzzes at say, 10-20% battery life? And when it dropped under 10 it went away, and now it's back. Maybe soon it will be charged enough to start?

Or maybe I hit that butt splice while doing work?
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iProgramStuff View Post

But, the buzz has come back. Maybe it buzzes at say, 10-20% battery life? And when it dropped under 10 it went away, and now it's back. Maybe soon it will be charged enough to start?

Or maybe I hit that butt splice while doing work?

You have several issues. First, get a good, charged battery- maybe 2. My bus has 3 batteries. If you try to start it with low battery, fastest way to burn-up a starter. Clean battery terminals well and change out bad, crusty cables.

When making changes/cutting wires/fooling with interlocks that have been sitting for years (rusty switch, etc.), only make 1 change at a time and make sure it still runs. If you make 7 changes and no start, you don't know which it was that causes your issue.

Go slow, be gentle. check your grounding wires- they may look ok and be flakey.
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:42 PM   #19
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the ford 7.3's have electric Fuelk pumps unlike our 444E;'s with mechanical, so they will typically prime themselves back up fairly quick..

my roof hatch on mine is a PITA to get latched right so the Buzzer doesnt go off..
I have to latcgh it in and turn the knob to Lock before the buzzer will stop
-Christopher
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:19 PM   #20
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I agree...going forward I will do 1 electrical change at a time and make sure it still starts. I will have to look at every wire I cut...a few were lost in the engine. I'll also charge the battery...it was new in 15/16 I think and the other one showed up as green on the charger so maybe I can hold out on new ones? I think I just killed it cause I shorted the circuit or left some lights on..but if I need a new battery I will get one.

But the bus is stuck where it is and I can't bring it to a mechanic haha..so I want to at least get it starting again so I can get a full diagnostic from a mechanic and get it safetied also.
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