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Old 01-20-2022, 07:56 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 62
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Engine won't turn over, no air pressure (?)

Hey, gang:

Went out to my bus after letting it sit for a couple weeks and found that it won't start. I've mostly been doing demo still - removing metal panels & insulation from the ceiling, working on getting the seats out. There's wires dangling everywhere, but I was able to start and drive the bus *after* the last time I did any work on it.

What Happens:
I turn the key to Ignition and the dash lights all come on just fine. The gauges all bounce up and down, battery reads 12 volts.
'Wait to Start' light turns off.
Air pressure gauges are low, red warning light and alarm sounds.
I turn the key to START, hear the click/thunk in the side console electrical panel.
Nothing else happens. Engine does not turn over.

What I've Tried:
- I checked the fuse panel and found one that looked like it might have blown. I did replace that.
- I have a small battery jumper that I've used before to get the bus running when the batteries were dead. It read a solid 12v coming off the battery, but did not help the engine to start.

I'm not sure if the lack of air pressure has anything to do with it. I've started the engine with low pressure before, but right now it's all the way to 0 - seems like every time I try to start the engine the pressure just gets lower. Is there a way to add air pressure without the engine running?

So, what I'm trying to figure out, since it'll be a couple more days before I get out to the bus again, what should I be looking at next time I'm out there? I want to get a good list of options to run through and hopefully one of them will be the fix I need.

OH! And the only wires I've disconnected from the bus were connected to the dome lights, PA speakers, and the little security computer that was bolted to the floor under the dash.

Thanks!

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Old 01-21-2022, 12:01 AM   #2
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Hey Indigo, it sounds like your battery's dead. 12V is pretty discharged, actually. Take a look at this video and consider getting the battery load tested: https://youtu.be/ystmn3ly61Q

Keep in mind that you won't have air pressure build up until the engine's running...and low, or no, air pressure has nothing to do with staring.

I'll bet is a battery issue and not a serious problem, based on what you've described. And it takes a pretty healthy booster pack to start a big diesel, so I wouldn't put too much stock in that not helping you out. Don't assume your battery is fine.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:24 AM   #3
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Location: Portland, OR
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Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Hey Indigo, it sounds like your battery's dead. 12V is pretty discharged, actually. Take a look at this video and consider getting the battery load tested: https://youtu.be/ystmn3ly61Q
Well that would be disappointing, I just got this battery to replace one with a bad cell in it maybe a month ago. Trying to think what I might have left on accidentally to drain the battery over those couple weeks. I did double-check all the switches on the control panel to make sure nothing was drawing off the battery to keep it from starting the engine and they were all turned off. Last I remember, nothing on the bus stays on when the engine isn't engaged, so I'm curious how the battery might have drained.

I do have a trickle charger I've used to boost the battery before, I'll bring that out to recharge it.

Quote:
Keep in mind that you won't have air pressure build up until the engine's running...and low, or no, air pressure has nothing to do with staring.
THAT's a relief! I was worried I'd have to get the bus towed to a garage with an air compressor to recharge it.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:51 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Miami, Fl.
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Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
THAT's a relief! I was worried I'd have to get the bus towed to a garage with an air compressor to recharge it.

Please donít take this the wrong way as I only want to share good info.
Your comment about recharging the air brakes is a do-able thing as heavy tow operators do it all the time.

Also, it is quite normal for your air tanks to lose air when parked for a prolonged period of time.
Starting the engine fills them back up.

I share this air brake video with the hope that it helps you understand in greater detail how the system works.

https://youtu.be/OZ6l9J6NK5s

Good luck and happy trails!
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:46 PM   #5
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Location: Southern Oregon
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Year: 1996
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I had the EXACT issue with my bus a while back. Mine is a 1996 AmTran on an International chassis. Yes it's 12 years older and a different engine but it's an ancestor of your rig and there will be a lot in common. I pulled the codes via the dash and there was one pertaining to the ECM having a low input voltage.
I charged both chassis batteries fully with a smart charger. Started up like a dream and has had zero issues since.



If they haven't changed things, here's the procedure to pull flash codes.



TO PULL CODES VIA FLASH
Look for a small button next to the diagnostics connector in/under the dash.
HOLD BUTTON
KEY ON
RELEASE BUTTON
YELLOW dash light blinks out three digit ACTIVE codes
RED dash light flashes
YELLOW dash light blinks out three digit INACTIVE codes


TO CLEAR FLASH CODES
HOLD BUTTON
KEY ON
Floor accelerator pedal 3 times quickly
KEY OFF
Wait 20-30 seconds.
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Old 01-22-2022, 08:16 AM   #6
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the T444E and the VT365 want a VEERY FAST cvrank speed to start.. my T444E can turn over and crank like any regular car starter would be on a strong day and it wont start.. it wants i believe 160 RPM to trigger the ECM to fire the injectors.. this is a fast crank speed..



ive experimented with this more than once on my 444E.. that bus loves to trickle-drain the batteries when it sits prolonged I keep a victron charger / maintainer on it now but previously it would crank a good 5-7 seconds ore more at a speed that "should start" any normal engine yet it wouldnt..



im not sure why IH wants such a fast crank speed but they do and keping the batteries topped off is a must on these V8 diesel engines...



if oyu are going to continue to let the bus sit lots i would invest in a solar battery maintainer to keep your batteries charged..
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Old 01-23-2022, 11:13 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 62
Year: 2008
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Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
ive experimented with this more than once on my 444E.. that bus loves to trickle-drain the batteries when it sits prolonged

Ö

if oyu are going to continue to let the bus sit lots i would invest in a solar battery maintainer to keep your batteries charged..
Ah, that's interesting, I wasn't aware of this. So I don't even have to leave anything on accidentally, the engine will just slowly drain the battery all by itself? I've got it on a trickle-charger now, so I'll see when I get out to the bus in a little bit if that's all that's going on.

I'm not able to get out to my bus more than once or twice a week at best, and yeah, sometimes can go a couple weeks without being able to work on it, so a constantly-trickling battery is going to be a problem. Okay, if that's the case, then I'll probably opt to install a system switch at the battery, and just get into the habit of disconnecting the battery at night whenever I'm done driving for the day.
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Old 01-24-2022, 12:20 PM   #8
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Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Hey, gang, just a quick update: Problem SOLVED!

It was simply a dead battery. A night spent on my trickle-charger and it started right up in the morning. I didn't want to believe the battery could be dead since I had JUST replaced it a few weeks earlier and had only driven it twice on the new battery.

Thanks all for the tips and diagnostic advice! I'll definitely look into a system switch to disconnect the battery from the engine when I'm not planning to drive it for a bit.
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:45 PM   #9
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Hey, gang, just a quick update: Problem SOLVED!

It was simply a dead battery. A night spent on my trickle-charger and it started right up in the morning. I didn't want to believe the battery could be dead since I had JUST replaced it a few weeks earlier and had only driven it twice on the new battery.

Thanks all for the tips and diagnostic advice! I'll definitely look into a system switch to disconnect the battery from the engine when I'm not planning to drive it for a bit.
FWIW I run my bus for about ten minutes every week if not in use. Thought that was a pretty common practice.
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:58 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,623
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Hey, gang, just a quick update: Problem SOLVED!

It was simply a dead battery. A night spent on my trickle-charger and it started right up in the morning. I didn't want to believe the battery could be dead since I had JUST replaced it a few weeks earlier and had only driven it twice on the new battery.

Thanks all for the tips and diagnostic advice! I'll definitely look into a system switch to disconnect the battery from the engine when I'm not planning to drive it for a bit.
sounds like you have a parasitic power draw somewhere.
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Old 01-24-2022, 02:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
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FWIW I run my bus for about ten minutes every week if not in use. Thought that was a pretty common practice.
only running it for 10 minutes is doing more harm than good pal.
It takes 20 minutes or more of hard driving for most of these rigs to get up to temp.
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Old 01-24-2022, 07:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
only running it for 10 minutes is doing more harm than good pal.
It takes 20 minutes or more of hard driving for most of these rigs to get up to temp.

Yep, you need to get it up to operating temp. Just 10 mins at idle is going to warm things up and then as they cool after shut down you get condensation inside the crank case. That condensation makes its way down to the oil where it reacts with contaminants and creates acids that are detrimental to the engine.
The engine needs to be run to operating temperature to boil out that liquid.
There is also the question as to how much energy is pulled from the battery in the start process and how much the alternator will return during a 10 minute idle. Voltage output isn't the question here but amperage.
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Old 01-24-2022, 07:31 PM   #13
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Ultimately you should actually take the bus out for a drive , put the engine under some load like the others say to get a full warm up including the oil. Plus it keeps tires from getting flat spots , brakes from seizing, steering components stay lubed , etc .
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Old 01-26-2022, 11:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
FWIW I run my bus for about ten minutes every week if not in use. Thought that was a pretty common practice.
10 minutes at idle, or even a fast idle isn't helping. A diesel engine must be 'worked' to get it up to operating temperature and help purge the engine of moisture. A half an hour of DRIVING will warm the engine and drive moisture out of the oil.
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Old 01-27-2022, 04:32 PM   #15
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10 minutes at idle, or even a fast idle isn't helping. A diesel engine must be 'worked' to get it up to operating temperature and help purge the engine of moisture. A half an hour of DRIVING will warm the engine and drive moisture out of the oil.
Yep, 10 mins at idle is going to warm things up but only enough to add more moisture to the crank case as it cools. You HAVE to get it to operating temperature (as in running down the highway....) in order to boil off the moisture and any volatiles in the oil.
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Old 01-27-2022, 04:36 PM   #16
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besides .. actually DRIVING the bus is fun as hell!! I dont worry about 0 degrees.. since i dont rip out all my heaters i can heat the bus up to volcanic mode inside and thats how I know its warm enough to put it away
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:02 PM   #17
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I'm having the same problem rn

I'm having a similar issue with my bus. It's 2007 Collins. I'm in the middle of demolishing the interior. What I'm working on right right now is grinding the bolts on the wheel chair lift to get that out. The batteries are both charged to 13.6 Volts. We just had the engine checked and everything was fine. Could I have cut something like a wire? Did messing with the wheel chair lift do something to it? Is there some kind of safety switch that's preventing it? The weather's been really cold, could the starter be frozen? If so, how do I fix it???
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwyn View Post
I'm having a similar issue with my bus. It's 2007 Collins. I'm in the middle of demolishing the interior. What I'm working on right right now is grinding the bolts on the wheel chair lift to get that out. The batteries are both charged to 13.6 Volts. We just had the engine checked and everything was fine. Could I have cut something like a wire? Did messing with the wheel chair lift do something to it? Is there some kind of safety switch that's preventing it? The weather's been really cold, could the starter be frozen? If so, how do I fix it???
Yes you could have cut a wire.
It just depends on how the bus safety interfaces were designed. Some inhibit start if the lift is deployed, others if the lift door is open, still others inhibit transmission engagement but allow engine to run or be started.
The only way the starter is going to "freeze" due to cold weather is if it is full of water.....which isn't going to happen.
Have you demo'd the wiring harness AT ALL?
Is the lift door open?
If the lift (even partially) released?
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Old 02-01-2022, 07:32 PM   #19
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Engine: DT 466E EGR, 3000PTS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Hey, gang, just a quick update: Problem SOLVED!

It was simply a dead battery. A night spent on my trickle-charger and it started right up in the morning. I didn't want to believe the battery could be dead since I had JUST replaced it a few weeks earlier and had only driven it twice on the new battery.

Thanks all for the tips and diagnostic advice! I'll definitely look into a system switch to disconnect the battery from the engine when I'm not planning to drive it for a bit.

A battery switch is a good idea, but the battery will still discharge naturally over the course of a month or so of sitting and will need a maintenance charge. Lead acid batteries like to be fully charged (12.6 volts or better) (6 cells, nominal voltage of 2.1 volts each cell when charged). A trickle charger/maintainer is recommended for any battery in a vehicle not being used daily or at least once a week. I keep my charger maintainer on my bus all the time when it is in my driveway. If you have access to power I would recommend doing the same, if you have a true trickle charger/maintainer it won't do any harm.

also if you know your battery is discharged charging with a trickle charger isn't best practice, with a deep discharge using 10-12 amp charge rates are a good idea for batteries of this size to recover to a charged state as quickly as possible without exceeding the safe charge rate of the chemistry and size of the battery. in cold weather a discharged battery has the capability to freeze in pretty normal temperatures (above 10 degrees F. A fully charged battery on the other hand cannot freeze until 30 below zero F or colder.

I used to manage a battery store and the most common cause of people wanting warranty replacements, that weren't warrant-able was neglect in seasonal or part time vehicles due to no maintenance charging. a trickle charger or maintainer is really meant for a fully charged battery or as a maintenance charge to gently raise the voltage and prevent any loss of electrolyte inside the battery to evaporation.

I hope this helps and good luck with the build!
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Old 02-01-2022, 08:48 PM   #20
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 16,557
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
If your bus is outside and not easy to plug a continuous charger in you can get a solar panel and stick in a sunny spot that will maintain the battery. It doesn’t take much each day to keep it topped off
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