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Old 12-17-2017, 10:13 AM   #1
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Starter problem

hi folks!

i've been living in my bus a bit over a month now. and i got a couple of problems im going to post about.

the first one is the starter. if you remember, i just changed transmissions and now im having this starter issue.

when i turn the key, the starter winds up but doesnt seem to engage the flywheel. it just makes a rising high pitch as it winds up.

thats been dogging me since the transmission. some times it catches, sometimes not. seems like more not recently than before.

last week when i went to dump the rv tank, it wouldnt turn over and just made that wind up noise. well, after playing with it, i found that if i do that wind up noise, like 5 times in a row quickly the bus starts.

at fist i suspected that the corners of the flywheel are worn and the starter isnt engaging, but now after it started when i didnt think it was engaging im kind of scratching my head over that wind up noise.

i had to the chance to bang it with a hammer, and still the wind up noise.

but she started

any advise or suggestions welcome!

related, but not my other issue, it looks like my new alternater is about to fail. i burned one out this summer, replaced it, and this one is about to burn out. the amp meter on the dash just goes wild...negative, positve, back and forth for a bit, then it stabilizes and works again. i suspect my belt is too tight, and i've been pulling the alternator a bit out of kilter.

my other problem is electrical, so i'll go post over there

thanks
Dave
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:06 AM   #2
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hi folks!

i've been living in my bus a bit over a month now. and i got a couple of problems im going to post about.

the first one is the starter. if you remember, i just changed transmissions and now im having this starter issue.

when i turn the key, the starter winds up but doesnt seem to engage the flywheel. it just makes a rising high pitch as it winds up.

thats been dogging me since the transmission. some times it catches, sometimes not. seems like more not recently than before.

last week when i went to dump the rv tank, it wouldnt turn over and just made that wind up noise. well, after playing with it, i found that if i do that wind up noise, like 5 times in a row quickly the bus starts.

at fist i suspected that the corners of the flywheel are worn and the starter isnt engaging, but now after it started when i didnt think it was engaging im kind of scratching my head over that wind up noise.

i had to the chance to bang it with a hammer, and still the wind up noise.

but she started

any advise or suggestions welcome!

related, but not my other issue, it looks like my new alternater is about to fail. i burned one out this summer, replaced it, and this one is about to burn out. the amp meter on the dash just goes wild...negative, positve, back and forth for a bit, then it stabilizes and works again. i suspect my belt is too tight, and i've been pulling the alternator a bit out of kilter.

my other problem is electrical, so i'll go post over there

thanks
Dave
I bet the 2 are related.

Alternator and starter meet- have you checked the wiring? You need to address this or replace more parts, I'd suggest.

How are batteries?
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:24 AM   #3
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i've been keeping the batteries pretty well charged. probably over charged if anything.

i moved into my bus about a month ago. every week i need to make about a 10 mile run to refuel and dump. the day before i dump, i put the starting batteries on a charger and plug in the block heater. beyond that charging, i have an on board generator that charges the bus batteries when it runs thru a cut off solenoid.
the gen charges the house batteries too, but that is thru a 12v converter charger that plugs into the gen. the gen charges the truck batteries through its own alternator. (12kw deisel gen)
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:26 AM   #4
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on my 10 mile trek, i havent noticed any problems.

fuel is much cheaper 30 miles down the road. the last time i made the 60 mile round trip, the alternator was all over the place.
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:53 AM   #5
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Your most likely culpret is the benix is stuck or broken. If all it does is wind up fast and not engage, the bendix isn't even hitting the flywheel. Pull the starter, try to spin the bedix by hand, it shoud not turn in one direction and turn with resistance in the other. If it turns un both, bendix is broke.
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:55 AM   #6
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With the alternator, either the alternator is wired wrong or the regulator is bad.
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Old 12-17-2017, 12:01 PM   #7
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Starters spinning but not engaging is usually a sign of a worn starter, or the gear isn't sliding smoothly on the shaft to engage the flywheel. You could fight with it, but why? How much is a replacement starter? (Guessing by your info, a 5.9 starter should be fairly common and none too expensive).

As for the alternator, I would check the belt for tension; it should deflect about 1/2" or so when pushed with your fingers (uh, do I *REALLY* need to mention to do this with the engine turned off?) Any less and the belt is too tight. Now as for the amp meter, how long does it fluctuate before stabilizes? A couple seconds (could be normal)? A couple minutes? Half an hour? More to the point, are you *SURE* the amps really are fluctuating like the gauge says (the gauge could be faulty)? What's the voltage reading? (You don't want more than about 14.5 volts, and even that's a little high. It can "cook" your batteries. Does this sound like the voice of experience here?)

My bus shows around 13 volts (maybe a little more) after starting for a minute or two, then moves on up to around the 14 volt mark. I am guessing it's recharging the batteries from starting the engine for that minute or so, but everything seems to work as it should so I am accepting it as "normal" for my bus.
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Old 12-17-2017, 12:03 PM   #8
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Hi Turf. The starter spinning and not engaging could be many things. Number one would be a worn out or sticking Bendix. 2 would be low battery voltage at the starter maybe a bad ground , loose cables, paint on a ground bad battery connections. Have you tried hooking up 12 volts to the starter and then jumping that 12 volts right to the solenoid? Have you put a meter at the starter to see what happens when you crank it? Had a car once with a bad ignition switch that acted silly like yours.

As for the ammeter being all over the place maybe a bad instrument?. If that was really happening electrically all the way positve to all the way neg, you would probably see smoke...
This message is coming from my garage with the heater on and a hot cup of coffee so please consider the sourceurce
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Old 12-17-2017, 12:12 PM   #9
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my longer trek has invovled night driving. i dont think i've ever noticed tha ammeter doing much until i have my lights on. the headlight dim and you see the meter flicking around. then it stops for a bit and is fine for 5 minutes and then another flicker and a jumping ammeter.

not sure if its just happens with the headlights, or if thats just when i notice it.

i need to check belt tension but i feel its too tight. i struggled getting the belt onlast summer and had issues with the water pump, alternator and belt.

i have the next bigger size belt sitting in a cabinet here when this one fails. with the ammeter gauge freaking out, it makes me think i'll get in there sooner than belt failure.
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Old 12-17-2017, 03:56 PM   #10
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You can drop the starter and test it out of the vehicle.
I have bought a good bit of new and rebuilt parts from the big box stores that were junk.
If you do test it out of the vehicle and the gear doesn't shoot forward then the bendix is having problems but a rebuild kit for that is fairly simple and a 1/3rd of a new starter.
Good luck
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Old 12-17-2017, 10:20 PM   #11
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It is not mentioned here yet but I think it is your override ( one way) clutch that is slipping. This clutch ensures that the starter motor is not driven by the flywheel if something is hanging. If the bendix would be broken then your starter does not speed up since the bendix also closes the main contact for full starter current.

good luck, later, J
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:01 AM   #12
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Like said prior, the bendix gear is likely your culprit with the starter. You can see how it works here. Most starters are capable of being rebuilt, it's just the parts won't be on the shelf at the local auto store. You can purchase and install the bendix, and if you choose that route, I'd rebuild the solenoid as well. Those 2 things are usually the common failure points in a starter motor.

As far as your alternator goes, the only way belt tension would be a player is if there ISN'T enough tension on it and the belt is slipping. Otherwise it's likely the regulator cutting in and out causing your issues. Check and make sure the terminals are all clean and tight first.
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Old 12-18-2017, 10:18 AM   #13
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For common engines, a starter/alternator rebuild shop probably has one on the shelf. They'll swap you for yours and you'll be out the door in 10 minutes instead of waiting for yours to be rebuilt, and they'll sell it to the next guy. I've had great success with rebuilders.
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Old 12-18-2017, 10:19 AM   #14
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For common engines, a starter/alternator rebuild shop probably has one on the shelf. They'll swap you for yours and you'll be out the door in 10 minutes instead of waiting for yours to be rebuilt, and they'll sell it to the next guy. I've had great success with rebuilders.
Rebuilt is usually a much better bet than new Chinese.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:24 PM   #15
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The starter needs replacing or rebuilding. The only way it would be "connected" to the alternator problem is if there is a bad short in the starter, and then it would get hot and possibly smoke, and probably kill your battery when the motor is not running.

The negative/positive on the ammeter is not battery voltage, it shows whether the battery is being charged or drained, and how fast. It should always show charging (+ I think) when the motor is running, and drop to (-) when starting, as the starter is pulling lots of amps, and the alternator is not yet spinning fast enough to produce current.

If you have a large load (giant spotlights, 3x5000W audio amplifiers, etc.) the alternator may not produce enough current and your ammeter may then show (-) with the motor running.

Fix the starter, then focus on the alternator, if your ammeter is still showing wonky. I think it and the wiring is OK, or it would go from charging (+) to neutral (in the center, as when the vehicle is off). It is not a rocket-science instrument, just a simple electromagnet.
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Old 12-21-2017, 05:57 PM   #16
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Just wondering how this issue is turf. Any difference in situation?
A belt too tight like yours might do some skipping when it is under load and be fine when you ease up. Loosen it off a touch.
Are you sure there isn't a problem in your headlights themselves?
Let us know,

John
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:18 PM   #17
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i'll have to move the bus again this weekend so i'll have a chance to start it up and see if the electric gremlins stike again.

i very much appreciate all the feed back on what to look for and how it works.... you guys rock!

i had no idea the solenoid moved the starter gear, i thought it was only a high amp switch.

in a quick look at the starter as i was banging it with a hammer last weekend and my impression was that it was relatively new. it was cleaner and it had alan head bolts securing to the flywheel, when i would have expected a regular hex head fastener.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:05 PM   #18
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are our starters like that one picutred??? thats a GMC style starter with an integrated solenoid.. THAT type of solenoid moves the gear... if your solemnoid is external then no the solenoid doesnt movde the gear.. those are just a big switch and inertia moves the gear out to engage the fly wheel.
-Christopher
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:48 PM   #19
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You are close,"drop to (-) when starting, as the starter is pulling lots of amps" But the battery (+) power goes right to the big stud on the starter where another lead is also landed that goes to the ammeter and then to fuses/breakers and loads downline. The current that spins the starter does not go through the ammeter.The reason that the ammeter dips negative while cranking is due to the tremendous load being put on the battery taking away from the power being used by accesories while cranking.
My money is still on a hinky starter (Bad or devoid of grease Bendix and /or worn out solenoid and contacs or just plain old poor connections. The ammeter just sounds like something is rattling around the case and ocassionally grounding out.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:52 PM   #20
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the ammeter on my red bus is Shunted.. it doesnt have monster wires going to it so there is a shunt somewhere that is feeding a voltage back to the dash gauge.. sure sounds like somethiung loose...
-Christopher
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